President Asshat Bullied Bank To Pay Racial Settlement Without Evidence

Obama Bullied Bank To Pay Racial Settlement Without Proof: Report – New York Post

.

.
Newly uncovered internal memos reveal the Obama administration knowingly exaggerated charges of racial discrimination in probes of Ally Bank and other defendants in the $900 billion car-lending business as part of a “racial justice” campaign that’s looking more like a massive government extortion and shakedown operation.

So far, Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has reached more than $220 million in settlements with several auto lenders since the agency launched its anti-discrimination crusade against the industry in 2013. Several other banks are under active investigation.

That’s despite the fact that the CFPB had no actual complaints of racial discrimination – it was all just based on half-baked statistics.

A confidential 23-page internal report detailing CFPB’s strategy for going after lenders shows why these companies are forking over millions of dollars in restitution and fines to the government despite denying any wrongdoing.

The high-level memo, sent by top CFPB civil-rights prosecutors to the bureau’s director and revealed by a House committee, admits their methods for proving discrimination were seriously flawed from the start and had little chance of holding up in court. Yet they figured they could muscle Ally, as well as future defendants, with threats and intimidation.

“Some of the claims being made in this case present issues, such as use of [race] proxying and reliance on the disparate-impact doctrine, that would pose litigation risks meriting serious consideration prior to taking administrative action or filing suit in district court,” the Oct. 7, 2013, memo addressed to CFPB chief Richard Cordray acknowledges.

“Nevertheless,” it added, “Ally may have a powerful incentive to settle the entire matter quickly without engaging in protracted litigation.”

At the time, the Detroit-based bank was seeking permission from the Federal Reserve to remain a financial holding company. Without regulatory approval, Ally risked losing key business lines, primarily its insurance subsidiaries.

“Protracted litigation” would present “a high hurdle” to Ally retaining such status, the CFPB lawyers conspired.

Prosecutors also sought to use the Community Reinvestment Act as leverage against Ally. At the time, the FDIC was reviewing the bank’s compliance with the anti-redlining law.

They huddled with FDIC and Federal Reserve officials to get them on board with their scheme; and the Fed assured them it would look favorably upon “a prompt and robust” settlement by Ally, while the FDIC confirmed that a quick resolution would help Ally pass its CRA exam.

So CFPB applied the screws to Ally, saying it had “statistical evidence” showing its participating dealers were “marking up” loan prices for blacks and Hispanics vs. whites (by an average of $3 a month). Ally fought back, insisting non-discriminatory factors, such as credit history, down payments, trade-ins, promotions and rate-shopping, explained differences in loan pricing. After conducting a preliminary regression analysis, the bank found these factors alone accounted for at least 70 percent of the “racial disparities” the government was claiming.

CFPB admits in the memo that it never considered these or other legitimate business aspects of the car deals it investigated: “Such factors were excluded as controls from the markup analysis.”

Also in its initial rebuttal, Ally complained CFPB’s entire case was based on “disparate impact” statistics, not actual complaints by consumers, and that those estimates relied on guesswork about the race of the borrowers. (The auto industry does not report borrower race, so CFPB tried to ID race by last name and ZIP code, a so-called “proxy” method that is wildly inaccurate.)

“The evidence of discrimination on the basis of race and national origin is strictly statistical,” the agency confessed in a report footnote.

With all these machinations hidden from public view, Cordray held a press conference to announce “the federal government’s largest auto-loan discrimination settlement in history.” He claimed that 235,000 minorities had been harmed by Ally, even though he didn’t know the race of a single borrower or whether they had actually been harmed.

“He had no idea how many actual victims there were because their whole case rested entirely on statistical estimations they admitted internally were inaccurate,” said a senior staffer for the House Financial Services Committee, which recently obtained the internal documents from CFPB.

In fact, CFPB still has not been able to definitively ID the race of any borrower it claims Ally victimized – which is why it has taken more than two years to send remuneration checks to alleged victims. Desperate to find them, the bureau recently had to mail 420,000 letters to Ally borrowers to coax at least 235,000 into taking the money, and to allow Cordray to save face.

Checks started going out this month to the fictitious victims – just in time for the election. So what if some recipients are white? They will all no doubt thank Democrats for the sudden, unexpected windfall of up to $520 in the mail.

.

.

Sex Toy Company Sets Up ‘Masturbation Station’ On New York City Street

Masturbation Booth Pops Up On NYC Street To Help With Mid-Day Stress – Gateway Pundit

There’s now a Masturbation Station in New York City for men to relieve some stress during the workday.

.
……………………..

.
The company said 100 men used the booth on its first day.

Mashable reported:
.

On Tuesday, Hot Octopuss erected what it called a “GuyFi” booth on 28th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City, where men could, in theory, go to “relieve stress.”

The company simply put a cloth over a phone booth in what amounted to a marketing gimmick. Inside was a chair and a laptop.

Hot Octopuss was inspired by a Time Out survey, which concluded that 39% of the New York men it questioned admitted to masturbating while at work. A more expansive Glamour survey of 1,000 men in 2012 suggested 31% of its readers have done so.

