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Tags: Obama | Pressure | Angers | Ginsburg | Abbas Blamed for Inciting Violence | Special Interests Keep Ethanol Mandate Alive | Youth Unemployment at 14.7 percent

Obama Pressure Angers Ginsburg; Abbas Blamed for Inciting Violence; Knock on Ethanol

By    |   Sunday, 16 November 2014 02:30 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Justice Ginsburg Furious Over Obama's Pressure to Resign
2. Special Interests Keep Ethanol Mandate Alive
3. Poll: Obama, GOP Congress Won't Work Together
4. Jewish Groups Accuse Mahmoud Abbas of Inciting Violence
5. Actual Youth Unemployment at 14.7 percent
6. US Population Shift Drastic Over Last Century

1. Justice Ginsburg Furious Over Obama's Pressure to Resign

A source close to the Supreme Court tells Newsmax that White House efforts to get Ruth Bader Ginsburg to step down from the Supreme Court backfired while infuriating the liberal justice.

To say that Ginsburg was unhappy about the call to resign would be a gross understatement.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Ginsburg, at 81 the oldest member of the court, was "under strong pressure to retire" and "questioning why some liberals want her to leave."

But the close source told Newsmax that Ginsburg directly blames President Barack Obama rather than "liberals" and her comments were aimed squarely at the White House.

According to the source, the Obama administration saw the handwriting on the wall about the midterm elections, and anticipating a strong Republican showing, tried to get Ginsburg to step down before the balloting — to ensure that a Democratic Senate confirmed her replacement.

Now a Republican-controlled Senate ensures that Obama will not be able to tap another far-left justice in his last two years.

But Ginsburg said in a recent interview with the New Republic: "I asked some people, particularly the academics who said I should have stepped down last year: 'Who do you think the president could nominate and get through the current Senate that you would rather see on the court than me? No one has given me an answer to that question.

"As long as I can do the job, I will stay here," she said defiantly.

And she said in an interview with Elle Magazine: "If I resign any time this year, he could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the court."

Obama's two Supreme Court appointments, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, faced strong opposition from Republicans in the Senate. But Sotomayor was confirmed by a vote of 68 to 31, with nine Republicans backing her, and Kagan was confirmed 63 to 37 with five GOP votes.

Hence Obama's move to push Ginsburg into resigning before the GOP takes control of the Senate — an attempt some observers view as a serious encroachment on the judicial branch.

In fact, the Republican victory could persuade Ginsburg to stay on the job at least until 2017 when Democrats could retake the Senate and remain in the White House, the Times reported.

Even with Ginsburg on the job, the Obama administration has had a rocky relationship with the Supreme Court.

The court historically has sided with the White House in a significant majority of cases it has heard. But the Obama administration has a losing record before the court, and has lost an unusually high number of cases in unanimous 9-0 decisions. Obama saw 20 unanimous defeats in the first 5 1/2 years of his administration, while his predecessor George W. Bush saw just 15 in his eight years in office.

The court recently dealt a potential blow to Obama's signature effort, the Affordable Care Act, when it decided to hear a case challenging provisions of Obamacare.

The bottom line, according to the source, is that the court just does not like the Obama administration and its continual disrespect of co-equal branches of the federal government.

Footnote: The last Supreme Court justice nominated by a Democratic president and confirmed by a Senate Republican majority was Rufus Peckham — in 1895.

Editor's Note:


2. Special Interests Keep Ethanol Mandate Alive

America is enjoying a huge oil and gas boom due to improved drilling techniques, yet the nation's energy sector is still plagued by government intervention and favoritism, a report from the Heritage Foundation warns.

"Energy production, specifically shale oil and shale gas on private lands, has been one of the greatest success stories in recent years," writes Nicolas Loris, the foundation's Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow.

"Households save money through lower energy bills and cheaper goods when businesses compete and pass cost savings along to consumers."

It is estimated that the average household saved $1,200 in 2012 through lower energy costs and increased income, and those savings should triple over the next decade as the United States reigns as the world leader in oil and gas production.

Yet despite the abundance of oil due to fracking, ethanol must still be blended into the nation's gasoline due to federal policy originally designed to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

The Renewable Fuel Standard mandates require refiners to blend billions of gallons of ethanol into fuel each year, Loris points out.

Most of the ethanol is made from corn, and this artificially raises the cost for drivers because ethanol is less efficient than gasoline and ultimately costs more. Ethanol has also been shown to be harmful to smaller engines. Most important, the mandate drives up food prices in America and around the world because corn is a staple food in many countries and is widely used as a feed for livestock.

