• Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 31st on 18:52

    These are my links for March 31st from 18:52 to 18:55:

    • Rudy Giuliani Blasts Obama on Libya Action – Rudy Giuliani told Laura Ingraham that "since this whole thing in the Middle East began," the Obama administration "doesn't know what it's doing."

      "This is probably the worst handled national security military action I have ever seen. From announcing — when he didn't know what to do — that Gadhafi must go to then making that speech the other night, which was internally contradictory. You cannot say we're there to protect the Libyan people, but we're not going to be for regime change with Gadhafi because the reason we are there to protect the Libyan people is because of Gadhafi."


      Obama does not understand foreign policy and has no experience in it.

    • President 2102: Can Obama Lose? – Perhaps – So what combination of factors in this complex system of politics must come together to cause a catastrophe for Obama politically that would result in his defeat?

      Only one Democratic president has lost a reelection bid.

      I see three, and all have to be in place and reinforce each other for Obama to lose. First, the economy in 2012 has to be either stagnant or in decline in the 10 or so key electoral states (especially the ones in the Midwest) as he heads into the election. This would mean that the economy is creating very few net jobs in 2012 and that prices (including food and gas) are still rising.
      Second, no new major international crisis arises that causes people to rally behind Obama because of his competent handling of it. And I emphasize the words “new,” “major,” and “competent.” Afghanistan and Iraq devolving again into a problem will not help Obama, and actually may hurt him because our country has basically moved on from the situation in both places.
      Third, a Republican nominee has to emerge who is charismatic; is a very good communicator; is in touch with the country’s economic and social needs; and is a new brand of GOP leader whom many younger voters can connect with. Think of what it took in 1980 to defeat the Democratic incumbent—Ronald Reagan and crises galore.
      All three factors must converge for Obama to lose, and two of them are needed to drive his job approval down to a place, as I have written before, that makes it difficult for him to win. As one can see, these three elements don’t include how much money the Democratic National Committee and Obama have at their disposal; how much cash the Republican National Committee or the Republican nominee raises; the quality of each campaign staff; the legislative machinations of Congress; or the use of modern technology in the campaigns (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). Those are all tactical factors that, ultimately, will have little influence on whether Obama wins or loses.


      It will have to be a new GOP candidate like Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie – not a retread like Huckabee or Romney.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 31st on 15:41

    These are my links for March 31st from 15:41 to 16:09:

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 31st on 09:42

    These are my links for March 31st from 09:42 to 10:37:

    • Sen. Marco Rubio Takes the Lead on Libya – THE WEEKLY STANDARD has obtained the text of a letter freshman senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent tonight to the Senate majority and minority leaders. In it, Rubio proposes that the Senate authorize the president’s use of force in Libya, and that the authorization state that the aim of the use of force should be the removal of the Qaddafi regime. (The full text of the letter is below.)

      This is by far the boldest move Rubio has made—it’s perhaps the boldest move any freshman senator has made—in the three months since the beginning of the 112th Congress. Rubio is taking on those in his own party who wish to distance themselves from what they consider Obama’s war in Libya. He is answering critics of the war who have tried to cast a vague sense of illegitimacy over the action because Congress hasn’t explicitly authorized it. And Rubio is trying to push the administration into fully embracing regime change as an explicit goal, thus providing a compelling clarity for American military action—a clarity that he thinks will increase support for the effort at home and the chances of success on the ground.


      Ill-advised political move giving President Obama political cover.

    • Poll Watch: What’s behind Tea Party approval numbers – But let’s unpack all that. First, the poll is of all Americans (generally a sign of a leftward-tilt in results), not registered or likely voters. Second, while the poll asserts that half of all American households make under $50,000, the electorate is very different. In the 2010 exit polls, only 36 percent of voters had household incomes less than $50,000. These people voted Democratic (54 percent), while the electorate as a whole voted for Republicans over Democrats by a wide margin. And for non-white voters with incomes under $50,000 the Democratic tilt was even more dramatic (80 percent voted Democratic). Among those who voted for Democrats, 86 percent had a negative view of the Tea Party.

      CNN hasn’t released the underlying data, so we don’t know if the drop in support among low-income respondents is simply a reflection of increased animosity by Democrats or a rally-’round- Obama phenomenon by minority voters who still favor the president to a greater degree than the electorate as a whole. Moreover, we don’t know whether the poll over-sampled the very groups most likely to have negative views of the Tea Party.

