California restricts hiring after dual-paycheck revelations

From The Los Angeles Times:

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has restricted state departments’ hiring authority following revelations that hundreds of public employees were receiving pay for second state jobs in addition to their normal salaries.

Workers receiving more than one state paycheck, known in official parlance as “additional appointments,” were found in a variety of departments and agencies, including the California Public Employees Retirement System and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and in several state hospitals.

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Hagel faces stiff opposition from GOP

From The Washington Times:

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, the Republican whom President Obama tapped to be his new defense secretary, faced withering criticism at his confirmation hearing Thursday from Republicans who said he took bad positions in the past and has recently been all too willing to alter them “for the sake of political expediency.”

Even Democrats seemed to grapple with how much they could trust Mr. Hagel’s more recent statements of support for the Obama administration’s stances on Iran, Syria and other world hot spots in the face of his long record that at times suggested otherwise.

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City gets poor grade for transparency

From The Sacramento Bee:

It’s never good to get an F, and it’s definitely alarming when the failing grade has to do with tax money and transparency.

In a report out this month, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group ranked Sacramento next to last among 30 large cities in providing online databases of its spending with “checkbook level” detail. The study also looked at how easily residents can track their service requests online.

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California’s gun background-check system could be national model

From Mercury News:

Every day for the past 22 years, California’s background checks have stopped about a dozen felons, mentally ill people and others from buying guns.

When prospective gun buyers stride into California gun stores such as Ron Kennedy’s Canyon Sports in Martinez, they must swipe their driver’s licenses or state IDs. That sets off a review process that runs their names not only through the same FBI criminal database other states use but also almost 20 other sources, from mental health records to DMV data. It’s a check more rigorous than any other state’s.

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Obamacare glitch could leave thousands uninsured

From The Washington Times:

Glitch may be an understatement, but that’s what industry analysts have by and large termed a Wednesday failure of the Internal Revenue Service to properly address an Obamacare funding issue — and now families may be outpriced from health plans.

Employer-sponsored health care plans are on the rise, and costs that are passed along to workers may leave some scrambling for more moderately priced plans. Such families were supposed to get financial assistance from the government to help pay for plans outside their places of employment — but according to The Associated Press,Congress didn’t include text for that financial assistance program in the final Obamacare law. So, Obamacare supporters were expecting the IRSto fix this problem — but the agency did not.

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Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill: Wasteful Spending Not Helpful

From The Foundry:

On Tuesday, President Obama signed into law a $50 billion recovery package for states hit by Hurricane Sandy. Much of the proposed spending in the law, however, is simply wasteful and will not go toward helping the immediate victims.

This is unacceptable at a time when the U.S. is running trillion-dollar budget deficits. While the catastrophic scope of Sandy warranted a federal response, Congress missed an opportunity to establish clear requirements for when a disaster warrants a federal response. Failure to deal with this serious problem will continue to erode preparedness for future catastrophic disasters.

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CA Lawmakers Aim at Guns, Not Crooks

There was no shortage of drama yesterday in a Capitol hearing about California’s gun laws. A show-and-tell, demonstration by the California Department of Justice, of several high-capacity rifles held the rapt attention of lawmakers.

A short documentary was shown of the survivors of the 1989 Cleveland Elementary school killings in Stockton, during which five children were murdered by a deranged shooter.

The prevailing theme for state Democrats during the three-hour hearing was that there are bad  guns and good guns, and the bad guns need to be outlawed.

They did not discuss that home robberies have increased in many cities in California. The typical home invasion consists of three to four perpetrators, armed with semiautomatic pistols or semiautomatic rifles, who force their way through the door of the home. Police report that the perpetrators do not care at all about gun laws, and are willing to kill. And since a felony murder charge already carries a life sentence or the death penalty, the gun crime is a freebie in sentencing.

Sen. Joel Anderson, R-San Diego, told me about a meeting he recently had with another lawmaker about gun bans. “What’s a good gun?” he asked. “The one which a single mother uses against an intruder to save her children.”

In reply, the other lawmaker told Anderson, “We just want to ban the bad guns.”

