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Tags: Coal | Unions | Reject | Obama | Iran Summit | Chavez | Anti-US Guerrillas

Coal Unions Reject Obama; ADL Urges UN Head to Shun Iran Summit; Chavez Training Anti-US Guerrillas

By    |   Sunday, 19 August 2012 11:23 AM EDT

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Coal Miners Won't Back Obama This Time
2. 35% of Americans Receiving Government Welfare
3. Jewish Donors Pump Up Obama's Campaign
4. Venezuela Training 'Guerrilla Army' Against U.S.
5. Boxers — Not Tiger — Now Top-Earning Athletes
6. ADL Urges Ban Ki-Moon to Shun Tehran Conference


1. Coal Miners Won't Back Obama This Time

The United Mine Workers of America enthusiastically supported Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008, but this year the union and its disgruntled members don't plan to back Obama's re-election bid.

"As of right now, we've elected to stay out of this election," said Mike Caputo, a vice president on the UMWA's International Executive Board and a Democratic member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.

"Our members right now have indicated to stay out of this race, and that's why we've done that."

Caputo told National Journal he couldn't remember a time when the UMWA — with more than 100,000 members in 2008, the last year the union updated its numbers — did not endorse a presidential candidate.

Obama's GOP opponent Mitt Romney has been claiming that Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is waging war on coal with too many regulations.

"Our members count on coal-fired power plants and burning of coal to keep jobs," Caputo said. "We're a very Democratic union and we try to listen to the rank and file. They've sent a clear message that they're not supportive of the environmental rules that are being put in place."

An increase in natural gas production has contributed to a decline in the demand for coal. But politically, the EPA "is the culprit for the coal industry's woes," National Journal observed.

"Throughout Appalachia where Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia converge, the coal industry's disgruntlement with Obama is plastered on yard signs and billboards."

One billboard near the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border, sponsored by a coal-industry group, tells drivers they are entering "the Obama administration's no jobs zone."

Four years ago, UMWA President Cecil Roberts said Obama "understands that coal will remain a primary source for electricity generation in this country for many decades to come. Obama will work to ensure the future of American coal and the jobs that go with it."

But this year Roberts made a reference to terrorism to describe the actions of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, stating in a radio interview: "The Navy SEALs shot Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington."

Editor's Note:

2. 35% of Americans Receiving Government Welfare

The United States is on a "dangerous road to fiscal decline and growing dependence on government," and this is the "real legacy of Obamanomics."

That warning comes in an editorial from Investor's Business Daily (IBD), which cites reports pointing to the widening discrepancy among Americans in what they pay in to government — and what they take out.

In the second quarter of last year, 107 million Americans were receiving some kind of government welfare — not including Medicare or Social Security — according to a study from the Senate Budget Committee.

That's up from 97 million just over two years ago.

Given that the 2010 Census showed the nation with a population of 308 million, the 107 million getting government assistance now comprise 35 percent of the total population.

In today's federal budget, 70 percent of all spending goes to aid programs for individuals such as housing, food, income, student aid or other forms of welfare, IBD reports.

But IRS data show that nearly half of all Americans, 49.5 percent, pay no income taxes at all.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the middle 20 percent of income earners — the true middle class — paid just 9 percent of federal taxes in 2009, and only 2.7 percent of total federal individual income taxes, while earning 15 percent of before-tax income.

President Obama has insisted that the "rich" do not pay their fair share of federal taxes. But the top 20 percent of earners paid nearly 70 percent of all federal taxes, and 94 percent of federal individual income taxes, while earning 50 percent of the income, according to the CBO.

And the top 1 percent alone paid more than 22 percent of all federal taxes, and 39 percent of federal individual income taxes, while earning 13 percent of the income.

Those earners paid just 17.6 percent of federal individual income taxes when President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981.

In its report headlined "The United States of Dependency?" IBD observed that "we're now on our way to a European-style welfare state. This is the ugly reality of Obamanomics. It fosters dependency in exchange for financial security. But that security is a mirage.

"The only real economic security any nation has is the strength and vitality of its private economy."

IBD pointed to two other troubling numbers.

New Census figures show that 43 percent of all immigrants remain on welfare 20 years after arriving in this country.

And a new economic study found that nearly half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets, which the IBD calls "a sad comment on how government has displaced personal initiative and private savings in preparing for retirement."

Editor's Note:

3. Jewish Donors Pump Up Obama's Campaign

Two Jewish billionaires have given President Obama's re-election campaign a big boost by donating $3 million to pro-Democratic political action committees.

Qualcomm founder Irwin Mark Jacobs and Saban Capital Group Chairman and CEO Haim Saban made separate donations in June, the Jewish publication Forward reports.

"The president has been tremendously successful raising money in the American Jewish community," said David Harris, president and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

"This is just indicative of his broad and deep support within the American Jewish community."

Saban, who holds dual American and Israeli citizenship, is a long-time Democratic donor with close ties to former President Bill Clinton. But Saban was reportedly disappointed last year with Obama's Israeli policy, and suggested in a CNBC interview in May 2011 that he might not donate to Obama's re-election campaign.

The interview came a week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Obama's call for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, based on pre-1967 borders.

The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Democrats had been reaching out to Saban for months in hopes of a major contribution.

Saban in June gave $1 million to the Democratic super PAC Unity 2012, which split the donation among three PACs supporting Obama, Democratic House candidates, and Senate candidates.

Jacobs gave $2 million to pro-Obama Priorities USA Action, matching a donation from DreamWorks Animation founder Jeffrey Katzenberg.

