Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
Religion Clause: Atheist activist Michael Newdow is looking for individuals who will act as plaintiffs in a new set of challenges to “In God We Trust” on U.S. coins and currency.
Charisma News: “Americans need not be forced to abandon their religious heritage simply to appease someone’s animosity toward anything that references God,” said Rory Gray of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Christian News Network: Rory Gray of the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom praised the ruling, stating that the Second Circuit reached the proper decision, which he noted has been “repeatedly affirmed” in the courts.
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Rory Gray tells OneNewsNow those who filed the suit didn’t really have a case. “We think that the emotional outrage has become a bit too much – and I think the court agreed,” he says. “This case was actually dismissed at a very early stage on the complaint basically. The district court threw it out and it went up to the Second Circuit and they issued an opinion that said that the national motto is a reflection of our religious heritage and it’s constitutional ….”
The Washington Post: “Americans need not be forced to abandon their religious heritage simply to appease someone’s animosity toward anything that references God,” said Rory Gray of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Americans need not be forced to abandon their religious heritage simply to appease someone’s animosity toward anything that references God. Courts have repeatedly affirmed that the national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ is constitutional and can be used on U.S. currency. The 2nd Circuit rightly reached the same conclusion because this suit was based on a deeply flawed understanding of the First Amendment.
The Hill: Heritage Action announced Monday that it would include a vote on Yellen’s nomination, which is expected to take place in December, on its congressional scorecard. A vote in favor of Yellen will be rated negatively.
Religion Clause Blog: The Detroit News reported yesterday that CAIR-Michigan has asked the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to look into charges that JPMorgan Chase is closing bank accounts of Muslim customers in the metropolitan Detroit area.
The Hill: Yellen was approved in a vote of 14 to 8, garnering the support of 11 of the panel’s 12 Democrats, as well as three Republicans: Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.), Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.). The remaining seven Republicans on the panel opposed the nomination, as did Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
Christian Institute: David Cameron has announced plans to issue a Sharia law bond in the UK, making it the first non-Muslim country to do so.
Christian Concern: Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans for Britain to become the first non-Muslim country to issue an Islamic bond in a bid to make London one “of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world”.
CNBC: Sen. Rand Paul is threatening to put a hold on the nomination of Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve, a source close to the Kentucky Republican said Friday.
Chriss W. Street at Breitbart: Having benefited for twenty years from their under-valued currency, importing manufacturing jobs, and exporting lower priced products, China’s comparative advantage is being destroyed by America’s oil and natural gas fracking boom. The Chinese communist authorities are terrified their loss of competitiveness will cause unemployment and the social consequences that flow from it. But with the terms of trade now substantially against China, convincing the world to dump the U.S. dollar as reserve currency and switch to the Chinese “renminbi” is their best hope to try to save tens of millions of manufacturing jobs.
The Hill: During an interview to air Sunday on CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS, Lew said top administration officials are intent on separating the debt ceiling from the broader debate over fiscal policy this year.
Tom Ehrich at Religion News Service: As I officiate at a family wedding in this charming coastal city, it seems to me the institution of marriage is alive and well — and in serious trouble. The trouble isn’t out-in-the-open homosexuality, birth control, abortion, assertive women, or any of the right-wing alarms. The trouble is poverty. The less affluent you are, the more likely you are to have a child without the benefit of a partner, at an age too young for effective parenting, and in chaotic living arrangements.
Trevor Butterworth at Forbes: A good marriage is unrealistic given the economic stresses haunting blue collar America and especially low-income black communities: the loss of earning power and status among low and unskilled men, and large numbers in prison or engaged in drug dealing. The simple fact behind the decline of marriage in the US is economic pragmatism. “Marriage is becoming a class privilege,” said Kefalas. All the talk of recession and culture and cohabitation and education is a way of avoiding talking about the economic collapse of an entire class of American male.
