Harry Reid Called Hypocrite on Kochs; NYC Tops in Income Inequality

Sunday, 06 Apr 2014 02:57 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. US News Op-Ed: Harry Reid a Hypocrite
2. Security Expert: WTC Breaches 'Embarrassing'
3. Where Income Inequality Is Worst
4. Egyptian Islamists Murder Christian Woman — Because of Her Crucifix
5. Purchases of Local TV Stations Hit Record in 2013
 

1. US News Op-Ed: Harry Reid a Hypocrite

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has taken to the floor of the Senate to denounce Republican benefactors Charles and David Koch as "shadowy billionaires" who "rig the system" with massive political contributions.

It's a charge that one pundit terms an act of "hypocrisy."

Reid is "a thug and a bully who takes advantage of the way the U.S. Constitution immunizes him for any damage he may do to the reputations of others," writes Peter Roff, a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report.

"There are some billionaires out there whom he likes very much, as long as they are willing to spend their money to help him hang on to his present position. Some people call this 'smart politics,' while others simply see it for what it is: hypocrisy."

Reid needs Democrats to hold onto the Senate in November if he is to remain majority leader.

"This means Reid needs to find deep-pocketed friends of his own, such as Tom and Jim Steyer, billionaires who stand to lose if the Keystone XL pipeline ever actually gets built."

Tom Steyer made a fortune as a hedge fund manager and advocates for alternative energy sources. He funded the creation of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford University.

Jim Steyer is an author and environmentalist who teaches at Stanford.

The conservative group American Commitment said in a release that the Steyers have pledged "$100 million to liberals if they will promote [Reid's] lockstep anti-American energy agenda."

Roff observes: "It's easy to tell the billionaires backing Harry Reid and other liberals are the bad guys — because they're the ones trying to impose massive new energy taxes on you, kill the Keystone pipeline, and enrich themselves by directing your tax dollars to their 'green energy' schemes."

He adds that Reid and other liberals' rhetoric "makes them sound like they hate the rich but really they love them — as long as they are writing checks to the right people and the right groups."

Editor's Note:



2. Security Expert: WTC Breaches 'Embarrassing'

A leading security expert says his firm uses software that likely would have prevented three recent security breaches at the World Trade Center.

In September, three men parachuted from the top of the tower, the tallest building in North America. Then on March 16, a teenager climbed to the top of the building, eluding an "inattentive" security guard on the 104th floor, according to the Port Authority of New York. And on March 24, two CNN producers broke onto the site while covering a story. All three incidents led to arrests.

Richard "Bo" Dietl is a former NYPD detective and the chairman and CEO of Beau Dietl & Associates (BDA), a New York-based security firm. He is critical of security efforts at the WTC site, an area that has already been attacked twice by terrorists.

"There have been some pretty embarrassing breaches of security at this site," he declared. "We have been lucky that none of these people had been engaged in terrorist or criminal activities."

BDA has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop proprietary software, "TrackNet," which keeps track of all security guards through a GPS system. It sends a message to a guard every 15 minutes to ensure the guard is responsive. It can also provide real-time intelligence to guards in the event of security concerns.

"I truly believe that had the WTC employed this type of security, their security program would have been more robust and these breaches would have been detected before occurring," Dietl said.

"We have the personnel and the technology to minimize any breaches in the security at the World Trade Center. Why are we waiting?"

Dietl was appointed chairman of the New York State Security Guard Advisory Council in 1994 and is a frequent contributor on Fox News.

He said his firm prefers to hire military veterans as security guards and pays them higher wages than average.

"What often comes into play is, 'I want the best security for the cheapest price,'" he said. "This is an oxymoron. You get what you pay for."

Editor's Note:



3. Where Income Inequality Is Worst

With President Barack Obama calling income inequality "the defining challenge of our time," much attention has been focused on the topic of late.

But the deepest level of income inequality in America is in one of the country's bluest states.

"The most profound level of inequality and bifurcated class structure can be found in the densest and most influential urban environment in North America — Manhattan," writes Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography.com and Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University.

In 1980, Manhattan (New York County) ranked 17th among U.S. counties in income inequality. It is now the worst among the nation's largest counties.

The most commonly used measure of inequality is the Gini index, developed by Italian statistician Corrado Gini. It ranges between zero, which would be complete equality (everyone in a community has the same income) and one, which is complete inequality (one person has all the income). Manhattan's Gini index was at 0.596 in 2012, higher than South Africa's index before apartheid ended.

If Manhattan were a country, it would rank sixth highest in income inequality out of 130 nations, according to Kotkin.

In 2009, New York's richest 1 percent earned one-third of the entire city's personal income — nearly twice the proportion for the rest of the nation.