Hot Octopuss created the booth so men can “take this habit out of the office and into a more suitable environment designed to give the busy Manhattan man the privacy, and the high-speed Internet connection, he deserves.”

“We may be insinuating that these booths could be used in whichever way anyone would like to ‘self soothe,’” a representative tells Mashable, “but the brand is not actively encouraging people to masturbate in public as that is an illegal offense.”

The company claims approximately 100 men used the booth on its inaugural day.

.

.

Obamaconomy Update: Walmart To Close 269 Stores, 154 In U.S.

Wal-Mart To Shutter 269 Stores, 154 Of Them In The US – CNS

.
…………….

.
Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, more than half of them in the U.S. and another big chunk in its challenging Brazilian market.

The stores being shuttered account for a fraction of the company’s 11,000 stores worldwide and less than 1 percent of its global revenue.

More than 95 percent of the stores set to be closed in the U.S. are within 10 miles of another Wal-Mart. The Bentonville, Arkansas, company said it is working to ensure that workers are placed in nearby locations.

The store closures will start at the end of the month.

The announcement comes three months after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Doug McMillon told investors that the world’s largest retailer would review its fleet of stores with the goal of becoming more nimble in the face of increased competition from all fronts, including from online rival Amazon.com.

“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” McMillon said in a statement. “Closing stores is never an easy decision. But it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future.”

Wal-Mart operates 4,500 in the U.S. Its global workforce is 2.2 million, 1.4 million in the U.S. alone.

Wal-Mart has warned that its earnings for the fiscal year starting next month will be down as much as 12 percent as it invests further in online operations and pours money into improving customers’ experience.

Of the closures announced Friday, 154 locations will be in the U.S., including the company’s 102 smallest-format stores called Wal-Mart Express, which were opened as a test in 2011.

Wal-Mart Express marked the retailer’s first entry into the convenience store arena. The stores are about 12,000 square feet and sell essentials like toothpaste. But the concept never caught on as the stores served the same purpose as Wal-Mart’s larger Neighborhood Markets: fill-in trips and prescription pickups.

Also covered in the closures are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount stores and four Sam’s Clubs.

Wal-Mart will now focus in the U.S. on supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, the e-commerce business and pickup services for shoppers.

The retailer is closing 60 loss-making locations in Brazil, which account for 5 percent of sales in that market. Wal-Mart, which operated 558 stores in Brazil before the closures, has struggled as the economy there has soured. Its Every Day Low price strategy has also not been able to break against heavy promotions from key rivals.

The remaining 55 stores are spread elsewhere in Latin America.

Wal-Mart said that it’s still sticking to its plan announced last year to open 50 to 60 supercenters, 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets and 7 to 10 Sam’s Clubs in the U.S. during the fiscal year that begins Feb. 1. Outside the U.S., Wal-Mart plans to open 200 to 240 stores.

The financial impact of the closures is expected to be 20 cents to 22 cents per diluted earnings per share from continuing operations with about 19 cents to 20 cents expected to affect the current fourth quarter. The company is expected to release fourth quarter and full year results on Feb. 18.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fell $1.12, or 1.7 percent, to 61.94 in morning trading.

.

.

*LIVE STREAMING* Fox Business Republican Presidential Primary Debate (01/14/16 – 9:00pm ET)



…………………………Click on image above for live stream.

Alternate Stream 1
Alternate Stream 2
Alternate Stream 3
Alternate Stream 4

Participants: Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Jeb Bush

.

.

*VIDEOS* Prager University: Curriculum – Left Vs. Right


HOW BIG SHOULD GOVERNMENT BE?


.
DOES IT FEEL GOOD OR DOES IT DO GOOD?

.
HOW DO YOU JUDGE AMERICA?

.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH PAINFUL TRUTHS?

.
HOW DO YOU MAKE SOCIETY BETTER?

.

.

SpaceX Makes History: Reusable Falcon 9 Rocket Lands Successfully (Video)

SpaceX Makes History: Falcon 9 Rocket Successfully Lands – Breitbart

.

.
Commercial spaceflight company SpaceX enjoyed a triumphal moment this evening, conducting its first-ever landing of a Falcon 9 rocket on dry land after a successful launch on Monday.

Livestreams from SpaceX’s headquarters showed employees breaking into cheers as the rocket touched down at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
.

.
Creating reusable rockets that can land and relaunch is considered a major technological milestone that will significantly lower the cost of space travel. Multiple space companies were competing to achieve this breakthrough, but SpaceX is the first to succeed in landing a rocket for a non-suborbital trip.

Unlike previous attempts, where SpaceX landed their rockets on ocean platforms, this was the first where the Falcon 9 rocket was able to land on dry ground.

The mission’s primary objective was commercial: the company had been commissioned to launch satellites for the New Jersey-based communications company OrbComm. This was also a success, with all 11 satellites now in orbit around Earth.

