Bloomberg TV reports tonight that President Obama is telling high dollar donors that, if he wins a second term and the Supreme Court strikes ObamaCare down, that he may have to “revisit” health care reform. Three sources confirmed the president’s position to Bloomberg TV. The do-over position is at odds with Obama’s stump speeches, in which he either avoids ObamaCare altogether because of its unpopularity, or tells audiences that he is confident it will survive the court challenge. The president seems to have one private position for the 1% among his supporters, and another position for everyone else. SCOTUS is expected to rule on ObamaCare by the end of June.
The president and the Democrats had super majorities in both houses of Congress when they passed ObamaCare, and it still took them more than a year to pass it. Even if Obama wins a second term, Republicans are likely to hold the House and may capture the Senate. The likelihood of getting a partisan bill like ObamaCare 1.0 through a hostile Congress is virtually nil.
After his acquittal on one charge and a hung jury on the other five charges he faced, former Sen. John Edwards delivered a few remarks on the steps of federal courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina. Edwards thanked the jurors for their hard work, lauded the nation, repeatedly stressed his contrition and took responsibility for his actions.
“This is about me,” Edwards said. “While I do not believe that what I did was illegal, or ever thought I was doing anything that was illegal, there was an awful, awful lot that I did that was wrong and there is no one else responsible for my sins…If I want to find the person who is responsible I don’t have to go any farther than the mirror. It’s me, and me alone.”
Edwards went on to mention the “people that I love,” which included his parents, his siblings, his children by his late wife Elizabeth, and “my precious Quinn,” his daughter by mistress Rielle Hunter. But Edwards did not acknowledge Hunter directly in any way.
Edwards closed saying that “I don’t think God’s through with me,” and declared that he wanted to spend the rest of his life helping “those kids who deserve help and who I hope I can help” in the “poorest parts of this country and the poorest parts of the world.” Edwards also said that he hopes to be the best dad he can be.
Edwards’ tone and serious words surely won over the alternate juror with whom he reportedly flirted during the trial and cable TV producers looking to build new shows to compete with Fox. The disgraced Democrat who twice ran for president and was that party’s 2004 vice presidential nominee is probably finished in politics, having cheated on his dying wife, using his friends and their money to cover up the relationship, and did not acknowledge Quinn as his daughter until he absolutely had to. But disgraced Democrats tend to find new lives as cable TV hosts. It would come as no surprise if CNN, Current or MSNBC has a plan in the works to pair Edwards with former NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
According to the popular Egyptian website, El Bashayer, Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate, just declared that he will “achieve the Islamic conquest (fath) of Egypt for the second time, and make all Christians convert to Islam, or else pay the jizya,” the traditional Islamic tax, or financial tribute, required of non-Muslim “dhimmis.”
In a brief report written by Samuel al-Ashay and published by El Bashayer on May 27, Morsi allegedly made these comments while speaking with a journalist at the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, adding “We will not allow Ahmed Shafiq [his contending presidential candidate] or anyone else to impede our second Islamic conquest of Egypt.”
After his interviewer pointed out that the first Muslim conquest of Egypt was “carried out at the hands of Amr bin al-As [in 641],” he asked Morsi, “Who will the second Islamic conqueror be?” The presidential candidate replied, “The second Muslim conqueror will be Muhammad Morsi,” referring to himself, “and history will record it.”
When asked what he thought about many Christian Copts coming out to vote for his secular opponent, Ahmed Shafiq, Morsi reportedly said, “They need to know that conquest is coming, and Egypt will be Islamic, and that they must pay jizya or emigrate.”
If this interview is accurate, certainly Morsi would not be the first political Islamist in Egypt to say he wants to see the nation’s Christians subjugated and made to pay jizya (see here for more examples)… Continue reading.
At a ceremony today to unveil the official portraits of President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush, President Obama steered the dedication speech toward his own experiences in the White House.
“It’s been said that no one can ever truly understand what it’s like being President until they sit behind that desk and feel the weight and responsibility for the first time. And that is true. After three and a half years in office — and much more gray hair — I have a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the Presidents who came before me, including my immediate predecessor, President Bush,” Obama said.
“In this job, no decision that reaches your desk is easy. No choice you make is without costs. No matter how hard you try, you’re not going to make everybody happy. I think that’s something President Bush and I both learned pretty quickly.”
He talked about how presidents may have political differences, but all understand each other when it comes to the weight of the job. He hailed Bush for knowing “that a true test of patriotism is the willingness to freely and graciously pass the reins of power on to somebody else.”
“The months before I took the oath of office were a chaotic time. We knew our economy was in trouble, our fellow Americans were in pain, but we wouldn’t know until later just how breathtaking the financial crisis had been,” Obama said. “And still, over those two and a half months — in the midst of that crisis — President Bush, his Cabinet, his staff, many of you who are here today, went out of your ways — George, you went out of your way — to make sure that the transition to a new administration was as seamless as possible.”
“…And last year, when we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, I made it clear that our success was due to many people in many organizations working together over many years — across two administrations. That’s why my first call once American forces were safely out of harm’s way was to President Bush,” he added.
Bush thanked the Obamas for inviting 14 members of the Bush family and his “rowdy” friends to his “hanging.”
“I am pleased that my portrait brings an interesting symmetry to the White House collection,” Bush quipped. “It now starts and ends with a George W.”
“When the British burned the White House, as Fred mentioned, in 1814, Dolley Madison famously saved this portrait of the first George W. Now, Michelle, if anything happens, there’s your man,” he added to laughter and applause.
Laura Bush quipped that her portrait looks better than the her bobblehead doll found on the clearance shelf of the gift shop at the National Constitutional Center in Philadelphia.
