These are my links for January 23rd through January 24th:
Feinstein, Conn. Senators Set To Propose Assault Weapons Ban – Connecticut’s two U.S. senators are joining forces with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other key senators, proposing a retooled federal ban on assault weapons in the wake of the deadly Newtown school shooting.Sen. Richard Blumenthal told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the proposed legislation, to be unveiled Thursday in Washington, D.C., will more narrowly define what’s considered an assault weapon under a resurrected ban. The bill, he said, will also prohibit high-capacity magazines, limiting them to a capacity of up to nine rounds of ammunition.Blumenthal said the legislation is “one of the most significant” bills to be introduced following the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It also marks the first bill that Blumenthal and Sen. Chris Murphy have worked on together as senators.
Why Democrats Should Fear Filibuster Reform – The latest word out of the Senate is that if Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t accede to changes in the filibuster rules over the next few days, Harry Reid will invoke the so-called “nuclear option” and change the rules with 51 votes. The most likely outcome would be outlawing the filibuster on motions to proceed, thereby forcing senators to take to the floor to filibuster bills, “Mr. Smith”-style.This move, and the overwhelming progressive enthusiam for it, are head-scratchers. Over the short-to-medium term (and no one can really see beyond that), the filibuster probably helps the Democrats more than it helps the Republicans. Before going any further, let me make clear that the following argument is couched purely in terms of political advantage and ability to move the agenda. I think there’s a lot to be said for what we might call the small-“c” conservative arguments for the filibuster: requiring 60 votes creates the need for some sort of consensus before legislation moves through, and the chances of a destabilizing period of time where parties trade majorities and implement wildly divergent agendas willy-nilly are greatly diminished. In that sense, the filibuster helps the entire country, and both parties should be pleased with it.
Whole Foods’ CEO Mackey Is Right — ObamaCare Is Like Fascism – In 2009, when Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in a Wall Street Journal op-ed compared the health care “public option” then under consideration by Congress to socialism — a nationalized economic system wherein the government owns the means of production — hardly anyone batted an eyelash.Sure, at the time, the left-wing site Daily Kos called for a boycott. And a Facebook group at the time managed to find a couple hundred users angry about the characterization. Whole Foods set up a special forum for customers to express their views on the op-ed.But it was hardly the response Whole Foods got when on Jan. 16 in an NPR interview, Mackey was asked a follow-up question on what he thought about the current law.After all, the “public option” was never adopted. What came afterward, now known in popular vernacular as ObamaCare, was a mishmash of mandates, regulations and price controls — but fell short of an outright nationalization of the insurance industry.
That was when Mackey used the F-word. No, not that one. The other one.
If you want bigger government, you need to side with big business – The media too often see Washington battles as Big Business vs Big Government. This is usually not the case. Often it’s Big Business & Big Government vs. Small Business.Brookings scholar and Clinton, Gore, Mondale advisor William Galston wrote a piece today telling liberals that they need to side with Big Business over small business if they really want to increase the government’s role in the economy. Writing in The New Republic, Galston writes:The Obama administration will need to recognize the fervent opposition of small businesses to its priorities, while taking advantage of large corporations’ willingness to cooperate.Galston is exactly correct about the alignment of interests. Big Business tends to do well when government intervenes. Small business dies.
GOP Plots Path Back to Powers – With President Obama’s second inauguration still ringing in their ears, Republican national party leaders are hunkering down for three days of soul-searching.The presidential election was the toughest, but not the last indignity. Congressional Republicans were backed into a corner during the negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff and forced to accept tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans. Still seeking leverage, GOP leaders are backing off a showdown over the debt ceiling. At Monday’s swearing-in, President Obama stuck it to the opposition party by laying out an unapologetically liberal agenda for the next four years.The most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll pegged the Republican Party’s unfavorable rating at 49%, its highest point since 2008. The most obvious hurdle will be improving the party’s image among minorities, women and young voters, who comprise a growing share of the electorate and rejected Republican nominee Mitt Romney as out of date and out of touch.
Rush Limbaugh was right about Obama – There should have been something for everyone in President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address. For liberals, a full-throated call to arms. For conservatives, vindication.Obama settled once and for all the debate over his place on the political spectrum and his political designs. He’s an unabashed liberal determined to shift our politics and our country irrevocably to the left. In other words, Obama’s foes — if you put aside the birthers and sundry other lunatics — always had him pegged correctly.
Continue ReadingIf you listened to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, you got a better appreciation of Obama’s core than by reading the president’s friends and sophisticated interpreters, for whom he was either a moderate or a puzzle yet to be fully worked out.