But Forward observed that the contributions from Saban and Jacobs "weren't nearly big enough to compete with the flood of dollars flowing to super PACs linked to Republican Mitt Romney. Buoyed in part by multimillion-dollar donations from Jewish casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, the GOP-allied groups are raising money at a far faster rate than those tied to Obama."

Editor's Note:

4. Venezuela Training 'Guerrilla Army' Against U.S.

Hugo Chavez's Venezuela is training a "guerrilla army" it aims to grow to one million strong by 2013 to fight off possible "imperialist aggression" from the United States, an opposition lawmaker claims.

Former presidential candidate Maria Corina Machado told El Universal newspaper that "Plan Sucre," developed with input from Cuba, seeks to "transform a professional army into a guerrilla army."

She said she had obtained a copy of the plan. Its "strategic objective" is to build a force that could wage a prolonged popular war against "the empire" — the United States, Machado said, citing the document.

"This is clearly a proposal with Cuban inspiration and advice."

She also told the newspaper that the plan provides for strengthening the guerrilla force at the expense of the regular army, and the force would grow to 2 million by 2019.

Chavez, who took power in 1999, is seeking re-election in October after declaring himself free of the cancer he has battled for a year, AFP reported.

He has frequently accused the United States of seeking to destabilize his government.

Machado sought to oppose him in the October election, but was defeated in February's primary.

Editor's Note:

5. Boxers — Not Tiger — Now Top-Earning Athletes

After a 10-year reign as the world's highest-paid athlete, golfer Tiger Woods has been dethroned by two boxers as the top-earning sports figure.

Champion boxer Floyd Mayweather earned $85 million from June 2011 to June 2012 to become the leading money earner, according to Forbes magazine's list of the 100 top earners. In second place is boxer Manny Pacquiao, who made $62 million.

The Forbes figures include salaries, prize money, appearance fees, licensing and endorsement income during the 12-month period.

Mayweather maximizes his earnings by also acting as his own fight promoter, collecting all revenue from tickets and pay-for-view and paying all costs, including his opponent's purse.

Tiger Woods is in third place, earning $59.4 million, down $16 million from the previous year and half of what he earned in 2009 thanks to the loss of several sponsors.

LeBron James is No. 4 and the top earner among the 13 basketball players on the list. He earned $53 million.

Football players are the most numerous on the list, with 30 players ranking among the 100 highest-paid athletes. Peyton Manning was the top earner among NFL players and No. 10 overall at $42.4 million.

Rounding out the top 10 are tennis star Roger Federer ($52.7 million), basketball all-star Kobe Bryant ($52.3 million), golfer Phil Mickelson ($42.8 million), and soccer players David Beckham ($46 million) and Cristiano Ronaldo ($42.5 million).

The highest-paid baseball player, Alex Rodriguez, ranks only No. 18, with $33 million in earnings.

Just two women are among the top 100: tennis stars Maria Sharapova at No. 26 ($27.9 million) and Li Na at No. 81 ($18.4 million).

The list also includes two cricket players — at No. 31 and No. 78 — and track star Usain Bolt, who ranks No. 63 with earnings of $20.3 million.

Even the No. 100 athlete on the list, baseball pitcher Jake Peavy, earned a handsome $16.6 million over the 12-month period.

Editor's Note:

6. ADL Urges Ban Ki-moon to Shun Tehran Conference

The Anti-Defamation League has urged U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to refuse to speak at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Iran due to the Islamic Republic's "extreme and dangerous policies."

The Iranian government invited Ban to address the gathering, which is being held in Tehran beginning on Aug. 26. But the Secretary General's office refused to confirm or deny that he accepted the invitation.

Iran is assuming the presidency of the 120-member NAM for the next three years.

The ADL said in a letter to the Secretary General: "Your presence in the Iranian capital at this time will be counterproductive to the efforts of the international community to bring Iran into compliance with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions."

And Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said: "The Secretary General should publicly commit that he will not go to Tehran to address the NAM conference.

"We strongly believe that such a visit will be a grave mistake, and serve to legitimize and bolster the Iranian regime and its extreme and dangerous policies. At a time when responsible members of the international community are working together to pressure Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program by increasing its isolation, we would expect the Secretary General to express support for that effort by announcing he will not be traveling to Tehran. His apparent hesitation to make such an announcement is inexplicable."

The ADL noted in an Aug. 14 statement that Iran has refused to permit the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect military installations, championed "the violently repressive Syrian regime," and its leaders have "spouted vile anti-Semitic rhetoric from U.N. podiums."

CNS News reported on Aug. 10 that Iran's vice president for international affairs, Ali Saeedlou, told the semi-official Fars news agency that Ban would be participating at the conference.

He also said the West and the "Zionist regime" were trying to prevent a "magnificent" summit to thwart the promotion of Iran's "justice-seeking" views.

The state-run IRNA news agency also reported that Ban was "expected to take part."

Asked if this was true, Ban's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said: "We are obviously aware of those reports. I cannot confirm them, and I'm not going to comment on them, OK?"

In June, when the U.N. co-sponsored an event with Iran to mark the U.N.'s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, another Iranian vice-president, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, accused Jews of driving global drug trafficking and various other conspiracies, including the killing of black babies.

As recently as Wednesday, Iran once again threatened Israel with destruction. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he was confident "the fake Zionist [regime] will disappear from the landscape of geography."

The NAM comprises most of the world's developing nations, including regimes hostile to the U.S. like Iran, Cuba, and North Korea.

Iran succeeds Egypt as the chair, and Egypt's two predecessors were Cuba and Malaysia. After Iran, Venezuela is set to assume the leadership in 2015.

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Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Sunday, 19 August 2012 11:23 AM
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