“It’s meaningful to me as a private person to know that these portraits will be on view at the White House, that my portrait will hang just down the hall from my mother-in-law, and that George’s portrait will hang very close to his dad’s,” she said. “But what’s more meaningful is it’s meaningful to me as a citizen. This was our family’s home for eight years. It was our home, but it wasn’t our house. This house belongs to the people whose portraits will never hang here, the ordinary and not-so-ordinary people whose lives inspired us and whose expectations guided us during the years that we lived here.”
Today, Romney managed to stage a press conference in front of Solyndra’s former headquarters in Fremont, California.
It was a secretly planned appearance because Solyndra is now owned by YOU the taxpayer after a $535 million loss of your money. Apparently the Romney campaign thought there was a chance that the President of the United States might have ordered some REAL LIVE road blocks to keep this event from happening — thus the need for secrecy by Team Romney.
This means it’s time for another infamous Tatler Photo Caption Contest.
To start things off here is my entry:
“Glad you could attend the opening of my new California campaign headquarters,” Romney told the crowd.
Now, I fully expect all you brilliant PJM Tatler readers out there to unleash your creative juices and top that one.
So, start up that solar panel between your ears and post the funniest, most creative photo caption for Romney at Solyndra.
The winner will be recognized in a future Tatler post, and maybe we could throw in some of those unsold Solyndra solar panels as an extra incentive.
The things a blogger finds on YouTube…
Today Obama henchman David Axelrod tried to have a big press event in Boston to attack Mitt Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts. Axelrod had to navigate through a large crowd of Romney supporters, some hoisting signs reading “OBAMA ISN’T WORKING,” to get to the podium. And once at the podium, Axelrod really couldn’t get his message across, what with all the heckling and even an Obama surrogate ditching the campaign’s lame talking points.
So Ax tried heckling his hecklers. That hardly ever works, and now it’s been immortalized.
Ironically, despite what Ax says, it’s his own campaign that can’t handle truth of failure on so many policy fronts that it has to amp up distraction after distraction.
Next up: Somebody sets the Ax press fail to the tune of “Bad Day.”
Alexis Garcia has this excellent piece at PJTV about the regulatory plight of a small business in Chicago.
After watching it, I believe the problem is much larger and more fundamental than silly rules about where a coffee shop owner puts chairs.
It is no surprise that a city like Chicago, taken over long ago by a variety of leftist camps — and embodying the progressive ideals of the left — might tell a coffee shop owner where to put his chairs.
Ideas have consequences. The explosion of regulations is a consequence of the leftist and statist bent of American institutions, not just bad decisions by regulators.
The problem isn’t the regulations. The problem is the leftist philosophy that spawned them.
But alas, in many places, the victims love the abuse. The left has not only marched through the institutions, it has marched straight into the heads of the majority of people who live in places like Chicago, Montgomery County (Maryland), San Francisco, and hundreds of other places. Citizens there like regulations. Perversely, many want more regulation, and more taxes.
These days, it seems if you want freedom to run your business, you need to plop down on a little-travelled county road in South Carolina or Virginia.
Over-regulation is also a political question. The people being victimized could band together to oust the politicians over regulating them. But in places like Chicago, that won’t happen. The political outcomes that give rise to over-regulation reflect the statist philosophy that is pervasive throughout the institutions. It isn’t just the code enforcement department. It is the schools, those dependent on entitlements, the government and academia.
The advocates of big government rule the field, the air, the sea. Only small pockets of resistance remain.
Over economic regulation is a symptom of a deeper malaise – a long leftward march through all institutions. When the opponents of regulations seem quirky or quaint, you know the advocates of statist control rule the field. The long march through the institutions has provided an environment where swarms of outlandish laws and regulations are commonplace.
The laws exist because the victors in the philosophical and political battles get to write them. Unraveling these commonplace regulations may be a task so mighty as to now be beyond the reach of conservative countermeasures.
Sure, small victories can be won here and there.
But undoing excessive regulation won’t be achieved by ad hoc attacks on a few dozen examples when millions of others remain on the books.
The task is far bigger. The task requires a shift in the prevailing philosophical winds. The task requires repeated political victories by opponents of the leftists who have bestowed the regulatory state upon us. Whether America still has enough fight is the question.
(Cross-posted at Rule of Law.)
The official citation for the medal, as described by the White House, read that Karski had “worked as a courier, entering the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi Izbica transit camp, where he saw first-hand the atrocities occurring under Nazi occupation.”
So Obama’s speechwriters, and Obama himself, must have ignored the information present in their own citation when writing Obama’s remarks. Not only was the death camp not “Polish” (although it was in Poland), it was actually a transit camp and not a death camp–and that information was already known to them, or should have been.
Maybe Obama should fire his speechwriter and hire the citation-writer to fact-check his speeches.
After eight days of deliberations, the jury in the campaign finance trial of former Democrat senator, presidential candidate and vice presidential nominee John Edwards has reached a verdict. We’ll have that verdict as soon as the jury announces it. The reading of the verdict is moments away. Edwards could face 30 years in prison if he is convicted.
Update: Fox is hearing that there’s a unanimous verdict on one of the counts, and a hung jury on the rest.
Update: The jury has reached a verdict on count three, concerning whether Edwards illegally accepted donations from Bunny Mellon above the legal campaign limit. They claim to be hung on the other five charges. The defense wanted a mistrial declared, but the judge has reportedly instructed the jury to go back and finish up its work on the other five counts.
Update: Mistrial on five counts, as the jury could not reach a verdict on them, and not guilty on Count Three.
So, how long before CNN, MSNBC and Current compete to give Edwards his own show?
Oh yes, Mitt did. The GOP’s nominee went and had himself a press event outside the empty husk that once housed the pride of Barack Obama’s greendoggle public equity failures: Solyndra. Here’s a photo that’s hitting the Twitter. Mitt Romney, I am starting to like the cut of your jib sir.