However, this will likely be dwarfed by the wider significance of SpaceX’s achievement, which has brought us a step closer to cheap, reusable rockets. As this technology develops, it will make recreational space travel, new manned expeditions to the Moon, and even to Mars, considerably more cost-effective.

It’s a welcome end to the year for SpaceX, which had to deal with a debacle in June when a Falcon 9 rocket exploded shortly after takeoff, destroying a supply shipment intended for the International Space Station. According to SpaceX, the explosion was caused by a failed strut in the rocket’s upper state liquid-oxygen tank.

SpaceX is led by Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla Motors. “It’s a revolutionary moment,” Musk told the press after the landing. “No one has ever brought a booster, an orbital-class booster, back intact.”

It’s unlikely we’ll be wandering around on Mars anytime this year. But the prospect of viable, low-cost, private sector space travel suddenly seems a little less sci-fi.

.

.

Opening Federal Lands To Drilling Would Create 2.7M Jobs, Add $663B To Economy Annually

Opening Federal Lands To Drilling Worth $663 Billion Annually – Daily Caller

.

.
Opening federal lands for natural gas, oil, and other drilling would create 2.7 million jobs and add $663 billion to the economy each year for the next 30 years, according to a new study by Louisiana State University and the Institute for Energy Research (IER).

“We’ve seen a steady decline in lease sales year over year in the Obama administration… if not for oil and gas production on private and state lands, there would be no economic recovery,” said Thomas J. Pyle, the President of IER, in a teleconference with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The permit time it takes to drill on federal lands is over 200 days, that compares with 14 in North Dakota and 4 in Texas. As a result, production on federal lands has lagged behind.”

An executive summary of the study given to The Daily Caller News Foundation estimates that opening federal lands and waters would also lead to $5.1 trillion in new wages and $3.9 trillion in new federal tax revenue over the next 37 years, which would massively stimulate the economy. Over a 30 year period, this would create and support 2.7 million new jobs. More than 75 percent of the jobs would be in high-wage, high-skill employment, and many would be “support” jobs outside the energy industry.

The study is an update and expansion of a 2013 study that estimated that opening drilling would only be worth $450 billion over the next 30 years.

To put these numbers in perspective, the US military budget in 2015 was $598.5 billion.

Despite the lack of open drilling on federal land, the United States became the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world in 2015. This drastic change stems largely from America’s increased production of oil and natural gas due to new hydraulic fracturing techniques.

America controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve – the Green River Formation in Colorado. Three-fourths of the formations is on federal land so it has remained largely untapped. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of oil shale, half of which may be economically recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined, and American oil production in 2014 was 80 percent higher than production in 2008.

.

.

*VIDEO* Fox Business GOP Presidential Primary Debate (11/10/15)

.

.

*LIVE STREAMING* Fox Business Republican Presidential Primary Debate (11/10/15 – 9pm ET)



…………………………Click on image above for live stream.

Stream 2
Stream 3
Stream 4
Stream 5

Participants: Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Donald Trump, John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina

NOTE: Kiddie table debate begins at 7pm and includes the following candidates: Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal

.

.

9 Reasons Why Obama Just Made Wrong Decision On Keystone Pipeline (Nicolas Loris)

9 Reasons Why Obama Just Made Wrong Decision On Keystone Pipeline – Nicolas Loris

.

.
It took President Barack Obama only 2,604 days to reject the permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline.

In a statement today, Obama said the pipeline “would not serve the national interest of the United States.”

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama added. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”

Former Obama administration Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu hit the nail on the head: “The decision on whether the construction should happen was a political one and not a scientific one.”

Here are the top nine reasons Obama is wrong on Keystone XL.
.

1.) Jobs and economic growth. Opponents will minimize the job numbers, saying that the pipeline will create only “a handful” of permanent jobs – and that’s correct. In his speech Obama said, “So if Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it.” But here’s what that argument misses: the tens of thousands of construction jobs that the pipeline project will create. In fact, simply building the southern portion – which didn’t need Obama’s approval – has already created 4,000 construction jobs. And if opponents are dismissive of Keystone XL, they should be dismissive of all construction projects, as they’re all temporary – because they’re construction jobs. Further, Keystone XL would add economic value, transport an important energy resource efficiently, and result in billions of dollars of tax revenue for states it runs through.

2.) Stable supply of oil from an important trading partner that will lower gas prices. The pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, where U.S. refineries are already equipped to handle heavier crudes. The pipeline will efficiently provide supply from a secure source and a friendly and important trading partner. Contra Obama’s claim today that “the pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers,” increased oil supplies will lower gas prices, though the impact may be small.

3.) Safest mode of getting oil and gas to Americans. Many in the United States live near a pipeline without even knowing about it. America has more than 500,000 miles of crude oil, petroleum, and natural gas pipelines and another 2 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines. When it comes to accidents, injuries, and fatalities, pipelines are the safest mode of transporting oil and gas.