Opening statements set the bias

Nearly every lawmaker present at the Joint Committee on Public Safety made an opening statement which drew a line in the sand on their position. “Perhaps after the recent shootings, we’ve reached the tipping point,” said Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, the committee’s co-chairwoman.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said certain laws may need to be tweaked, and asked everyone “to respect those with divergent views.”

“I am looking forward to engagement with regard to ammunition,” said Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles. De Leon has proposed regulating gun ammunition.

Freshman Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said the Newtown tragedy and the previous shooting in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater has reignited a national debate about how to prevent such senseless crimes. “While this is a highly emotional and political issue, we shouldn’t rush into passing measures that may sound or feel good, but do nothing to save lives,” Melendez said.

Melendez also reminded the committee that even the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence says California has the toughest gun laws in the country. “California’s laws already match U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed law, and much of what President Obama wants.”

Interestingly, all of the Democratic lawmakers acknowledged during the hearing that California already has the toughest gun control laws in the nation, leaving many to wonder what the problem is.

What is the problem?

It quickly became apparent during the hearing that many legislators pushing for more gun control laws were trying to legislate a problem that does not exist. Or if there is a problem, it is that law enforcement is not following up on criminals who have guns.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, referred to Interstate 80 and several other state highways as “leakage” to other states. According to Skinner, Californians drive to nearby states to purchase guns, and then bring them back to California illegally.

The Department of Justice issues an annual report every year on firearms, and includes statistics about crimes committed in California with guns. “In the past 11 years, fewer than 60 crimes have been committed in California with assault rifles,” Sam Paredes with Gun Owners of California told me in an interview after the hearing. “Some years, zero crimes were committed with assault rifles.”

“Of the more than 170,000 legally registered assault rifles in California, not one has ever been involved in the commission of a crime.”

Paredes explained to the committee that much of what they think they know and have been told about guns is not correct. “It is already illegal for anyone to buy a handgun in another state and come back to California,” Paredes said. “Everyone must comply with the laws and procedures of this state.”

Several legislators said the National Rifle Association is trying to recruit members by attracting children. Paredes reminded lawmakers that the Boy Scouts of America has been teaching boys about guns for decades.

As for assault rifles, “The AR 15 and AK 47 are the single most popular guns in America,” Paredes said. “They are used for home defense, recreation, target shooting as well as personal defense. There are 40 million guns owned in California, and 400 million in the U.S. Homeland Security just bought 2,000 AR 15 guns for personal defense.”

No follow up on convicted criminals

While every lawmaker on the committee agreed that all efforts should be made to get and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, asked some of the best questions of the hearing. Wright grilled Stephen Linley,Bureau of Firearms chief, about why his agency and state law enforcement do not follow up on criminals attempting to purchase guns and falsify the applications.

Linley admitted that California already has laws in place to deal with situations like this, and said they do not follow up in these cases.

Linley also told Wright the guns used in the commission of the majority of crimes in the state are handguns.

“The fact is that the person is the problem, not the gun,” Sen. Steve Knight, R-Antelope Valley, told me. “It is people committing these acts, not the guns.”

Knight said that, of all of the crimes committed in California, not one was committed by a person with a concealed carry permit.

California stiffened its criminal laws in the 1980′s, and made a point of not only identifying criminals, but puting them in prison when they were caught breaking the law. Knight said that, in order to bring down the violent crime rate, when criminals are caught using a weapon during the commission of a crime, they need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law instead of getting plea deals from district attorneys.

Knight added, “Laws that punish law abiding citizens are not the answer to reducing crime in the United States.”

(Katy Grimes is a longtime political analyst, writer and journalist, and CalWatchdog’s news reporter. Originally posted on CalWatchdog.)

Negative Growth: GDP Tanks in Fourth Quarter

From Breitbart:

Yesterday, Breitbart News reported that consumer confidence had dropped to its lowest level in almost two years. Much of the media spun the number as the result of a payroll tax increase that hit millions who were repeatedly told by Obama that only the rich would see their taxes increase. Surprise! But the spin didn’t explain why consumer confidence had steadily dropped during the months prior. Well, now we know: The American economy has taken a nosedive.

