Ann Romney, former Poland President Lech Walesa and Mitt Romney
These are my links for July 27th through July 30th:
A Trip to Poland, With an Eye on Swing States– Mitt Romney’s arrival in Poland on Monday provides an opportunity for the Republican candidate to embrace the ideals and values of one of America’s closest allies in front of a global audience.His campaign hopes they are watching in the Rust Belt.Mr. Romney arrived in Gdansk for the start of two days of talks with Polish leaders, to be capped off by remarks from Warsaw on Tuesday. Aides have signaled that he will focus on the relationship between the two countries and strategic concerns about Russia.But at home — where votes count — the trip’s imagery may be more important than the specifics of Mr. Romney’s policy pronouncements.
Polish voters make up large chunks of the electorate in several swing states that Mr. Romney must win if he wants to capture the White House in November. His campaign is clearly hoping that the high-profile visit this week will help woo those voters.
Walesa Endorses Romney– Lech Walesa today endorsed Mitt Romney for president, saying he hoped the Republican presidential candidate is “successful.”From the pool report:Flash: Lech Walesa, the Nobel Prize winner and former Polish president, has effectively endorsed RomneyYour pool was brought in at the end of the meeting and heard Walesa say the below thru a translator:
Walesa: “I wish you to be successful because this success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe and the rest of the world, too. Gov Romney, get your success — be successful!”
2012 Campaign Very Different Than Kerry vs. Bush– Does the 2012 campaign look a lot like the 2004 campaign? Many Democrats think so.And there are some resemblances. As in 2004, current polling suggests a close race and shows only about a dozen states in contention.As in 2004, the incumbent has been running negative ads against the challenger, hoping to disqualify him as Bill Clinton disqualified Bob Dole in 1996. Many Democrats think that Barack Obama’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s business career will have the same effect that they think the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads had on John Kerry in 2004.But, as William Galston of the Brookings Institution, an alumnus of the Clinton White House, writes in The New Republic, “the evidence in favor of all these propositions is remarkably thin.”
Galston points out that in 2004 no single issue was as prominent as the economy is this year and that on most significant issues George W. Bush had a clear edge by the end of the campaign. He cites polling evidence that the Swift Boat ads hurt Kerry less than did Bush ads replaying his March statement that “I did actually vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”
Also, he points out that many more voters this year think the nation is seriously off on the wrong track and that the economy is in trouble. Obama’s job rating now is weaker than Bush’s was then.
Galston, as usual, is on target. His analysis tracks with the statement of Democratic pollster Peter Hart (for whom I worked from 1974 to 1981) that Obama’s chances are “no better than 50 percent.”
U.S. crackdown on online-poker companies forces many players to flee the country– From his oceanfront balcony, Tyler Forrester glanced out at the Pacific surf on the beach. Palm trees rustled in the breeze.“Tough life I’m living,” Forrester said, cackling at his own humor.Forrester, 28, makes his living in a bedroom before two computer monitors playing online games of Texas Hold ’Em for hours on end. He’s a professional poker player, and a very successful one at that.Forrester, who grew up in Dillon, Mont., is one of probably 150 American professional online-poker players who flooded Costa Rica after U.S. federal prosecutors went after the founders of the three largest online-poker companies.
Paul Ryan’s Influence on the G.O.P. – ne day in March, 2009, two months after the Inauguration of President Obama, Representative Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, sat behind a small table in a cramped meeting space in his Capitol Hill office. Hunched forward in his chair, he rattled off well-rehearsed critiques of the new President’s policies and America’s lurch toward a “European” style of government. Ryan’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all died before their sixtieth birthdays, so Ryan, who is now forty-two, could be forgiven if he seemed like a man in a hurry. Tall and wiry, with a puff of wavy dark hair, he is nearly as well known in Washington for his punishing early-morning workouts as he is for his mastery of the federal budget. Asked to explain his opposition to Obama’s newly released budget, he replied, “I don’t have that much time.”