4.) Should be a business decision, not a government one. In concluding with Secretary of State John Kerry’s assessment that the project would not be in the national interest, Obama said, “The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy.” It is not the role of the federal government to make that determination. The federal government shouldn’t make that determination with the construction of a new restaurant or boutique shop. And it shouldn’t make that determination with a pipeline. After the State Department concluded that the pipeline was environmentally safe, the decision to build Keystone XL should have been a business decision – not a government one.

5.) We’ve done this before. The Keystone XL Pipeline is just a portion of the larger Keystone Pipeline System. You can view a map of the entire system here. Unbeknownst to many is the fact that the U.S. has already granted one of those presidential permits for the Keystone Pipeline System. For phase I of the Keystone Pipeline System, TransCanada filed an application with the Department of State (DOS) in April 2006, and the department began an environmental review in September 2006. TransCanada received its presidential permit for phase I in March 2008. From beginning to end, the process took 23 months. It has taken 86 months for Obama to say no.

6.) Environmentally safe. It was Albert Einstein who said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The State Department must be teetering on the edge of insanity, because after multiple environmental reviews concluding that Keystone XL poses minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, and wildlife, the Obama administration still rejected the permit application.

7.) Negligible climate impact. In a speech in June 2013, Obama said the climate effects of Keystone XL would have a major impact on the administration’s decision. These effects, however, would be minimal. The State Department’s final environmental impact statement concludes that the Canadian oil is coming out of the ground whether Keystone XL is built or not, so the difference in greenhouse gas emissions is minuscule. No matter your position on climate change, Keystone XL won’t make a difference.

8.) Can be built without the help of the taxpayer. Building and operating Keystone XL will result in real private-sector jobs that will grow the U.S. economy. This is very different from the president’s taxpayer-funded green jobs plan that merely siphons resources out of the market and forces pricier energy on the American public.

9.) The people want it. Lots of people want it. A CNN poll in the beginning of the year found that 57 percent of Americans support the project, while just 28 percent oppose it. Many unions want it. Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar called the project a “win-win.” Congress sent a bill to Obama’s desk, demonstrating their will to approve the project. Sadly, the Obama administration is catering to the small group of radical environmental activists who don’t want the pipeline.

.
Last April, the Washington Post slammed the Obama administration’s continued delay of a Keystone XL decision, calling it “absurd” and “embarrassing.” Rejecting the permit application is even more absurd and more embarrassing.

.

.

Yes, America Needs To Be More Like Denmark (Tyler O’Neil)

Yes, America Needs To Be More Like Denmark – Tyler O’Neil

.

.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has a good point – America needs to be more like Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries. But he’s wrong about the reason why. He thinks socialism is the cause of their success, but the true cause is their older free-market culture and their recent efforts to return toward market and economic freedom.

Since the 1990s, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway have expanded private property rights, business freedom, investment freedom and financial freedom. Each of these countries has increased its score on the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, and Denmark now outranks even the United States as a good place to do business.

Sanders sees the size of the Scandinavian welfare states and the relative health and happiness they enjoy, and thinks this correlation proves causation. A deeper look at the history and current affairs of Denmark and the surrounding countries tells a different story, however. These countries’ benefits arguably spring from their free-market pasts, not their brief dalliance with big government.

A Free Market Culture Under Attack

Scandinavian countries are well known for their unusually high levels of trust, a strong work ethic and an emphasis on individual responsibility. These traits are not the result of socialistic welfare states, but the explanation for why such bloated government programs could be implemented in the first place.

“In the early days, the unique culture of success in the Nordic countries meant that high taxes and welfare benefits could be introduced” with the negative side effects delayed, wrote Nima Sanandaji in her 2015 book Scandinavian Unexceptionalism: Culture, Markets and the Failure of Third-Way Socialism. During the early 1900s and following the Great Depression, Scandinavia’s small government and free markets fostered a culture of hard work that paid huge dividends in terms of prosperity.

The success of these countries enabled the government to expand, as the wealth of average citizens allowed them to pay more taxes. More importantly, the culture of hard work meant few people tried to live off of welfare and “game the system.” After big governments were introduced however, the culture changed – for the worse.

The Scandinavians who left for the United States mark this change well – Sanandaji notes that Americans with Nordic ancestry are thriving better than their relatives back in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Contrary to Bernie Sanders’ belief, the 1960s-1990s expansion of welfare states actually held the Nordic countries back.

After their experiment with socialistic welfare states, “Nordic citizens now have unusually high levels of sickness absence (despite being healthy societies), high youth unemployment and a poor record for integrating migrants into the labour force,” Sanandaji explains. Big government has weakened the strong culture which enabled welfare states in the first place, and these countries know it.

In 2013, a Danish woman on welfare made the news. A liberal member of Parliament challenged the free-market politician Joachim B. Olsen to actually visit a single mother of two on welfare, and see how hard her life is.

Olsen took the advice, and learned that being on welfare isn’t so hard after all. The 36-year-old single mother, known as “Carina,” was making more money than many of the country’s full time workers, the New York Times reported. “All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16.”

