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Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor says the Bible, not partisanship, should guide politics

Mark Pryor
© LifenewsDemocratic Senator Mark Pryor
A conservative Democrat who's facing a tough re-election challenge has released an ad touting his faith in the Bible.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country, in part due to his support of the Affordable Care Act and also because he's a Democrat in the Deep South.

He released the 30-second TV ad Wednesday to help shore up support among his Christian constituents in the Bible Belt, telling voters that his faith guides him.

"I'm not ashamed to say that I believe in God, and I believe in His word," Pryor says in the ad, looking directly at the camera. "The Bible teaches us no one has all the answers, only God does, and neither political party is always right."


Grandstanding? Obama cites Pope Francis to attack income inequality and call for minimum wage increase

© Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Conservatives angered by Pope Francis' recent attacks on capitalism and wealth inequality aren't going to like hearing President Barack Obama's approval of them.

The president said Wednesday that growing income inequality had "frayed" the basic bargain at the heart of the U.S. economy during an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to the White House.

"Some of you may have seen just last week the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length," Obama said. "'How can it be,' he wrote, 'that it's not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points.' But this increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country. And it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people."

The president noted that the American economy had doubled in size since 1979, but most of that growth has been restricted to a "fortunate few."


U.S. airlines give authorities flight plans for new East China Sea defense zone

East China Sea
U.S. airlines United, American and Delta, have notified Chinese authorities of flight plans when traveling through an air defense zone Beijing has declared over the East China Sea, following U.S. government advice.

The United States said on Friday it expected U.S. carriers to operate in line with so-called notices to airmen issued by foreign countries, although it added that the decision did "not indicate U.S. government acceptance of China's requirements.

A spokesman for Delta Airlines said it had been complying with the Chinese requests for flight plans for the past week.

American and United said separately that they were complying, but did not say for how long they had done so.

Airline industry officials said the U.S. government generally expects U.S. carriers operating internationally to comply with notices issued by foreign countries.

In contrast, two major airlines in Japan, the United States' close ally, have agreed with the Japanese government that they would fly through the zone without notifying China.


White House blocks access to Obama events, news groups say

© Unknown
The nation's largest news organizations lodged a complaint Thursday against the White House for imposing unprecedented limitations on photojournalists covering President Barack Obama, which they say have harmed the public's ability to monitor its own government.

"Journalists are routinely being denied the right to photograph or videotape the president while he is performing his official duties," according to a letter the organizations sent to the White House. "As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist's camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the executive branch of government."

Presidents often look for ways to get their own messages out. But media experts say Obama's administration has developed an aggressive strategy to use social media, including government-sponsored websites and blogs, as well as Twitter, Instagram and Flickr accounts, to circumvent the media's constitutional duty more than its predecessors have.

"You are only seeing what they want you to see," said Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.


The I-Word

An academic was the first to cross the invisible line.

"The ultimate check on presidential lawlessness is elections and, in extreme cases, impeachment," Georgetown law professor Nicholas Rosenkranz told Representative Darrell Issa at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday on the president's duty to uphold the law.

With that first mention of the "i word," leaks began springing from the dam that had been holding back the House GOP lawmakers united by frustration with President Obama's executive abuses. Republicans have been watching impotently as Obama has walked all over the law, with increasing brazenness the further he gets into his tenure. His first term included major clashes over Congress's subpoena power and, months before the election, the president's imposition of the "DREAM Act" by fiat - something he had publicly said before was beyond his legal authority.

Almost a year into Obama's second term, his unilateral delays of Obamacare and other legally questionable actions are now routine. He even threatened to veto a bill that would have ratified something he had done on his own without any clear authority, the delay of Obamacare's employer mandate.

"It's a real problem," House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte says. One of the biggest frustrations: Senate Democrats don't seem to give a rip.

Seeking ways to limit the president’s executive overreach, Republicans still shy away from impeachment.


Why the official Sandy Hook story makes absolutely no logistical sense

So, this skinny autistic kid "burst into" the school with two rifles, two handguns, 500-800 rounds of ammunition... and shot dead 28 people inside 3 minutes?
The Sandy Hook story, as told, makes no sense.

That children were murdered in cold blood is not in dispute.

Who did it and how it was done is.

The official story is literally impossible.

This video covers only a few of the points where the story is absolute fabrication.


Best of the Web: Another batch of Wall Street villains freed on technicality

General Electric
© Stan Honda/AFP/Getty ImagesGeneral Electric's corporate headquarters.

I love covering trials, which is one reason I've been a little sad since switching over to the Wall Street beat: Few of the bad guys in this world ever even get interviewed by the authorities, much less indicted, so trials are comically rare.

