Lawmakers and activists are attempting to rein in union exemptions from extortion laws after several high profile acts of suspected union sabotage in 2012. Labor groups are immune from prosecution under the Hobbs Act, a 1946 provision that criminalized extortion and robbery using the threat or fear of force. Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) attempted to close that loophole last year with the Freedom from Union Violence Act (FUVA). The bill never left committee but Lee has pledged to crack down on the sabotage and violence some unions use during labor disputes.
BEIJING -- There´s no doubt nearly all Chinese people are better off today than they were in previous decades. And that means they´re more mobile, and wanting to see the world. But as the number of Chinese tourists swells, their reputation is going downhill - with stories of excessive spending, vandalism, and even fare evasion. The Louvre in Paris. An iconic center of the art world, and the world’s most visited gallery. Last month, a visiting Chinese tourist group was found carrying fake tickets. Officials say they’re investigating the suspected circulation of thousands of fake tickets by Chinese suspects. But
The State Department review of the Benghazi terror attack let senior officials off the hook for the policy decisions that led to sub-standard security at the U.S. compound in eastern Libya, according to a draft House committee report obtained by Fox News. The nearly 100-page report concludes that the State Department’s internal review board -- called the Accountability Review Board, or ARB -- was flawed. The report by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee alleges the board’s probe was not comprehensive, its interviews were not thorough, and the investigation itself may have been damaged by conflicts of
Syrian dictator Bashar Assad must surrender his chemical weapons to avoid a U.S. military strike, but the U.S.-Russia framework on his disarmament makes no mention of Assad handing over his biological weapons. "[T]he United States and the Russian Federation have committed to prepare and submit in the next few days to the Executive Council of the OPCW a draft decision setting down special procedures for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof," the State Department framework explains. "The United States and the Russian Federation believe that these extraordinary procedures are necessitated by the prior use of
The U.S.-Russian agreement, which is supposed to result in the seizure and disposition of Syria’s chemical weapons, is the crowning achievement of President Obama’s and Secretary of State Kerry’s diplomacy. Their achievements are threefold. First, they have given New York Times op-ed contributor Vladimir Putin everything he wanted and obtained precisely nothing in return. Second, they have smoke screened public attention from the fact that the whole crisis on Syrian chemical weapons was manufactured from Obama’s cavalier comment that created the so-called “red line.” They’re now praying that people forget that the new agreement removes the threat of American use of
President Obama and his media enablers are trying to spin the Syria fiasco or, failing that, distract attention from it. Via Mark Steyn, Ace of Spades makes a nice catch. Time magazine publishes four editions: Europe/Middle East/Africa, Asia, South Pacific and United States. This week’s foreign editions all acknowledged the big news story of the week, and if their covers are a guide, didn’t try to paper over the disaster. This is the Europe/Middle East/Africa cover:(Snip for photo)Note that the cover text doesn’t pull any punches: America’s weak and waffling, Russia’s rich an resurgent–and its leader doesn’t care what anybody
PARIS—The Obama administration worked to sell its Syrian disarmament deal to skeptical allies overseas and domestic critics at home, stressing force remains an option against President Bashar al-Assad, but that there is still time for diplomacy to work. Secretary of State John Kerry set off on a globe-hopping mission in search of support, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday ahead of meetings with European and Middle Eastern allies in Paris on Monday. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, explained in a pre-taped television interview why the joint diplomatic initiative with Russia offered a potentially more lasting route to
Detroit is broke, but it didn’t have to be. An in-depth Free Press analysis of the city’s financial history back to the 1950s shows that its elected officials and others charged with managing its finances repeatedly failed — or refused — to make the tough economic and political decisions that might have saved the city from financial ruin. Instead, amid a huge exodus of residents, plummeting tax revenues and skyrocketing home abandonment, Detroit’s leaders engaged in a billion-dollar borrowing binge, created new taxes and failed to cut expenses when they needed to. Simultaneously, they gifted workers and retirees with generous bonuses.