Reforming the System

“With little fuss or political protest – or notice abroad – Denmark has been at work overhauling entitlements, trying to prod Danes into working more or longer or both,” New York Times reporter Suzanne Daley continued.

“The welfare state here has spiraled out of control,” declared Olsen, the reform-minded politician who visited Carina. “It has done a lot of good, but we have been unwilling to talk about the negative side,” he added, saying that discussing the “Carinas” in public has long been considered “taboo.”

Denmark has been hard at work at reform, however. In 2013, it reduced early-retirement plans, and cut the term for unemployment benefits from four years to two. Reformers like Olsen have also pushed for limiting disability checks to those over 40 or with a severe mental or physical condition. In 2013, roughly 240,000 people – nine percent of the potential work force – were receiving disability checks, and about 33,500 of them were under 40.

In recent years, all the Nordic countries have decreased their corporate tax rates – each one is lower than in the United States. They also support free trade, unlike American Socialists like Bernie Sanders, who opposed the 1990s North American Free Trade Agreement.

Becoming More Like Denmark

Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark are tiny – and not very diverse – compared to the United States. Denmark is a nation roughly the size of Maryland with the population of Atlanta, and nearly 90 percent of its population is of Danish descent.

Nevertheless, there are clear lessons a huge, diverse country can learn from the recent experiences of these small, homogeneous nations. The biggest lesson might surprise Bernie Sanders – socialism doesn’t work.

A cradle-to-grave welfare state has transformed the strong work ethic of the Scandinavian countries into a sad complacency. People like Carina game the system, and feel no shame in doing so. Indeed, “Lazy Robert” Nielsen, 45, did not even ask for a pseudonym when he told the media that he has been on welfare since 2001. “Luckily, I am born and live in Denmark, where the government is willing to support my life.”

Lene Malmberg, who works part time as a secretary despite a serious brain injury which affects her short-term memory, told the New York Times about her sister, who was receiving benefits and getting more money than Lene was – when she worked full time before the accident. “The system is wrong somehow, I agree,” Lene said. “I wanted to work. But she was a little bit: ‘Why work?’”

People in the Nordic countries are suffering from the ill effects of the very socialism which Bernie Sanders wants to bring to America. They know it doesn’t work, and they are working hard to achieve robust, free-market reforms.

America cannot ever be Denmark, but we should strive to copy their recent reforms. They have woken up to the woes of dependency and big government. They have cut their corporate tax rates and have made their country a better place to do business. We should follow their example and do the same.

So Bernie Sanders is right, let’s copy Denmark.

.

.

Leftist-Run Seattle’s Minimum Wage Hike Has Killed 700 Jobs So Far

Seattle Wage Hike Off To ‘Pretty Bad Start,’ Kills 700 Jobs – Daily Caller

.

.
Seattle, which recently passed a $15 minimum wage, has seen the loss of 700 restaurant jobs despite the rest of the state seeing huge increases, according to a Wednesday report.

In its report, the American Enterprise Institute looked at restaurant job growth in both Seattle and the rest of Washington. The state itself has gained 5,800 industry jobs since January. Seattle, however, lost 700 jobs in the same time. The state minimum wage is $9.47. Back in June Seattle passed its own minimum wage of $15 an hour. The city ordinance is designed to phase in over the course of several years. It will reach $15 an hour by 2017 for most employers.

“One likely cause of the stagnation and decline of Seattle area restaurant jobs this year is the increase in the city’s minimum wage,” the report speculated. “It looks like the Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start. Especially considering that restaurant employment in the rest of the state is booming, and nearly 6,000 more restaurant workers are employed today than in January.”

Seattle was the first place to pass a $15 minimum wage measure and became the first major victory for supporters. San Francisco and Los Angeles followed not long after and now many cities have either enacted it or are considering it. Some states are also giving the $15 minimum wage serious consideration. Currently it has not passed on the state level.

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo first announced Sept. 10 his plan for raising the state minimum wage. If enacted, the increase will gradually put New York City to the $15 mark by 2018 and the rest of the state by 2021. Florida and Massachusetts have also began taking steps to pass it.

The impact minimum wage increases have on workers and employers is in dispute. Critics often argue increasing the minimum wage, especially as high as $15 an hour, will hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities. The problem is businesses need to offset the extra cost of labor by either raising prices or cutting workers. It is particularly troublesome for low-profit industries like restaurants who struggle much more to absorb the extra costs.

Supporters, though, say wage will help the poor by allowing them to afford basic necessities. The increased purchases would than stimulate economic activity. Fight for $15 has been the main advocate behind the push. The union-backed group has utilized rallies and media marketing campaigns in its efforts.

.

.

Moron Starts Gas Station Fire While Trying To Burn Spider Off His Car’s Gas Cap (Video)

He’s About to Pump Gas When He Sees A Spider By His Fuel Door. So He Grabs A Lighter To Burn It To Death. Care To Guess What Happens Next? – The Blaze

How about three cheers for Susan Adams, a Michigan gas station employee who kept cool when the heat was on, so to speak, and used her head.