Zero Hedge: As the NYT reports, in just the past two years, the numbers of Greeks engaging in prostitution as a last course source of income has more than doubled: according to the National Center for Social Research, the number of people selling sex has surged 150 percent in the last two years.
“The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), along with 19 other plaintiffs is suing the U.S. treasury for stamping “In God We Trust” on currency. Honorary FFRF board member, Mike Newdow, is acting as legal counsel in the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on February 1, 2013.”
Rasmussen: Fifty-nine percent (59%), though, say that is no longer possible, up from 55% in late January and the highest level of pessimism in over four years of surveying.
NCPA Policy Digest: A new Reason-Rupe poll reveals Americans’ attitudes about federal spending and the gun debate, among other issues.
Chicago CBS Local: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is putting more pressure on gun makers to get behind his push for an assault weapons ban and criminal background checks for gun purchasers.
The HIll: The House on Wednesday put new pressure on the Senate to pass its first budget in nearly four years, by approving a bill that threatens to withhold senators’ pay until that work is done.
Law360.com: The federal government has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a Federal Circuit en banc ruling that found congressional efforts to withhold judicial salary adjustments violated the compensation clause of Article III of the U.S. Constitution.
CNSNews: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that the debt limit is “not real” and should not be part of any negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff.
NCPA Policy Digest: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) have started to plan their own development bank, as well as a bailout fund to help many countries around the world. This is done in response to the growing dissatisfaction of Western banking institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), says The Diplomat.
Chris Cox and Bill Archer at the Wall Street Journal‘: As Washington wrestles with the roughly $600 billion “fiscal cliff” and the 2013 budget, the far greater fiscal challenge of the U.S. government’s unfunded pension and health-care liabilities remains offstage. The truly important figures would appear on the federal balance sheet—if the government prepared an accurate one. But it hasn’t.
AP: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez faced a nationwide strike on Tuesday, led by the union bosses who used to be her most steadfast supporters.
CNSNews: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Friday that Congress should stop placing legal limits on the amount of money the government can borrow and effectively lift the debt limit to infinity.
CNSNews: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Wednesday that if the $16.394 current legal limit on the federal government’s debt must be raised in the next few months by another $2.4 trillion, “We’ll raise it.”
Ben Bernanke: Currency Manipulator: Latin America is rightly worried about the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.
Wall Street Journal: In the final televised presidential debate, Mitt Romney promised that if he is elected on Nov. 6 he will “label China a currency manipulator” on “day one” of his presidency. He also pledged to pay more attention to trade with Latin America, noting that the region’s “economy is almost as big as the economy of China.” To be consistent, Mr. Romney should call out the Federal Reserve on day two for engaging in its own currency manipulation by way of “quantitative easing,” which undermines the value of the dollar relative to Latin American currencies.
NY Times: His name is Bernard von NotHaus, and he is a professed “monetary architect” and a maker of custom coins found guilty last spring of counterfeiting charges for minting and distributing a form of private money called the Liberty Dollar.
CNBC: “I’ve been in this business a long time and believe me there is essentially no difference from one administration to another no matter what the platforms,” said Paul, a former hopeful for the GOP nomination. “The foreign policy stays the same, the monetary policy stays the same, there’s no proposal for any real cuts and both parties support it.”
AP: The government borrowed about 31 cents of every dollar it spent in 2012. The string of $1 trillion-plus deficits has driven the national debt above $16 trillion. The magnitude of that figure has intensified debate in Congress over spending and taxes but little movement toward compromise.
Bloomberg: The International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecasts as the euro area’s debt crisis intensifies and warned of even slower expansion unless officials in the U.S. and Europe address threats to their economies.
NY Times: The first outbreak of public anger over Iran’s collapsing currency and other economic maladies jolted the heart of the capital on Wednesday, with the riot police violently clamping down on black-market money changers, hundreds of citizens marching to demand relief and merchants in the sprawling bazaar closing their shops in protest.
