Money a good thing in Scott Walker recall election - Washington Times Money a good thing in Scott Walker recall election - Washington Times

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Money a good thing in Scott Walker recall election - Washington Times

Money a good thing in Scott Walker recall election - Washington Times

SALT LAKE CITY, June 2, 2012 — Wisconsin voters look poised to deliver a fairly telling vote of confidence for their governor, Scott Walker.

To Democrats, whose heretofore legislatively-guaranteed political advantages have helped them to engineer the recall, Walker's probable victory only serves as proof that the Republican governor is unfairly buying the election.

Setting aside the obvious hypocrisy of the conventional wisdom that President Obama's unprecedented war chest represents the enthusiasm of millions of ordinary Americans, the idea that Governor Walker's win is tainted by the millions he has spent to run the campaign is preposterous.

Preposterous because  it relies on a number of assumptions that are antithetical to American democracy.

The first of these assumptions is that voters can't discern issues for themselves, that they are simply mindless automatons who are easily hypnotized by seductive advertising.

If that is the case, perhaps President Obama's impressive victory in 2008 wasn't so impressive after all, considering that he outspent his rival many times over in the closing weeks of the presidential contest.

Closer to home, the recall effort against Walker himself was financed by those with a stake in getting him out of office. He did not ask for this election, so for liberals to complain that he is raising and spending money in an effort to make his case to voters is a bit disingenuous.

Of course it was their perfect right to dedicate their own time and resources to the recall effort. Indeed, in a participatory democracy, it should be lauded. So too, should the contributions and participation of thousands of donors who have decided to commit their resources to the governor.

John Nichols complains in the Capital Times, a left-leaning newspaper, that Walker exploited a "loophole in Wisconsin election law which removes contribution limits for officials seeking to prevent a recall election." He neglects to mention that the loophole is purposeful and consistent, since no limit exists on raising funds to mount a recall in the first place.

Nor should there be. Citizens who choose to engage in politics shouldn't be hindered by laws designed to restrict how they spend time or money. And it seems ridiculous to expect that a sitting governor should be powerless while his opponents amass their forces against him setting up a recall.

Another faulty assumption that liberals make is that money from business associations (to which they try to tie Walker) is somehow less virtuous than money from other types of associations.

The Left's preferred association is the labor union, and it was they who organized what might very well turn out to be the most colossal strategic error of the past decade. Nevertheless, the fight is almost completely over union money—whether union bosses can use the machinery of the state to forcibly extract political funds from public employees—and initially financed by union money. If anyone can be accused of trying to buy the gubernatorial seat in Wisconsin, it is the public sector unions, not the current governor who already won it less than two years ago.

A third bad assumption is that money actually moves votes.

ABC news reports that the executive director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is skeptical.

"So far," said Mike McCabe, "the tens of millions of dollars that have been spent on ads don’t seem to have moved the needle very much. Poll numbers haven’t changed much. Walker’s approval ratings haven’t changed. So the tens of millions spent don’t seem to have changed very many minds."

On the other hand, the act of contributing is a civic act that has great importance. It is a way for people to get involved and show their support for one cause or the other. So far, Walker is winning that contest, which infuriates the Left because part of their trope is that they represent the masses.

Recall the weeks and months of large scale demonstrations at the state capitol in Madison, a sign, we were told, that the people were unhappy with the governor. Their mobilization was lauded as high-minded political participation.

Some people skip work and march. Others donate a few bucks.

Democrats regularly try to "buy" elections. Governor Walker's challenger, Tom Barrett, has frantically tried to raise money. The unions have poured in precious dollars during every phase of the foolhardy recall, from the state senatorial elections to that of the state supreme court seat held by David Prosser.

If they could raise more money, they would.

For them to claim that Scott Walker is trying to buy the election simply because he has been more successful at raising money is ignorant of the role of money in American elections, and the freedoms it represents.


Learn more about the author at 

Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the "Rich Like Me" political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic TrainingTunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative, which you can follow on Facebook.



