Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9, 2012

Cruise Liner Exec Writes Scathing Letter to Obama Over New Regulations
by Erica Ritz
October 8, 2012

The most common complaints by business-owners against the current administration tend to revolve around the economic uncertainty and increased regulation that have made it next to impossible to plan for the future.

Stephanie Gallagher, the president of World City America Inc., is lending her voice to the fray after the Obama administration reportedly moved to prevent American cruise liners from being eligible to get the long-term financing under Title XI that make building something as massive as a cruise ship possible.

As Royal Caribbean acquires its third Oasis-class ship from Finland, Gallagher writes that World City America has invested over a decade and $60 million in designing a “superior product” that would be built in America, by Americans, and paying taxes to the U.S. government.

“Having demonstrated that our plan would be economically sound, would not cost the taxpayers anything, would not increase the debt but would improve the deficit, the only way to push us off the cliff was to enact policy that preempted the nation’s ship financing program from being used to build cruise ships.  That’s what the Obama Administration did,” Gallagher claims.

Gallagher’s main point of contention is that the cruise industry is overwhelmingly funded by American dollars, but the companies typically build the vessels out of the country, hire international employees, and pay far fewer taxes than a wholly American company would.

Gallagher thinks the change is the result of politics and special interests, and while she notes that both parties are susceptible to such incentives, Gallagher ultimately holds the current administration responsible.

Gallagher’s letter continues:
“…we do blame the Obama Administration for throwing down the gauntlet…for precluding America’s long-delayed entry into this booming US-driven market; for shutting the door on what we have proven is possible and viable if the government applied the Title XI regulations as intended – not as a subsidy for special interests, but as a job-creating, economy-boosting and tax revenue-generating program and policy.” 
“Why, Mr. Obama, would you choose this, of all times, to lock out American shipbuilders, hotel construction companies, hundreds of US suppliers in all fifty states, and thousands of long-term self-sustaining new jobs for our dwindling Merchant Marine and US hospitality workers?” 
“Why…when there are twenty-three million Americans out of work, would you decide to announce a policy that America and Americans can’t participate in this booming US-driven market that has grown steadily at 7% or more every year, recession or no recession, for decades?”
“All is fair in love and war,” Gallagher accepts in conclusion, adding: “but don’t tell the American people that you wake up every day thinking of ways to give the American workers a fair shot in the global economy.  Don‘t claim to ’walk the walk.’”

Read more: http://goo.gl/2LRon

Former U.S. security team leader in Libya: We told State we needed more security, not less
by Allahpundit
October 8, 2012

Ed flagged ABC’s story on this earlier today but I want you to watch the clip, as you’ll be seeing this guy again soon in front of Darrell Issa’s House Oversight Committee. Meet Lt. Col. Andy Wood, who until August was stationed in Tripoli as leader of a Special Forces “Site Security Team” at the embassy. Why didn’t he stick around until September at least, given that (a) the anniversary of 9/11 was impending and (b) according to basically everyone, Libya was becoming more dangerous? Don’t worry, State has an explanation:
One State Department source tells CBS News the security teams weren’t “pulled,” that their mission was simply over. 
State Department officials have told CBS News that Wood was not part of the security assessment in Benghazi and that his assignment to Tripoli means he was unfamiliar with the local situation in the smaller port city in the country’s east. 
Wood, however, says some of the members of his own team and additional personnel from the State Department’s elite security detail – the two teams which left Libya in August – would have traveled to Benghazi with Ambassador Stevens had they still been in the country. He did not say how many additional security agents might have been deployed for the Ambassador’s trip to the city, which is at least 400 miles east of Tripoli, but he tells Attkisson that he’s wondered if it might have made a difference on the night of the attack.
Remember, State also declined to intervene when local contractors tried to bring in a team of Americans to beef up security in Benghazi. For some strange reason, despite the obvious jihadist presence in eastern Libya and multiple warnings from different sources that they needed better protection, State seems to have resisted calls for a more robust security presence at every turn. That’s job one for Issa on Thursday. The “spontaneous protest” cover up is important too, but the CIA’s intelligence failure in detecting the attack and the White House’s security failure in not protecting Stevens are top priority.

And if there’s any time left over after those topics, maybe we can get an answer on the foot-dragging in investigating the scene of the attack:

The delay securing the site in Benghazi exposed more rifts within the administration. Senior U.S. officials said the State Department’s preference was to first try to reach a deal with the Libyans to provide the security. Talks with the Libyans dragged on, stoking frustration within the FBI and Justice Department. It wasn’t until late last week that the FBI and the State Department agreed to formally ask Pentagon officials to come up with a plan to secure the site. 
White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan intervened on Sept. 28 to break the impasse between the agencies, according to a senior administration official. 
A senior U.S. official critical of the White House’s handling of the matter said the White House exercised too little control as the efforts to get the FBI to Benghazi dragged on. “Where was the White House coordination?” another senior U.S. official critical of the response asked.
Before, during, and even after the attack, the White House blew every opportunity to act effectively. Obama has one chance left to get something right.

Read more: http://goo.gl/Zr06r

Amid foreign contributions scandal, Obama campaign claims it tries to stop illegal donations
by Matthew Doyle
October 9, 2012

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign commented for the first time Monday afternoon about a scandal concerning campaign donations that first broke at The Daily Beast, but the campaign offered no specifics about its social media fundraising system.

“We take great care to make sure that every one of our more than three million donors are eligible to donate and that our fundraising efforts fully comply with all U.S. laws and regulations,” Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher told Peter Schweizer of the Government Accountability Institute and Peter Boyer of Newsweek. (RELATED: Obama campaign may have illegally solicited foreign donors via social media website)

“Campaign officials say they use multiple security tools to screen all online credit card contributions, and then review, by hand, those donations that are flagged by their automated system,” Schweizer and Boyer reported.

“Potentially improper donations, such as those originating from foreign internet addresses, are returned to any donors who cannot provide a copy of their current U.S. passport photo pages,” according to the Obama campaign.

But the Obama campaign ignored specific questions about its donations system, according to Slate.com’s Dave Weigel.

“Why do Obama donation appeals go out to non-Americans, anyway?” Weigel asked Monday afternoon. ”And why isn’t the credit card protection stronger?”

“I’ve asked the campaign to clear this up and will update if they do,” Weigel wrote.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt has not returned The Daily Caller’s request for comment about claims that the campaign solicited and received financial contributions from foreign nationals who are ineligible to donate under federal law.

Read more: http://goo.gl/Ha6tK

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