A recent Brookings Institution study found that the big cities with the most pronounced levels of inequality are those with the highest costs: New York, San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

One factor fueling urban inequality is the federal tax code regarding home ownership, which helps upper-income Americans the most, according to a Washington Post editorial by Charles Lane.

Tax deductions for mortgage interest are projected to cost the Treasury $70 billion in fiscal 2014, while property tax deductions will cost $31 billion. Home-sale capital gains up to $500,000 are also tax free, and they will likely cost the Treasury $52 billion this year.

About 73 percent of mortgage-interest deductions go to the top 20 percent of earners, and 30 percent go to the top 1 percent, according to Lane.

Yet most lower-income earners don't take advantage of the deduction because they don't earn enough to itemize deductions on their federal returns.

Some of the country's worst inequality can also be found in rural areas, according to a study by University of Washington geographer Richard Morrill cited by Kotkin.

The worst rural inequality is likely in the agricultural areas of California.

"The Golden State is now home to 111 billionaires, by far the most of any state," Kotkin writes in an article that first appeared at Forbes.com. "California billionaires personally hold assets worth $485 billion, more than the entire GDP of all but 24 countries in the world."

Yet California has the highest poverty rate in the country, adjusted for housing costs. As of 2012, with about 12 percent of the U.S. population, California accounted for one-third of the country's welfare recipients.

Editor's Note:



4. Egyptian Islamists Murder Christian Woman — Because of Her Crucifix

In a shocking new attack on Christians in Egypt, a Muslim mob dragged a young Coptic Christian woman out of her car, beat her and stabbed her to death — reportedly because of a cross hanging from her rear-view mirror.

The attack occurred in the Cairo suburb of Ain Shams after mosque prayer services in late March, when Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with police.

An eyewitness said 25-year-old Mary Sameh George was attacked in her car near a church, where she planned to deliver medicine to an ailing elderly woman.

The Islamists climbed onto her car, collapsing the roof, then dragged her from the vehicle, beating and mauling her. She was stabbed multiple times, her throat was slit, and after she died the mob set her car on fire, CNS News reported.

The young woman's murder garnered little attention in the Egyptian press. One report quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman as saying protesters had "stabbed a Christian woman to death," and blaming the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Australian Coptic Movement Association called the attack a "callous, vicious, and unprovoked" killing.

"Mary George was targeted for her faith in what is becoming an increasingly intolerable and inhospitable region for Christians, given that Ain Shams is a known stronghold for the Muslim Brotherhood," the organization said. "The Egyptian government must send a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated and that the culprits will be held to account under the full force of the law."

Egypt's Coptic Christians, who comprise less than 10 percent of the population, suffered increased persecution when Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood came to power, CNS News observed.

In August 2013, after Morsi was ousted, supporters vented their rage on Coptics and there were widespread attacks on Coptic churches and institutions in Egypt by Muslims.

Editor's Note:



5. Purchases of Local TV Stations Hit Record in 2013

A record total of 290 full-power local TV stations changed hands last year, selling for a mammoth $8 billion.

The buying and selling in 2013 far surpassed the number of transactions in the previous year, when 95 stations changed hands at a cost of $1.9 billion.

"Big owners of local TV stations got substantially bigger, thanks to a wave of station purchases," the Pew Research Center reported.

"Many of the 290 TV station purchases in 2013 occurred as group acquisitions by some of the largest owners, building their portfolios of stations even more."

The Tribune Co. made the biggest single deal, buying 19 stations from Local TV Holdings for $2.73 billion.

Gannett paid $2.2 billion to purchase 17 stations from Belo Corp.

Sinclair Broadcasting acquired 53 stations from locally based companies — 24 from Barrington Broadcasting ($373 million), 22 from Fisher Communications ($370 million), and seven from Allbritton ($985 million).

If all pending sales go through, Sinclair will own or provide services to 167 TV stations in 77 markets, reaching nearly 40 percent of all Americans.

Gray Television has 124 stations in 40 markets, Nexstar Broadcasting has 108 in 56 markets, Gannett has 43 in 33 markets, LIN Media has 43 in 23 markets, and Tribune has 42 in 34 markets.

Many of last year's deals resulted in stations in the same market being separately owned on paper but operated jointly. Joint service agreements now exist in at least 94 of the nation's 210 local TV markets, up from 55 in 2011, according to Pew.

The FCC bars a company from owning more than one of the four top-rated stations in a single market, but there is no rule keeping broadcasters from managing more than one station in a market.

"Many of the deals agreed to in 2013 took advantage of that loophole," Pew observed.

Joint service agreements have resulted in fewer stations originating local news content. Currently 235 stations air news produced by another source, and 717 stations originate their own news broadcasts.

Also, three-quarters of local TV stations reportedly share news content with other media, including radio stations and newspapers.

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a rule to eliminate joint service arrangements, a move critics say could force some stations to close down if there is an affiliated station in the same market.

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Editor's Note:



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