Cheney: Obama worse than Carter, ‘one of our weakest presidents’– Former Vice President Dick Cheney, in his first interview since a heart transplant operation in March, blasted President Obama calling him “one of our weakest presidents.”“Obviously, I’m not a big fan of President Obama,” said Cheney in an excerpt from an interview with ABC News aired Monday on “Good Morning America.” “I think he’s been one of our weakest presidents. I fundamentally disagree with him philosophically, be hard put to find any Democratic president I disagree with more.”Asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl if Obama was “worse than Jimmy Carter in your perspective,” Cheney responded “yes.”
Bill Clinton to Have Marquee Role at Democratic Convention– Former President Bill Clinton is set to play a central part in the Democratic convention, aides said, and will formally place President Obama’s name into nomination by delivering a prime-time speech designed to present a forceful economic argument for why Mr. Obama deserves to win a second term.The prominent role of Mr. Clinton, which is scheduled to be announced on Monday, signals an effort by the Obama campaign to pull out all the stops to rally Democrats when they gather for their party’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C. An even more important audience will be the voters across the country who will see the address carried by television networks
Voters say Romney, Obama equal on issues of character– Mitt Romney holds thin advantages over President Obama on leadership, personal values and honesty, according to a new poll for The Hill.The poll, conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, suggests voters see little difference between the candidates on character issues that Democrats have cited as key to Obama’s appeal.It found 48 percent of voters consider Romney the stronger leader, compared to 44 percent who favored Obama.
Americans Want Next President to Prioritize Jobs, Corruption – Creating good jobs, reducing corruption in the federal government, and reducing the federal budget deficit score highest when Americans rate 12 issues as priorities for the next president to address. Americans assign much less importance to increasing taxes on wealthy Americans and dealing with environmental concerns.
Romney screwed up in London. Does it matter?– What’s undeniable: former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s trip to London did not go as planned. Let’s review:* He called security problems for the Olympics “disconcerting.” The gaffe led to jabs from Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson. Romney, who has promised a “No Apologies” approach to the world, was forced to repeatedly backtrack.* He talked about his meeting with the leader of MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service. Such meetings are normally kept secret.* Anonymous officials snarked to the Daily Mail that Romney was a “total car crash,” “worse than Sarah Palin,” and “apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity.”
* The trip spawned a trending Twitter topic: #romneyshambles.
What’s less clear: whether anyone (outside of the “small island” of England) cares.
“We’re not worried about overseas headlines. We’re worried about voters back here at home in America,” Louisisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said Thursday in Romney’s defense. He makes a good point.
Team Romney Readies For “Saturday Obama Surprise”– After a disastrous 48-hour news cycle in London, the Romney campaign “wants the world to know” that they are prepared for a “Saturday Obama Surprise,” of unknown specifications.”We want to communicate to the world that we are ready for whatever they throw at us,” a Romney adviser told BuzzFeed unsolicited. “After poor economic numbers today, we are preparing for them to throw out absurdities, distractions, and anything else they can to divert from the economy.”When asked why Romney’s camp expected a sneak attack from the Obama campaign, the advisor said their guard was up because of “how they’ve conducted themselves in the past.”So far, the campaign’s preparations have entailed assembling an army of surrogates to fill the message void while Romney is out of the country, unable to attack Obama himself because “politics end at the water’s edge.”
The Opening Hypocrisies – However, especially in turbulent and chaotic times, when nations are choosing whether to pursue freedom or religious zealotry, civil war or reconciliation and respect for human rights or inhumanity, I wish we’d stop perpetrating the idea that all you have to do to be part of the “international community” is to show up. No, to be part of the “global community” and to encourage “common humanity and universal ideals” countries must foster liberty, abhor violence, practice tolerance and defend human rights. We shouldn’t blur the distinction between those who uphold those values and those who threaten them.