For the first time in over three years, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product shrank. Between October and December of 2012, the GDP had a negative growth of 0.1. And let’s remember that this is the same quarter where we saw the media go into hyper-drive to spin Obama’s anemic job and GDP growth into a repeat of the Roaring Twenties.

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$14 Trillion Extortion for a Global Warming Scam

The latest megalomaniacal threat from the financial globalists wants to saddle the world economy with a cost of trillions of dollars that benefits favorite corporatists. The phony global warming cult has a core purpose. Their objective is to drive down the standard of living for non-elites and prevent the use of fossil fuel energy. The fallacious science used to create a disinformation scare for politically unsophisticated “True Believers” is a direct result of transnational money manipulators. The Davos crowd sponsors the educational and media institutions that trump up junk research and manufacture idealistic solutions.

Make no mistake about it, the Davos Elites Enjoys the Global Depression, and love corporate welfare. They greatly profit from government subsidized “Green” ventures, which drive up energy costs and line the pockets of compadre companies, under the control of the financial barons. As the rest of us struggle to survive, pronouncements declare an every greater burden to bear. Note the ominous future in Davos Report Calls For Additional $14 Trillion To Restrain Global Warming.

The world must spend an additional $14 trillion on clean energy infrastructure, low-carbon transport and energy efficiency to meet the United Nations’ goal for capping the rise in average global temperatures, according to a World Economic Forum report released on Monday.

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon states the globalist viewpoint:

Economic growth and sustainability are inter-dependent, you cannot have one without the other, and greening investment is the pre-requisite to realizing both goals.

What can be expected from these “greening investment” projects? In order to anticipate future plans, a comprehensive understanding of the past and present shady business practices is crucial.

Examine the industrial wind and solar model in detail. The Washington Post reports in, Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy, is just the tip of the iceberg.

The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming that huge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar panel maker, last month said it would need to restate more than two years of financial results because of allegedly fake capital put up to finance new plants in Italy. The discoveries here also follow “eco-corruption” cases in Spain, where a number of companies stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.

Because it receives more sun and wind than any other part of Italy, Sicily became one of Europe’s most obvious hotbeds for renewable energies over the past decade. As the Italian government began offering billions of euros annually in subsidies for wind and solar development, the potential profitability of such projects also soared — a fact that did not go unnoticed by Sicily’s infamous crime families.

Roughly a third of the island’s 30 wind farms — along with several solar power plants — have been seized by authorities. Officials have frozen more than $2 billion in assets and arrested a dozen alleged crime bosses, corrupt local councilors and mafia-linked entrepreneurs. Italian prosecutors are now investigating suspected mafia involvement in renewable-energy projects from Sardinia to Apulia.

The in-depth analysis, Big Wind Energy Subsidies: A Hurricane of Carnage, Cronyism and Corruption is a good primer on the way plungers game the system and pay off politicians at the taxpayers’ expense.

Lewis “Lew” Hay, III is executive chairman of NextEra Energy, Inc., and it is estimated by Forbes, that CEO “Hay earns nearly $10 million in total compensation from NextEra.” Despite the fact that Hay was actually a “major political contributor to Sen. John McCain in 2008,” he quickly learned which side his power company could generate the title of the “Third Largest Recipient of DOE Risky Loans.” Hay too joined wealthy Democratic donors on Obama’s Jobs Council in 2011, along with the other two I have tackled in this series, “Spreading the Wealth to Obama’s Ultra-Rich Job Council” –– Jobs Czar, Jeffrey Immelt CEO of General Electric has raked in $3 billion and counting, meanwhile John Doerr, along with his “climate buddy” Al Gore’s, VC firm Kleiner Perkins is tied to at least $10 billion of stimulus funds. Both General Electric and Doerr were key contributors to what went into the 2009 Stimulus.