      But if the Tea Party’s favorable rating dropped only 5 percentage points since December — nearly within the poll’s margin of error — then the grass-roots movement must be doing pretty darn well with the rest of the respondents (that is, those with incomes over $50,000 who made up 64 percent of the 2010 electorate).

      It’s hard to figure why the results reflect “a reaction to the tea party’s push for large cuts in government programs that help lower-income Americans.” Was that question asked? Or is that pure speculation? That assertion is even more odd in that the cuts the Tea Party generally embraces — e.g. means-testing Social Security — AREN’T aimed at the poor.

      What we do know is that the electorate as a whole and the Congress including Senate Democrats have accepted the Tea Party’s core message of deficit reduction and spending restraint. But if liberals want to keep on discounting the importance of the Tea Party, and more important, the message of the Tea Party, I am sure fiscal conservatives would be delighted.


      Read it all.

      Without the underlying data, the CNN poll on the Tea party looks like an outlier at best and a fraud at worst.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 30th on 18:06

    These are my links for March 30th from 18:06 to 18:20:

    • Budget Negotiators Reach Tentative Deal To Avert Government Shutdown – Sources tell me that  budget negotiators on Capitol Hill have tentatively agreed on a deal that would involve at least $33 billion in spending cuts from this year’s budget.  That’s $23 billion dollars more than Democrats have previously agreed to in short-term continuing resolutions, and $28 billion less than Republicans previously passed in the House.

      Members of the House Appropriations Committee will begin discussing how to hit that number with their Senate counterparts as soon as tonight, and Vice President Biden is heading to Capitol Hill for a 6pm meeting with the Senate Democratic leadership.

      The deal could still fall apart over the composition of the cuts, or policy “riders” previously passed by the House. These include issues like de-funding Planned Parenthood and President Obama’s health care legislation.  It’s also not clear that this compromise will fly with rank-and-file House Republicans, which means that the $33 billion goal could still climb by a few billion.  But this is most significant progress since the beginning of negotiations.

      Update: Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the Speaker of the House, tells me "“There is no agreement on a number for the spending cuts. Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to.”


      OK for this year but only with a balance budget amendment.

    • Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as ‘The Governator’ – He’s been a famous body builder. He’s been a killer cyborg from the future. He’s been Governor of California. And now, in this week’s exclusive cover scoop, Arnold Schwarzenegger reveals his plans for the next phase of his extraordinary career: He’s going be a cartoon superhero, known as The Governator. “When I ran for governor back in 2003 and I started hearing people talking about ‘the Governator,’ I thought the word was so cool,” Schwarzenegger, 63, tells EW in his first press interview since leaving office last January. (Watch an EW-exclusive video of Schwarzenegger talking about the project.) “The word Governator combined two worlds: the world of politics and the movie world. And [this cartoon] brings everything together. It combines the governor, the Terminator, the bodybuilding world, the True Lies…” 
      The animated TV show and comic book, being co-developed by no less a superhero authority than Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee (pictured, right), won’t be out until next year,…


      Hope the cartoon ends up better than his Governorship which was horrible.

    • Barack Obama authorizes secret help for Libya rebels – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

      Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding", within the last two or three weeks, according to government sources familiar with the matter.

      Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place but does not mean that it will.


      Read it all.

    • Barack Obama’s jaw-dropping hypocrisy on energy – McConnell gave a speech on the Senate floor this morning that including these zingers:

      Over the past two years, the administration has undertaken what can only be described as a war on American energy. It’s cancelled dozens of drilling leases. It’s declared a moratorium on drilling off the Gulf Coast. It’s increased permit fees. It has prolonged public comment periods. In short, it’s done just about everything it can to keep our own energy sector from growing. As a result, thousands of U.S. workers have lost their jobs, as companies have been forced to look elsewhere for a better business climate.

      Consider this: just three of the areas we could tap in Alaska are thought to hold enough oil to replace our crude imports from the Persian Gulf for nearly 65 years. So the problem isn’t that we need to look elsewhere for our energy. The problem is that Democrats don’t want us to use the energy we have. It’s enough to make you wonder whether anybody in the White House has driven by a gas station lately.