The GOP Gets Fiscally Tough – House Republicans appear to have gotten some of their mojo back. GOP leaders say they will insist that automatic spending cuts (the “sequester”) scheduled to begin on March 1 will be made and that the House will adopt a budget resolution that would lead to a balanced budget within ten years without raising any more taxes. Just a few months ago, they were singing a different, less fiscally tough tune.On Wednesday, the House suspended the limit on the nation’s debt ceiling. That gives Republican lawmakers nearly four months to sort out what they will demand in exchange for raising it and puts that potentially market-spooking debate off until after budget battles over the scheduled sequester cuts and the expiration on March 27 of a continuing resolution to fund the government. Republicans view the political terrain on those issues as more favorable than that of any confrontation with President Obama and Harry Reid’s Senate over further spending cuts.
John Boehner: Obama wants to ‘annihilate’ GOP – President Barack Obama is aiming to “annihilate” the GOP during the president’s second term, House Speaker John Boehner says.“And given what we heard yesterday about the President’s vision for his second term, it’s pretty clear to me that he knows he can’t do any of that as long as the House is controlled by Republicans,” Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a gathering of the Republican-oriented Ripon Society on Tuesday, a day after President Barack Obama’s second Inaugural address. “So we’re expecting over the next 22 months to be the focus of this Administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party. And let me just tell you, I do believe that is their goal — to just shove us into the dustbin of history.”
Panetta to lift ban on women in combat – Women in all branches of the military soon will have unprecedented opportunities to serve on the front lines of the nation’s wars.Leon Panetta, in one of his last acts as President Obama’s defense secretary, is preparing to announce the policy change, which would open hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday.The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta’s decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.
Why Benghazi Hasn’t Brought Down Hillary Clinton–and Won’t – It’s not that Clinton is blameless for the Benghazi disaster. The attack in Libya cost the lives of four Americans, including a beloved ambassador. It wrecked the aspirations of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who withdrew from consideration as secretary of State. It probably wrecked the aspirations of the president, who seemed like he wanted to nominate Rice. But even if it was Clinton’s State Department that was unprepared, the word “Benghazi” is unlikely to chase the 65-year-old into her next life of books, high-end speeches, public service, needed rest, grandmotherhood (should she be so lucky), and perhaps another run for president.Why is Hillary so invincible now? She prevailed on Benghazi by having taken so many bullets that she became bulletproof, like her husband. At a certain point you’re like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, just letting them bounce off you. Perhaps if Clinton wasn’t on her way out of office, the debacle might have damaged her more. She’s also mastered the art of damage control.
Will the Democratic Party survive Obama? – Republicans currently control the governors mansion and legislatures of 25 states representing 53 percent of the American population. The Democratic Party enjoys similar control of just 13 states representing just 27 percent of the population. With Obama out of the picture, it is hard to see how Democrats can add to those numbers.
Sen. Durbin: Democrats lack votes to pass talking filibuster reform – Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), a leading liberal, said Wednesday Democrats do not have enough votes to implement the talking-filibuster reform.He said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has suggested a package of more modest reforms to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). They include proposals to eliminate filibusters on motions to proceed to new business and to speed the process for sending legislation to conference negotiations with the House.
These are my links for December 13th through December 14th:
U.S. to send troops, Patriot missiles to Turkey – The United States gave the go-ahead Friday to deploy Patriot anti-ballistic missiles to Turkey along with enough troops to operate them as the heavily embattled government in neighboring Syria again vehemently denied firing ballistic missiles at rebels.The United States has accused Damascus of launching Scud-type artillery from the capital at rebels in the country’s north. One Washington official said missiles came close to the border of Turkey, a NATO member and staunch U.S. ally.Syria’s government called the accusations “untrue rumors” Friday, according to state news agency SANA. Damascus accused Turkey and its partners of instigating rumors to make the government look bad internationally.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed the order while en route to Turkey to send two Patriot missile batteries and 400 U.S. troops to operate them. The surface-to-air interceptors will help in “dealing with threats that come out of Syria,” Panetta said after landing at Incirlik Air Base, a U.S. Air Force installation about 80 miles from Syria’s border.
Panetta was unconcerned about possible reactions from Damascus to the Patriot deployment. “We can’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether that pisses off Syria,” he said, adamant that helping Turkey was the priority.