Strip Clubs in Tampa Are Ready to Cash In on G.O.P. Convention– Over at the back door of the 2001 Odyssey, a limo-size tent with flaps — especially designed for discretion and camera-shy guests — is ready to go up. Déjà Vu is welcoming extra “talent” from around the country in its V.I.P. rooms.And Thee DollHouse is all Americana: women plan to slip out of red, white and blue corsets and offer red, white and blue vodka. The headliner that week is expected to bear an uncanny resemblance to a certain ex-governor from a wilderness state, known for her strong jaw and devotion to guns and God.“She’s a dead ringer for her,” said Warren Colazzo, co-owner of Thee DollHouse. “It’s just a really good gimmick to get publicity.”As Tampa gears up for the Republican National Convention, the biggest party it has ever held, the city and its businesses are primping and polishing for the August arrival of tens of thousands of visitors. Like it or not — mostly not, for city officials — Tampa’s well-known strip clubs have joined the welcome wagon.
PETA: Let’s bet on Chuck Grassley’s death– Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley is chewing out the Agriculture Department for promoting “Meatless Mondays” for their employees, promising to eat more meat to make up the difference — a move PETA says it will counter by taking “informal bets” on when the Republican senator will die.“Shame USDA. One has to wonder whether the Dept of Ag supports Iowa farmers since it is promoting ‘meatless Monday’ for USDA employees,” Grassley said Wednesday night on Twitter. “I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate for stupid USDA recommendation abt a meatless Monday.”
Marco Rubio to raise cash for Mitt Romney in Texas– Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will head to Texas next month to raise cash for Mitt Romney.Rubio, a rising Republican star, and Romney’s brother, Scott, will headline two fundraising events for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee on Aug. 15 in San Antonio, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO.On behalf of the Romney Victory Fund, the two will host receptions at the Marriott Rivercenter in downtown San Antonio. Guests can get a photo with Rubio and Scott Romney for $5,000 per person. The general reception costs $250 per person.Later that night, Rubio and Scott Romney will be on hand at a $25,000-per-couple dinner at the San Antonio home of Nancy and Edward Steves, who previously backed the failed presidential campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The fundraising trip will come two-and-a-half weeks after Rubio stumps for Romney this weekend at the senator’s former elementary school in Las Vegas.
Saturday’s visit to Ronnow Elementary School, where Rubio attended as a child, represents the first solo campaign event for the vice presidential prospect. In recent days, close Rubio allies — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Romney adviser Al Cardenas — have urged the presidential hopeful to tap the freshman senator for the No. 2 job.
But most pundits believe Romney will go with a safer pick, such as former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.
Mitt Romney Namedrops Marco Rubio On Piers Morgan, Fueling Veep Speculation– Mitt Romney randomly mentioned Sen. Marco Rubio during a Piers Morgan interview, reigniting speculation that the Florida Republican will be the former Massachusetts governor’s running mate.n an advance clip posted on CNN from an interview airing Thursday night, Romney mentioned Rubio while discussing folks who “attack success.” The pushbacks against supposed attacks on achievement has been Romney’s answer to President Barack Obama and his surrogates’ attempts at labeling him as “out of touch” with middle-class America.In addressing the attacks, Romney, with wife Ann in tow, said, “I heard Marco Rubio the other day. He said, you know, we were poor living in Miami. We saw these homes across town. My parents never said to us, ‘Gee, why don’t those people gives us some of what they have?’
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“They said, instead, ‘Aren’t we lucky to live in a country where with education and hard work we might be able to achieve that ourselves?'”
Speculation around Romney’s veep pick is heating up with the Republican National Covention in Tampa, Fla., just over a month away, when the presumptive nominee will be take up the party’s standard.
Once a Rebel, McCain Now Walks the Party Line– As Election Day edges close and most members of Congress yearn to flee Washington, Senator John McCain of Arizona is more present than ever.Only there is a new iteration of the Republican lawmaker and defeated presidential candidate who has been a constant in the capital even as he regularly transforms himself. Absent is the maverick who bucked his party on the environment and campaign finance, and verbally towel-snapped Republicans and Democrats alike on the Senate floor.Gone, too, is the far-right leaning Mr. McCain of 2010, who found himself in a primary fight back home that caused him to retreat from his stances on immigration and global warming.Mr. McCain instead appears to have entered Version 3 of his long and multipronged Senate career — partisan warrior and party stalwart. He takes to the Sunday TV talk shows, the Senate floor and the Capitol hallways that are filled with more reporters than mosquitoes at a garden party to press his party’s agenda on taxes, military spending and national security.
