Monthly Archives: October 2012

PETA wants memorial where fish died in Irvine car crash

via LA Times:

 

RoadsideMemorial_fish_Irvine1 (1)

 

On behalf of a leading animal rights group, an Irvine woman is asking the city to erect a memorial at the street corner where 1,600 pounds of live fish died this month when a container truck was involved in a three-vehicle crash.

Dina Kourda, a volunteer with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote to the Irvine Public Works Department to request that a sign be placed at the intersection of Walnut and Yale avenues to honor the lives of the fish — believed to be saltwater bass — lost in the accident.

The fish, the Orange County Register reported, were being hauled to a Ranch 99 Market, an Asian supermarket.

The fish had been stored in large tanks that cracked open as a result of the Oct. 11 accident. When firefighters opened the back of the truck, some fish flopped out, and others had already died. None of the people involved in the accident were seriously injured.

“Although such signs are traditionally reserved for human fatalities, I hope you’ll make an exception because of the enormous suffering involved in this case, in order to remind drivers that all animals – whether they’re humans, basset hounds or bass–value their lives and feel pain,” Kourda wrote.

Ashley Byrne, a spokeswoman for PETA, said the organization had called for memorials for other types of animals such as cows and pigs before, but this was the first time the group has called for a fish remembrance.

She said it’s appropriate.

“Hundreds of fish perished in this accident, suffocating slowly on the roadway,” she said.

In her letter, Kourda said that research shows that fish “use tools, tell time, sing and have impressive long-term memories and complex social structures …”“The proposed sign would also remind tractor-trailer drivers of their responsibility to the thousands of animals who are hauled to their deaths every day,” Kourda wrote.

She wrote that the sign should be placed at the edge of the right-of-way, at a spot far from the road, as to prevent it from interfering with traffic.

Craig Reem, a spokesman with the city of Irvine, said he was not familiar with the city’s procedure for dealing with such a request.

“I do think it’s fair to say we have no plans to erect a memorial,” he said.

United Nations Monitors Will Oversee US Presidential Election Voting

via Govt Slaves: 

 

United Nations Monitors Will Oversee US Presidential Election Voting

“We will have a world government whether you like it or not. The only question is whether that government will be achieved by conquest or consent.” (February 17, 1950, Paul Warburg, as he testified before the US Senate)

Here at NTEB, we have speculated at length on what type of dirty tricks Obama will use to retain his grasp on power in America. Some have suggested he will declare martial law and cancel the elections. Others have said he and George Soros will buy the vote. But whatever form it intimately takes. the following story on vote monitoring by the United Nations should send a cold, wet chill down your spine. At the very least, you should be outraged.

How does a country lose it’s sovereignty? Piece by piece, and bite by bite… and this is one giant gulp.

From The Hill: United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week. The intervention has drawn criticism from a prominent conservative-leaning group combating election fraud.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers around the county on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places.

Liberal-leaning civil rights groups met with representatives from the OSCE this week to raise their fears about what they say are systematic efforts to suppress minority voters likely to vote for President Obama.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP and the ACLU, among other groups, warned this month in a letter to Daan Everts, a senior official with OSCE, of “a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans — particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities.”

The request for foreign monitoring of election sites drew a strong rebuke from Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote, a conservative-leaning group seeking to crack down on election fraud.

“These activist groups sought assistance not from American sources, but from the United Nations,” she said in a statement to The Hill. “The United Nations has no jurisdiction over American elections.”

The observers, from countries such as Germany, France, Serbia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, will observe voting at polling places and other political activity.

“They [will] observe the overall election process, not just the ballot casting,” said Giovanna Maiola, spokeswoman for OSCE. “They are focusing on a number of areas on the state level, including the legal system, election administration, the campaign, the campaign financing [and] new voting technologies used in the different states.”

In a follow-up e-mail, Maiola noted that it is a limited election-observation mission. She said “the OSCE has regularly been invited to observe elections in the United States, in line with OSCE commitments.”

Access of international observers during voting is explicitly allowed in some states such as Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Mexico.

“State law does not generally provide for international observers,” Maiola said. “However, through our contacts at state and county level in certain states, we managed to secure invitations at local level and we have taken up the offer to observe. Where this is not possible, we will respect the state regulation on this matter and will not observe in precincts on Election Day.”