Extremism in Defense of Liberty – The rise of the Tea Party, and its swift incorporation into the GOP, can best be understood as a response to a dilemma that presented itself to conservatives 20 years ago. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the federal government shutdowns of 1995 and ’96, it appeared that the fight against the Evil Empire was Mission Accomplished while the fight to curb the size and influence of the federal establishment was Mission Impossible. Take away the two goals that had defined the conservative movement since the first issue of National Review, and it was unclear what conservatives were supposed to do, and what conservatism was supposed to be about. The innovations proposed to fill this lacuna included national greatness conservatism, compassionate conservatism, and George W. Bush’s call after 9/11 to “support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” These missions proved to be, respectively: vague and pointless; a project of social reinvigoration to which political measures could make no more than a marginal contribution; and an extravagant ambition far exceeding America’s capacity and her citizens’ patience.========A must read for the weekend!
Only 15 States Opt to Run Obamacare Exchanges – Only 15 states have told the federal government they plan to operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama’s reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting task of creating online marketplaces for two-thirds of the country.On the eve of a federal deadline for states to say whether they will run their own exchanges, a top health care policy official told lawmakers that the exchanges will start enrolling eligible families starting on Oct. 1.”I am confident that states and the federal government will be ready in 10 months, when consumers in all states can begin to apply,” Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, told a House panel.
Cohen was among federal officials who testified alongside state health authorities at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.
In written testimony, Cohen said that while 15 states have told the administration they will operate exchanges, 11 others have opted for versions that will require major involvement by the federal government.
Experts say the number of states planning to operate their own exchanges could reach 18, plus the District of Columbia, by the time the deadline arrives Friday.
Charles Krauthammer: The right-to-work dilemma – For all the fury and fistfights outside the Lansing Capitol, what happened in Michigan this week was a simple accommodation to reality. The most famously unionized state, birthplace of the United Auto Workers, royalty of the American working class, became right-to-work.It’s shocking, except that it was inevitable. Indiana went that way earlier this year. The entire Rust Belt will eventually follow because the heyday of the sovereign private-sector union is gone. Globalization has made splendid isolation impossible.
Get ready for the costs and chaos of Obamacare – Nancy Pelosi was widely mocked when she said of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” At the time, March 2010, Pelosi’s words accurately described the Democrats’ just-get-it-done approach to passing a national health care bill. But now it turns out Pelosi was wrong. In fact, we have to implement Obamacare so that you can find out what is in it.Amid the other momentous events coming in 2013 — bitter fights over federal spending, debt, entitlements and immigration — the biggest story of the year, and of 2014 as well, will be the arrival of Obamacare in the lives of every American.
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad ObamaCare – For sheer political farce, not much can compete with ObamaCare’s passage, which included slipping the bill through the Senate before dawn three Christmas eves ago. But the madcap dash to get ready for the entitlement’s October 2013 start-up date is a pretty close second.The size and complexity of the Affordable Care Act meant that its implementation was never going to easy. But behind the scenes, even states that support or might support the Affordable Care Act are frustrated about the Health and Human Services Department’s special combination of rigidity and ineptitude.To take one example, for the better part of a year states and groups like the bipartisan National Governors Association and the National Association of Medicaid Directors have been begging HHS merely for information about how they’re required to make ObamaCare work in practice. There was radio silence from Washington, with time running out. Louisiana and other states even took to filing Freedom of Information Act requests, which are still pending.
Obama and Boehner meet again to avert fiscal cliff – President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met privately Thursday after another day of back-and-forth over tax hikes, spending cuts and efforts to avoid the year-end “fiscal cliff.”Hours earlier, Boehner said that unless Obama makes further concessions on spending cuts, Washington will head over the cliff and into a series of tax hikes and massive budget reductions.”The president wants to pretend spending isn’t the problem. That’s why we don’t have an agreement,” said Boehner, R-Ohio. “Unfortunately, the White House is so unserious about cutting spending that it appears willing to slow-walk our economy right up to — and over — the fiscal cliff.”
Where big GOP bucks could matter – Mitt Romney and the GOP lost, but it wasn’t for lack of money. They spent a lot; they just didn’t get enough bang for the buck.Billionaire Sheldon Adelson alone donated $150 million. But Romney lost anyway, especially among unmarried women.Which is why I think that rich people wanting to support the Republican Party might want to direct their money somewhere besides TV ads that copy, poorly, what Lee Atwater did decades ago.
My suggestion: Buy some women’s magazines. No, really. Or at least some women’s Web sites.