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Russian Banker Deplores US Financial Ban on Iran -

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TEHRAN (FNA)- Chairman of Russia's Vneshtorgbank (VTB) Andrei Kostin lashed out at the US for imposing financial sanctions on Iran, stressing that the move violates the international laws. The US financial and economic sanctions against Iran violate the ...

NYSE stocks posting largest percentage increases - Yahoo Finance

NEW YORK (AP) -- A look at the 10 biggest percentage gainers on New York Stock Exchange at the close of trading:

IAMGold Corp. rose 9.2 percent to $11.65.

Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. rose 8.9 percent to $40.66.

GoldCorp. rose 8.7 percent to $39.40.

Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. rose 8.6 percent to $18.35.

Endeavour Silver Corp. rose 8.2 percent to $9.39.

Barrick Gold Corp. rose 7.3 percent to $41.91.

Kinross Gold Corp. rose 7.0 percent to $8.53.

Yamana Gold Inc. rose 7.0 percent to $15.59.

First Majestic Silver Corp. rose 6.7 percent to $14.73.

Newmont Mining Corp. rose 6.7 percent to $50.30.

World stocks mixed ahead of Ireland referendum - Yahoo Finance

BANGKOK (AP) -- European stocks rose Thursday as Ireland voted on Europe's deficit-fighting treaty, casting aside fears over soaring borrowing costs for Spain and Italy that sent Asia stock markets down earlier in the day.

Results are expected Friday from a referendum that if passed will allow the Irish government to ratify the European Union's fiscal treaty, a pact designed to bind Ireland and other debt-laden nations that use the euro to tighter spending limits.

Rejection could block Ireland from tapping loans from the EU's rescue fund in 2013 when Ireland's current supply of bailout cash runs out. Polls during the campaign pointed to the treaty's approval.

Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1 percent to 5,349.32 and Germany's DAX added 0.5 percent to 6,313.30. France's CAC-40 rose 0.7 percent to 3,036.47.

U.S. futures augured a higher opening on Wall Street, with Dow Jones futures rising 0.5 percent to 12,443 and S&P 500 futures gaining 0.5 percent at 1,315.30.

Asian stocks fell earlier in the day on the heels of news that borrowing rates had risen sharply for Spain and Italy, a sign that investors are increasingly uneasy about their ability to pay off their debt.

Spain's banking system is under strain a week after Bankia, its fourth-largest bank, required $23.8 billion in government aid to cover souring real estate loans.

Investors are increasingly worried that problems might surface at other Spanish banks. Many lent heavily during the nation's real estate bubble and losses from the real estate crash might be too big for Spain's government to shoulder.

"The Spanish banks are in trouble because of real estate loans. And the hole is so big that the Spanish government will find it difficult to save the Spanish banks without blowing a big hole in its budget," said Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong.

Another negative signal came from the European Central Bank, which said Spaniards pulled billions in deposits out of their banks last month, raising concerns of a larger bank run.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index tumbled 1.1 percent to close at 8,542.73, its lowest finish since mid-January. Japanese exporters were hurt by a stronger yen that erodes the value of repatriated profits. Mazda Motor Corp. fell 3.9 percent and Ricoh Co. Ltd. lost 4.2 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.3 percent to 18,629.52 and South Korea's Kospi was down marginally at 1,843.47.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.4 percent to 4,076.30. Benchmarks in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines also fell. Taiwan and New Zealand rose and mainland Chinese shares were mixed.

Spain's woes have magnified fears of a possible debt implosion in Europe's weaker economies, starting with Greece, which will run out of money in the coming days without emergency funding from outside.

Greece's economy is being kept afloat on international loans provided by the European Union and the IMF, along with a harsh austerity package of cuts and higher taxes that is deeply unpopular with the country's electorate. The government that agreed to the loan and austerity package was voted out of office in May.

The new parties, who mainly campaigned on anti-austerity platforms — have not been able to form a government and new elections are scheduled for June 17. One of the most popular parties in Greece, the left-wing Syriza party, wants to abolish Greece's international bailout agreements, raising fears that Greece will leave the Eurozone and destabilize world markets.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 35 cents to $88.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slid $2.99 to close at $87.82 on the Nymex on Thursday.