International observers will follow up on the concerns raised by civil rights groups

“We attended their meeting, we took note of the issued they raised and we asked our observers in the field to follow up on them,” said Maiola.

The OSCE has 56 participating states from Europe, Central Asia and North America, including the United States and Canada. It has assessed elections in the United States since 2002.

Voting is expected to be more contentious this November than in past years because of a running battle over election law pitting conservative groups and Republican state officials against the Obama administration and liberal allies.

The Obama campaign scored a victory this week when the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal filed by Republican officials in Ohio seeking to limit the state’s early voting program.

Last month in Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court declined to immediately review lower-court rulings invalidating a voter-identification law signed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker. In Florida, judges stopped attempts to restrict voter-registration drives but allowed measures to reduce days of early voting and to remove non-citizens from voting rolls to stand.

Both sides expect wrangling over voter identification and eligibility to extend to polling places and are recruiting armies of volunteers for Election-Day showdowns.

True the Vote, a group with Tea Party origins, has an ambitious plan to deploy hundreds of thousands of volunteers at polling stations to monitor election fraud.

“We may surpass a million volunteers or fall short, it will be hard to know,” said Engelbrecht. “But we’re very excited about the level of enthusiasm, the number of volunteers, and the fact that we had a positive impact in bringing awareness to this important issue, of election integrity.”

Democratic allies will counter with their own forces. The AFL-CIO will dispatch 300 lawyers to monitor poll workers and third-party groups challenging voter registration.

The Advancement Project, a self-described multi-racial civil rights organization, will send more than 3,000 poll watchers to battleground states.

The Election Protection coalition, which includes Democratic allies such as the Sierra Club, Service Employees International Union and People for the American Way, plans to recruit 8,000 to 10,000 volunteers to cover 80 cities and counties.

“We hope that all groups that are putting people at a polling place, that they should follow the law and they should be there to make sure that responsible Americans who wish to participate in our democracy are able to free of intimidation,” said Eric Marshall, co-leader of Election Protection.

Civil rights groups have complained about what they say are subtle efforts of intimidation. They point to a billboard campaign in swing states such as Ohio warning voter fraud is a felony punishable by up to three and a half years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Engelbrecht of True the Vote says intimidation is not her group’s motive.

“We are not in the business of picking winners or losers, but instead, to ensure that the process is iron-clad,” she said. “Properly trained a capable poll watchers or workers should offer no indication of their partisan or ideological leanings to voters at the polls.” source – The Hill

8,803,335: Another New Record for Disability—Up 975 Per Day Under Obama

via CNS: 

 

U.S. Treasury

(CNSNews.com) – The number of American workers collecting federal disability insurance benefits hit yet another record high in October, according to the Social Security Administration.

This month 8,803,335 disabled workers are collecting benefits, up from the previous record of 8,786,049 set in September.

In February 2009, the first full month after President Barack Obama took office, there were 7,469,240 workers collecting federal disability insurance. Thus, so far in Obama’s term, the number of workers collecting disability has increased by 1,334,095. That works out to a net increase of about 29,646 per month (1,334,095 divided by 45 months), or an average increase of about 975 per day (1,334,095 divided by 1,369 days).

During George Bush’s eight years as president, the number of workers collecting federal disability insurance increased by 2,375,258, rising from 5,067,119 in February 2001 to 7,442,377 in January 2009. That equaled an average net increase of about 24,742 per month and 813 per day. In Bush’s second term alone, the number of workers on disability increased by 1,198,575, equaling an average monthly increase of about 24,970 and an average daily increase of about 820.

I Would Vote For Governor Romney If He Were A Democrat

via Business Insider: 

Now that I created a headline that got your attention. Sorry, this is a 140 character headline world, right?

Romney presidential debate 3

I couldn’t resist writing about the irony of the race to be POTUS.

What are two of the biggest, if not the biggest issues in this presidential election? Healthcare and the Economy

Consider the following:

1. Who invented ObamaCare and has the most successful implementation to date?

2. We are in a period where the government is borrowing money at a net effective rate of less than zero percent. Who has made hundreds of millions of dollars and a career of borrowing significant amounts of money to acquire companies in heavily leveraged deals?