Forbes: It doesn’t matter who is elected president in November, the Federal Reserve effectively runs the economy and surely is in charge of the dollar. With QE3 already in the works and some even asking whether or not a QE4 will be needed, one thing is certain: read my lips, there is more dollar weakness ahead and neither Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama can change that.
CNSNews: That was more than all the debt the federal government accumulated between July 4, 1776 when the United States declared independence from England and sometime in October 1942, which was ten months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II.
John Hayward at Human Events: This argument about saving the Fed from “politicization” is made whenever the topic of congressional oversight is broached. Some of Bernanke’s argument sounds self-refuting. If the Fed’s monetary policy is now the only thing saving us from even worse unemployment, how can we continue to treat it as an inscrutable “black box” forever insulated from the people and their representatives? We’re being told that an awfully large component of our economic engine cannot be opened by the end users, without voiding the warranty. As for Bernanke’s argument about low interest rates keeping the deficit down, the thing to remember is that he’s on the verge of losing control over those interest rates, precisely because the world’s investors (and the credit rating agencies they respect) have grown tired of watching American monetary policy used as a straitjacket to contain our insane spending habits.
U.S. Gov’t Employees Among Top Campaign Contributors to Obama; Bankers Among Top Contributors to Romney
CNSNews: U.S. government employees and their families have thus far contributed $396,550 to President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, making them one of the top five sources of cash for the campaign to reelect the president, according to Opensecrets.org.
CNBC: The latest round of extraordinary Federal Reserve stimulus is risky and leaves little room to maneuver should another crisis hit, economist Lawrence Lindsey told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday.
Sean Fieler at the WSJ (via Google): The more than five-fold increase in the median income of the American household since 1971, to $50,000 from $9,000, certainly provides the clear appearance of progress. But after the dollar’s 82% loss of purchasing power over the same period is factored in, the median household income rose just 12%. This much more modest increase is largely the result of the growing prevalence of two-income households . . . The median real income for working men over the same 40-year period rose just 8%. And that improvement only accrued to the ever-shrinking percentage of men fortunate enough to still have full-time jobs—just 67%, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, within a percentage point of the lowest level on record since the figure was first recorded in 1948.
Wall Street Journal (via Google): Chinese and South Korean central-bank officials criticized the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest easing efforts and advocated reducing Asia’s dependence on the U.S. dollar. The comments Thursday, at a joint seminar in Beijing by the two central banks, are the clearest indication yet of a rising backlash in Asia against U.S. monetary policy, suggesting it could speed up the search for alternatives to the dollar as the main global currency.
Ron Paul: Because the interest rate is the price of money, manipulation of interest rates has the same effect in the market for loanable funds as price controls have in markets for goods and services.
NCPA Policy Digest: In the face of slow growth, the Federal Reserve has pursued another round of quantitative easing to help alleviate economic concerns. However, the Fed’s policy is simply a regressive redistribution program that has been boosting wealth for those already engaged in the financial sector or those who already own homes, but passing little along to the rest of the economy, according to Anthony Randazzo, director of economic research at the Reason Foundation.
The Hill: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke underlined his concerns about the fiscal cliff in a closed-door meeting with senators Wednesday. The head of the nation’s central bank met privately with members of the Senate Finance Committee, as he continued to make his case to lawmakers that they must adjust policy before the end of the year to avert a fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts that economists argue could thrust the nation back into a recession.
NCPA Policy Digest: As Americans continue to deal with one of the worst recessions in history, many people are opting out of using banks and instead relying on check cashers and payday lenders. This is problematic because most Americans turn away from banks because they don’t have funds to justify the cost of keeping an account, but the alternative can result in high fees and interest rates, says the Washington Post. A study released this month had several findings about the interactions between people and their banks (or lack thereof).
CNBC: Ratings firm Egan-Jones cut its credit rating on the U.S. government to “AA-” from “AA,” citing its opinion that quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve would hurt the U.S. economy and the country’s credit quality.
