These are my links for January 27th through January 30th:
Newt expressed support for Obama health care plan in ’09 – On a May 2009 conference call for the Center for Health Transformation, Newt Gingrich called the health care reform debate “healthier” than in 1993 and said the model being discussed was “the kind of general model we’re going to be advocating”:
The good thing is that unlike the Hillarycare process of 1993, we don’t have 500 people in a room hiding in a room trying to write the magic bill that’s gonna go through on an up or down vote. We actually have a process underway where lots and lots of different players have a real opportunity to have input. And I think in that sense this is already a healthier process than we saw in 1993, and a more open process.
He also discussed the concept of a mandate:
We believe that there should be must carry – that is, everybody should either have health insurance or if you’re an absolute libertarian, we would allow you to post a bond, but we would not allow people to be free riders failing to insure themselves and then showing up at the emergency room with no means of payment.
The tough-guy Hollywood star — perhaps best known for his role in “Delta Force” and TV series “Walker, Texas Ranger” — endorsed Newt Gingrich more than a week ago and on Monday the former House speaker’s campaign pointed to his words as evidence that the “mainstream media” and “Washington elite” are out of touch with the everyday voters.
“Proof! Voters are smarter than media, Washington elite,” reads the subject line of an email blast from R.C. Hammond, the Gingrich campaign spokesman.
In a new commentary Mr. Norris inked for WND.com, the Oklahoma native delivers a stinging rebuke of the “mainstream media” and “Washington Elite” while breaking down the state of the GOP contest between Mr. Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
“The race will be tighter than expected,” Matt Towery, chief pollster of InsiderAdvantage told Newsmax.
Cain: Finishing second a ‘win’ for Gingrich in Florida – Former presidential candidate and freshly minted Newt Gingrich surrogate Herman Cain downplayed the former Speaker’s chances for a win in Florida’s pivotal primary, citing the Romney campaign’s aggressive spending in the state.
“My expectation isn’t necessarily that he will win because of the sheer difference in spending. But my expectation is that he is going to have a much stronger showing than the weekend polls have been showing. There was one last night that showed that Gingrich is a lot closer to Romney,” Cain said during an interview Monday with Fox News. “So this thing is so dynamic, we won’t know until the votes are counted tomorrow night in Florida.”
Cain said that considering the circumstances, he would consider a second-place finish a “win” in the Florida primary — and reiterated Gingrich’s pledge to carry forward past Florida.
Enter Sally Pipes, the renowned health care expert and president of the Pacific Research Institute. Pipes has a way to replace Obamacare’s expensive government health care bureaucracies with a market-driven system that she says would offer better treatment to patients while saving taxpayers money.
“I wanted to do a blueprint so politicians, staffers and people in the states could say ‘this is what I believe in,” Pipes said of her new book, “The Pipes Plan,” during an extensive interview with The Daily Caller.
The memo stresses that Mitt Romney currently has just 33 of the 1144 delegates needed (Gingrich has 25 of 1144).
In addition, more than 20% of the available delegates (467) will be awarded on Super Tuesday March 6, 2012, and the memo notes that, one of the Super Tuesday states is Georgia, with 76 delegates at stake. To put that in perspective, “even if Romney wins Florida on Tuesday, he will only have 83 total delegates; Newt’s home state could effectively cancel out his entire delegate count to date.”
Re: Newt and Individual Mandate – Thanks to Joe for posting this latest example of Gingrich’s utter disdain for real individual liberty. The way I have described it, Republicans/conservatives considering voting for Gingrich are showing a massive case of collective amnesia or, worse, a massive procilivity to (political) suicide that is so strong that they may as well OD on pills, stand at the top edge of a 1,000-foot building, and fire a gun at themselves, just to make sure that if one method of suicide doesn’t work another one will. As an observer of politics, from a purely neutral standpoint, Gingrich’s rise in the polls is astonishing, especially in a year when Republicans are supposedly absolutely desperate for a winner above all else — for somebody who can beat Obama, regardless of philosophical purity. How can a guy who absolutely imploded the only time he was in power, a guy around whom Bill Clinton ran rings, a guy who can’t keep himself from absurdly grandiose statements and from major verbal gaffes at least every six months (MAJOR, not just minor), possibly be expected to defeat Obama?
Herman Cain’s campaign a study in ineptitude – Herman Cain is in the midst of “reassessing” whether to continue his 2012 bid, but its legacy is already settled: His campaign will go down as one of the most hapless and bumbling operations in modern presidential politics, setting a new standard for how to turn damaging press coverage into something far worse.