It’s crazy, but true.

1. Of course Governor Romney basically invented Obamacare for the state of Massachusetts.

Imagine the following conversation from a Democratic candidate Romney with a hypothetical Republican candidate:

“Business in the US needs certainty over healthcare costs. With my RomneyCare program instituted across the country big businesses will no longer have to deal with the variability and uncertainty from state to state in healthcare costs and benefits. They will no longer have to face the uncertainty of state and local politicians pushing their agendas that can create annual changes and huge cost increases at the expense of well negotiated and time tested plans like RomneyCare. Ask my Republican opponent which state, other than Massachusetts has been able to get their Healthcare costs and services under control? It’s not like they all haven’t been trying. Massachusetts is the only state which has been able to create any level of certainty in healthcare costs and services. Which is exactly what businesses want and why we need RomneyCare as a national program.“

2. As the head honcho at Bain Capital, a private equity firm, Governor Romney made huge profits by borrowing heavily to acquire companies and then operating them with the goal of getting an operating return on capital or selling the companies for a profit. He turned the art of using leverage into an art form. I should add here that I fully understand that Bain was not and is not a slash and burn Private Equity firm. They put people in their acquired companies to try to improve operations rather than just slash costs. But that is not really the issue here. Governor Romney knows how to invest using debt.

The real issue is that rather than saying that he thinks its a horrible idea for the government to invest in companies and that he would not permit it, I really, really would love to see him take the opposite approach and own and crow about the fact that he is a MASTER of USING DEBT.

Lets get back to our debate with a Democratic candidate Romney and a hypothetical Republican candidate:

“No one knows how to get a return on capital better than I do. I’m great at it. Look at my history. With the government’s ability to borrow at an effective tax rate of less than zero, I promise you as President that I will know better than anyone how to get a return on investment for the American people. In this time when we need to grow the economy and create jobs, we need to cut ineffective and inefficient government spending in bureaucracy and administrative and increase investment where we can get the greatest return for the American peopleAnd you know what makes my approach all the sweeter? We are borrowing money from China DIRT CHEAP and I will invest that to create American jobs!

We need to invest in American companies. We need to invest in new technologies. We need to invest in Research and Development. We need to invest in new medicines and healthcare options. Now some people might say that it will be very difficult to pick winners and losers and they are right. It will be very difficult. There will be losers. More importantly there will be winners. Winning investments will create jobs. Winning investments will create new technologies and medicines that improve the standard of living for all of us and does so at a lower cost. We won’t compete with private investment, we will complement it.

Right now my friends the economy is growing. No its not growing as fast as we like and too many people don’t have jobs or are underemployed, but it is growing and that growth is accelerating, led by an improvement in the housing market. My plan is to let that growth continue to accelerate and to also continue the existing Bush Tax Cuts with the exception of an increase in individual taxes from 35pct to 39pct for those earning more than 1mm dollars. I will also increase capital gains from 15 pct to 20pct and eliminate the advantages of carried interest.

I believe in America. I believe our future is bright. I will do what corporate America is not doing and no amount of effort to manipulate the tax code will make them change, I will invest in America and create jobs.

My Republican friends on the other hand, believe that if you reduce tax rates, large corporations hoarding cash will miraculously bring that cash back to the US and invest and hire . Trust me. I know investment. That won’t do it. They can borrow money so cheaply there is no reason to bring it home and it certainly won’t lead to jobs. If they had something to invest in that would generate a return, they would. They haven’t.

Again, they won’t invest in America. I will.

As a long time investor, I have never turned down an investment because of tax rates. I was just as successful investing when capital gains were much higher. I was just as successful investing when individual tax rates were much higher. No smart investor turns down a good deal because of tax rates. I always remind people you only pay taxes on profits. And if you make more than 1mm dollars in profits, whether through capital gains or ordinary income, you should pay more taxes. 