Loris notes that a Rice University study found that ethanol production is carbon-intensive due to the increased use of fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides to boost corn production.

Dozens of organizations including the Clean Air Task Force and Taxpayers for Common Sense have called for a repeal of the ethanol mandate. Yet the mandate is scheduled to continue and even increase to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022, up from 13.3 billion gallons last year, because influential special interests in the Midwest, mainly corn and ethanol producers, benefit from the policy.

That creates another problem: If refiners are required to use even more ethanol in their products, upgrading gas station equipment so that it can accommodate fuel with higher ethanol content could cost $250,000 per gas station, according to Nan Swift of the National Taxpayers Union.

And she points out that 99 percent of gas stations are owned by independent businessmen, not oil companies.

Ethanol policy "benefits a select few and creates a vicious loop of politicians, lobbyists, and special interests who protect the mandate," Loris concludes.

"Therein lies the problem with favoritism in politics. Bad policies remain or are expanded because perceived political importance trumps economic viability and good policy."

Editor's Note:


3. Poll: Obama, GOP Congress Won't Work Together

After the midterm elections President Obama and the Republican leadership in Congress both said they wanted to work together to deal with pressing issues, but most Americans think that won't happen, a new poll reveals.

In a Rasmussen Reports survey, 73 percent of likely voters said they are not confident that the president and the new Republican majority can work together to do what's best for the American people, including 33 percent who are "not at all" confident.

Just 24 percent are at least somewhat confident, and only 6 percent are "very confident."

The level of confidence is down sharply from a poll conducted after the 2010 midterms, when Republicans took control of the House — 43 percent of respondents then were at least somewhat confident that Obama could work with the GOP-run House.

Among Democrats in the new survey, 57 percent are not confident, while 80 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of unaffiliated voters feel that way.

One-quarter of voters think it is at least somewhat likely that major legislation to improve the country will be passed during the new Congress' first 100 days in session, but 68 percent say it is not likely, including 28 percent who think it is not at all likely.

Asked which of six major issues Republicans in Congress should deal with first, 31 percent cited taxes and spending, 22 percent said immigration, 18 percent cited Obamacare, 12 percent named the War on Terror, and 11 percent cited the Keystone XL pipeline. Only 2 percent said climate change should come first.

In a separate Rasmussen Reports survey, 51 percent of likely voters said that the time between Election Day and the swearing-in of the new Congress — the lame duck period — should be shorter, while 32 percent disagree and 17 percent are not sure.

Just 18 percent of respondents believe that lame duck congressional sessions produce important legislation, while 55 percent think they are a waste of time.

Editor's Note:


4. Jewish Groups Accuse Mahmoud Abbas of Inciting Violence

Several Jewish groups have condemned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for inciting violence in Israel and the West Bank rather than seeking to quell the hostilities.

"Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian officials must end their inciteful comments," said Robert Sugarman and Malcolm Hoenlein, chairman and executive vice chairman respectively of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

"His reference to igniting a religious war, as well as his earlier statements which urged that Jews should be blocked from entering the Temple Mount 'by all means necessary' and denying any Jewish connection to its holiest site, only serve to raise tensions and encourage further violence.

"These attacks should instead be condemned by Mr. Abbas and the Palestinian leadership, international community and the United Nations."

The Zionist Organization of America said in a statement cited by the Daily Forward that "it is high time to cease pretending that Abbas is a genuine moderate and peace partner."

Morton Klein, the ZOA's national president, said: "It is simply astonishing, immoral and deeply damaging to the cause of peace that the world, including the Obama administration, takes no notice of Palestinian Arab incitement to hatred and murder and the open, shameless glorification of any Palestinian Arab who tries to or succeeds in murdering even a single Jew."

Abbas met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman, Jordan, on Thursday for talks aimed at calming the wave of violence in Israel and the West Bank.

The meeting began hours after new clashes broke out in Jerusalem and Israeli police fired tear gas, percussion bombs, and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinian demonstrators.

The day before, suspected Jewish extremists staged an arson attack on a West Bank mosque, two days after Palestinian knife attacks killed a settler in the West Bank and an Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv.

Earlier, two Palestinians drove their cars into groups of people waiting at Jerusalem light rail stops, killing two — including a baby — and wounding more than 13. And on Oct. 29, Rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot four times by an Israeli Arab, although he survived. It was reported that Abbas sent a condolence letter to the family of the shooter after he was killed by police.

The Anti-Defamation League also issued a statement regarding the recent violence.