The botched responses to allegations of marital infidelity, sexual impropriety and his own gaffes — not to mention the puzzling strategic decisions — have, in the eyes of many veteran strategists, reached record levels of ineptitude.
Rove: GOP Faces Most ‘Vicious’ Election Battle Ever – Highly respected political analyst Karl Rove tells Newsmax that Republicans stand a 55 percent chance of regaining the White House in 2012 but warns that President Barack Obama’s “hard-nosed Chicago pols” will run a vicious campaign to smear the GOP nominee.
In an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Newsmax.TV, Rove says the president has “walked out on his daytime job” to focus exclusively on re-election, predicts Obama won’t jettison Vice President Joe Biden in 2012, and doubts that a third-party candidate will emerge in the presidential race.
The 2012 race will be the toughest the GOP has seen, Rove warned, adding that Obama’s Chicago-run operation “is going to take the Republican nominee and subject him or her to the worst beating of their life, every day for roughly 11 months.”
“It’s going to cause him problems in Iowa, which is an immigration-sensitive state, and I, frankly, personally agree with him that there needs to be a practical way to resolve the situation of people who are in the United States.”
And interestingly, Rove then says that Newt told him that he was — in Roves’s description — “persuaded by the arguments of John McCain and Mike Huckabee that we need to find a humane and practical way to do this.”
Conservatives should think twice about Newt – Newt Gingrich’s surge to the top of the Republican presidential field has some conservatives imagining the former House Speaker as the anti-Romney. Gingrich is encouraging such a view with his claim that he is “certainly more conservative” than the former Massachusetts governor. The Manchester (N.H.) Union-Leader’s endorsement added to the perception of a growing “newt-mentum” to anoint Gingrich as the preferred conservative in the Republican presidential field. But there are substantial reasons why thoughtful conservatives should think very carefully before jumping on this bandwagon.
There are, for example, gaping holes in Gingrich’s conservative credentials. As the American Spectator’s David Catron pointed out Monday, Gingrich has long been a fan of Dr. Donald Berwick. Berwick just resigned as President Obama’s director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees Obamacare. Obama put Berwick there because of his professed love for Britain’s socialized medicine.
Berwick’s views are so radical that not even a Democratic Senate would confirm him, yet Gingrich wrote this in a Washington Post op-ed published in 2000: “Don Berwick at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has worked for years to spread the word that the same systematic approach to quality control that has worked so well in manufacturing could create a dramatically safer, less expensive and more effective system of health and health care.”
Gingrich’s wonkish delight in industrially rationed health care may come as a sho
These are my links for November 25th through November 29th:
BREAKING: Cain ‘Reassessing’ Candidacy – In a conference call this morning, Herman Cain told his senior staff that he is “reassessing” whether to remain in the race. He will make his final decision “over the next several days.”
UPDATE: National Review was on the call. It lasted 5 minutes.
“Obviously, you’re all aware of this recent firestorm that hit the news yesterday,” Cain began, his voice somber. “First thing I want to do is say to you what I have said publicly: I deny those charges, unequivocally. Secondly, I have known this lady for a number of years. And thirdly, I have been attempting to help her financially because she was out of work and destitute, desperate. So thinking that she was a friend, and I have helped many friends, I now know that she wasn’t the friend that I thought she was. But it was a just a friendship relationship.”
Why Mitt Romney needs Herman Cain – The latest allegation swirling around businessman Herman Cain — that he conducted a 13-year long extramarital affair with a woman named Ginger White — could well amount to a political death blow for his already-reeling presidential campaign. And that’s bad news for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
The lawsuit by Mariposa Republican George Radanovich, who left Congress in January, marks the latest of numerous attacks by GOP interests against districts drawn for the first time by an independent citizens commission.
Radanovich’s federal suit contends that the panel violated federal voting-rights law and the U.S. Constitution by seeking to protect three African American incumbents in the drawing of three Los Angeles congressional districts.
What if the individual mandate was unconstitutional? – An alarming article in Politico.com looks at what could happen if the Supreme Court determines that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate provision is unconstitutional—something that the current conservative leaning of the Court seems to indicate is somewhat more likely than not.
Assuming that such a possible decision by the Court follows that of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in ruling that the mandate is unconstitutional but the remainder of the ACA may stand, the Politico.com article anticipates some potentially disastrous consequences.
The provisions of the ACA—some of them already in force—include guaranteed issue, elimination of annual and lifetime limits, and a ban on basing premiums on health status, essentially decoupling coverage and premiums from insurance risk. Without the requirement for almost everyone to have coverage, there will be nothing to ensure that the risk pool contains a large percentage of individuals in good health as well as those with medical problems, and nothing to stop anyone from waiting until they’re sick or injured to demand coverage.