President Obama burned half a billion taxpayer dollars on Solyndra, a government-backed loan that went to several of his political supporters. If we had a real mainstream media, it would hound Obama about the obvious corruption that the Solyndra deal implies.
But instead, let’s just note a couple of facts. While Mitt Romney helmed Bain Capital, it invested billions of private money in hundreds of companies and racked up a 78% success rate and truly created or saved thousands of jobs. Obama’s success rate investing billions of dollars in taxpayer money in politically correct ventures have so far racked up something in the neighborhood of a zero success rate. As the Washington Post put it, Obama’s greendoggles tended to privatize any profits while socializing the losses. Which means you and I lost money while Obama’s pals and supporters piled it up, some of which went right back to support Obama’s re-election.
I oppose the government investing in Solyndras and Ener1s and similar ventures, but if we’re going to do it, shouldn’t we at least have a competent investor with a real business track record making the calls? Duh.
Update: Just to make it official, Mitt checked into Solyndra on Foursquare. He added that it was “great fun” looking at the “Taj Mahal which is known as Solyndra.” Rush is right: This is not the McCain campaign. Thank goodness.
The president is now portraying himself as a great expert on Judaism, but we know–as I wrote some years ago–that this is false. He has demonstrated considerable misunderstanding of Judaism, including the significance of our holiest day, Yom Kippur.
But that does not stop him from lecturing twenty-odd rabbis on Judaism, nor claiming that no other president before him has understood it as well as he does. So he tells the Jews what they really believe, and therefore what they should do.
In the coverage of his alleged role in personally selecting the targets of Hellfire missiles in the Middle East, it was claimed that he arrived at this remarkable decision after reading Sts. Aquinas and Augustine on “just war.” Do you believe it? Did any journalist think to ask for specifics?
In any event, it is a further case of the president telling Catholics what to believe, and therefore how to act. We all know the other cases, which have led to an open revolt from American Catholic leaders against the president’s theology and his policies.
In his speech in Cairo–the one he addressed to the “Muslim World”–he made numerous false statements about Islam, including Muslim theology and history. He spoke as if he did not realize that the Muslim Middle East is a failed culture (as numerous Muslim scholars have said). Nonetheless, that did not prevent him from telling Muslims what they believed and therefore how they should act.
He probably told the Dalai Lama something similar, dontcha think?
In short, he’s not only commander-in-chief who thinks our soldiers serve him, not the nation and its Constitution, but the prophet-in-chief for all religions.
There are words for this sort of self-image, ranging from extreme narcissism to megalomania. Combined with his insistence on keeping secret the most mundane aspects of his life, it suggests a desire to create a personal myth about himself, a myth that entitles him to speak ex cathedra to all men and women.
If he really were a great religious scholar and a deep philosophical thinker, I might be inclined to celebrate the world’s fortune in having a transcendent, world-historical figure in the White House. But he isn’t. He keeps getting the facts wrong from “Polish death camps” to “all 57 states,” from “Muslims invented printing” to “my Austrian isn’t very good,”, which is not the way of the prophets.
It’s nuts, actually.
(Cross-posted at Faster, Please.)
Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion — not pro-choice, but pro-abortion — president America has ever had, so this comes as no surprise:
TAPPER: The House is, I think, this afternoon preparing to take up a bill that would ban gender selection as a factor in abortions in this country. And I was wondering — I haven’t a statement of administration policy; I was wondering if the White House had a position on that?
CARNEY: I will have to take that as well. Been focused on other things, but I will get back to you.
Note: The White House got back to me this evening to say the president opposes the bill.
White House deputy press secretary Jamie Smith says in a statement: “The Administration opposes gender discrimination in all forms, but the end result of this legislation would be to subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision. The government should not intrude in medical decisions or private family matters in this way.”
Translated: The Obama White House claims to oppose gender discrimination in all forms, but abortion trumps all else, including gender discrimination against our most vulnerable.
The White House’s claim of criminal prosecution in the statement above is patently false. The bill in question is quite modest in its force. It would not require doctors to go out of their way to determine why someone is seeking an abortion. It would ban abortions if it turns out that the abortion is being sought solely for sex-selection purposes. But even this modest requirement, the president who even supported infanticide during his time in the Illinois legislature, cannot abide.
Leading figures in the conservative movement will be honored at the 9th annual Bradley Prize ceremony next week in Washington, D.C.
This year’s honorees include former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III; Chip Mellor, President of the Institute for Justice; Heritage Foundation President Dr. Edwin J. Fuelner; and demographer Nicholas Eberstadt with the American Enterprise Institute.
The Bradley Prizes will be presented on June 7th at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Along with the award, each recipient will receive a $250,000 stipend to promote the ideals of limited government and free enterprise.
The event will feature “The Partridge Family” actress Shirley Jones, who also won an Academy Award for her role in “Elmer Gantry” in 1960.
To learn more about the Bradley Foundation, visit www.bradleyfdn.org
Attorney General Eric Holder held a campaign-related meeting with scores of black pastors and religious leaders Wednesday. The meeting itself was unprecedented, as its intent was to instruct religious leaders how they might help re-elect a sitting president without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status. Holder used the meeting to say things are blatantly dishonest:
“In my travels across this country, I’ve heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from citizens, who – often for the first time in their lives – now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation’s most noble ideals,” Holder said in a speech before the Council of Black Churches. The threats of legal assaults and lingering discrimination, he added, means that “some of the achievements that defined the civil rights movement now hang in the balance.”
As if to underscore the point, however, a voting rights group is worried that Holder and the Justice Department aren’t acting quickly enough to stop Florida’s Republican governor from continuing a purge of registered voters from the state’s rolls because they lack proof of U.S. citizenship.
That’s Politico’s spin on things.