Now look at the alternative my Republican opponents are proposing. The Republican candidate is trying to convince us all that it is going to be easy to convince both sides of Congress to come together and figure out at what number they can cap individual tax deductions. He is also saying that he is going to reduce corporate taxes AFTER he is able to get consensus on which corporate deductions to eliminate. That is not going to happen unless we outlaw corporate lobbyists. Everyone is for eliminating all deductions other than their own. The idea that everyone will happily agree to compromise is not consistent with the actions of this Congress and not going to happen.

(It’s not going to happen. He is not going to be able to get anyone to agree on which deductions to eliminate. Not only that, he believes that the net result of these improbable actions is that tax revenues from corporations will go up. Do we really believe that corporations will gladly accept an increase in their net tax bill? I don’t think so.)

So my friends it comes down to this. Do you trust my Republican opponent to convince Congress to do the right thing and work together like a big happy family and do it quickly, or do you trust my track record and ability to get this economy back on track through smart investments in the ingenuity and ambition of the America people. There is no greater opportunity than here in America. Lets invest in America. Let’s create jobs.

Now is the time to vote Democrat. Now is the time to Vote for Romney.

Hey, this is all fiction but hopefully you can see the same irony I did.

Damn, I am so ready for a 3rd party.

Maybe I will start one on KickStarter.

 

 

Tina Fey Slams Todd Akin’s ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comment

via Business Insider: 

 

Tina Fey called Republican congressman Todd Akin out Wednesday night when she spoke at the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Inaugural Gala in New York.

tina fey todd akin

Fey was among those to sign a Bill of Reproductive Rights to support the Center’s new Draw the Line campaign to help fight for women’s rights.

When she took the stage at Lincoln Center, she made it a point to address Akin’s remark from August suggesting victims of “legitimate rape” aren’t at risk for pregnancy.

“I wish we could have an honest and respectful dialogue about these complicated issues, but it seems like we can’t right now,” said Tina Fey.  “And if I have to listen to one more grey-faced man with a $2 haircut explain to me what rape is, I’m going to lose my mind.”

The comedian was among stars Stanley Tucci, Janeane Garofalo, and Jill Flint to attend the event supporting reproductive rights.

The event raised more than $1.2 million for the center.

Check out the clip below courtesy of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

Obama’s Lead Has Completely Evaporated In Two Key Swing States

 

via Business Insider: 

 

President Barack Obama’s lead in battleground states Colorado and Virginia have vanished in the past month, according to new NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Marist and Fox News polls of the states.

Barack Obama

Obama is now tied with Republican Mitt Romney in Colorado among likely voters in the new NBC-WSJ-Marist poll, down from a 5-point lead in mid-September. In Virginia, a 7-point advantage in a September Fox News poll has crumbled, and Romney now leads by 2 points.

In Colorado, Obama has gotten slammed in the past month with Independents. An 11-point lead last month has slimmed to a virtual tie. Romney has also expanded his lead to 13 points among men and closed the gap to just a 3-point disadvantage among women. Obama and Romney met for the first debate in Denver, where Romney won handily.

Independents have also moved toward Romney in Virginia. They now prefer him by an astounding 22 points, compared with an even split last month. Obama’s lead with women in the state has been cut in half to just 6 points.

Significantly, though, the NBC-WSJ polls also show that Obama has maintained a 50-47 lead in battleground state Nevada, which mirrors a result from Public Policy Polling released yesterday. If Obama is able to hold onto Nevada along with Wisconsin and Ohio (two places where he is currently leading polling), he would be on track to 270 electoral votes.

 

TSA Releases Top 20 List of Airports According to Employee Firings for Theft

via Prison Planet: 

TSA Releases Top 20 List of Airports According to Employee Firings for Theft tsabottle3

 

A FOIA request filed by ABC News revealed statistics on TSA worker thefts and has facilitated a list of U.S. airports arranged according to the number of employees that were fired due to thefts.

The list arrives just in time for the holidays, when the nation’s airports are set to be the busiest, and 16 out of the 20 busiest airports top the list.

ABC News published the list of the major airports where theft-related firings were most prevalent, as seen below. The number in parentheses reflects the number of fired workers.