      Well, at least he made a speech on energy – finally.

      The Democrats will do nothing to end American dependence on foreign oil by domestic exploration and drilling.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 25th on 20:01

    These are my links for March 25th from 20:01 to 20:09:

    • The Speech Obama Hasn’t Given – What are we doing in Libya? Americans deserve an explanation. – It all seems rather mad, doesn't it? The decision to become involved militarily in the Libyan civil war couldn't take place within a less hospitable context. The U.S. is reeling from spending and deficits, we're already in two wars, our military has been stretched to the limit, we're restive at home, and no one, really, sees President Obama as the kind of leader you'd follow over the top. "This way, men!" "No, I think I'll stay in my trench." People didn't hire him to start battles but to end them. They didn't expect him to open new fronts. Did he not know this?

      He has no happy experience as a rallier of public opinion and a leader of great endeavors; the central initiative of his presidency, the one that gave shape to his leadership, health care, is still unpopular and the cause of continued agitation. When he devoted his entire first year to it, he seemed off point and out of touch.

      This was followed by the BP oil spill, which made him look snakebit. Now he seems incompetent and out of his depth in foreign and military affairs. He is more observed than followed, or perhaps I should say you follow him with your eyes and not your heart. So it's funny he'd feel free to launch and lead a war, which is what this confused and uncertain military action may become.

      What was he thinking? What is he thinking?


      Read it all.

      The White House announced late Friday afternoon, that the President will address the american people about Libya on Monday night.

    • Antiwar Senator, War-Powers President – President Barack Obama has again flip-flopped on national security—and we can all be grateful. Having kept Guantanamo Bay open, resumed military commission trials for terrorists, and expanded the use of drones, the president has now ordered the U.S. military into action without Congress's blessing.

      Imagine the uproar if President Bush had unilaterally launched air attacks against Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. But since it's Mr. Obama's finger on the trigger, Democratic leaders in Congress have kept quiet—demonstrating that their opposition to presidential power during the Bush years was political, not principled.

      Mr. Obama's exercise of war powers in Libya is firmly in the tradition of American foreign policy. Throughout our history, neither presidents nor Congress have acted under the belief that the Constitution requires a declaration of war before the U.S. can conduct military hostilities abroad. We have used force abroad more than 100 times but declared war in only five cases: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American and Spanish-American Wars, and World Wars I and II.


      Read it all

  • Barack Obama,  Libya,  Tom McClintock

    California Rep. Tom McClintock Accuses President Obama of Violating War Powers Resolution Over Libya Military Action

    California Congressman Tom McClintock

    My old friend Tom McClintock is not to happy with President Obama about ordering military action in Libya. Here is his letter to the President:

    The Honorable Barack Obama
    President of the United States
    The White House
    Washington, D.C. 20500

    Dear Mr. President:

    I have read your letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate dated March 21, 2011 concerning your order that United States Armed Forces attack the nation of Libya. You cite the authority of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 and your “constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.”

    The Constitution clearly and unmistakably vests Congress with the sole prerogative “to declare war.” Your letter fails to explain how a resolution of the United Nations Security Council is necessary to commit this nation to war but that an act of Congress is not.

    The United Nations Participation Act expressly withholds authorization for the President to commit United States Armed Forces to combat in pursuit of United Nations directives without specific Congressional approval. The War Powers Resolution states that the President’s power to engage United States Armed Forces in hostilities “shall not be inferred . . .from any treaty heretofore or hereafter ratified unless such treaty is implemented by legislation specifically authorizing the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities…”

    The War Powers Resolution unambiguously defines three circumstances under which the President as Commander in Chief may order United States Armed Forces into hostile action: “(1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” Your letter cites none of these conditions.

    Nor can the power to order an act of war be inferred from the President’s authority as “Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.” The Constitution’s Framers were explicit on this point. In Federalist 69, Alexander Hamilton draws a sharp distinction between the President’s authority as Commander in Chief as “nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces” and the authority of the British king “which extends to the declaring of war and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies ~ all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature.”

    With all due respect, I can only conclude that your order to United States Armed Forces to attack the nation of Libya on March 19, 2011 is in direct violation of the War Powers Resolution and constitutes a usurpation of Constitutional powers clearly and solely vested in the United States Congress and is accordingly unlawful and unconstitutional.