Less than half of Americans’ per-capita wealth that was lost in the government-boosted property bubble has been recovered by mid-2013, says a new White House report that is intended to help President Barack Obama trumpet his economic accomplishments. “Adjusted for inflation and population growth, only 45 percent of wealth lost during the recession has been recovered, and many of the hardest hit households did not benefit as much from the rebound in [Wall Street] financial assets prices,” the report admits. The 49-page report cherry-picks favorable economic data to justify its claim that “America has fought our way back … thanks to the
Two victims of the Boston marathon bombing, J.P. and Paul Norden, were each awarded $1.2 million dollars from the One Fund, but they are wary to spend it. This information comes from a new profile in The Washington Post, where the recovery efforts of the brothers—each of whom suffered amputations of one of their legs—and what they do or don´t do with their charitable contribution are brought to light. Technically becoming a millionaire overnight has brought its own of complications for their recovery. For instance: The payments are tax-free, but they will force the Norden brothers off the state health insurance program
There was good news for Republicans this week in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll: The Republican Party is gaining a public-opinion edge on several key issues ahead of the 2014 elections, as Americans question President Barack Obama’s leadership on Syria and worry about the country’s overall direction, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows. Republicans are now rated higher than Democrats on handling the economy and foreign policy, and the GOP’s lead has strengthened on several other issues, including dealing with the federal deficit and ensuring a strong national defense. The danger here is not only hubris (e.g. the suicidal government-shutdown
Ted Cruz may be an omnipresent rising conservative star. But the Texas Republican and his allies, including Senators Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), along with outside groups such as Heritage Action and the Club for Growth, aren’t so popular in the House these days. Their aggressive defunding campaign, which has (via Heritage Action) pledged to spend more than half-a-million dollars in online ads targeting House Republicans, has aggravated the leadership as well as rank-and-file members. Aides complain, often heatedly, about what they view as an effort to micromanage House Republicans that risks not only dividing the
Even as the United States and Russia were nearing an agreement over Syria’s chemical weapons, a federal prosecutor was filing papers that effectively accuse the Putin regime of tolerating, if not abetting, an organized gang of government officials and criminals who looted $250 million from the Russian treasury. The immediate intent of the official complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on September 10 was to seize several high-end Manhattan properties. The two multimillion dollar commercial spaces as well as four luxury apartments—these across from where George Washington was inaugurated as our first president—were allegedly purchased to launder proceeds from the
On PBS’s “NewsHour” on Friday night, New York Times columnist David Brooks warned that Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and similar legislators’ rise to prominence threatens the traditional Republican Party. (Snip) “What’s going on in the House, and a bit in the Senate, too, is what you might call the rise of Ted Cruz-ism,” Brooks said. “And Ted Cruz, the senator from Canada through Texas, is basically not a legislator in the normal sense, doesn’t have an idea that he’s going to Congress to create coalitions, make alliances, and he is going to pass a lot of legislation. He’s going in
Watching Hillary get a Liberty Medal on September 10, the day before the anniversary of the attack on the United States soil and the more recent murder of our ambassador and others in Benghazi, I think it´s time to review the record of a woman whose life is marked by deceit and professional failure and ask about the sanity and judgment of her ardent supporters.
The Obama administration is nearing completion of a proposal to require that movie theaters offer technology so blind and deaf people can go to the cinema. The draft rule, which is part of a decades-long effort by advocates for people with disabilities, would likely require thousands of movie theaters across the country to offer devices that display closed captioning and provide audio narration of what’s happening onscreen.(Snip) But theater owners worry that a federal mandate will force small, rural and struggling theaters to close given the costs associated with the rule.