Holder is talking about the voter ID laws that several states have passed, and efforts to clean up voter rolls that have been compromised by, on the one hand, the ease with which non-citizens can register to vote, and on the other hand, concerted efforts to register ineligible voters by groups like ACORN. Holder is telling “his people” that making it more difficult to cast fraudulent votes puts their own voting rights in the balance.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and Holder knows it.
Before Indiana passed its voter ID law, people like Holder and the activist groups he aligns with warned that the law was designed to and would prevent minorities from voting. Reality: Voting among minorities increased across the board. Georgia passed a similar voter ID law, and voting rates went up there, too.
Holder’s racist “my people” comment probably should’ve earned him a humiliating resignation. His comments to black leaders that sensible efforts to secure the integrity of our elections are threat to their voting rights a dishonest disgrace that definitely should end in him leaving his post. Holder is using the office of attorney general, the people’s lawyer not the president’s counsel, to militate against secure elections. Eric Holder is a partisan first, in an office that should be apolitical, and he needs to go.
What is it with Democrats having to be historic firsts and bestests at everything?
Elizabeth Warren, the presumed Democrat nominee for Senate in Massachusetts, has now admitted that she told her university employers about her alleged Cherokee heritage:
Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren acknowledged for the first time late Wednesday night that she told Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she was Native American, but she continued to insist that race played no role in her recruitment.
“At some point after I was hired by them, I . . . provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard,’’ she said in a statement issued by her campaign. “My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it and I have been open about it.’’
She’s also been less than truthful about it, and refuses to answer straightforward questions about it. MA Gov. Deval Patrick even tried to shield her from a reporter’s questions about it when he endorsed her. If you watch no other blog clip today, watch this one.
Warren claimed not only to be Cherokee, which coincidentally got her a leg up in getting jobs over applicants who didn’t claim any minority status, but she has also claimed that — not making this up — she’s the first nursing mother to take the bar exam in New Jersey. Women have been taking the bar in NJ since 1895. Did someone go around keeping a stat of which of those women were also nursing mothers, or did Warren just make stuff up again to make herself look more fabulous?
It’s probably the latter, and she’s far from the only Democrat to engage in absurd self-puffery. Take President Obama, who earlier this week made the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony all about himself — which is par for the Golfer in Chief’s course — and then said this, about his understanding of Judiasm.
In the meeting, Obama reportedly boasted about his knowledge of Judaism, telling the leaders that he thinks he knows more “about Judaism” than all past presidents. He said he gained this knowledge of Judaism from reading.
“Obama … stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it,” Haaretz reports. “[He] wondered how come no one asks Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner or Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel [sic] about their support to Israel.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who will be introducing bills after recess that include cutting off funding to Pakistan, told Greta Van Susteren last night that it’s about more than Shakil Afridi.
Paul’s bills would cut aid until Pakistan releases Afridi, sentenced to 33 years in prison for treason for helping the U.S. find Osama bin Laden, and would make Afridi a U.S. citizen.
The senator said he especially sympathized with Afridi as they’re both doctors and about the same age. “I don’t think we should give any taxpayer money to a government that’s imprisoning a guy who really ought to be treated as a hero,” Paul said.
But he noted that the reasons for cutting aid run deeper than the informant.
“I’m going to try to draw attention to this because I don’t think there’s any U.S. taxpayers out there that want their money being sent to Pakistan when Pakistan treats their people this way,” Paul said.
“Pakistan also has a woman in jail. She’s threatened with execution for blasphemy. She says she didn’t say it, but her co-worker said she said something about the Prophet. That’s not the kind of society we should be sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to.”
Paul criticized the Obama administration for not giving reward money promised for the capture of bin Laden, but instead letting Afridi languish in jail and sending funds to the Pakistani government.
“I think they would understand a position of strength,” the senator said. “I think if we had a president who tomorrow said, ‘You don’t get one penny of U.S. taxpayer money unless you release this gentleman, unless you start treating Christians with compassion, unless you start talking about having religious freedom in your country.’”
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who publicly revealed 25 years ago yesterday that he is gay, told Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC that a couple Republican colleagues were among the first to tell him they were supportive.
“I had the fear that maybe if people knew that I was gay that they might not want to vote for me,” Frank said. “So there was a sense of well, that’s not hanging over me anymore. On the other hand, I feel a little funny. It’s a little bit late in life to become any kind of sex symbol. I feel funny. I walk around and I get a sense people are saying, gee, I wonder what he does.”
The retiring congressman said he was proud of his voting record on women’s issues as well as gay rights, saying “it would be a lousy world if the only people who were concerned about mistreatment or discrimination were the victims of it.”
“A couple of people who immediately told me they were supportive were some major Republican — not liberals, necessarily, mainstream conservatives, former Senator Al Simpson, former Senator Warren Rudman,” Frank said of his initial coming out.
Frank charged that Republicans have “regressed” on “diminishing prejudice and hate in the country as a whole,” while Democrats “have gotten better at an even faster rate than the country.”
“I look back somewhat nostalgically to a degree of bipartisan encouragement I got then that sadly I couldn’t count on today,” he said.
The 72-year-old noted his upcoming summer nuptials with Jim Ready. “I’m looking forward to introducing Jim as my husband to my colleagues for the rest of this year,” Frank said.
Rep. Barbara Lee took to the floor of Congress to denounce the so-called “war on women.” The latest battle in that “war” is a House initiative to ban abortions based on sex selection. The initiative is a reaction to Live Action’s undercover video captured at a Planned Parenthood mill in Austin, TX, in which a PP staffer enthusiastically assists a woman claiming to be pursuing an abortion because she wants a boy but has found out that the child she is carrying is a girl. The PP staffer also coaches the woman in defrauding Medicare. Planned Parenthood claims that the staffer has since been fired.
Incredibly, Rep. Lee sees an effort to save baby girls from being aborted solely because they are girls as a part of the “Republican war on women.” Trying to allow baby girls to be born is now waging war on women?