    Tom McClintock
    Member of Congress

    I, frankly, don’t see ANY national security interest in Libya and a rationale for being there.

  • Barack Obama,  Libya,  Polling

    Poll Watch: Libya Military Action by America Has Lowest Approval in Past Four Decades

    According to the Gallup Poll.

    The 47% of Americans approving of the action against Libya is lower than what Gallup has found when asking about approval of other U.S. military campaigns in the past four decades.

    Americans showed the highest level of support for the 2001 military action in Afghanistan that was a response to the 9/11 terror attacks. Americans also widely supported U.S. airstrikes against Iraq in 1993 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Support for the current involvement in Libya is also much lower than support for U.S. airstrikes against Libya in 1986 in response to the Libyan bombing of a German nightclub that killed two American servicemen.

    And, don’t think the political shop in the White House is not keyed into this polling result. Obama will try to extricate himself or blame someone else as soon as he possibly can.

  • Barack Obama,  Libya,  Polling

    Poll Watch: U.S. Military Action in Libya – 45% Support Vs. 34% Oppose Vs. 21% Undecided

    According to the latest Rasmussen poll.

    Voters have mixed feelings about President Obama’s decision to use the U.S. military to help rebels in Libya and nearly half agree that he should have gotten Congress’ okay first.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters support the president’s decision to take military action in Libya. Thirty-four percent (34%) disagree with that decision, and another 21% are not sure about it.

    Fifty-five percent (55%) of Democrats and a plurality (42%) of voters not affiliated with either major party support the president’s decision to use U.S. military force in Libya. Just 36% of Republicans share that view.

    Liberals agree more strongly with the president’s action than do moderates and conservatives.

    Among all voters, 47% think the president should have gotten congressional approval before ordering the military into action in Libya. Thirty-four percent (34%) say the prior approval of Congress was not necessary, but 19% more are undecided.

    If this conflict continues for too long, these approval numbers will fall. It is hard to make a case to intervene in a country where there is little national security interest.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 24th on 05:40

    These are my links for March 24th from 05:40 to 07:44:

    • MO-Sen: Sen. Claire McCaskill sees tax bill increase – Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill's tax bill continues to grow, much to the delight of Republicans.

      The first-term Democrat will likely have to pay close to an additional $40,000 to St. Louis County to cover interest and penalties related to her failure to pay personal property taxes on a private plane stored at the Spirit of St. Louis airport.

      McCaskill has already sent the county's Department of Revenue checks for more than $287,000 to cover the personal property taxes owed on the plane for 2007 to 2010.

      That left her with an outstanding balance of $32,000, although that could change, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

      The senator has yet to receive a final tax bill and has been making payments proactively to rectify the matter, according to her office.


      The private plane that keeps on giving

    • In-Sen: There is a reason for a primary challenge to Sen. Dick Lugar – But NOT this Reason – Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) has never been a favorite of movement conservatives, and certainly not since President Obama was elected. He’s been a pushover on Obama’s extreme nominees (both on judges and on State Department picks such as Harold Koh, whose writings on deference to international law set off alarm bells on the right.) He’s flacked for the administration on START. But until now, he has not played the isolationist card. That appears to be changing. He’s put out yet another cringe-inducing statement on Libya:

      “There needs to be a plan about what happens after Gadhafi,” Lugar said. “Who will be in charge then, and who pays for this all. President Obama, so far, has only expressed vague hopes.”

      “Congress has been squabbling for months over a budget to run the federal government for a fiscal year that is almost half over,” Lugar said. “We argue over where to cut $100 million here and there from programs many people like. So here comes an open-ended military action with no-end game envisioned.

      With the Arab League already having second thoughts, and Turkey nixing NATO taking over, today there are even more questions. We also have to debate how all this effects the Saudis, Bahrain and Yemen.”

      “The facts are that our budget is stretched too far and our troops are stretched too far,” Lugar said. “The American people require a full understanding and accounting, through a full and open debate in Congress.”


      Sorry Jennifer, I cannot agree.

      There is NO national interest in involvement in Libya. Let Europe carry the ball.

      And, if Afghanistan does not turn around soon, I say get out of there too.

      This is not only a conservative position but the common sense one as well.