1. Miami International Airport (29)
2. JFK International Airport (27)
3. Los Angeles International Airport (24)
4. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (17)
5. Las Vegas-McCarren International Airport (15)
6. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and New York-Laguardia Airport (14 each)
8. Newark Liberty, Philadelphia International, and Seattle-Tacoma International airports (12 each)
11. Orlando International Airport (11)
12. Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport (10 each)
14. Washington Dulles International Airport (9)
15. Detroit Metro Airport and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (7)
17. Boston-Logan International, Denver International and San Diego International airports (6)
20. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (5)

The revealed data comes on the heels of an undercover sting investigation conducted by ABC news in which they purposely left an Ipad behind at the Orlando International Airport screening terminal with hopes it would be stolen; and it was.

Two weeks later, with the help of a tracker app, ABC News was able to trace the Ipad back to the home of a TSA worker, who repeatedly denied that he was in possession of the stolen goods. The investigator then set off the tracker device’s alarm feature, forcing the TSA worker to produce the stolen Ipad from within his home.

A subsequent investigation and sting operation conducted at the nation’s ten busiest airports found no wrongdoing, and in fact showed the TSA followed proper procedures in terms of contacting passengers concerning their lost goods.

The federal agency has an annual budget of $8.1 billion dollars, however, screeners are among the lowest paid federal workers. The agency told ABC that a majority of its workers are honest, hard-working individuals, but we are constantly bombarded with unbelievable stories regarding their sub-human treatment of passengers.

This month alone, we’ve been subjected to a deluge of TSA horror stories, such as a dying woman being forced to remove her bandages and having her IV bag full of saline solution broken in full public view, a TSA worker caught stealing $500 from travelers as retaliation for complaining, TSAconfiscating cameras and deleting footage, an FBI employee coming forward with a TSA molestation claim, a frequent flyer recounting how the TSA smacked his testicles and more.

In addition, we’ve exposed a bizarre new drink-testing policy witnessed at the Columbus Ohio Airport last month where TSA agents walked around the airport’s departure lounge testing passengers’ drinks even though they had been purchased beyond the initial security checkpoint, and an additional, but equally ludicrous, “policy” where TSA agents barked “freeze” commands to innocent travelers playing out a weird kind of subservience drill.

While the TSA defends their workers as “honest, hard-working individuals,” the fact remains that screeners often take it upon themselves to steal, lie, and dish out punishment and retribution for passengers who attempt to stand up for their rights.

The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect us against unreasonable searches and seizures, and until the TSA is properly trained to uphold the rights of each individual passenger, the problem will never cease.

So if you’re thinking of flying this season, you may want to pack your expensive items lightly.

 

Court upholds ban on handgun sales to people under 21

via Reuters: 

(Reuters) – The United States may ban federally licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to people under age 21, an appeals court ruled on Thursday, in a defeat for the National Rifle Association.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston rejected the NRA’s argument that 18- to 20-year-olds had a right to buy the guns under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment.

A unanimous three-judge panel said Congress, in a law dating from 1968, adopted the sales ban to help curb violent crime. It also said that the nation’s founders and 19th-century courts and commentators believed that disarming specific groups did not trample on the right to bear arms.

“Congress was focused on a particular problem: young persons under 21, who are immature and prone to violence, easily accessing handguns,” mainly from licensed dealers, Judge Edward Prado wrote for the panel.

“The present ban appears consistent with a longstanding tradition of age- and safety-based restrictions on the ability to access arms,” he added.

Thursday’s decision upheld a September 2011 ruling by District Judge Sam Cummings in Lubbock, Texas.

The case had been brought a year earlier by the NRA, firearms dealers and individuals against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is part of the Department of Justice.

NRA DISAPPOINTED

The 5th Circuit said it was the first federal appeals court to address the ban since the Supreme Court in 2008 announced a broad Second Amendment right for individuals to keep and bear arms, in the case District of Columbia v. Heller.

“We are disappointed,” said David Thompson, managing partner at Cooper & Kirk in Washington, who represents the NRA. “The ruling is inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s opinion in Heller, and we are considering all of our appellate options.”

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In reaching its conclusion, the 5th Circuit also rejected an NRA request that it apply “strict scrutiny” in considering the sales ban.

It said a less rigorous review was appropriate because the law did not prevent 18- to 20-year-olds from using handguns for self-defense and other lawful purposes, and people subject to the ban would eventually surmount it by turning 21.