One of the groups with whom Romney did worst was female “low-information voters.” Those are women who don’t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who’s mean and who’s nice, who’s cool and who’s uncool.
Top GOP aide: ‘We’ll confirm Hagel, Kerry’ – The growing possibility of President Obama naming Democratic Sen. John Kerry as secretary of State and former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon is being embraced by Senate Republicans who predict confirmation.”I think both of them will be questioned vigorously but confirmed,” said a top GOP Senate aide, meaning the GOP won’t put up a fight in the Democratically-controlled chamber. That will be a key selling point as Obama considers his choices.Reports emerged Thursday that Hagel, a Vietnam vet from Nebraska, was the frontrunner to replace exiting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Susan Rice drops out of running for secretary of state; saddened by partisan politics – Embattled U.N. envoy Susan Rice is dropping out of the running to be the next secretary of state after months of criticism over her Benghazi comments, she told NBC News on Thursday.“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a letter to President Obama, saying she’s saddened by the partisan politics surrounding her prospects.“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country…Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time,” she wrote in the letter obtained by NBC News.
Rice would not be confirmed anyway.
Latinos didn’t cost Mitt Romney the election – Republicans have a major Latino problem, but it didn’t cost them the 2012 election.According to a Fix review of election results, Mitt Romney would have needed to carry as much as 51 percent of the Hispanic vote in order to win the Electoral College — a number no Republican presidential candidate on record has been able to attain and isn’t really within the realm of possibility these days.Latinos did push President Obama over the top in several key states — including Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania — that he would have lost without them. (Obama also would have lost the popular vote without Latinos.)
But it was a given that Obama was going to win a higher share of their votes; what mattered was the margin. And in order for Romney to have won the presidency, he would have needed to perform far better than any previous Republican presidential candidate.
The Morning Flap links for July 17th through July 18th:
Arpaio calls Congress to move on Obama eligibility- At the conclusion of a press conference led by Cold Case Posse chief investigator Michael Zullo that detailed the reasons the long-form birth certificate of President Barack Obama is a forgery, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said it’s time for a higher authority to investigate the issue.Mr. Arpaio said he would like Congress … “someone” … to look at the material his investigative team had gathered. As he had told WND earlier: “Although I am having a difficult time deciding who to forward this information to given the fact that the obvious choices report directly to the president, I cannot stand by and hold on to information that threatens to weaken national security.”The press conference held Tuesday clarified some of the issues discussed in an earlier press conference held in Phoenix on March 1, at which the Cold Case Posse presented its initial findings of a six-month-long investigation into the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. “I cannot in good faith report to you that these documents are authentic,” Mr. Arpaio said at the time.
Arpaio: Obama birth record ‘definitely fraudulent’- Investigators for an Arizona sheriff’s volunteer posse have declared that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is definitely fraudulent.Members of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s posse said in March that there was probable cause that Obama’s long-form birth certificate released by the White House in April 2011 was a computer-generated forgery.Now, Arpaio says investigators are positive it’s fraudulent.Mike Zullo, the posse’s chief investigator, said numeric codes on certain parts of the birth certificate indicate that those parts weren’t filled out, yet those sections asking for the race of Obama’s father and his field of work or study were completed.
Zullo said investigators previously didn’t know the meaning of codes but they were explained by a 95-year-old former state worker who signed the president’s birth certificate. Zullo said a writer who published a book about Obama’s birth certificate and was aiding investigators let them listen in on an interview he conducted of the former state worker.
The Obama campaign declined to comment on Arpaio’s allegations.
President Obama’s jobs panel missing in action- President Barack Obama’s Jobs Council hasn’t met publicly for six months, even as the issue of job creation dominates the 2012 election.At this point, the hiatus — which reached the half-year mark Tuesday — might be less awkward than an official meeting, given the hornet’s nest of issues that could sting Obama and the council members if the private-sector panel gets together.
Romney Shreds Obama Economic Philosophy in Southwest PA Stop- Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney contrasted his economic philosophy with that of President Obama by using the President’s own statements against him during a campaign stop in southwest Pennsylvania Tuesday afternoon.Standing in front of a large sign that read “Obama’s Upside-Down Economy” at Horizontal Wireless Services in Irwin, Romney addressed a speech Obama made last week in Roanoke, VA where he said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” while speaking on the role of government-funded infrastructure in U.S. commerce.“I’ve got to be honest: I don’t think anyone could have said what he said who had actually started a business or been in a business,” Romney said. “In my own view, what the president said was both startling and revealing.”Romney countered Obama’s statement with his own five-point plan to mend the U.S. economy, including loosening regulations on coal, oil and natural gas, improving international trade policies, balancing the federal budget, improving the education system and encouraging “economic freedom.”
