Flap’s Links and Comments for April 14th on 06:25

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for April 14th from 06:25 to 07:55:

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

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

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.

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    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.

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    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.

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

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

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.”

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    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,…

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

Flap’s Links and Comments for March 28th on 14:08

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for March 28th from 14:08 to 16:10:

  • Harry Reid urges GOP to ditch Tea Party – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday urged Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to ditch members of the Tea Party and cut a deal with Democrats to avert a government shutdown.

    Reid insisted it is those GOP internal divisions that are threatening to shut down the government after April 8, in less than two weeks.

    “For the sake of our economy, it’s time for mainstream Republicans to stand up to the Tea Party and rejoin Democrats at the table to negotiate a responsible solution that cuts spending while protecting jobs," he said.

    Last week Reid put $7.5 billion in discretionary cuts and $3.5 billion in mandatory savings on the table as a counteroffer to the $51 billion in additional cuts the GOP is seeking.

    This week Democrats are mulling raising the offer to $20 billion. But Democratic aides insist it is the divided GOP that must make the next move and come back to the negotiating table, not Democrats who must continue to negotiate with themselves and up their offer.

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    Harry Reid is going senile.

    Cut the damn budet, Dingy Harry – end of story

  • Is Media Matters breaking the law in its ‘war’ on Fox News? – Media Matters, the George Soros-backed legion of liberal agit-prop shock troops based in the nation's capital, has declared war on Fox News, and in the process quite possibly stepped across the line of legality.

    David Brock, MM's founder, was quoted Saturday by Politico promising that his organization is mounting "guerrila warfare and sabotage" against Fox News, which he said "is not a news organization. It is the de facto leader of the GOP, and it is long past time that it is treated as such by the media, elected officials and the public.”

    To that end, Brock told Politico that MM will “focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to disrupt his commercial interests …" Murdoch is the founder of Fox News and a media titan with newspaper, broadcast, Internet and other media countries around the world.

    There is nothing in the Politico article to suggest that Brock, who was paid just under $300,000 in 2009, according to the group's most recently available tax return, plans to ask the IRS to change his organization's tax status as a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt educational foundation.

    Being a C3 puts MM in the non-profit, non-commercial sector, and it also bars the organzation from participating in partisan political activity. This new, more aggressive stance, however, appears to run directly counter to the government's requirements for maintaining a C3 tax status.

    Since Brock classifies Fox News as the "leader" of the Republican Party, by his own description he is involving his organization in a partisan battle. High-priced K Street lawyers can probably find a federal judge or a sympathetic IRS bureaucrat willing to either look the other way or accept some sort of MM rationale such as that it is merely providing educational information about a partisan group.

    But in the IRS application for 501(C)(3) tax-exempt educational foundation status, Section VIII, Question I asks the applicant: "Do you support or oppose candidates in political campaigns in any way?" (Emphasis added).

    Under Brock's definition of Fox News, it appears he is setting MM on a course of actively opposing all Republican candidates. Brandon Kiser at The Right Sphere blog argues that this new statement of MM's mission means it must change its tax status.

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    Read it all.

    I don't think Media Matters is to impressed with the media exposure of their "WAR on Fox News." Probably neither are Rupert Murdoch's numerous law firms that are more than likely preparing lawsuits.

  • The battle to define Charles and David Koch – The LEFT Exposed – When it comes to the suddenly infamous Koch brothers, there’s one thing the conservative Weekly Standard and liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald can agree on: The Kochs, Charles and David, have been a boon to the American political left.

    “For progressives confused at the heated opposition to their do-gooder agenda, the Kochs became convenient scapegoats,” asserts the Weekly Standard’s Matthew Continetti this week in a long cover story defending the Kochs. Liberals in the media have “ascribed every bad thing under the sun to the brothers and their checkbooks. Pollution, the Tea Party, global warming denial—the Kochs were responsible,” Continetti writes, asserting that in recent months “whenever you turned on MSNBC or clicked on the Huffington Post you’d see the Kochs described in terms more applicable to Lex Luthor and General Zod.”

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    Read it all.

    Fancy that: A George Soros funded "War" against the Koch Brothers = some grassroots outrage…. RIGHT

Flap’s Links and Comments for March 25th on 06:38

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for March 25th from 06:38 to 06:55:

  • President 2012: Scapegoating Mitch Daniels – Over the past year, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has been a case study in how not to seek the Republican presidential nomination — if indeed that is his intention.
    Despite having a generally conservative governing record, in the run-up to a possible candidacy, Daniels has managed to alienate all parts of the GOP’s so-called “three-legged” stool. He has rattled economic conservatives by floating the possibility of a VAT tax, unnerved national security hawks by talking about defense cuts and seeming indifferent about foreign policy, and angered values voters by calling for a “truce” on social issues while the country confronts the national emergency of our fiscal crisis.
    It’s the latter comments that have drawn the most heat, giving his potential rivals an easy opening at conservative events to say that yes, social issues are a priority.
    But while Daniels has become a popular target for social conservatives who understandably don’t want to see their issues downplayed, the reality is that Daniels’ crime was to say explicitly what most of the other potential candidates are saying and doing implicitly — that is, emphasizing the importance of economic and fiscal issues over moral matters.

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    Read it all.