“The government has satisfied its burden of showing a reasonable means-ends fit between the challenged federal laws and an important government interest,” Prado wrote.

Prado was appointed to the 5th Circuit by President George W. Bush. He was joined in his opinion by Judge Carolyn Dineen King, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter; and Judge Catharina Haynes, who was also appointed by Bush.

The case is National Rifle Association of America Inc et al v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives et al, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 11-10959.

 

(Reuters) – The United States may ban federally licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to people under age 21, an appeals court ruled on Thursday, in a defeat for the National Rifle Association.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston rejected the NRA’s argument that 18- to 20-year-olds had a right to buy the guns under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment.

A unanimous three-judge panel said Congress, in a law dating from 1968, adopted the sales ban to help curb violent crime. It also said that the nation’s founders and 19th-century courts and commentators believed that disarming specific groups did not trample on the right to bear arms.

“Congress was focused on a particular problem: young persons under 21, who are immature and prone to violence, easily accessing handguns,” mainly from licensed dealers, Judge Edward Prado wrote for the panel.

“The present ban appears consistent with a longstanding tradition of age- and safety-based restrictions on the ability to access arms,” he added.

Thursday’s decision upheld a September 2011 ruling by District Judge Sam Cummings in Lubbock, Texas.

The case had been brought a year earlier by the NRA, firearms dealers and individuals against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is part of the Department of Justice.

NRA DISAPPOINTED

The 5th Circuit said it was the first federal appeals court to address the ban since the Supreme Court in 2008 announced a broad Second Amendment right for individuals to keep and bear arms, in the case District of Columbia v. Heller.

“We are disappointed,” said David Thompson, managing partner at Cooper & Kirk in Washington, who represents the NRA. “The ruling is inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s opinion in Heller, and we are considering all of our appellate options.”

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In reaching its conclusion, the 5th Circuit also rejected an NRA request that it apply “strict scrutiny” in considering the sales ban.

It said a less rigorous review was appropriate because the law did not prevent 18- to 20-year-olds from using handguns for self-defense and other lawful purposes, and people subject to the ban would eventually surmount it by turning 21.

“The government has satisfied its burden of showing a reasonable means-ends fit between the challenged federal laws and an important government interest,” Prado wrote.

Prado was appointed to the 5th Circuit by President George W. Bush. He was joined in his opinion by Judge Carolyn Dineen King, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter; and Judge Catharina Haynes, who was also appointed by Bush.

The case is National Rifle Association of America Inc et al v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives et al, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 11-10959.

‘Fiscal cliff’ already hampering U.S. economy, report says

‘Fiscal cliff’ already hampering U.S. economy, report says

via Washington Post: 

 

 

The “fiscal cliff” is still two months off, but the scheduled blast of tax hikes and spending cuts is already reverberating through the U.S. economy, hampering growth and, according to a new study, wiping out nearly 1 million jobs this year alone.

The report, scheduled for release Friday by the National Association of Manufacturers, predicts that the economic damage would deepen considerably if Congress fails to avert the cliff, destroying nearly 6 million jobs through 2014 and sending the unemployment rate soaring to near 12 percent.

Across the nation, companies are bracing for the fallout by laying off workers, letting jobs go vacant and postponing major purchases. Commerce Department data released Thursday show business investment stalled in September, as orders for core capital goods such as machinery and equipment plateaued at $60.3 billion.

“The general consensus is things are going to get a lot worse as people expect this fiscal cliff to be on us,” said Thomas Riordan, chief executive of Neenah Enterprises in Appleton, Wis., which makes cast-iron products such as truck axles and manhole covers.

The company has eliminated about 150 jobs over the past few months, and four of its six plants have begun operating on short workweeks. Like other business owners, Riordan expressed extreme frustration with Washington’s failure to deal with the looming crisis, leaving momentous decisions about the economy until after the Nov. 6 election.

“Everyone is blaming everyone else as the country grinds to a halt,” he said. “I don’t think the political leadership in this country has an understanding of how long it could take to turn this boat around.”