Romney: Obama Trying To Change ‘The Nature Of America’- Mitt Romney repeatedly seemed to question whether President Barack Obama believed in the American dream in an energetic campaign speech Tuesday, calling his rival’s approach to leadership “foreign” and accusing him of trying to change “the nature of America.””President Obama attacks success and therefore under President Obama we have less success, and I will change that,” Romney told more than 1,000 cheering supporters at an oil and gas services company in suburban Pittsburgh, after the president told a Virginia audience Friday that all Americans benefit from government investment in infrastructure and education.
Obama Kills Welfare Reform- Determined to destroy Bill Clinton’s signature achievement, President Barack Obama’s Administration has opened a loophole in the 1996 Welfare Reform legislation big enough to make the law ineffective. Its work requirement — the central feature of the legislation — has been diluted beyond recognition by the bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services.On Thursday of last week, HHS issued regulations that modified — gutted — the work requirement. Its new regulations allow the states to substitute education programs for work to get welfare benefits. The regs say that “vocational educational training or job search/readiness programs count as well” in meeting the basic condition that recipients work in order to receive welfare benefits.
Romney Should Release the Returns – Mitt Romney is steadfastly resisting calls to release additional years of his personal tax returns, arguing — not without good reason —that this demand is part of a fishing expedition by the Obama campaign, which hopes to exploit Romney’s personal wealth and successful business career as part of a class-warfare election strategy. Romney argues that whatever he releases will not be enough to satisfy the Obama campaign and its factota in the media, who are, once again, proving their bias and double standards. Romney is right, but he should release the returns anyway. Let them go fish.
Letters to Leon Panetta- A bipartisan group of Senators is urging Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to provide more than $300 million in promised funding needed for modernizing the aging U.S. nuclear weapons complex.Separately, two senior House Republicans want Panetta to explain whether U.S. intelligence estimates of when Iran will have long-range missile capabilities changed and whether U.S. missile defense plans are adequate to counter them.The senators—led by Senate minority whip Jon Kyl and including six Republicans, one Democrat, and one Independent—stated in a June 29 letter that the president’s budget for nuclear weapons fell $370 million short of the amount required under 2010 legislation.
Cheney, Lockheed CEO deliver dire warnings of impact of automatic cuts- Former Vice President Cheney made a rare trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to give House and Senate Republicans a dire assessment of what $500 billion in cuts to the Pentagon budget would mean for national security.Cheney’s appearance came amid a concerted lobbying push from the defense industry, which is trying to persuade Congress to act now on the sequester by warning the cuts will lead to massive job losses
Christie, Priebus raise cash for Romney in North Carolina- ABC’s affiliate in Raleigh reports that Chris Christie and Reince Priebus raised at least $187K for Mitt Romney at a high-priced fundraiser in North Carolina last night.Their star power attracted about 75 guests. It was a who’s who of big name conservatives from the multi-millionaire Art Pope to Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.The cost to hear Christie and Preibus speak was between $2,500 and $75,000 per couple.
Christie reportedly eyed for RNC convention keynote- The word is going out quietly to Republican activists across New Jersey: If you’re going to the GOP convention in Tampa next month, be sure to be there by Tuesday night, Aug. 28, because Gov. Chris Christie is going to be giving the keynote speech that night.“We’ve been told that’s the night to be there, that’s when the governor is going to speak. They’re saying he’s the keynoter,” one top party activist told The Post yesterday.
Although he has served less than a term, Obama is now the first American president to see the federal government’s debt increase by more than $5 trillion during his time in office.
During the full eight years that George W. Bush served as president, the federal government’s debt increased by $4,899,100,310,608.44. (Rising from $5,727,776,738,304.64 to $10,626,877,048,913.08.)
The $5,027,761,476,484.56 that the debt has increased during Obama’s presidency equals $16,043.39 for every one of the 313,385,295 people the Census Bureau now estimates live in the United States.
Panetta says he regrets cost of trips home – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday he regrets the cost to taxpayers for his weekend trips to his Carmel Valley home, but says it’s important “just to get your mind straight and your perspective straight.”
Panetta said he’d try to find some savings, with each round trip costing approximately $32,000.