Pentagon official says civilian workforce could get layoff notices 4 days before election– Tens of thousands of civilian employees in the Defense Department could receive warnings about potential layoffs four days before the November election if impending spending cuts aren’t averted, hitting presidential battleground states such as Virginia and Florida hard.The alerts would come in addition to any that major defense contractors might send out at the same time to their workers under an often-overlooked law, a prospect that is unnerving the White House roughly three months before voters go to the polls.
Newt Gingrich will officially end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and formally express his support for Mitt Romney next week, two sources close to Gingrich tell CNN.
While details are still being worked out, Gingrich is likely to hold his final campaign event Tuesday in Washington, DC where he will make the announcement surrounded by his family and supporters.
It is not surprising that Gingrich is suspending his campaign for the White House as he has all but acknowledged it is winding down and Romney is the presumptive GOP nominee.
“When he says he is transitioning, what he means is that he is trying to determine as a citizen how he will pro-actively help Mitt Romney become president and the Republican Party win back the Senate and help (House Speaker) John Boehner keep his majority in the House,” said one of the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
It appears that Gingrich’s focus will be much broader than the presidential campaign, as the former speaker, who made his name and career in the House, plans to be actively involved in helping the GOP take back control of both sides of Capitol Hill.
The Arizona Faceoff – The Administration Tries to Nullify a State Immigration Statute – The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday in that other major case that has the political class on edge—Arizona’s immigration law. As with health care’s individual mandate, the Obama Administration is again making claims about the scope of federal power that upset the Constitution’s federalist structure—in this case, to unilaterally nullify state laws that the President happens to oppose.The Justice Department sued Arizona for its 2010 law that requires police to enforce federal immigration statutes. Justice charged that Republican Governor Jan Brewer violated the Supremacy Clause that says federal laws pre-empt state laws. And ordinarily the Administration lawyers would have a point, since the Constitution expressly tells Congress to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” and the courts have long interpreted that to mean that Congress has plenary power over immigration policy.
5 Ways to Jumpstart Cancer Prevention – Know most cancers are preventable. Cancer isn’t all genetics or bad luck. Research confirms more than half of cancer in the U.S. is preventable. The top preventable causes of cancer are lifestyle choices: smoking, obesity, diet, and lack of physical activity (PDF). In 2011, there were 572,000 deaths from cancer. That’s at least 286,000 people that could be alive today had they modified just one of those risk factors. We as a society need to make changes in the way we live and shift our thinking about cancer prevention and wellness.
PokerStars Reaches Agreement to Buy Full Tilt, Settle with DOJ – PokerStars has reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice, pokerfuse can reveal. Part of the deal involves the purchase of Full Tilt Poker and full repayment of all players.The specifics of the deal are not yet known, and no statement has yet come from any parties involved.
Rumors that PokerStars has reached a deal with the DOJ to purchase Full Tilt Poker began swirling early Tuesday morning on poker forum 2+2. Sources have corroborated the story with Pokerfuse that a deal has indeed been reached but could not confirm any specific details.
Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Chili Gaming, stated on twitter that PokerStars has paid $750m to acquire Full Tilt and settle its outstanding legal issues with the DOJ. A reported $330m of that price will go to repay Full Tilt account holders with the remainder believed to be in settlement of outstanding charges against PokerStars.
How a British Marathoner’s Death Inspired Over $825,000 in Online Donations – The death of a British runner during Sunday’s London Marathon has inspired over $825,000 in online donations for Samaritans, the charity she was was supporting.Claire Squires, 30, a hairdresser from Leicestershire, England, was just one mile away from the finish line when she collapsed. Squires was pronounced dead on the scene, and investigations into the cause of her death are expected in the coming days.