In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.2422 from $1.2382 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar fell to 78.87 yen from 79.07 yen.


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Stocks hammered: Dow sheds 275, turns negative for the year - USA Today

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2.2%, closing down 275 points. That drop leaves the Dow with a loss of 0.8% for 2012. Earlier this year, the blue-chip average was up more than 8%.

Declining by bigger amounts were the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index and Standard & Poor's 500, losing 2.8% and 2.5%, respectively.

But both of those indexes are up for the year: The Nasdaq by 5.5%, the S&P 500 by 1.6%.

Investors reacted negatively to May's jobs report, which showed nonfarm payrolls increasing just 69,000, falling well short of teh 150,000 expected, according to Michelle Meyer, economist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. "This is the recovery of fits and starts, and we believe we are entering a slow patch in the second half of the year," she wrote.

Seeing such slow jobs numbers may not force the Federal Reserve to take action in June, but it makes the odds of some sort of stimulus in August "increasingly likely."

May was by some measures the worst month for the stock market in two years. Investors' worries about Europe's debt crisis intensified as the month wore on. Investors are fixating on the sluggish economy in Europe, slowing growth in Asia and the chances of the recovery in the U.S. losing steam.

The botched initial public offering of No. 1 social networking stock Facebook, which has left those shares down 27% from the offering price, has further dented confidence in the market. Shares of Facebook (FB) Friday fell $1.88, or 6.4%, to $27.72.

The weak jobs report sent traders stampeding into U.S. government bonds as a safe investment. Bond prices rose sharply, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.46%, the lowest on record.

The price of gold also shot higher. It rose $49 an ounce to $1,613. For much of the past three years, investors have bought gold for safety during a turbulent time for the world economy.

The dollar weakend. The euro rose half a penny against the dollar to $1.24. A day earlier, fears about Europe's finances had pushed the euro to a nearly two-year low against the greenback.

Stocks fell broadly. Energy companies and financial stocks led the market lower. The price of a barrel of oil fell nearly 4% to $83.23, extending a monthlong slide.

Caterpillar stock (CAT), which depends heavily on world economic demand, fell 2.4%, to $85.52.

The job picture also darkened elsewhere in the world. Unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro currency remained at a record-high 11% in April, and unemployment rose spiked to almost 25% in Spain.

There were also signs that growth in China, which was a bulwark during the global recession, is slowing significantly. China's manufacturing weakened in May, according to surveys released Friday.

Stocks were down considerably in Europe. The benchmark stock index fell more than 3% in Germany and Greece and more than 2% in France. British stocks were down but fared slightly better.

Contributing: Associated Press reports

Stimulus money boosts Florida reef restoration - Palm Beach Post

The Associated Press

Updated: 12:36 p.m. Saturday, June 2, 2012

Posted: 10:51 a.m. Saturday, June 2, 2012

— Coral reef restoration along Florida's shores has been getting a boost from federal stimulus money.

The American Recovery and Restoration Act of 2009 provided $3.3 million to grow about 30,000 threatened staghorn and elkhorn coral colonies in underwater nurseries. About 10,000 of the fast-growing corals are being transplanted in eight areas along a 300-mile reef tract from Broward County to the Florida Keys, and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The goal of the transplants is to spawn tens of thousands more coral colonies.

"We're just giving them a jump start," said The Nature Conservancy's James Byrne, the marine biologist overseeing the three-year project.

"Now, if they can successfully reproduce, it will blow away anything we can do," he told The Miami Herald (

The money was part of $167 million given to coastline restoration projects; the entire stimulus package totaled $831 billion. The funding, which created or supported 56 jobs, ends in December.

"Before, most coral restoration efforts focused on places with large (vessel) groundings," said Sean Morton, superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. "This is the first attempt to do it reef-wide and turn around a long-term trend of coral reef decline."

Scientists say staghorn and elkhorn coral populations have declined by about 90 percent throughout the Caribbean over the last 30 years. Many factors have contributed to the decline, including a die-off of algae-eating spiny sea urchins, disease caused by bleaching from rising water temperatures, ocean acidification, water pollution and hurricanes.