“I regret … that it does add costs that the taxpayer has to pick up,” Panetta said during a Pentagon briefing Monday, speaking publicly for the first time about the flight costs. “A taxpayer would have to pick up those costs with any secretary of state or secretary of defense. But having said that, I am trying to look at what are … the alternatives here that I can look at that might possibly be able to save funds and, at the same time, be able to fulfill my responsibilities, not only to my job, but to my family.”
The Associated Press earlier this month detailed the costs of the 27 roundtrip flights home Panetta has taken since he became Pentagon chief last July, as well as the amount he has reimbursed the government for the trips.
He told the Illinois Chamber of Commerce that Wisconsin made the tough decisions to close its budget deficit, while Illinois continued to be burdened by an $8.5 billion deficit despite a 66% increase in the personal income tax rate.
“The simple reality is, Illinois and Wisconsin, like nearly every other state, had big deficits to deal with. In our case, it was a $3.6 billion deficit. . . . And we looked around, other states are going to make poor decisions, we want to avoid that in Wisconsin,” Walker said.
“We avoided a tax increase,” he said, recalling how after Illinois passed its increase, he came to Chicago with a bumper sticker that read, “Escape to Wisconsin.”
“When you raise taxes on individuals, on businesses, that wealth, opportunity and jobs go somewhere else,” he said.
Walker was greeted with three standing ovations from the crowd of 250 business leaders assembled at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center.
The federal government is suffering from systemic sleaze, the sort of excess that builds and builds and builds and then flows over from every corner. Chicago rules came to town and the result is a catastrophe for ethics in the public sector, a catastrophe which has many manifestations across the country in state and local government as well, with vast pension outlays resulting from swetheart deals with public employee unions and enormous expenditures on special interests and self-serving contracts, the sort of sleaze that reached a crescendo in the City of Bell, California scandals of last year.
“There will be an effort by the quote vast left wing conspiracy to work together to put out their message and to attack me,” Romney said in an interview with Breitbart.com. “They’re going to do everything they can to divert from the issue people care about, which is a growing economy that creates more jobs and rising incomes. That’s what people care about.”
So far, polls are showing a consistent, compelling divide between President Obama and the likely Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R). Romney often runs stronger than Obama on the question of who can better handle the economy, yet Obama’s favorability rating is usually higher — sometimes dramatically higher.
In other words, they like Obama leading the country, Romney running it.
Sources close to Clinton said he wants to help those who put themselves on the line to support the former first lady’s campaign for the White House. But with Hillary Clinton serving in the Obama administration and Chelsea Clinton working for NBC News, Bill Clinton is the only member of the family in a position to hit the campaign trail.
Obama Bites Dog | Dreams From My Father – Hey, if we’re going to talk about how presidential candidates treated dogs decades ago, let’s talk about how presidential candidates treated dogs decades ago.
Can you name the author of this quote?
“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”
2012 Michigan Republican Primary – Romney 38%, Gingrich 23%, Santorum 17%, Paul 14% – Mitt Romney, coming off his big win in the Florida Primary on Tuesday, is the clear front-runner in the first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Republican presidential race in his home state of Michigan. Voters in this hard hit state see Romney as the much better choice to manage the economy. The Michigan Republican Primary is on February 28.
Romney earns 38% support from Likely Republican Primary Voters in Michigan, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich a distant second with 23% of the vote. Seventeen percent (17%) prefer former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, and nearly as many (14%) favor Texas Congressman Ron Paul. One percent (1%) like some other candidate in the race, and six percent (6%) are undecided
Coulter’s shameful defense of Romneycare – Ann Coulter’s support for Mitt Romney entered a new stage today with a column offering an all out embrace of Romneycare. In the process, she insults the intelligence of conservative critics of the law and doesn’t address their actual arguments against it.
Her first defense of the law is to name other conservatives who supported it at the time. So what? Many of us were opposed to it all along. For instance, in August 2006, before Barack Obama even announced he was seeking the presidency, I fretted that Romney’s support for universal health care made him the natural heir to President Bush’s big government “compassionate conservatism.” In July 2007, I wrote that, “It is hard to imagine anything representing a greater affront to conservative principles than using government to coerce private citizens into purchasing healthcare.” David Hogberg was another early critic, among many others.
Have Democrats Succeeded in Pre-Destroying Romney? - – Tuesday’s installment of the left’s crusade to destroy Mitt Romney began like this: an operator chirping, “I’d like to welcome you today to the Mitt Romney Would Destroy Social Security and Medicare Conference Call.”
A few moments later, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was on the line. “Thanks, everybody, for joining the call today,” she began. Within minutes, she had accused Romney of “political pandering,” supporting “the extreme tea party agenda,” and lying to senior citizens, Hispanics and supporters of the space program.