Squires’ death has sparked an outpouring of donations to her JustGiving page, which states, “I’m running the london (sic) marathon for Samaritans because they continuously support others.” As of writing, more than 45,000 individual donations have accumulated, and the number continues to grow.
Samaritans is the world’s oldest and largest suicide prevention network. According to the Daily Telegraph, Squires’ brother died from an overdose in 2001 at the age of 25. Her mother has also volunteered for the charity for more than 20 years.
The Long Stall – California’s jobs engine broke down well before the financial crisis. – Everybody knows that California’s economy has struggled mightily since the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession. The state’s current unemployment rate, 12.1 percent, is a full 3 percentage points above the national rate. Liberal pundits and politicians tend to blame this dismal performance entirely on the Great Recession; as Jerry Brown put it while campaigning (successfully) for governor last year, “I’ve seen recessions. They come, they go. California always comes back.”But a study commissioned by City Journal using the National Establishment Time Series database, which has tracked job creation and migration from 1992 through 2008 (so far) in a way that government statistics can’t, reveals the disturbing truth. California’s economy during the second half of that period—2000 through 2008—was far less vibrant and diverse than it had been during the first. Well before the crisis struck, then, the Golden State was setting itself up for a big fall.
California’s population growth is slowing dramatically, study finds – California’s population will grow much more slowly in the next few decades — and that is good news for the state’s still-struggling economy, according to new population projections by USC.The report by USC researchers John Pitkin and Dowell Myers says that through 2050, at least, the state’s population growth will not reach the boom rates of recent decades, especially the 1980s. But California’s population, now about 37 million, will still grow at “manageable” rate for years to come, Myers said.
The report, the third in a series of population projections by the Population Dynamics Research Group in USC’s public policy school, says the slowdown is mainly the result of a dramatic drop in immigration to the state, part of a nationwide trend.
The report expects the California population to grow at less than 10% for each of the next several decades. By comparison, the population surged 26% — more than 6 million people — in the 1980s, a decade the researchers now say was an anomaly. The growth rate was 14% in the 1990s and 10% in the decade just ended.
Ann’s first tweet came just moments after Democratic strategist and DNC adviser Hilary Rosen lobbed an insult at Ann Romney, suggesting that the 64-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 16 had never held a job.
“Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” said Rosen, who was being interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the “war on women.”
And then, just like that, a familiar name popped up on Twitter: @AnnDRomney.
“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work,” Ann tweeted.
The Romney campaign confirmed to ABC News that the account belongs to Ann Romney.
The tweet came just as husband Mitt wrapped up a second day of campaigning that all but entirely focused on the “war against women,” packing events with female business leaders and accusing the Obama administration’s economic policies of hurting women.
“I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a tweet.
Top Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod also tweeted his disapproval: “Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.”
The reaction on Twitter from high level politicos was instant and virtually unanimous: Rosen had gone too far.
Rosen’s comment also prompted Ann Romney herself to make her twitter debut.
“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys,” Romney tweeted. “Believe me, it was hard work.”
Rosen, also a CNN political contributor and a working mother, made her comments on CNN’s “AC360.”
“What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country, saying, ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’ Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” Rosen said.
Hilary Rosen: Ann Romney and Working Moms – My Twitter feed was on fire after an appearance last night on CNN’s AC360, where I said that I thought it was wrong for Mitt Romney to be using his wife as his guide to women’s economic struggles when she “had never worked a day in her life.” Oh my, you should read the tweets and the hate mail I got after that. The accusations were flying. I don’t know what it means to be a mom (I have 2 children). I obviously don’t value the work that a mother does and how hard it is (the hardest job I have ever had); and I absolutely hate anyone who doesn’t have the same views as I do (hate is a strong word).