But we did have one last year, a big one, and though it was boring and jargon-laden enough on the surface that at least one juror fought sleep in its opening days, I thought it was fascinating. In a story about the Justice Department's Spring 2012 prosecution of a wide-raging municipal bond bid-rigging case, I called it the "first trial of the modern American mafia":

"Of course, you won't hear about the recent financial corruption case, United States of America v. Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm, called anything like that . . . But this just completed trial in downtown New York . . . allowed federal prosecutors to make public for the first time the astonishing inner workings of the reigning American crime syndicate, which now operates not out of Little Italy and Las Vegas, but out of Wall Street."

Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm were mid-level players who worked for GE Capital. They were involved in a wide-ranging scheme (one that also involved most of America's biggest banks, from Chase to BOA to Wachovia) to skim billions of dollars from America's cities and towns by rigging the auctions banks set up to help towns earn the highest returns on the management of municipal bond issues.

The case was over 10 years in the making and involved offenses that took place long before the 2008 crash. All three defendants were convicted in May 2012, with Goldberg ultimately getting four years and the other two getting three.

Now, they're all free. A New York federal judge last week ordered their convictions overturned in a quiet Thanksgiving-week transaction.

Heart - Black

Cancer patient and ObamaCare critic says he's being audited by IRS

A cancer patient, who publicly discussed the cancellation of his insurance under ObamaCare, now says he has been informed by the Internal Revenue Service that he is going to be audited.

Bill Elliot appeared on Fox News on November 7th to discuss the cancellation of his insurance. He claims he was told that his cancer was considered "beyond the catastrophic previous condition" and his plan was being canceled because of ObamaCare regulations.

Elliot, who has Stage 4 cancer, informed viewers he wasn't going to pay the $1,500 a month for the new plan being offered, preferring not to burden his family and to "let nature take it's course."

After his story attracted media attention, Elliot says his insurance company decided to let him keep his coverage:

"Well, the update on my health is: I went to the doctor last week and he told me that I was in full remission. So, that's good news; I'm getting better. Thanks to Steve, I wouldn't have found none of this out, 'cause I wouldn't have had health insurance to go back. So, I found out that I'm in full remission and that I've got four months to go - not four months to go, but be checked every four months.

Snakes in Suits

Manipulating the markets: Intelligence gathering plays key role at New York Fed's trading desk

The Trading Desk at the New York Fed Has Speed Dials to Wall Street Firms and Bloomberg Terminals
On any given business day, you can take a taxi ride into lower Manhattan in the wee hours of the morning and see lights and the glow of Bloomberg trading terminals eerily illuminating the 9th floor of the historic Federal Reserve Bank of New York at 33 Liberty Street.

A securities trader working at 4:30 a.m. in any other trading location in Manhattan might be concerned about personal safety. Not here. Quietly, without Congressional hearings, and lost in the tragedy and turmoil of September 11, the USA Patriot Act in 2001 bestowed private domestic policing powers on the 12 Federal Reserve Banks, including the New York Fed.

On top of its own police force armed with Glock 22s and assault weapons, the building itself is a 22-story fortress with 18 floors above ground and four below. The building, completed in 1924, constitutes the block bounded by Maiden Lane, Nassau, Liberty and Williams Streets. The principal architect, Philip Sawyer, was influenced in his design by the Florentine palaces he observed while studying in Italy. The New York Fed's unique façade of large rectangular blocks of limestone and sandstone ashlar with imposing arched windows and ironwork resembles the Strozzi Palazzo in Florence.

There is also the comfort of knowing that if this fortress is safe enough for one of the world's largest stashes of gold, it's likely safe enough for groggy traders. The triple-tiered gold vault rests on a bedrock foundation deep below the building, which not only supports the gold but a 90-ton vault door and 140-ton door frame. The building was built around the gold vault after it was installed.


Democrats start to distance themselves from Obama

© AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, FilePresident Obama speaks during a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco on Monday.
A month after emerging from a government shutdown at the top of their game, many Democrats in Congress newly worried about the party's re-election prospects are for the first time distancing themselves from President Obama after the disastrous rollout of his health care overhaul.

At issue, several Obama allies said, is a loss of trust in the president after only 106,000 people - instead of an anticipated half million - were able to buy insurance coverage the first month of the new "Obamacare" websites. In addition, some 4.2 million Americans received notices from insurers that policies Obama had promised they could keep were being canceled.

"Folks are now, I think in talking to members, more cautious with regard to dealing with the president," said Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee and one of the first leaders in his state to endorse Obama's presidential candidacy six year ago.

Cummings, the White House's biggest defender in a Republican-controlled committee whose agenda is waging war against the administration over the attack in Benghazi, the IRS scandal, a gun-tracking operation and now health care, said he still thinks Obama is operating with integrity. But he noted that not all his Democratic colleagues agree.

"They want to make sure that everything possible is being done to, number one, be transparent, (two) fix this website situation and, three, to restore trust," Cummings said.