Chris Christie: President Obama’s just a ‘bystander’ – Gov. Chris Christie on Monday tore into President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the supercommittee’s failure to reach an agreement on debt reduction last week, asking the president, “What the hell are we paying you for?”
Calling Obama “a bystander in the Oval Office,” the outspoken New Jersey governor said the White House spent the weekend tossing out a whole lot of “spin” about the supercommittee’s inability to come to an agreement before the Nov. 23 deadline.
“I was angry this weekend, listening to the spin coming out of the administration, about the failure of the supercommittee, and that the president knew it was doomed for failure, so he didn’t get involved. Well then what the hell are we paying you for?” Christie said during a press conference in Camden, N.J. “It’s doomed for failure so I’m not getting involved? Well, what have you been doing, exactly?”
Obama Abandons the Working Class – The timing may be a little embarrassing, appearing as it does on the eve of Mr. Obama’s visit to Scranton. Still, the authors are probably correct. For all of Joe Biden’s nostalgia about the blue-collar virtues of his home town (where he hasn’t lived since the early days of the Eisenhower administration), the coal mines shut down years ago and many in the white working class have been drifting to the Republican Party.
The authors therefore suggest that Mr. Obama’s best demographic bet for 2012 lies in holding white college graduates. They are also up front about the vulnerability. Mostly they phrase it politely—”the perceived inability of the Obama administration’s policies to spark real recovery”; “serious doubts about Democratic stewardship of the economy”; or “disenchantment on the economy.”
That shouldn’t be a hard sell in places like Scranton, where the 9.7% unemployment rate is the worst in the state. When the Obama stimulus came, Lackawanna County spent nearly half of the $39 million it received on education, which means teachers. The city has been deemed “finally distressed” for two decades, and just this month the mayor released a new budget that includes a 29% hike in property taxes.
These are my links for November 14th through November 15th:
Dr. Coburn Releases Report Exposing Billions in Giveaways for Millionaires – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new report “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous” illustrating how, under the current tax code, the federal government is giving billions of dollars to individuals with an Annual Gross Income (AGI) of at least $1 million, subsidizing their lavish lifestyles with the taxes of the less fortunate.
“All Americans are facing tough times, with many working two jobs just to make ends meet and more families turning to the government for financial assistance. From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Multi-millionaires are even receiving government checks for not working.
“This welfare for the well-off – costing billions of dollars a year – is being paid for with the taxes of the less fortunate, many who are working two jobs just to make ends meet, and IOUs to be paid off by future generations. We should never demonize those who are successful. Nor should we pamper them with unnecessary welfare to create an appearance everyone is benefiting from federal programs,” Dr. Coburn said.
These billions of dollars for millionaires include $74 million of unemployment checks, $316 million in farm subsidies, $89 million for preservation of ranches and estates, $9 billion of retirement checks, $75.6 million in residential energy tax credits, and $7.5 million to compensate for damages caused by emergencies to property that should have been insured. All and all, over $9.5 billion in government benefits have been paid to millionaires since 2003. Additionally, millionaires borrowed $16 million in government backed education loans to attend college. On average, each year, this report found that millionaires enjoy benefits from tax giveaways and federal grant programs totaling $30 billion. As a result, almost 1,500 millionaires paid no federal income tax in 2009.
ObamaCare and the Limits of Government – The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether ObamaCare is constitutional, granting certiorari in a case brought by 26 states shortly after that law was enacted in March of last year. In so doing, it will be ruling upon the very nature of our federal union.
The Constitution limits federal power by granting Congress authority in certain defined areas, such as the regulation of interstate and foreign commerce. Those powers not specifically vested in the federal government by the Constitution or, as stated in the 10th Amendment, “prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The court will now determine whether those words still have meaning.
As we argued two years ago in these pages, the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is unconstitutional. First and foremost, the law requires virtually every American to have health insurance. Congress purported to impose this unprecedented “individual mandate” pursuant to its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce, but the requirement is not limited to those who engage in any particular commercial or economic activity (or any activity at all). Rather, the mandate applies to everyone lawfully present in the United States who does not fall within one of the law’s narrow exclusions.
Over the last couple weeks, congressional Democrats have told The Hill that the law faces danger in the hands of the Supreme Court, which The New York Times editorial page recently labeled the most conservative high court since the 1950s.
While the lawmakers are not second-guessing the administration’s legal strategy, some are clearly bracing for defeat.
“Of course I’m concerned,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). The justices “decide for insurance companies, they decide for oil companies, they decide for the wealthy too often.”
The pessimism is fueled in part by the John Roberts court’s decision in the 2010 Citizens United case on corporate spending in elections, which Brown has called the “worst” in his memory.