Spare me the faux anger from the right who view the issue of women’s rights and advancement as a way to score political points. When it comes to supporting policies that would actually help women, their silence has been deafening. I don’t need lectures from the RNC on supporting women and fighting to increase opportunities for women; I’ve been doing it my whole career. If they want to attack me and distract the public’s attention away from their nominee’s woeful record, it just demonstrates how much they just don’t get it.
Why did Reagan give those speeches? Contrary to Obama’s suggestion that he was specifically arguing for a new tax provision aimed at the superwealthy, Reagan was barnstorming the country in an effort to reduce taxes for all Americans, mainly by cutting rates, simplifying the tax system and eliminating tax shelters that allowed some people to avoid paying any taxes at all.
In other words, Reagan was pushing for a tax cut for everyone, not just an increase on a few. (The highest tax bracket at the time was 50 percent.) He even wanted to cut the tax rate on capital gains from 20 percent to 17.5 percent.
This Will Be The Highest Stakes Poker Game In History – A never-before-seen $1 million buy-in tournament at the World Series of Poker this year will generate the richest top prize in poker history at more than $12 million —and potentially more if additional players get in.
Series officials planned to announce Thursday that 30 players are committed to participate in the Big One for One Drop starting July 1 in Las Vegas
Google+ gets major redesign with simpler UI and more customization – Google announced this morning that Google+ is set to receive a massive redesign over the next few days that will make it easier to use and much more intuitive. The company has been innovating quickly with its social network, and this is just another example of their commitment to the platform.
For starters, the main page has seen a complete overhaul. Rather than your tabs bring up top as well as along the side, you’ll get icons along the left panel. These are also customizable, so if you don’t want the Games icon, you can simply move it. There are also quick actions that you can access for each icon by hovering over them.
Posting photos and videos is getting an upgrade as well. Larger content will appear in your Stream now whether you’re sharing it yourself or viewing pictures from your friends. Google is adding a feature that they’re calling ‘cards’, which are streams of conversations that you can join. There will also be an activity drawer to highlight important content.
Great news: Subprime lending escalating again – Hey, who’s up for the hair of the dog that nearly destroyed the American financial system in 2008? The good news is that the sudden increase in subprime lending hasn’t hit the mortgage market yet. The bad news is that it’s hitting just about everywhere else:
But as financial institutions recover from the losses on loans made to troubled borrowers, some of the largest lenders to the less than creditworthy, including Capital One and GM Financial, are trying to woo them back, while HSBC and JPMorgan Chase are among those tiptoeing again into subprime lending.
Credit card lenders gave out 1.1 million new cards to borrowers with damaged credit in December, up 12.3 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to Equifax’s credit trends report released in March. These borrowers accounted for 23 percent of new auto loans in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from 17 percent in the same period of 2009, Experian, a credit scoring firm, said.
Consumer advocates and lawyers worry that the financial institutions are again preying on the most vulnerable and least financially sophisticated borrowers, who are often willing to take out credit at any cost.
These are my links for September 19th through September 20th:
Highlights from the Full Tilt Ponzi Lawsuit – WSJ – As our colleague Alexandra Berzon is reporting, the government today said online-poker website Full Tilt cheated players out of their money. In part, an amended lawsuit from the government said Full Tilt claimed to hold money from players’ bank accounts that was being used instead to pay profits to Full Tilt’s owners and for other purposes.
Here are a few highlights from the government complaint. (And read the government’s amended lawsuit here):
* Disguised payments from banks: “The principals of the Poker Companies…deceived or directed others to deceive United States banks and financial institutions into processing billions of dollars in payments for the Poker Companies, by, among other things, arranging for the money received from United States gamblers to be disguised as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants and other non-gambling businesses…” the lawsuit said.
In part, the lawsuit says some of the defendants tricked Visa and Mastercard — which had blocked payments to gambling sites — by directing “others to apply incorrect transaction codes…and create the false appearance that the transactions were completely unrelated to internet gambling.” The lawsuit says an Absolute Poker document from 2007 identified 20 Internet shopping websites — including petfoodstore.biz and bedding-superstore.tv — used as fronts for credit-card transactions.