That’s more than you can say for a motorist who was about ready to pump gas at the Center Line station, just north of Detroit, on Tuesday morning.

This fella, apparently scared to death of spiders, thought he saw one by his fuel door.

.

.
So he grabbed a lighter – you know, to burn it to death.

If there was a eight-legged critter crawling about, what happened next pretty much assured that the guy’s intentions were realized.

As soon as he ignited the lighter, flames shot from his gas tank and then engulfed the pump in seconds.

.

.

.
Somehow the customer escaped injury, got in the car, moved it away and then grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher to quell his big oops moment.

.

.
Inside the store, Adams quickly activated the pump’s kill switch and called the fire department, WJBK-TV reported.

Damage was limited to the one pump, which was destroyed, but the man’s car pretty much escaped injury. The gas station’s insurance is expected to pick up the tab, WJBK said.

The man later acknowledged that he’s quite afraid of spiders and that’s what brought about his ill-advised decision, WJBK added.

Employees at the station are getting a big chuckle out of the whole thing, placing their voices over the surveillance video as if it was the hapless motorist speaking.
.

.
At least he came back the next day.

“He was sorry,” Adams told WJBK. “He said he didn’t know. It is just one of those things that happen – stupidity.”

.

.

Obama Regime Just Weeks Away From Imposing Most Economically Crippling Regulation In History

‘Most Expensive Regulation In History’ – WorldNetDaily

.

.
The Obama administration is just weeks away from imposing a new ozone particulate standard that manufacturers say will cripple jobs and productivity in the U.S. and leave some firms and industries clinging to life.

The National Association of Manufacturers released a study suggesting the standard would cost the U.S. 1.4 million jobs and $1.7 trillion in productivity by 2040 if the standard is lowered from 75 parts per billion to 65 parts per billion. The EPA could bring it as low as 60 parts per billion, which the study projects would be catastrophic.

For business owners like Summitville Tiles CEO David Johnson, the change would be devastating. The firm is based in Ohio, which relies heavily on manufacturing for jobs and economic growth. Johnson recently wrote a column explaining what’s at stake if the Obama administration get’s it’s way.

“We have 88 counties in this state and under this new ozone standard, all 88 of these counties would be out of compliance, just by the stroke of the pen of this executive order of the president,” Johnson said.

In addition to burdening existing manufacturers, Johnson said the new ozone standard would stifle new business.

“It would essentially stop any new projects from going forward unless there were reductions in emissions in other plants in other areas,” he said. “In other words, there’s a trade-off. If you’re going to add new emissions, you’d have to reduce emissions somewhere else. So (if you) shut down a factory or a company goes out of business, then and only then would you have a permit to expand your particular operations.”

According to Johnson, American manufacturing has never received a gut punch like this from its own government.

“This is not a bill that’s been passed by Congress, hasn’t been vetted, hasn’t been studied,” Johnson said. “It’s simply President Obama and his EPA’s effort to combat what they believe is global warming. So yeah, it would be the most expensive regulation in the history of regulations.”

.

.

Obamaconomy Update: Communist China To Build High-Speed Railway From Los Angeles To Las Vegas

China, U.S. Reach Agreement On High-Speed Rail Before Xi Visit – Bloomberg

.

.
A China Railway Group-led consortium and XpressWest Enterprises LLC will form a joint venture to build a high-speed railway linking Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the first Chinese-made bullet-train project in the U.S.

Construction of the 370-kilometer (230-mile) Southwest Rail Network will begin as soon as next September, according to a statement from Shu Guozeng, an official with the Communist Party’s leading group on financial and economic affairs. The project comes after four years of negotiations and will be supported by $100 million in initial capital. The statement didn’t specify the project’s expected cost or completion date.

The agreement, signed days before President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the U.S., is a milestone in China’s efforts to market its high-speed rail technology in advanced economies. The country has been pushing the technology primarily in emerging markets – often with a sales pitch from Premier Li Keqiang – as a means to project political influence. A $567 million contract last October to supply trains for Boston’s subway system was China’s first rail-related deal in the U.S.

The agreement also represents an important victory in China’s high-speed rail rivalry with Japan, as the two countries have competed for train contracts throughout Asia. The parent company of JR Central, Japan’s largest bullet-train maker, had expressed interest in the Los Angeles-Las Vegas line several years ago, and China and Japan are both expected to bid to supply train cars for a proposed high-speed rail line in California’s Central Valley.

“This is the first high-speed railway project where China and the U.S. will have systematic cooperation,” Yang Zhongmin, a deputy chief engineer with China Railway Group, said after a news conference in Beijing. “It shows the advancement of China-made high-speed railways.”

The Los Angeles-Las Vegas project will create new technology, manufacturing and construction jobs in the region, Shu’s statement said.

Through July, China had built more than 17,000 kilometers (10,565 miles) of domestic high-speed rail lines, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Apart from the railway project, China National Machinery Industry Corp. and General Electric Co. signed a memo of understanding to invest $327 million to develop 60 wind power stations in Kenya, Shu said at the Beijing news conference.

