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The PJ Tatler

Harry Reid Doesn’t Pay His Taxes

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

He won’t release his tax returns, so that must be it, right?

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The Obama Ad That Starts ‘The Dirty Season’

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Myra Adams

Here is the freeze frame of the most toxic portion of a new Obama campaign web ad that the mainstream “in the tank again for Obama” media has collectively decided to ignore.  Insinuating that the GOP presidential nominee may be a felon because he has not released more tax returns than the law requires him to release, the same amount that John McCain released in 2008, is a new low for Team Obama.

And, as of this writing the Romney campaign has not responded. Should they?  Is now the time for Team Romney to not get mad, but get even?

Could this ad signal the official opening of the dirty season?

How does Team Obama spell desperation?


Watch the entire ad here.

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Ted Cruz Rises to Victory in Texas Senate Runoff

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

All along, for more than two years, former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz has held two strategies as the keys to being elected as the Republican Senate nominee from Texas. The first strategy would see him spending week after week on the road all across the Lone Star State. A relative unknown who had only held an obscure appointed office, and with no elective office victories on his resume but a strong story to tell, Cruz would boost his name ID across the state by visiting every inch of it. So for about two years, Cruz and his campaign manager John Drogin reached out to every Republican club in just about every town in Texas. From the panhandle to the Rio Grande Valley, from El Paso to the piney woods out east, Cruz would drive from one end of the huge state to the other, speaking to every club of every size that would hear him. He explained his message of smaller government, fighting for Texas values against Washington encroachment, and he told his family’s tale of exile from tyranny in Castro’s Cuba. Cruz was already out there telling this story when I moved back to Texas in 2009. The former solicitor general’s name ID inched up week upon week.

But Cruz always knew he would trail in the money race and in the influence race, and would probably face the very wealthy and extremely powerful Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. So he had a second strategy: Make it past the primary to the runoff and win there. He and Drogin banked on the Texas Republican primary delivering a divided result, and as long as Cruz held second place he would get into a runoff that he could win, thanks to the first strategy of taking his record and ideas to Tea Party and Republican groups all over the state.

Tonight, both strategies have been vindicated.

Ted Cruz’s runoff win all but assures that will be Texas’ next Senator. The Democrats have not won a statewide seat in Texas since 1994, and never fielded a credible candidate for Senate this time.

The May 29th primary had been pushed back by court squabbles over the state’s new electoral map, which gave the Cruz campaign time to raise more money and to continue raising the candidate’s name ID around the state. The day of the primary vote, Dewhurst finished comfortably ahead but below the 50% threshold that would have prevented a runoff. Cruz and Drogin knew they were within striking distance. The post-primary endorsement of Dewhurst by former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert did nothing to dissuade them; the campaign had argued all along that Leppert’s appeal would never get past Dallas, and his third place showing on May 29 revealed that to be true.

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Polls Close in Texas (Update: All Polls Closed)

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The eyes of Texas and the rest of the country are upon the statewide GOP Senate primary. I’ll have results here on Tatler as soon as they’re available.

Update: Returns are starting to trickle in. WFAA-TV reporter Brad Watson tweeted that Collin Co up in north Texas went strong for Cruz.

Update: Numbers from Dallas County: Cruz 50.4, Dewhurst 49.6. Dallas is a critical county for Dewhurst, who had picked up the endorsement of former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert. If Dewhurst is down in counties like Dallas and Collin, he is in serious trouble.

Update: KHOU in Houston also reports an early Cruz lead — 54% to 46%.

Update: Cruz “clobbers” Dewhurst in Harris County (Houston) early voting, 60-39, according to WFAA’s Brad Watson. Wow.

Update: Now a report from Tarrant County (Fort Worth) that Cruz leads there too. You can’t give all these major counties away and win statewide in Texas.

Update: Dewhurst does lead in one big county, Travis. That’s Austin, which is the liberal blue dot in the red sea of Texas.

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Back to the Future in Putin’s Russia

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Rick Moran

I suppose it’s an improvement over being lined up against a wall in the basement of the Lubyanka and being summarily shot, but Vladimir Putin’s tactics in suppressing dissent in Russia remind everyone of the good old days of the Soviet Union.