The comments underscore the gamble the White House took when it opted not to seek to delay the high court’s review until after the 2012 election. That decision leaves the fate of Democrats’ signature domestic achievement in the hands of a right-leaning court that has consistently ruled against liberals on everything from campaign finance to the District of Columbia’s gun ban to Bush v. Gore.
Kagan to Tribe on Day Obamacare Passed: ‘I Hear They Have the Votes, Larry!! – On Sunday, March 21, 2010, the day the House of Representatives passed President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan and famed Supreme Court litigator and Harvard Law Prof. Laurence Tribe, who was then serving in the Justice Department, had an email exchange in which they discussed the pending health-care vote, according to documents the Department of Justice released late Wednesday to the Media Research Center, CNSNews.com’s parent organization, and to Judicial Watch.
“I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing,” Kagan said to Tribe in one of the emails.
The Justice Department released a new batch of emails on Wednesday evening as its latest response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by CNSNews.com and Judicial Watch. Both organizations filed federal lawsuits against DOJ after the department did not initially respond to the requests. CNSNews.com originally filed its FOIA request on May 25, 2010–before Elena Kagan’s June 2010 Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
The March 2010 email exchange between Kagan and Tribe raises new questions about whether Kagan must recuse herself from judging cases involving the health-care law that Obama signed–and which became the target of legal challenges–while Kagan was serving as Obama’s solicitor general and was responsible for defending his administration’s positions in court disputes.
According to 28 USC 455, a Supreme Court justice must recuse from “any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The law also says a justice must recuse anytime he has “expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy” while he “served in governmental employment.”
Occupy Wall Street – How Long, How Many, Which Cities? – How is Occupy Wall Street faring—not broadly, but at this very moment? Below, we’ve compiled a few indicators that attempt to answer this question, from conditions in Zuccotti Park to the movement’s global spread. The metrics, which update every five minutes, are admittedly imperfect and far from comprehensive, but we hope they give you a sense of how things are going. If you would like to see a particular datapoint included, let us know in the comments.
The real Wall Street occupation is online – The Occupy Wall Street movement, now that it has broadened in scope beyond the financial district of Manhattan to attain a truly national — even global — scale has the potential to lay the groundwork for a new generation of start-ups capable of reshaping the financial system in radically new ways. These tech start-ups, while officially unaffiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, are nonetheless responding to the unmet needs of these protesters, individuals who feel abandoned by the current financial system.
The breakout company of the Occupy Wall Street movement thus far has been Palo Alto-based WePay, a start-up largely unknown until the protest movement began September 17. Over the past 45 days, WePay has become the de facto official way to send money to the “Occupy” protesters while simultaneously bypassing the largest financial institutions. At a time when many payment alternatives already exist, it’s more than a coincidence that an unknown technology player, free of any associations with the banking establishment, has emerged as the financial intermediary of choice. Just a few months ago, the obvious choice for sending money to an organization like Occupy Wall Street would have been PayPal, but that was before the company decided to cooperate with the financial embargo against WikiLeaks.
But data from both sides of the border suggest that illegal immigration from Mexico is already in fast retreat, as U.S. job shortages, tighter border enforcement and the frightening presence of criminal gangs on the Mexican side dissuade many from making the trip.
Mexican census figures show that fewer Mexicans are setting out and many are returning — leaving net migration at close to zero, Mexican officials say. Arrests by the U.S. Border Patrol along the southwestern frontier, a common gauge of how many people try to cross without papers, tumbled to 304,755 during the 11 months ended in August, extending a nearly steady drop since a peak of 1.6 million in 2000.
The scale of the fall has prompted some to suggest that a decades-long migration boom may be ending, even as others argue that the decline is only momentary.
“Our country is not experiencing the population loss due to migration that was seen for nearly 50 years,” Rene Zenteno, a deputy Mexico interior secretary for migration matters, has said.
Douglas Massey, an immigration scholar at Princeton University, said surveys of residents in Mexican migrant towns he has studied for many years found that the number of people making their first trip north had dwindled to near zero.
Some Residents Cheer the Clearing of Zuccotti Park – Some Residents Cheer Clearing of Zuccotti Park
As residents and office workers woke to a Zuccotti Park cleared of its protest encampment, some cheered the removal while others objected to the tough police action that brought it about, my colleague Cara Buckley reports:
One young father, pushing his toddler son in a stroller, gave police officers guarding Zuccotti Park a thumbs up. Another man, rushing by in a cream suit, flashed them a mega-watt grin. The sight of the park, freshly cleared and washed, stopped a blonde woman walking by in her tracks. “Ooooooh, good,” she cooed.