During Xi’s visit starting next week, China and the U.S. are expected to reach agreements on trade, energy, climate, finance, aviation, defense and infrastructure construction, China Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday. Xi is due to visit Boeing Co.’s factory in Everett, Washington as China makes a push to build its own passenger planes.

“Economic and trade cooperation will be a major topic for president Xi’s visit to the U.S.,” Shu said in Beijing. “China and the U.S. share common interests and have solid foundation for cooperation.”

.

.

Federal Assclowns Fine Energy Company For Lowering Costs And Improving The Environment

What Happened When One Company Lowered Its Costs and Improved The Environment? Government Fines. – Daily Signal

.

.
Here’s how the federal government rewards an energy company for upgrading its power plants to lower costs for families and businesses and improving the environment: slap them with a nearly a million dollar fine, force them to close power plant units and lay off employees and make them millions of dollars in environmental mitigation projects.

If that sounds backwards to you, well it is.

In a lawsuit that lasted 15 years, Duke Energy and the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) reached a settlement where Duke “will pay a civil penalty of $975,000, shut down a coal-fired power plant and invest $4.4 million on environmental mitigation projects.”

The EPA and Department of Justice brought the suit against Duke Energy in 2000 arguing that the company failed to comply with the Clean Air Act when the company modified 13 coal-fired units in North Carolina.

At issue is the New Source Review (NSR), one of the 1977 Clean Air Act amendments. Power plants must meet certain air quality standards, and companies must follow Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) rules to demonstrate that the construction and operation of new projects and major modifications will not increase emissions above a specified threshold.

Therefore, if a company wants to make plant modifications that improves the power plant’s efficiency, it will trigger New Source Review and the EPA will regulate the plant to meet the most recent emissions standards.

However, what constitutes a significant modification is subjective under the rules. The amendment excludes routine maintenance, repair, and replacement, but what falls under the definition of significant modification remains murky, despite multiple administrative attempts to clarify the meaning. The lack of clarification also forces companies into years, if not decades, of litigation over NSR violations. Such is the most recent case with Duke Energy.

Companies could be allocating resources to invest in new equipment and provide jobs that benefit energy consumers, but instead have to waste resources fighting ridiculously long and unnecessary lawsuits. Even though companies argue in court they complied with the law, the result will be a settlement where the federal government hands down millions of dollars in fines, and forces the closure of power plants, killing jobs in the process.

New Source Review is a cost to both the economy and the environment. Plant upgrades can improve efficiency and reduce operational costs, thereby lowering electricity costs for families and businesses, increasing reliability, and providing environmental benefits.

Nevertheless, because those upgrades trigger a New Source Review, the policy discourages new investment and keeps power plants operating less efficiently than they otherwise would.

Although increasing the efficiency of a plant will likely cause it to run longer and consequently cause the plant’s emissions to rise, NSR does not account for the emission reduction that would occur if a less efficient plant reduced its hours of operation to compensate for increases in operation of a more efficient plant.

That is why Congress should repeal New Source Review.

New Source Review is a bureaucratic mess that prevents plants from operating at optimal efficiency. Power plants are already clean because companies equip them with sophisticated, state-of-the-art pollution prevention technology to ensure safe operations no matter how long the power plant runs.

Repealing NSR would not be a free pass for companies to pollute but instead allow them to improve plant efficiency, reduce emissions and also increase power generation to meet U.S. energy needs.

.

.

Union-Owned RINO Douchebags Attempting To Kill Right-To-Work Legislation In Missouri

These Are The Union-Backed MO Republicans Blocking Right-To-Work – Daily Caller

.

.
With Missouri Republicans gearing up to vote on a veto override Wednesday to ban mandatory union dues, six of their union-backed colleagues are all who stand in their way.

House Bill 116 was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon back in June. The measure would have outlawed mandatory union dues or fees in the state. With seven Republicans opposed to the bill, it is unlikely supporters will be able to override the veto. All but one of the Republicans opposed are heavily endorsed by organized labor.

“All but one received significant support from unions and all representative districts have a union presence,” the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) noted in an article. “These representatives need to put their own interests to the side and vote to give their citizens’ the freedom they deserve.”The contributors listed include the Teamsters Local 688, the Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA), Missouri AFL-CIO, Boilermakers Local 27 and the local chapter of the United Brotherhood Of Carpenters among others.

“Missouri unions are working against job creators and those who would spur the state’s economy by fighting right to work as part of a far left, liberal agenda that supports groups like Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club,” Jeff Bechdel, of Missouri Rising, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “On both counts, these unions are working against what’s best for Missourians.”

Missouri Rising, a nonprofit affiliate of the Republican super PAC, American Rising, also released a video. The video criticized Missouri union bosses for attempting to block the measure.