After describing this “war” as “truly shock and awe,” Lee opined: “Of course we oppose sex selection based on gender.”
Upon what else would sex selection be based?
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said last night that President Obama had been hurt in his home state by support for gay marriage, but added it wouldn’t be an issue that would cost Obama the election.
“It’s not the most important issue but it’s an important issue to people,” Rubio told Bill O’Reilly on Fox. “We have a constitutional amendment in Florida that defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman as a very particular institution.”
O’Reilly pressed Rubio on whether Obama’s recent coming-out on the issue would hurt him with the Hispanic community in Florida.
“I don’t think that’s the issue that’s going to decide the election,” Rubio said, agreeing that it’s an important issue for Hispanics. “But I don’t want to overstate that it’s going to be one that decides the election. It’s an important issue.”
Rubio said that Obama won Florida in 2008 as “an idea,” but now the swing state is Mitt Romney’s for the taking.
“I honestly believe that Mitt Romney is going to win Florida and therefore win the presidency,” the senator said. Obama has not only a record to defend, he added, but “his rhetoric is like anybody else in Washington. He’s divisive — dividing Americans against each other. Floridians aren’t going to like that.”
O’Reilly hammered Rubio hard on the VP question, but the senator wouldn’t budge.
“Obviously I’m being very respectful of the process they’re going through and trying not comment on it,” Rubio said. “I will say this, though: Mitt Romney is someone who has made a lot of good decisions in his life consistently. It’s a record of good decisions in his personal life, his business life, his political life, and I think he’s going to make a great decision.”
Former Democrat and former AL Rep. Artur Davis appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to explain why he has decided to switch from the president’s party to the GOP:
DAVIS: And in the last two years, I’ve looked at the fact that we’re losing ground in this country economically. Every time we think we’re beginning to move forward, we fall backwards. We’re more divided now than we were four years ago. Our school systems aren’t working. A lot of the policies that have been put in place in the last several years have been counterproductive. Our businesses don’t have an environment where they think they can create jobs and I could go on. What we’re doing is not working.
Davis was one of Barack Obama’s earliest endorsers for president, but the president has pulled the Democrats so far to the left that Davis no longer wants to be associated with the president or the Democratic Party.
I was privileged to meet and have dinner with Rep. Davis at the True the Vote summit in Houston earlier this year. The soundbite above scratches the surface of the deep differences Davis has with his former party. He is among the millions of Democrats who have seen their party go down a radical path that he is choosing not to follow. He delivered a searing speech at the summit, blasting the Democrats for many things including dishonestly comparing voter ID laws to Jim Crow and poll taxes, both of which were Democrat initiatives. He accused the Democrats of using race and class to divide the country. Davis struck me as honest and honorable, and he’s a welcome addition to the right side of the aisle.
Team Obama is planning to shift from its nonsensical attacks on Bain Capital to attacking Mitt Romney’s stint as governor of Massachusetts. Romney’s record is fair game, but the Obama campaign would have been wise to consult with the state’s current governor first. Deval Patrick succeeded Romney as governor, and hit MSNBC this morning, just hours before the new Obama attacks are to be launched, criticizing the president’s strategy in slamming Bain. Patrick also praised Romney’s gubernatorial record on unemployment.
MIKE BARNCLE: “Governor Patrick, do you know what the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was when Mitt Romney left office?”
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK: ”I think when he left office, it was in the 4s. I want to say 4.3, about what the national average was.”
JOE SCARBOROUGH: “That’s pretty good.”
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK: ”Is that about right? Yeah. It was about — by the time he left, it was about what the national rate was. I think it had trailed the national rate, been higher than the national rate for most of his time, but by the time he left, I think that’s about right.”
Gov. Patrick has a good reason to note the Romney unemployment rate: Massachusetts’ current unemployment stands at 6.5%. That’s well below the national average under Obama, but more than two points higher than when Romney was governor. An attack on Romney’s unemployment rate exposes the fact that under Patrick the state is faring worse, and the nation is faring worse yet.
But Obama is more than welcome to launch this attack if he wants to. It’s likely to go about as well for him as the Bain attacks did.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is deploying Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) following a promise by the freshman congressman to stoke grass-roots momentum.
The NRCC sent out an email from “Col. Allen West” a few moments ago, subject line “Are you up to the challenge?”
“Last week the Speaker gave a presentation on where we stood right now in our efforts to defeat Obama. He said there is a possibility we could lose the House and Obama would once again be free to shove his reckless ideas down our throats,” the West email says.
“I stood up and said that I would take on the challenge of mobilizing 375,000 conservative supporters,” he continues. “Obama is storming across America activating his liberal base and raising record sums of money. Without your help I fear he will win re-election and make his European dreams reality for all Americans.”
West notes that the FEC deadline is at midnight today and vows that “a group of House Republicans” would match every donation made to the NRCC before then.
A potential pick for Mitt Romney’s No. 2 is spending the Senate recess in Israel, touring an Iron Dome battery in southern Israel today that protects the country from rockets and short-range missiles and meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The Iron Dome system is a proven way for Israel to defend its people from hostile threats,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who stressed that he fought for additional funding for the program during the Senate’s markup of the defense reauthorization bill. “This cooperative effort between our two governments will also help enhance U.S. missile defense capabilities.”
Portman is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, but is mostly known for his business acumen as former OMB director and U.S. trade representative.
Barack Obama has never been to Israel as president.
Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee awarded $210 million for joint U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs and procurement of additional Iron Dome batteries as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. As of now, there are three operational Iron Dome batteries, with another on its way. However, said Portman’s office, Israel estimates it will need 10-15 to cover its population centers.
“It was encouraging to see firsthand how this innovative technology is protecting lives and significantly diminishing the effectiveness of a tool terrorists use to inflict harm and escalate violence,” Portman said.