* Shifting money: “[I]n or about the summer of 2010, Full Tilt Poker’s payment processing channels were so disrupted that the company faced increasing difficulty attempting to collect funds from players in the United States. Rather than disclose this fact, Full Tilt Poker simply credited players’ online gambling accounts with money that had never actually been collected from the players’ bank accounts. Full Tilt Poker allowed players to gamble with — and lose to other players — this phantom money that Full Tilt Poker never actually collected or possessed.”
U.S. Chamber Sues NLRB to Block Notification Rule – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce today filed a lawsuit against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) challenging the Board’s new rule requiring businesses to post notices explaining employees' rights to unionize. The Chamber’s lawsuit alleges that the misguided NLRB rule violates federal labor and regulatory laws as well as the First Amendment. The case, Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board, et al. is in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina.
“The NLRB has no authority to impose any of these requirements,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the Chamber’s public policy law firm. “This is nothing more than labor regulation run amok. Adding insult to injury, the Board’s new rule violates the First Amendment by forcing employers to use their own resources to post the NLRB’s pro-union message on the company’s own property.”
The Chamber’s lawsuit alleges that the NLRB’s final rule regarding Notification of Employee Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act (“Notification Rule”) violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), and the First Amendment. Significantly, the rule creates a new “unfair labor practice,” exposing businesses to significant and costly liability for failure to comply. The Rule — which applies to virtually all private employers in the United States — becomes effective on November 14, 2011.
“At a time when the private sector is striving to create desperately needed new jobs, it is disappointing to see that the NLRB is imposing new and unnecessary regulations on employers,” said Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits. “The latest rule is part of the NLRB’s pattern of tipping the scale in favor of unions, at the expense of employers and employees alike.”
According to the Chamber’s lawsuit:
• Nowhere does the NLRA give the NLRB authority to coerce employers to post such notifications, or to impose onerous penalties for those who fail to post the notices.
• In violation of the APA, the rule arbitrarily and capriciously excludes from the mandatory notice a description the fundamental rights of employees to be free of compulsory union membership and compulsory union dues.
• The NLRB violated the RFA by failing to properly assess the significant economic impact the rule would have on small businesses.
• The rule violates the First Amendment by compelling employers to post the NLRB’s ideological views on unionizing.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said on Tuesday they were filing legal papers as part of a civil money laundering complaint that alleged Full Tilt Poker improperly used funds of online poker players to pay members of its board of directors, including famous poker players Howard Lederer and Christopher “Jesus” Ferguson, $440 million since April 2007.
Bharara announced the filing of a motion to amend a forfeiture and civil money laundering complaint that was filed in April, alleging that Full Tilt and board members Lederer, Ferguson and Rafael Furst, together with Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar, defrauded poker players out of some $300 million by not maintaining funds at the company sufficient to repay players.
“Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme,” Bharara said in a statement. “Full Tilt insiders lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited.”
Federal prosecutors have drawn up an amended complaint that names Bitar, Lederer, Ferguson and Furst, adding them to the original complaint which was filed seeking $3 billion from Full Tilt Poker and an unrelated poker company, PokerStars. The proposed amended complaint claims that in 2008 and 2009 Full Tilt sent emails to its players and posted messages on online poker message boards, assuring players that “unlike some companies in our industry, we completely understand and accept that your account money belongs to you, not Full Tilt Poker.” But the new complaint claims that the company did not have enough funds to repay players and that by March 31 Full Tilt only had $60 million or so in its bank accounts while owing $390 million to players around the world, including $150 million in the U.S.
Federal prosecutors claim that Full Tilt’s board members got rich because the company used player funds to pay them massive amounts of money that largely was transferred to their accounts in Switzerland and other overseas locations. Specifically, the feds allege that Bitar pocketed $41 million and Lederer got $42 million. Jesus Ferguson allegedly was allocated $87 million in distributions and received at least $25 million, federal prosecutors claim.