The term “fiscal cliff” is Washington shorthand for an array of policies set to take effect in January, sucking more than $500 billion out of the economy next year. That includes about $100 billion in automatic cuts to the military and federal agencies, adopted by Congress last year as part of a plan to reduce record budget deficits. It also includes about $400 billion in tax hikes, caused primarily by the expiration of a temporary payroll tax cut and other tax breaks adopted during the George W. Bush administration.

All told, the cliff amounts to the largest spurt of deficit reduction in more than 40 years. But it is also likely to push the fragile economy back into recession, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The CBO predicts that a recession would be significant but brief, with unemployment peaking around 9 percent and economic growth recovering during the second half of 2013.

The projections in the NAM report — prepared by Jeff Werling, executive director of the Interindustry Forecasting Project at the University of Maryland — offer a substantially darker view of the consequences of inaction, joining others who have questioned CBO’s relatively benign assessment.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, projects that unemployment will peak at more than 9 percent in a forecast that closely tracks that of the CBO. But he said: “The risks are decidedly to the downside. Given the economy’s extraordinary fragility and that the Federal Reserve is increasingly out of options, it isn’t hard to construct scenarios in which recession would be deep enough to raise the unemployment rate into the double digits. Policymakers would be taking a big risk going over the fiscal cliff.”

 

NAM is an advocacy organization and commissioned its report to persuade lawmakers to take action to avoid the cliff. Judging from the experience of NAM members and other data, Werling argues that anxiety about the cliff is already having an effect.

“We’ve probably already lost 0.5 percent of GDP growth in 2012, just from the fiscal cliff hovering over our heads,” Werling said in an interview. “People are taking precautionary measures. Even if you think there’s not much of a chance of this happening, businesses and consumers are still worried.”

Anecdotal evidence abounds, particularly among companies associated with the defense industry. The Pentagon budget is set to take a hit of nearly $55 billion in the fiscal year that ends next September, on top of other scheduled reductions. Defense contractors are already hunkering down.

Preparing for the worst, Mike Kelly, president and chief executive of Ann Arbor-based Nano­cerox, a supplier of advanced materials for laser systems, missile optics and radiation detection, said he embarked on an aggressive cost-containment strategy nine months ago. Kelly laid off four of his 22 employees and converted them to contract workers, froze salaries, renegotiated health benefits and tightened controls on spending.

Kelly said he’s also trying to shift business away from the defense industry and into the commercial marketplace. But lenders and investors have no interest in financing his expansion.

“When you tell them you’re an advanced materials company and your main client is the military, they run,” Kelly said. “We started nine months ago envisioning that we’d be in a world of hurt right now. And unfortunately, we bet right.”

Kellie Johnson, chief executive and owner of Ace Clearwater Enterprises in Torrance, Calif., said her business is also suffering. The maker of custom parts for the aerospace and power industries survived the recent recession on the strength of military orders from the U.S. government and abroad, Johnson said. She predicted 7 percent growth in revenue this year. But then this summer, “the orders just stopped.”

“Now it looks like we’ll be 4 percent less than last year,” said Johnson, who has stopped filling open positions in her 192-person firm and canceled a $500,000 equipment order. Instead of doing readiness surveys to measure her capacity to ramp up production, she said, potential customers “this year are coming in and doing risk mitigation, asking, ‘Hey, if these defense cuts go through, how are you diversifying? Are you going to be around in a couple years?’

“Honestly” she said, “this is the first time in my career that I have been so extremely concerned about the future of my company.”

While concern about the cliff is rising, a consensus about how to handle it has been elusive. President Obama and other Democrats have threatened to block action on the cliff unless the Bush-era tax cuts are allowed to expire on income of more than $250,000 a year. Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, want to maintain current tax rates for another year to give Congress time to tackle more far-reaching reforms — a position supported by the manufacturing association.

But on Thursday, a group of 80 high-profile chief executives said they are willing to accept higher taxes — accompanied by “significant spending restraint” — as part of a long-term plan to tame the $16.2 trillion national debt. Enacting such a deal, they said, would not only avert the cliff, but would also boost market confidence and perhaps spur economic growth.

“We can do this in a 10-year plan that doesn’t damage the fragile recovery,” Honeywell chief executive David Cote said during a news conference at the New York Stock Exchange just before the market’s opening bell.