No matter how you slice it, whether we are sending money abroad or fueling corporate welfare here in the United States as well as the egregious practice of crony capitalism, the 2009-Recovery act is a lie, a travesty and a scam, favoring wealthy financial backers of President Obama and the Democratic Party as well as those with influential political connections to both. And with a president that’s dead set on pushing a fierce and radical climate change agenda and funding green energy with taxpayer money, no matter the long list of failures, there is no end in sight to this green corruption scandal.

Besides NextEra Energy taking full advantage of the federal production tax credit (PTC), we now can confirm that the Bank of Obama has rewarded this conglomerate of a power company, and his millionaire job council buddy Lewis Hay, with two large DOE loans ($2.3 billion); one large stimulus smart-grid grant ($200 million); and six 1603 stimulus grants totaling $398.5 million. Thus NextEra’s green tab is on its way to $3 billion of taxpayer money, and that’s not factoring in the PTC.

With this background and sorry record of corruption to build upon, the World Economic Forum at Davos sets the agenda for the global economy.

Davos 2013: Green Governance To ’Save the World’ is all about enacting their Agenda 21 authoritarianism. Elizabeth Leafloor from RedIceCreations.com writes:

The WEF suggests a crisis of leadership and debt are some of the biggest challenges facing the world, and that ’global governance’ is the key to stabilization. Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organisation, said: ‘We need proper global governance that has the necessary tools, power and energy to create a more level playing field at the international level.

At the end of the day, a push for increased global governance and an environmental agenda is on the table for Davos 2013, under the banner of ’Resilent Dynamism’:

Mr. Klaus Schwab (WEF Founder and executive chairman) said that the world is seeing “a new reality of sudden shocks and prolonged global economic malaise, particularly in major economies experiencing economic austerity”. He also mentioned, “Future growth in this new context requires dynamism – bold vision and even bolder action.

Either attribute – Resilience or Dynamism – alone is insufficient, as leadership in 2013 will require both.

The “Greening” leadership translates into forcing upon the world a “Cap and Trade” dictatorship. The Calderon bandits that sip champagne from their Swiss chateau want to extend their aristocratic bondage upon a gullible public. The proper dictum is “Save the World” from the New World Order elites.

Read the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act – S. 2191, for the vision of the controlled carbon-trading scheme.

The L-W CSA allows covered facilities to satisfy up to 15% of their compliance obligation with specific domestic offsets. An additional 15% can be covered using international emission allowances. Unlimited banking is allowed and owners and operators of covered facilities can borrow up to 15% of their annual compliance obligation from future years. The L-W CSA also creates a Carbon Market Efficiency Board to monitor the carbon trading market and implement specific cost relief measures, including increased borrowing and use of offsets.

What a boondoggle for the consumer and a windfall for organized crime. If you worry about mob infiltration into this extortion racket, you had better focus on the true mafia; namely, the globalist plutocrats.

If the disclosed goal is to extract $14 trillion from the distressed world economies, one can only reasonably conclude that the surreptitious objective is to widen the income gap between the ultra-rich and the peons. People pay the costs of taxation exploitation. The privileged elites view the masses as useless eaters, destined to be herded into pens of servitude.

The fake global warming panic is pure political propaganda, used to bolster a guilt complex to justify insider theft. A Cap and Trade ploy is designed to push up the costs of fossil fuel with full knowledge that “Greening Dreams” are no substitutes to real energy.

Research projects into technological alternative sources, based upon efficiency and reliability standards are valid. However, allowing governmental cronyism to impose limits on cheap energy, distorts the marketplace. The Davos crews of corporatist gangsters fly into their feast on private jets. The sycophant media reporting by the business toadies that attend the gala celebration of global autocracy should be indisputable evidence that the globalist own the public relations spin.

Even so, such distorted coverage does not blind those who understand the true nature of the planetary struggle. The monopolist plan for adding unwarranted tolls on your family budget, sold as a noble necessity, will only accelerate the systematic impoverishment of your economic existence.

(James Hall is the Publisher of BATR. Originally posted on BATR.)

Growing Number Of Sheriffs Refusing To Enforce Unconstitutional Gun Laws