  • Sen. Jim DeMint’s Defense of RomneyCare is Ignorant…And Dangerous – Jennifer Rubin alerts me to these disturbing comments Sen. Jim DeMint made to the Hill in defense of RomneyCare:
    “One of the reasons I endorsed Romney [in 2008] is his attempts to make private health insurance available at affordable prices,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.), a GOP kingmaker.
    DeMint blames Democrats in the Massachusetts State Legislature for adding many of the features to Romney’s plan that many on the right decry.
    “It just depends on how he plays it. For me, I think he started with some good ideas that were essentially hijacked by the Democrat Legislature,” DeMint said.
    To start with, blaming everything on the Democratic legislature is simply not an accurate account of what happened. Romney helped craft the basic architecture of the health care plan, and pursued it even though he knew that he was working with an overwhelming Democratic legislature who he knew would override his symbolic line-item vetoes of parts of his bill. He signed the bill with Ted Kennedy at his side, and did so knowing he wasn't seeking reelection and that it would almost certainly fall on a Democratic governor to implement it….

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    Read it all

    Sen. Jim DeMint is turning out to be just another POL.

  • President 2012: Tea party leader says he’d endorse Mitch Daniels – Gov. Mitch Daniels: the tea party pick for president?

    That could happen, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said Thursday.

    Armey, now the leader of the tea party group FreedomWorks, was in Indiana to begin a three-day campaign-training seminar his group is conducting along with the Indiana-based tea party group America ReFocused.

    He met with Daniels privately before a Statehouse ceremony honoring the governor with a "legislative entrepreneur award" and told reporters he encouraged Daniels to "think about the service he could do for this nation as president."

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    Some on the right are scapegoating Mitch Daniels but Dick Armey knows Daniels is a credible conservative office holder with a track record.

Flap’s Links and Comments for March 18th on 17:18

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for March 18th from 17:18 to 17:28:

  • Now the Tea Party is ticked at California Republicans – Another day, another California Republican Party constituency is ticked at the party leadership's proposal to endorse candidates – for the first time — in a primary.

    On Tuesday, it was veterans. Today's ticked off conservative: Sal Russo, czar of the Tea Party Express. Sigh. It was only a year ago when the TP staged musical numbers at the GOP Convention. (Don't worry, we have the video here of that.)

    But now…a political lover's quarrel….

    In a "Dear Republican Leader" missive just e-blasted, Russo said the idea of the party endorsing a primary candidate "is a dangerous and slippery slope. While I admire greatly the party leaders today, there is no guarantee they will be the party leaders tomorrow."

    Sal says the plan proposed by CA GOP chair Ron Nehring goes against Tea Party principles.

    "We should support letting voters decide who will be the nominee of the Republican Party, and that will encourage successful candidates to embrace the Reagan way. This allows candidates to win based on our ideas, and it avoids the risks associated with reliance only on political insiders," Russo said.

    And then, Sal disses the GOP leaders, who while he "greatly admire(s)," thinks are "wrong."

    "If our leaders would have followed that prescription in California, we would have had victories here instead of defeats," Russo said. "Our party is not failing in California because our ideas are wrong; our leaders have been wrong."

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    Absolutely correct.

  • Field Poll: Pluralities say immigration hasn’t hurt state or their neighborhoods – California is home to 10 million immigrants, but most voters say new immigrants haven't altered the quality of life in their neighborhoods, according to a new Field/UC Berkeley poll.

    But those who do feel affected said new immigrants made life in California worse rather than better by a 39 percent-to-10 percent margin. In their own communities, 26 percent of voters said new immigrants made their lives worse, 9 percent said better and 62 percent said there was no impact.

    While immigration has dramatically changed California's ethnic composition, most residents don't see a major impact on their lives, said UC Berkeley political science professor Jack Citrin, who helped design the survey of 898 registered voters.

    "Immigrants have become a part of the fabric of life and people just know it and accept it."

    Californians who saw their economic fortunes decline in the past year were more likely to have a negative impression of immigrants, Citrin said.

    More than two-thirds of voters ages 18 to 29 said recent immigrants either had no impact on the quality of life in their communities (68 percent) or improved their lives (15 percent). But 16 percent said it made their communities worse.

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    Most of the folks who would tell it like it is have already left for Nevada, Arizona and Colorado.

    Many areas in Los Angeles are crime-infested, third world "pits."

    Who would move into these areas?

    This is a poorly worded poll, sampled with people that are remaining or who are stuck here in these lousy neighborhoods.

  • Open primary: State Republican Party leaders seek to retain their clout despite open primary – The major political parties are scrambling to blunt the effect of the "top-two" voting system that Californians approved at the ballot last year.

    Party bosses' bid to retain their clout, which the new "open primary" was intended to dilute, comes to a head for the state GOP this weekend.

    At the party's convention, which opens Friday, a group of conservatives including the California party chairman wants to codify the power to crown their party's nominees with early endorsements — long before voters even cast their first ballots for statewide, congressional and legislative offices.

    Such a move would pit the activists against the GOP's leading congressional and state legislators, and help preserve the most conservative members' hold on the party machinery. Democrats will tackle the nomination issue at their convention next month.

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    A bad idea, a bad plan and will NOT grow the California GOP.

    My bet if it passes, that a number of GOP Legislators will re-register Decline to State and run as "independents."

    Who will blame them?