"This spate of violence by Palestinians, including stabbings, shootings and the deliberate crashing of cars into civilians, is alarming," said Abraham Foxman, ADL's national director.

"It is appalling that Palestinian President Abbas has not condemned these attacks, despite the ongoing violence and messages throughout Palestinian media and society celebrating the violence and calling for more.

"Abbas' outrageous and disgraceful silence is further evidence that he is abandoning his past commitments to non-violence and to Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation."

Editor's Note:


5. Actual Youth Unemployment at 14.7 Percent

President Obama recently lauded a jobs report showing the unemployment rate had dropped to 5.9 percent, crediting "decisions" made by his administration for the good economic news.

Don't tell that to America's young people.

While the overall unemployment rate in the United States is below 6 percent, unemployment among Americans ages 18 to 29 stood at 9 percent in October.

But when using a calculation that includes people in that age bracket who have given up looking for work, the actual unemployment rate is a disturbing 14.7 percent.

"The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.906 million young adults that are not counted as 'unemployed' by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs," according to Generation Opportunity, a nonpartisan organization advocating for economic opportunity for young people.

The official unemployment rate (U-3) for African-Americans ages 18 to 29 is 17.4 percent, but the actual rate including those not looking for work (U-6) is 21.9 percent.

For Hispanics in that age bracket, the U-3 rate is 8.8 percent but the U-6 rate is 15.3 percent.

And the U-6 rate for young women is 12.5 percent.

Noting the sweeping Republican victory in the midterm elections, Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg said: "Young people are rejecting the era of big government that put us in this dire economic situation. Washington's new leadership should view this as a chance to take seriously the task of decreasing youth unemployment and ensuring a better future for young people.

"The reality is that job prospects are still unacceptably bleak for my generation."

Editor's Note:


6. US Population Shift Drastic Over Last Century

An intriguing new analysis of American demographics shows how drastically the nation's population has shifted in little more than a century.

Newgeography.com looked at America's 52 major metropolitan areas — those with a population over 1 million.

In 1900, the land areas that hold today's major metros had a population of 27.6 million, accounting for 36 percent of the national population.

In 2010, these 52 areas had a population of 169.5 million, about 55 percent of the nation's 308.7 million population.

The increase in metro area population has gone disproportionately to the South and the West.

In 1900, 45 percent of the 52 areas' population was in the East, 28 percent in the Midwest, 21 percent in the South, and just 6 percent in the West.

In 2010, the largest percentage was in the mostly red-state South, 33 percent, while the West also surpassed the East with 26 percent. The largely blue-state East plunged to 22 percent, and the Midwest to 19 percent.

"A review of the individual metropolitan areas indicates the pervasiveness of growth in the South and West and the more lackluster growth of the East and Midwest," Newgeography.com observed, adding: "No city can compare to the growth registered by Miami since 1900."

Back then, in the days before air conditioning, Miami's population was just 5,000. By 2010, the Miami metro reached 5.6 million, more than 1,100 times its size in 1900.

Phoenix grew from 28,000 in 1900 to 4.1 million in 2010, 150 times larger than in 1900, followed in large-scale growth by Orlando (22,000 to 2.13 million), Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. (46,000 to 4.22 million), and San Diego (35,000 to 3.09 million).

The most anemic growth over that period was in Pittsburgh, where the population rose from 1.3 million in 1900 to 2.35 million in 2010. Buffalo, Providence, Boston, and Rochester, N.Y., had about the same rate of growth as Pittsburgh.

The metro with the greatest growth from 1980 to 2010 was Las Vegas, from 463,000 to 1.95 million. Las Vegas did not exist in 1900.

Back then just six U.S. cities had a population of more than 1 million: New York (5.41 million), Chicago (2.25 million), Philadelphia (2.05 million), Boston (1.89 million) Pittsburgh (1.3 million), and St. Louis (1 million).

In 2013 the six largest metros were New York (19.8 million), Los Angeles (13 million), Chicago (9.5 million), Dallas-Ft. Worth (6.7 million), Houston (6.1 million), and Philadelphia (6 million).

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Editor's Note:


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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Justice Ginsburg Furious Over Obama's Pressure to Resign 2. Special Interests Keep Ethanol Mandate Alive 3. Poll: Obama, GOP Congress Won't Work Together 4. Jewish Groups Accuse Mahmoud Abbas of Inciting...
Obama, Pressure, Angers, Ginsburg, Abbas Blamed for Inciting Violence, Special Interests Keep Ethanol Mandate Alive, Youth Unemployment at 14.7 percent, US Population Shift Drastic Over Last Century
Sunday, 16 November 2014 02:30 PM
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