Just another day in the life of the vast left-wing conspiracy.
Practically every day for months, Democrats and their allies have been hammering Romney like this. Unions, party committees at the national and state levels, independent groups such as American Bridge and Americans United for Change, and the Obama campaign itself have undertaken an unprecedented effort to tarnish the front-runner while virtually ignoring the rest of the GOP candidates. And it appears to be working.
Even as he finds increasing success in the Republican primary, negative views of Romney have skyrocketed, particularly among independents, according to recent polls. An ABC News/Washington Post survey released last week, for example, found Romney viewed unfavorably by 49 percent of voters and favorably by just 31 percent. Among independents, just 23 percent viewed Romney favorably, compared to 51 percent who felt that way about President Obama.
One emerging strain of the conventional wisdom holds that it’s the harsh attacks on Romney from Newt Gingrich — and blowback from Romney’s own brutally negative campaign — that’s causing this to happen. Democrats have been pushing this line, in fact, arguing that Romney is winning at a steep cost and will limp into the general election bruised beyond repair.
Having told us only Romney was viable (with half-nods to Huntsman and Santorum) and having trotted out Elliot Abrams to smear Newt Gingrich with out of context quotes, even National Review is having trouble defending their candidate today.
This morning Mitt Romney said he wasn’t concerned about the poor. The poor, after all, have food stamps and Medicaid. But don’t worry. If the safety net is broken, Patrician Mitt Romney will fix it so the poor can stay comfortably poor. After all, just look what he did in Massachusetts. The poor can now wait 44 days to get in to see a doctor. Excelsior!
After making sure we all understood the poor were for the Democrats to be worried about, Romney decided to keep digging his hole even bigger. By the end of the day, Jim DeMint had to rebuke him.
Romney derangement syndrome (on the right) – So what gives? Perhaps it is frustration, especially among talk-show hosts, at not being able to derail Romney. Maybe some shrill bloggers understand that Romney threatens to prove that they are less in tune with Republicans than the “squishy” Republican candidates and officeholders. And maybe conservative political journalists have more in common with their mainstream counterparts than they’d like to admit — a suspicion of wealth, ignorance of the business world and a fixation on the candidates’ interaction with them. After all, Romney never really courted and flattered conservative pundits the way Newt Gingrich did (especially by bashing the mainstream media competition).
None of this is to say there isn’t strong and valid opposition to Romney in the conservative press. (Michelle Malkin, who recently endorsed Santorum, and staunch critics of Romneycare certainly fit this description.) But it’s hard to ignore the conclusion that for some in the conservative press there is an element of anti-Romney animosity that is not quite grounded in reason or ideological consistency — it is personal. And other than Romney’s being “handsome, rich and successful,” as Kathleen put it, it’s really hard to fathom where it comes from.
Romney Poised for Blowout Win in Nevada – A new Las Vegas Review-Journal poll in Nevada finds Mitt Romney leading the GOP presidential race with 45%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 25%, Rick Santorum at 11% and Ron Paul at 9%.
However, Carl Bunce, the Nevada chairman of the Paul campaign, “dismissed the poll results, saying most Paul supporters refuse to participate or lie in surveys because of a bad experience in Nevada four years ago. He said Sen. John McCain’s campaign did robocalls to identify Paul supporters and then sidelined them at the state party convention.”
U.S. military commanders had said in recent weeks they would begin a transition this year toward taking more of an advisory role as Afghanistan’s national army and police take greater responsibility for fighting the insurgency. But Panetta’s remarks were the first time the Obama administration has said it could foresee an end to regular U.S. and NATO combat operations by the second half of next year.
Figures on government spending and debt – Figures on government spending and debt (last six digits are eliminated). The government’s fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
Total public debt subject to limit Jan. 30 15,313,699
Statutory debt limit 16,394,000
Total public debt outstanding Jan. 30 15,356,140
Operating balance Jan. 30 158,596
Interest fiscal year 2012 through December 62,662
Interest same period 2011 56,780
Deficit fiscal year 2012 through December 321,735
Deficit same period 2011 368,960
Receipts fiscal year 2012 through December 555,437
Receipts same period 2011 531,797
Outlays fiscal year 2012 through December 877,173
Outlays same period 2011 900,757
Gold assets in January 11,041
The spokesman said the radiation levels were “barely measurable,” but the plant was shut down as a precaution.
“At no point were the public or our workers in any danger,” Southern California Edison spokesman Gil Alexander told ABC News.