Portman said he and Netanyahu discussed the Iranian nuclear threat and the crisis in Syria.
“This past year has been very turbulent for the Middle East, and my conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu strengthened my belief that we need to remain vigilant in our support of our critical ally,” the senator said.
“I also enjoyed hearing from Prime Minister Netanyahu on the state of the Israeli economy, which grew 4.8 percent in 2011. It was instructive to learn how the Israeli government and the private sector are working hard to develop newly discovered natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, as we are doing in Ohio with shale oil and gas.”
New York City monarch Michael Bloomberg will propose a ban on the sale, by certain vendors, of large sugary sodas. This, of course, is done in the name of “public health” and “fighting” the “epidemic of obesity.”
Following the nanny-state tradition of declaring war on inanimate or abstract things, Bloomberg has already launched blitzkriegs on cigarettes, salt, and trans fats, and even proposed to limit alcohol sales in the city—all in the name of protecting people from themselves.
I once interviewed Bloomberg at an equestrian show in the Hamptons. Under the VIP tent, he was surrounded by tables filled with drinks of all sorts—sodas and alcohol included—as well as mounds of every type of food imaginable. After I got past all his bodyguards—surely a big carbon footprint, no?—I spoke to him and found him amiable but wooden, the quintessential do-gooder technocrat who lives above and beyond the canaille he purports to help. His own moveable feasts, to be sure, don’t factor into his conception of “the public health,” but why should they? He has a Plan for us, and that Plan is based on the Truth.
When does it stop?
- Obama Reframes His Frugal Spending Claim, by Tom Blumer. There you go again.
- How Can Obama’s Middle East Policy Possibly Get Worse? By Barry Rubin. Look at Syria, where he’s “leading from behind” by relying on Putin’s Russia.
- It’s Game On: Should Mitt Take the Gloves Off? By Bridget Johnson. Let’s start by shushing the tired refrain about positive campaigns and talk about how low he should go.
- Muslim Journalist Challenges Sharia, Gets Accused of ‘Hate,’ by Robert Spencer. Mona Eltahawy receives the typical treatment given to defenders of Muslim women.
- 10 Reasons You Should Skip Traditional Publishers and Self-Publish Ebooks Instead, by Robert Bidinotto. How your unpublished manuscript just might make you rich and famous.
- Madness in High Places, by Michael Ledeen. World leaders have taken leave of common sense.
- This Ain’t No Polish Joke, by Stephen Green. The president said about the stupidest, most offensive thing imaginable to an entire people.
The US has already passed the stage of “demoralization.” Watch this and pass it on:
It’s just short of the poll’s margin of error, but Governor Scott Walker’s lead in the Marquette Law School poll is unchanged from the numbers that came out two weeks ago:
A new Marquette Law School poll finds Governor Scott Walker with 52 percent to Mayor Tom Barrett with 45 percent among 600 likely voters in next week’s recall election. That lead falls slightly short of statistical significance. The poll was taken May 23-26, with most interviews completed before last Friday’s first gubernatorial debate, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points. Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch had 46 percent and Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin president Mahlon Mitchell had 41 percent, with 11 percent not expressing a preference. The margin in the Lt. Governor’s race is not statistically significant.
The seven-point advantage for Walker was statistically unchanged from the six-point margin two weeks ago in the Marquette Law School poll taken May 9-12, when Walker had 50 percent to Barrett’s 44 percent.
Among all registered voters the margin is six points, with Walker at 50 percent and Barrett at 44 percent. The registered voter sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.
In the presidential race President Barack Obama received 51 percent to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s 43 percent among likely voters.
Significantly, about twice as many Wisconsin voters think the jobs situation is improving compared to the survey released two weeks ago — 38-20%. Walker also led Barrett 50-43% when voters were asked which candidate would do better at creating jobs.
Another good sign for the incumbent — he has cracked the 50% barrier. With less than a week to go before the vote, that bodes very well for Walker’s chances.
A right track/wrong track question also favored Walker with voters by a 52-44% margin believing the state is on the right track.
Most of the underlying questions give Walker reason for optimism, including an indication that there is an enthusiasm gap:
Republicans are more likely to say they are “absolutely certain to vote” on June 5, at 92 percent, while 77 percent of Democrats say this. Eighty-four percent of independents say they are absolutely certain to vote.
Walker has been playing a prevent defense in the last week, trying to keep a lower profile and avoid gaffes. Barrett has not been so lucky. When asked to name one school that has suffered as a result of Walker’s collective bargaining reform, he couldn’t name one.
Wisconsin uber-Democrat Senator Herb Kohl has just written a really silly letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski.
Senator Kohl’s missive asks the Barack Obama Justice Department and FCC to…do what they’ve already been doing. For far too long.
Which is to “examine closely” Verizon’s $3.6 billion spectrum purchase from SpectrumCo. (Spectrum being the “airwaves” we need for everything wireless – including cell phones.)
This is simply a free market transaction between a willing seller and a willing buyer. But it is a Tech Industry free market transaction – which means the government absurdly has way too much ability to block or jam up the deal. Verizon and SpectrumCo – in fact all Tech companies – are forced to play “Mother May I” with the Leviathan when they want to engage in mutually agreeable commerce.
And the Obama Administration is certainly, repeatedly availing itself of this anti-free market power.
Verizon and SpectrumCo announced their deal way back on December 2, 2011. Yet here we are in mid-May – five and a half months later – and the Administration still has not made a decision.
Why? Because the government ludicrously has 180 days to make it. And it routinely uses every last second.
And then some. The FCC self-extended by three weeks their review of the Verizon deal. Because the Commission demanded of the companies more than 50,000 documents – and they submitted some of them late.
Probably because they were too busy, you know, running their businesses.