This report is coming from The Hill and relies pretty much on “Republican lawmakers” and staffers “speaking on condition of anonymity” so factor that in. But given what we’ve heard from some other members over the last couple of months, I wouldn’t find it terribly surprising if this were true. Republican lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with what they say is a lack of communication from their leaders. Both centrist and conservative members in the House believe that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his lieutenants could have done more earlier this year to counter the Tea Party’s effort to defund
WASHINGTON- The White House said Saturday U.S. President Barack Obama will speak next week about economic growth following the worst recession since the Great Depression. In a statement, the White House said the president will speak Monday in the Rose Garden to discuss "the progress we have made to grow the economy and create 7.5 million private sector jobs, and highlight the work we still need to do to strengthen the middle class and those fighting to get into it." The statement said Obama will "highlight his better bargain for the middle class, and warn against more self-inflicted wounds from
Cher has turned down the chance to open next year´s Winter Olympics in Russia as a protest to the country´s new anti-gay laws. (Snip) The 67-year-old, whose son Chaz underwent gender transition surgery in 2010, is the latest celebrity to react against the laws brought in by Vladimir Putin´s government in June. She said: ‘I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show. ‘I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate
My friend and colleague Steve Grammatico is out with his new book, “You Hear Me, Barack?” a collection of his mordant, satirical takes on President Obama and his extended family of zany, lovable characters, including the First Lady, the vice president and a host of other comic-opera Public Enemies currently adored by the collection of circus clowns known as the White House Press Corps. Please enjoy my introduction and the following excerpts and remember: this is no dream, this is really happening.When the late Andrew Breitbart asked me in the fall of 2009 to start a new website called Big
During the 2008 presidential campaign, the New York Times ran an article on what psychologists call the "impostor phenomenon." To measure it, they ask test subjects questions like, "At times, I feel my success has been due to some kind of luck" or "I can give the impression that I´m more competent than I really am." Although the article had nothing to do with Barack Obama, he would surely have scored off the charts had he answered those questions honestly. He was a reasonably bright guy but not the "brilliant" author and savant white liberals thought him to be. His "luck"
Syria has moved 20 trucks worth of equipment and material used for the manufacturing of chemical weapons into neighboring Iraq, the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal reported on Sunday. The government in Baghdad has denied allegations that it is helping the Syrian government conceal chemical stockpiles. The report came just a day after the United States and Russia struck a deal stipulating that Syrian President Bashar Assad´s regime would destroy its chemical arsenal to avert an American military assault. The newspaper reported that the trucks crossed the boundary separating Syria with Iraq over the course of Thursday and Friday. Border guards did
On Sunday, President Obama joined ABC’s This Week to discuss the threat of Iranian nuclear development, and emphasized that he had not taken force off the table: “I think what the Iranians understand is that the nuclear issue is a far larger issue for us than the chemical weapons issue, that the threat…against Israel that a nuclear Iran poses is much closer to our core interests. My suspicion is that the Iranians recognize they shouldn’t draw a lesson that we haven’t struck [Syria] to think we won’t strike Iran.” Obama added that Iran should learn from Syria that diplomatic solutions
A video (from the Daily Caller) reveals the Republican Party´s real angst about the Tea Party. David Brooks (the Gray Lady´s idea of a housebroken conservative) laments, to PBS´s Judy Woodruff that Republican legislators like Ted Cruz aren´t "normal members. . . going to Congress to create coalitions, make alliances and . . . pass a lot of legislation" while interesting themselves in "the perks . . . the leadership has to offer." Indeed, Brooks asserts, "They´re not [real] legislators" at all -- just obstructionists "who want to stop things." All of which conversely implies Brooks believes real legislators are ones who
SEATTLE - A local man has died and a woman is in serious condition after they were stabbed repeatedly by a stranger who confronted them Friday night as they were walking in Pioneer Square after the Seattle Sounders game, police said. Friends identified the man who died as Troy Wolff, 46, who was chairman of the English Department at Shoreline Community College and had taught there for 17 years. He was walking with his girlfriend near 3rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street at about 10:30 p.m. Friday when she was suddenly confronted by a man who pulled out a small knife and