Officials say the radiation leak likely occurred in the steam generator tubes of San Onofre’s reactor #3. The steam system, which is supposed to be shielded from exposure to radiation, was replaced in December 2010. Alexander said plant officials will be conducting an investigation into why the new steam tubes leaked.
Cities with highest and lowest unemployment rates – Nearly 90 percent of major U.S. cities had lower unemployment rates in December than the same month a year earlier, a reflection of stronger hiring nationwide.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates fell in 329 cities last year. They rose in 37 cities and were unchanged in seven.
The national unemployment rate fell in December to 8.5 percent – the lowest level in nearly three years. Employers added 200,000 net jobs, the sixth straight month of solid hiring.
Unemployment rates rose from November to December in a majority of U.S. cities. However monthly metro area unemployment data can be volatile because they aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations, such as holiday hiring.
The government will report Friday on U.S. hiring and unemployment in January.
Below are the cities with the highest and lowest rates:
Best and Worst Metro areas
Figures are in percentages
Highest unemployment rates December 2011
El Centro, Calif. 26.8
Yuma, Ariz. 23.1
Merced, Calif. 18.7
Yuba City, Calif. 18.1
Visalia-Porterville, Calif. 16.2
Fresno, Calif. 16.2
Modesto, Calif. 16.1
Stockton, Calif. 15.9
Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. 15.3
Ocean City, N.J. 15.1
Lowest unemployment rates December 2011
Bismarck, N.D. 3.2
Lincoln, Neb. 3.6
Fargo, N.D. 3.7
Burlington, Vt. 3.8
Logan, Utah 3.9
Midland, Texas 3.9
Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, La. 4.3
Sioux Falls, S.D. 4.3
Ames, Iowa 4.3
Iowa City, Iowa 4.3
Romney supports automatic hikes in minimum wage – epublican presidential contender Mitt Romney renewed his support Wednesday for automatic increases in the federal minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, a position sharply at odds with traditional GOP business allies, conservatives and the party’s senior lawmakers.
“I haven’t changed my thoughts on that,” the former Massachusetts governor told reporters aboard his chartered campaign plane, referring to a stand he has held for a decade.
He did not say if he would ask Congress to approve the change if he wins the White House this fall.
Congress first enacted federal minimum wage legislation in 1938 and has raised it sporadically in the years since. The last increase, approved in 2007, took effect in three installments and reached $7.25 an hour for covered workers effective July 24, 2009.
It has never been allowed to rise automatically, as Romney envisions.
As the housing market enters its fourth year of high foreclosures and sluggish sales, the president said his proposal — targeted at the middle class — would help homeowners save about $3,000 a year, without “red tape” or a “runaround” from banks.
Theodore Olson: Obama’s Enemies List – How would you feel if aides to the president of the United States singled you out by name for attack, and if you were featured prominently in the president’s re-election campaign as an enemy of the people?
What would you do if the White House engaged in derogatory speculative innuendo about the integrity of your tax returns? Suppose also that the president’s surrogates and allies in the media regularly attacked you, sullied your reputation and questioned your integrity. On top of all of that, what if a leading member of the president’s party in Congress demanded your appearance before a congressional committee this week so that you could be interrogated about the Keystone XL oil pipeline project in which you have repeatedly—and accurately—stated that you have no involvement?
Consider that all this is happening because you have been selected as an attractive political punching bag by the president’s re-election team. This is precisely what has happened to Charles and David Koch, even though they are private citizens, and neither is a candidate for the president’s or anyone else’s office.
Gingrich 2012? Going, Going, Gone – Last week, New York magazine’s John Heilemann pointed out a deep truth about Newt Gingrich’s peculiar presidential campaign: The very media elite that Gingrich delights in hammering has actually been in his corner all along. The press likes a horse race; the press likes outsize personalities; the press favors an underdog; and the press even takes a strange sort of delight in being ruthlessly attacked.
Of course most political reporters don’t want Gingrich in the White House. But they’ve had every incentive to keep him in the headlines and overrate his odds of defeating Mitt Romney for the nomination.
Tuesday night’s Floridian drubbing won’t change those incentives, so we can expect a last burst of media chatter about how Gingrich could still recover, ride a wilderness campaign to a Super Tuesday comeback and fight Romney tooth and nail all the way to the convention. But chatter is all it will be. For Gingrich and his media enablers alike, the dream died in Florida – and here are four reasons why.
If Gingrich can’t compete in Florida, he can’t compete nationally.