And after forcing these companies to wait and waste all of this time, the Obama Administration can still outright block the sale. Which they did to T-Mobile’s proposed sale to AT&T.
Or they can approve it – but with pages and pages of often illegal forced restrictions/conditions – which will make the spectrum less useful and less valuable. They emplaced a litany of such compulsory capitulations on Comcast’s purchase of NBC-Universal.
Again, why must the Tech sector be subjected to this preposterous, excruciating process – when nearly every other part of the private sector is not? If Wal-Mart wants to buy chairs from K-Mart, they do not have to first go hat in hand to the Federales to get permission.
And even with all of these government delays, and reviews, and delays of the reviews – all of which are fabulously conducive to a well functioning free market – Senator Kohl writes the Obama Administration asking that they really put the screws to the deal.
Again, this is a really silly letter.
The Reverend Al Sharpton peddled a reality TV show starring himself as a “Judge Judy” clone with an accused drug kingpin as a business partner according to testimony at the trafficker’s trial.
A convicted felon now on trial for allegedly heading a large cocaine trafficking ring once worked with Rev. Al Sharpton to develop a TV show in which the civil rights activist would have starred as “Judge Sharpton,” according to testimony yesterday in Brooklyn federal court.
Details about the proposed daytime program featuring Sharpton in a Judge Judy-type role emerged at the trial of James Rosemond, the hip-hop manager who is facing life in prison for his alleged role in a cross-county narcotics ring that generated tens of millions of dollars through the sale of thousands of kilos of cocaine.
Rosemond’s business dealings with Sharpton were detailed yesterday by government witness Tony Martin, who worked closely with Rosemond at Czar Entertainment, the management company that prosecutors contend served as a front for the cocaine operation (and through which drug profits were laundered).
The 31-year-old Martin, pictured above in a video still, was questioned by prosecutor Una Dean about several Rosemond investments and business projects. At one point, Dean asked Martin about “Czar doing a project with Al Sharpton.” Martin answered that Rosemond “tried to get Al Sharpton a judge, a judge TV show.” Though Sharpton was not actually a jurist, Martin testified that “the way they can maneuver it through TV, he can get him a TV show as Judge Sharpton.”
Martin, who has pleaded guilty to money laundering in connection with the cocaine ring, said that the bid for a “Judge Sharpton” show came in 2009 and was not successful. Last August, Sharpton debuted as host of MSNBC’s daily “PoliticsNation” program.
Sharpton as a judge makes about as much sense as putting Chris Matthews on Jeopardy. Oh, wait…
Truly, Mr. Rosemond is a typical Sharpton associate so this is nothing to get our bloomers in a twist over. The good reverend received “about $10,000″ from Rosemond as a “donation or a contribution.” Rosemond also paid to have Sharpton come to Los Angeles, paid for his hotel, and hired a limo to chauffeur him around town.
Rosemond has also been implicated in the murder of a man connected with a rival hip-hop group. Why Sharpton would entertain doing business with a thug like this is a question some of his Democratic party colleagues should be asking him before they give him a prominent speaking role at the convention later this summer.
Who says Mitt Romney hasn’t made it onto the hipster scene? Urban Outfitters included a pro-Romney T-shirt in its new collection of campaign tees. It may not appeal to the most conservative of the base, though: “Mitt is the s–t”
The site has a bigger selection for those who don’t quite want to let go: “Ron Paul is a Badass,” “Ron Paul & Drugs & Rock & Roll,” and this one:
There’s a Nixon shirt, one of JFK womanizing, and this one of Obama Tebowing on the Oval Office desk:
As far as the women’s vote, Obama is the only candidate available in the ladies’ section.
Best case scenario: Stim bill only spent $540,000 per job. But this CBO report — courtesy of Jim Pethokoukis at Enterprise Blog — draws some even more startling conclusions about how ineffective and wasteful the stimulus bill really was.
By CBO’s estimate, close to half of that impact occurred in fiscal year 2010, and more than 90 percent of ARRA’s budgetary impact was realized by the end of March 2012. CBO has estimated the law’s impact on employment and economic output using evidence about the effects of previous similar policies and drawing on various mathematical models that represent the workings of the economy. …
On that basis CBO estimates that ARRA’s policies had the following effects in the first quarter of calendar year 2012 compared with what would have occurred otherwise:
– They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 0.1 percent and 1.0 percent,
– They lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.1 percentage points and 0.8 percentage points,
– They increased the number of people employed by between 0.2 million and 1.5 million,
– They increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 0.3 million to 1.9 million. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers.)
Pethokoukis figures it this way:
OK, so without the stimulus, there would be anywhere from 200,000 to 1.5 million fewer people employed right now? That means the current cost-per-job created is somewhere between $4.1 million and $540,000.
As for the long term impact, CBO offers this:
In contrast to its positive near-term macroeconomic effects, ARRA will reduce output slightly in the long run, CBO estimates—by between zero and 0.2 percent after 2016. But CBO expects that the legislation will have no long-term effects on employment because the U.S. economy will have a high rate of use of its labor resources in the long run. ARRA’s long-run impact on the economy will stem primarily from the resulting increase in government debt.
To the extent that people hold their wealth in government securities rather than in a form that can be used to finance private investment, the increased debt tends to reduce the stock of productive private capital. In the long run, each dollar of additional debt crowds out about a third of a dollar’s worth of private domestic capital, CBO estimates.
To sum up:
1. Increase in GDP over two years of, at most, 1% but could be as little as 0.1%.
2. Lowered unemployment rate up to 0.8%
3. Increased the number of people employed by 1.5 million at $540,000 per job, but could be as much as $4.1 million per job.
4. After 2016, will negatively impact GDP by at as much as 0.2%.
5. Will increase the national debt and “reduce the stock of productive private capital.”
All for the bargain basement price of $831 billion.