"If you went snorkeling or diving anywhere in the Caribbean in the early '80s, you'd see corals everywhere," Byrne said. "Staghorn used to be the dominant one on the reef, providing almost all the habitat for small juvenile fish to go into. And elkhorn dominated the top of the reef, building big reef crests that waves break on."

In 2006, elkhorn and staghorn were the first corals to be put on the threatened list under the Endangered Species Act.

"Staghorn is a thinner branching colony that looks like the thin antlers of a young stag," said Erich Bartels, coral science manager at Mote Marine Laboratory. "Elkhorn looks like big moose antlers that go out in a big fan shape."

Both corals are important to Florida's ecosystem and economy, scientists say.

"This is restoring nature for people's sake. These habitats are nature's infrastructure," said Rob Brumbaugh, The Nature Conservancy's director of global marine restoration. "We're making fish. When you make fish, you make jobs. It's a good investment."


June 02, 2012 12:36 PM EDT

Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Money and passports: Is George Zimmerman's plight racial? -

Shouts of injustice may calm some down now that Travyon Martin’s shooter George Zimmerman has to report to jail in the next two days.

A judge has given Zimmerman 48 hours to surrender. The judge also revoked Zimmerman's $150,000 bond.

Zimmerman failed to report $200,000 raised and stored inside his PayPal account. He and his wife discussed the evasion during jail phone calls. The two used a special code to deceive listeners and discuss the funds.

A Florida judge ruled that Zimmerman’s deceit merits revocation of his bond. Furthermore, Zimmerman’s second passport was discovered.

Some argue that his $200,000 should not be included as personal finances because that money goes to his attorneys. Others say that Zimmerman’s lie, or attempted cover-up, really harms Zimmerman’s chances at trial. They asked how can a jury believe a man who hasn’t been honest with the courts?

Others have defended Zimmerman’s two passports, explaining that he likely lost the first and ordered a second. Still, wisdom, based in logic and the law not race, dictates that if Zimmerman’s second passport was needed because he lost the first, then an honest man would have reported recovering the first lost passport.

Zimmerman’s last name, particularly European, and Trayvon’s first name, particularly African American, have set off a string of events that have pit race and parties against each other.

Many older members of the African American community believe George Zimmerman wasn’t charged with murder immediately because his victim was black. A number of African Americans and lawyers for Trayvon Martin have stated over and over that had Martin been the shooter, Martin would be in jail.

Those on the opposite end of the race spectrum, those who believe Zimmerman is a white victim, are also prominent debaters in the Trayvon Martin shooting. Many argue that Zimmerman’s hope rests with Republicans and gun lobbyists who believe in Stand Your Ground and the right to bear arms in this country as long as the owner has a legal right (permit) to carry the weapon.

Others point to an African American President who has made only one comment on the Trayvon Martin shooting. Weeks after the murder and about a week after Trayvon Martin’s death saturated cable news, President Obama told the world that if he had a son, his son would look like Trayvon. These “others’ argue that Zimmerman’s become part of a federal “witch hunt”--a sly reference to Department of Justice Deputy Eric Holder, also African American.

Communities, black, white and other, have all cried “Justice for Trayvon” thus shunning any and all notions that they’ve gathered in Trayvon’s Martin name to race bait. For many, Zimmerman’s trial is about justice, not race.

Zimmerman shot an unarmed African American 17-year-old. His lawyers will argue self-defense. The 17-year-old had THC in his system. Zimmerman had been on a prescription drug that warns of upset to the psyche, particularly with moods that cater anxiety and aggression.

What his trial and the what the law mean to George Zimmerman isn’t clear. Past behaviors, inc luding a scuffle with police that merited a mug shot and criminal record suggest that Zimmerman has had problems with authority in his past. Lying about his finances has cast an old light on Zimmerman. A light that suggests Zimmerman owns a certain disrespect and casual disregard for the American Justice System

passport cover photo credit: Wikipedia

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