George Will at Human Events: Fortunately, not everything is up to date in Kansas City. Esther George, president of the regional Federal Reserve Bank here, is refreshingly retrograde regarding what less-circumspect people welcome as the modernizing of the nation’s central bank into a central economic planner. She has concerns, both prudential and philosophical, about the transformation of the Fed in ways that erase the distinction between monetary policy, which is the Fed’s proper business, and fiscal policy, which is inherently political.
Human Events: Now the spigot is open — wide open. QE III is here. And the Fed is about to become a campaign issue, whether it likes it or not. Chairman Ben Bernanke announced Thursday that the Fed would spend $40 billion a month on mortgage-backed securities with no set date to end those purchases.
Reuters: The Federal Reserve launched another aggressive stimulus program on Thursday, saying it will buy $40 billion of mortgage-related debt per month until the outlook for jobs improves substantially as long as inflation remains contained.
NY Times: The European Central Bank on Thursday announced a sweeping program for buying the bonds of troubled euro zone countries, giving the bank potentially unprecedented power.
FoxNews (includes video): Fully two-thirds of the national debt is owed to the U.S. government, American investors and future retirees, through the Social Security Trust Fund and pension plans for civil service workers and military personnel. China, it turns out, holds less than 8 percent of the money our government has borrowed over the years.
Ron Paul: Amazingly, a new system was devised which allowed the U.S. to operate the printing presses for the world reserve currency with no restraints placed on it– not even a pretense of gold convertibility! Realizing the world was embarking on something new and mind-boggling, elite money managers, with especially strong support from U.S. authorities, struck an agreement with OPEC in the 1970s to price oil in U.S. dollars exclusively for all worldwide transactions. This gave the dollar a special place among world currencies and in essence backed the dollar with oil. In return, the U.S. promised to protect the various oil-rich kingdoms in the Persian Gulf against threat of invasion or domestic coup. This arrangement helped ignite radical Islamic movements among those who resented our influence in the region.
NCPA Policy Digest: The persistent inability of the Fed to stimulate aggregate demand makes it difficult to escape the reality that the U.S. economy is stuck in a liquidity trap.
Financial Times: Drafts of the party platform, which it will adopt at a convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, next week, call for an audit of Federal Reserve monetary policy and a commission to look at restoring the link between the dollar and gold.
The Hill: The Pew Research Center found that median income for the middle class dropped by 5 percent, in the first decade since World War II where family incomes declined across the board. In a decade that saw both recession and a financial crisis, median wealth for the middle class dropped even more sharply, by some 28 percent.
David Skeel at the Wall Street Journal (via Google): No one doubts that the coming election will be the most important referendum on the size and nature of government in a generation. But another issue is nearly as important and has gotten far less attention: our crumbling commitment to the rule of law.
Daily Report Online: Federal Circuit to hear case claiming Congress unconstitutionally withholds judges’ cost-of-living pay adjustments
CNSNews: The money the U.S. government owes to foreign entities rose to a record $5.2923 trillion in June, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury Wednesday afternoon.
Cong. Ron Paul: As Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises explained, sound money is an instrument that protects our civil liberties against despotic government. Our current monetary system is indeed despotic, and the surest way to correct things simply is to legalize competing currencies.
Daily Caller: Emails obtained by The Daily Caller show that the U.S. Treasury Department, led by Timothy Geithner, was the driving force behind terminating the pensions of 20,000 salaried retirees at the Delphi auto parts manufacturing company.
Reuters: Legislation to subject the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy to audits sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday although the measure is expected to die in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Washington Times: The overwhelming 327-98 vote sends the bill to the Senate where Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has previously expressed support for an audit — though it’s unclear he’ll carve out time for the legislation this year.
Newsmax: “It’s the policy of the fed, the destruction of money, the intervention. It’s a system that is very biased against the middle class. It’s been well known that if you destroy a currency, there is a natural transfer of wealth from the middle class to the very wealthy.”