CWF found each Republican opposed has received several thousand dollars in union contributions. Some much higher. According to National Institute on Money in State Politics, Ruth has received $10,328 from various public sector unions, Black has accepted over $20,000 from general trade unions alone and Sommer has received over $11,000.

“Our endorsements are based on their views of educational issues,” Mike Wood, director of governmental relations for MSTA, told TheDCNF. “We don’t have a dog in the fight.”

Wood also noted MSTA isn’t technically a union. As an association they engage in union activities like collective bargaining but have a wider scope of responsibilities. MSTA has, he argued, contributed to those lawmakers that share a similar view on education. Meaning policies like right-to-work aren’t a factor.

The Boilermakers also noted it’s about which lawmakers they already share common ground with. A representative for the union told TheDCNF it doesn’t donate to influence lawmakers.

Nixon has also been under suspicion for union contributions as well. A week after the veto, the governor received a $50,000 campaign contribution from the United Automobile Workers (UAW). Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has since urged Nixon to return the money. Nixon has defended his decision to veto the measure, arguing the policy is bad for workers.

“This extreme measure would take our state backward, squeeze the middle-class, lower wages for Missouri families, and subject businesses to criminal and unlimited civil liability,” Nixon declared in a statement from June. “Right-to-Work is wrong for Missouri, it’s wrong for the middle-class – and it must never become the law of the Show-Me State.”

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), however, has stated in a recent report the policy will benefit state residents. The report, titled, “Why Right to Work is Right for Missouri” estimated potential income loss associated with the state not having the policy between 1977 and 2012.

“In states where people have choice over whether to join a labor union or not, economic growth and personal income are demonstrably higher,” Trey Kovacs, a policy analyst for CEI, noted in a statement. “Missourians deserve the right to decide for themselves whether labor unions are meeting their needs.”

The seven Republicans opposed to the measure did not respond to a request for comment from TheDCNF.

The policy, also known as right-to-work, is usually opposed by unions. The union funded Republican opposition includes Kathie Conway, Kevin Corlew, Bart Korman, Becky Ruth, Linda Black and Chrissy Sommer. Rep. Bill Kidd is the only Republican expected to vote against the override that does not receive support from labor unions.

.

.

Pen And Phone Update: President Asshat Orders Paid Sick Leave For Employees Of Federal Contractors

Obama Orders Government Contractors To Offer Paid Sick Leave – One America News

.

.
President Barack Obama on Monday ordered government contractors to offer their workers seven days of paid sick leave a year and, without naming them, knocked Republican presidential candidates for advocating what he said were anti-union policies.

Obama signed an executive order on sick leave during a flight on Air Force One to Boston, where he spoke at a union event. The White House said it would affect some 300,000 people.

Starting in 2017, workers on government contracts will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Contractors can offer more generous amounts at their discretion.

Speaking to a friendly crowd without a tie or jacket, Obama said such policies were beneficial to employers.

“It helps with recruitment and retention,” he said.

Unions and organized labor are a key constituent to the Democratic Party whose support will be critical in the 2016 presidential election.

Obama, who joked that he was glad not to be on the ballot next year, made thinly veiled references to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for anti-union remarks and policies. He did not name them by name.

The executive order follows a series of measures by the White House to expand access to paid leave. In January, Obama issued a presidential memorandum directing the government to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or for other sick leave-eligible uses.

Obama is also pressing Congress to pass legislation giving government employees six additional weeks of paid parental leave. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said he could not say what the cost of implementing the seven-day paid leave rule would be to contractors.

“We believe the cost of implementing this rule is offset by the efficiencies that come with reduced attrition, increased loyalty, all of those things that have been documented in a number of studies of state laws that have been enacted,” Perez told reporters on a conference call on Sunday.

Obama also used the trip to Boston to renew his call for Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would require all businesses with 15 or more employees to offer up to seven paid sick days each year.

According to the White House, an estimated 44 million private-sector workers, about 40 percent of the total private-sector workforce, do not have access to paid sick leave.

.

.

*VIDEO* Ben Carson Speech And Q&A At Steamboat Institute Freedom Conference (08/28/15)

.

.

Obamanomics Update: Number Of People Not In Labor Force Tops 94 Million For First Time In History

Record 94,031,000 People Not In Labor Force – Big Government

.

.
The number of people not in the labor force exceeded 94 million for the first time, hitting another record high in August, according to new jobs data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS reports that 94,031,000 people (ages 16 and over) last month were neither employed nor had made specific efforts to find work in the prior four weeks.

The number of individuals out of the civilian work force represented a jump of 261,000 over July’s record of 93,626,000 people.

August’s labor force participation rate remained at the same level as the prior two months at 62.2 percent, the lowest level seen since October 1977 when the participation rate was 62.4 percent.

The civilian labor force also experienced a slight decline of 41,000 people, compare to July’s 157,106,000 people in the civilian labor force to 157,065,000.

In total 149,036,000 people were employed in August, 8,029,000 were unemployed, and 5,932,000 people who wanted a job.

Overall the Labor Department reported that the economy added 173,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, lower than July’s 5.3 percent.

.

.