Every time the president says that he saved the economy, or that he prevented a depression, these figures should be thrown back in his face. The tiny impact his stim bill had on jobs and GDP shows that Obama is talking through his hat about “saving” the country from anything.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his extradition appeal in a British court and will likely be sent back to Sweden to face rape and sexual assault charges.
Judges at Britain‘s highest court rejected by a majority of 5-2 Assange’s argument that a European arrest warrant for his extradition was invalid.
However, the court gave his lawyers two weeks to contest their ruling, and any extradition has been put on hold until Assange decides whether to challenge the judges’s decision.
Two lower courts had already ruled in favor of the extradition of Assange, a self-styled anti-secrecy campaigner seen as a menace by Washington and other governments.
Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange over allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two female former WikiLeaks volunteers. He has been fighting a legal battle against extradition since his arrest in Britain in Dec. 2010.
The former computer hacker gained international prominence in 2010 when WikiLeaks began releasing secret video footage and thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables about Iraq and Afghanistan, in the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history.
That made him a hero to anti-censorship campaigners. But Washington was furious about the release of classified documents.
Assange was not present at the court hearing but WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said he saw Washington’s hand in the ruling. “This is not the final outcome. What we have here is retribution from the U.S.,” he said.
Assange has faced widespread criticism that he put lives at risk by blowing the cover of sources who spoke to diplomats and intelligence agents in countries where it was dangerous to do so.
WikiLeaks has since faded from the headlines due to a dearth of scoops and a blockade by credit card companies that has made donations to the site almost impossible. Assange’s personal standing has been damaged by the Swedish sex case and he has lost support from most of his celebrity backers.
The Taliban announced back in 2010 that they would seek out and kill any Afghan who assisted the US and whose name was disclosed in the war logs released by Wikileaks. It’s impossible to say whether they made good on that threat, but the idea that they could make it in the first place is outrageous. Assange’s handiwork made relations between nations more difficult by revealing the private thoughts of US diplomats and policymakers about the personalities of the foreign leaders they were dealing with as well as the negotiations they were conducting.
But Assange is not interested in “transparency” or censorship. He wants to see the US damaged – just like any other enemy. Why this predatory man-child was ever feted by the left is beyond comprehension.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has launched a Twitter war on defense sequestration and the deep $500 billion cuts triggered by no debt-reduction agreement from a bipartisan commission formed in the deal to raise the debt ceiling.
The House-passed version of the defense reauthorization bill includes an amendment from Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) to repeal the cuts. The Senate version emerged from committee before the upper chamber left for the Memorial Day recess, but the body isn’t likely to approve the House sequestration aversion.
Using the hashtag #cutbureaucracynotbases, Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has tweeted opposition to the cuts over the past few days.
“Congress is known for doing some pretty dumb things, but sequestration takes the cake,” he tweeted yesterday, also noting that he was visiting various military installations and towns in his home state that would be hit hard by the cuts.
“We need to replace sequestration with something that makes sense. If not, we’ll do great damage to our national defense.”
Sequestration is BRAC on steroids.
A cut of the magnitude called for by sequestration will hollow out the greatest fighting force in the world.
Now is not the time to gut the Department of Defense and weaken our national security.
In place of sequestration — instead of hiring three federal civilian workers that retire, simply hire two.
Sen. Clarie McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat up for re-election this year, said last week that she did not think the Senate would ultimately dig that deep in defense cuts.
“Do I believe there will be a $500 billion hit to the Defense Department? No, I do not,” McCaskill said. “…I think we need to put everybody’s feet to the fire to get them to the table to compromise.”
Gallup polling released today shows first lady Michelle Obama’s popularity ratings, which were much lower during the 2008 presidential campaign, holding steady at 66 percent favorability.
That’s unchanged from two years ago, and generally in line with the trend of Americans viewing the first lady in a positive light.
Laura Bush enjoyed a 73 percent approval rating, while Hillary Clinton had a 56 percent rating as first lady. As secretary of State, though, Clinton enjoys 66 percent favorability.
Democrats give both Obamas 90 percent approval, while 38 percent of Republicans give thumb’s up to the first lady and just 14 percent approve of President Obama. About half of independents approve of Obama and two-thirds approve of the first lady.
Hillary Clinton surpassed President Clinton in favorability after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
“Given Americans’ positive feelings toward the first lady, it is possible the Obama re-election team will consider using her to campaign on behalf of her husband this election year,” Gallup notes. “But if Michelle Obama were to enter the political arena, it could have a negative effect on how Americans view her — as suggested by the fact that Americans viewed her less positively during the 2008 election year than afterward.”
Michelle Obama has been doing plenty of campaigning thus far, though, hitting the standard notes of the ticket and comparing the president to a “steel trap.”
Wasserman Schultz: Romney Gets Delegates After ‘Year of Tepid Support’ vs. ‘One of the Weakest Fields in History’
The Democratic National Committee marked Mitt Romney securing enough delegates in the Texas primary for the Republican presidential nomination with a scathing monologue from chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).
“Tonight, after six years of trying and millions of dollars spent, and after a year of tepid support against one of the weakest fields in history, Mitt Romney has finally secured enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement last night. “Romney may have finally gained enough delegates to become the nominee, but what’s been truly remarkable about his path to the nomination is how much damage he’s left in his wake as he enters the general election.”
Romney marked the evening with a $2 million fundraiser with Donald Trump in Las Vegas.
“Mitt Romney’s lack of moral leadership is striking: he values the support of folks like Trump—no matter how extreme their views,” Wasserman Schultz said in a clear needle at the birther issue.
“I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee,” Romney said in a statement last night. “Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three and a half years behind us. I have no illusions about the difficulties of the task before us. But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity. On November 6, I am confident that we will unite as a country and begin the hard work of fulfilling the American promise and restoring our country to greatness.”