The clearing of Zuccotti Park struck a deep blow to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which had used the site as its physical and spiritual heart. But as the newly ousted protesters gathered in Foley Square to decide what to do next, many residents, workers and business owners near the park felt deep relief. ” Super ecstatic,” said a young office worker. “Definitely relieved,” said a young woman working behind the counter at Panini & Co., a cafe overlooking the park.
Paul Bruno, 54, who lives in the Bronx but has serviced elevators in Lower Manhattan for 30 years, had lunched daily in the park. He agreed with the protesters’ message, he said, but not their means. “The movement is the right movement,” he said, “but the movement got lost.”
Another man, who worked nearby and said he could not give his name because it was against his company’s rules, said it was time for the park to be cleared.
“It started out as a cool grassroots movement, he said, ” and then it turned into a big homeless camp.”
Still residents described a frightening scene last night, with police rushing into the park, bright lights glaring and helicopters whirring above. Mark Scherzer, a lawyer who lives half a block from the park, said he found the clearing deeply upsetting.
“I think the protesters were doing a valuable service,” he said, “And I think it was lawful for them to be there.”
More Republicans say Cain allegations are “serious matter” – Most Republicans now see the allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain as a serious matter, according to a new Post-ABC poll, a switch from a poll taken just after the charges were first reported. And while two-thirds continue to say the accusations are not going to determine their vote, there’s also still a deep split between GOP men and women.
Just after the harassment allegations surfaced publicly, 54 percent of all Republicans were skeptical of their seriousness. Now, by contrast, 64 percent assess the situation as a serious one, with the biggest shift among women.
Fully 74 percent of Republican women call the charges serious, up from 39 percent in early November. Men are also reflecting the trend, but less dramatically so, rising from 36 to 53 percent.
Why Do I Need a Google+ Business Page? – Yesterday Google+ rolled out the much-anticipated Google+ Page feature, and now businesses, brands, products, entertainers, and lots of other entities can have their own accounts.
I know what you’re thinking: Great, another social media page I have to manage for my company.
Hey, I’m with you — just when you think you’ve figured out how to make business gains from Twitter and Facebook, along comes Google+, another widespread social tool that’s a big, wide-open question mark.
But you know what? Reserving your spot for your brand now is probably a good idea, even if you haven’t figured out what you’re doing with it. I did.
You can register a Google+ business page here, but keep in mind that you have to have a personal Google+ account first. Only one user per account so far, and vanity URLs are not available yet. But why?
Court order allows Occupy Wall St. protesters back – Hundreds of police officers in riot gear raided Zuccotti Park early Tuesday, evicting dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters from what has become the epicenter of the worldwide movement protesting corporate greed and economic inequality.
Hours later, the National Lawyers Guild obtained a court order allowing Occupy Wall Street protesters to return with tents to the park. The guild said the injunction prevents the city from enforcing park rules on Occupy Wall Street protesters.
At a morning news conference at City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city knew about the court order but had not seen it and would go to court to fight it. He said the city wants to protect people’s rights, but if a choice must be made, it will protect public safety.
About 70 people were arrested overnight, including some who chained themselves together, while officers cleared the park so that sanitation crews could clean it.
By 9 a.m., the park was power-washed clean. Police in riot gear still ringed the public space, waiting for orders to reopen it.
“I think you’ve had a series of people — it started with Tim Pawlenty, and then Michele Bachmann, and then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain — there’ve been a series of people who’ve, sort of, auditioning for being the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.
And Mitt Romney’s being very stable and very steady, and now, we’re in a situation where — to some extent — people are looking at Newt Gingrich and having to decide: do they like the solutions I’m offering?”
So far, Gingrich has shown great restraint in hitting Romney, but this might be the beginnings of his case.
Yesterday, a Public Policy Polling survey showed Newt leading Romney by 10%, while a CNN poll had Romney up by 2%.
That earned Gingrich the rare distinction of being the lead story on both The Drudge Report and Huffington Post at the same time.
Zach Green, CEO of Twitter election researcher 140elect, wrote in a blog post Friday that he anticipated this trend, but now has the stats to prove it.
“A lot of people were surprised [Newt] Gingrich is now in second place, but we’ve seen that coming since Sep. 7,” Green told Mashable. “Twitter indicates he’ll continue to pick up.”
Gingrich (visualized below) gained a slew of new followers when he announced his candidacy on May 11 and on Sept. 7 after an impressive GOP debate performance. Both events led to poll gains. The candidate’s Twitter momentum has steadily increased over the last two months, which Green predicts will lead to continued poll gains.