Toronto Star:

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was charged with theft on Tuesday and could face up to 10 years in jail in what Kremlin critics call a growing crackdown on dissent by President Vladimir Putin since he began his six-year term in May.

Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger who has organized street protests that have dented Putin’s authority, dismissed the charge as absurd. Other opposition leaders accused Putin of using KGB-style tactics to try to silence his critics.

Navalny, 36, the most charismatic of the protest leaders and potentially the biggest threat to Putin, was also barred from leaving the country.

Russia’s federal Investigative Committee said he is accused of helping organize a plan to steal timber from a state firm called KirovLes, causing the government of the Kirov region to lose more than 16 million rubles ($497,000). The charges relate to 2009, when Navalny was advising the region’s governor.

“This is really quite absurd and very strange,” Navalny said as he left the Investigative Committee headquarters, where he was summoned to hear what he had expected to be a less severe charge related to a case opened in 2010 but dormant since then.

“I will continue to do what I have been doing, and in this sense nothing changes for me,” he said. “We believe that what is happening now is illegal. We will use the methods of legal defence at our disposal. What else can we do?”

The charges, in a country where few believe in the independence of the judiciary, signalled a toughening of the Kremlin’s stance against its opponents.

Navalny said in an interview he believed some decisions in politically motivated cases were being made by “Putin himself.”

Putin, an ex-KGB spy, has in the past few weeks pushed through a law raising fines for protesters, tightened controls of the Internet — often used to organize protests — and imposed tougher rules on foreign-funded campaign and lobby groups.

Some protest organizers’ homes have been raided, and some demonstrators arrested over a rally that turned violent on May 6.

Putin has plenty of time to change the Russian constitution so that he could be made president for life. Strangely, he remains very popular for his anti-corruption stand and his management of the economy which, thanks to jacked-up oil prices, is growing strongly. Many Russians seem inured to the prospect of a “strongman” to lead them — an observation made by czars, commissars, and others who have tried to explain the Russian character over the last 700 years.

Certainly there are millions who want a western-style democracy with guaranteed freedoms of expression and true political freedoms. But Putin did not have to cheat to win this last election, despite the crackdowns on dissent. Putin realizes this and will continue to lead Russia using authoritarian tactics.

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In Cairo, Panetta ‘Convinced that President Morsi is his Own Man’

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in Egypt today that he believes new President Mohamed Morsi is “his own man” and won’t be moved by his party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Panetta was in Cairo today on his second trip there as secretary of Defense. He had “very productive” meetings with Morsi and Field Marshal Tantawi of the transitional military leadership.

“Field Marshal Tantawi’s leadership, I believe, has been critical in overseeing a peaceful, free and fair election. And I commended him and the SCAF [Supreme Council of Armed Forces] on their positive role in this process,” Panetta told reporters.

He was asked whether the U.S. can depend on its relationship with Morsi, considering the Muslim Brotherhood’s ties to terrorist organization Hamas.

“I was convinced that President Morsi is his own man and that he is the president of all the Egyptian people and that he is truly committed to implementing democratic reforms here in Egypt,” Panetta said.

Morsi, a longtime leader in the Brotherhood, reportedly responded to a communication from Israeli President Shimon Peres today by pledging to talk Middle East peace. But after Peres’ office announced the message, Egypt quickly denied Morsi had reached out to Israel.

“President Morsi didn’t send any letter to the Israeli president,” Morsi spokesman Yasser Ali was quoted as saying by Egypt’s state-owned al-Ahram newspaper. “What the Israeli newspapers published is fake and this falsehood won’t stop.”

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Bust-ed: White House Apologizes to Charles Krauthammer

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Obama communications man Dan Pfeiffer has posted a full apology to columnist Charles Krauthammer on the White House web site.


I take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology. There was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive. I clearly overshot the runway in my post. The point I was trying to make – under the belief that the Bust in the residence was the one previously in the Oval Office– was that this oft repeated talking point about the bust being a symbol of President Obama’s failure to appreciate the special relationship is false.  The bust that was returned was returned as a matter of course with all the other artwork that had been loaned to President Bush for display in his Oval Office and not something that President Obama or his Administration chose to do. I still think this is an important point and one I wish I had communicated better.

A better understanding of the facts on my part and a couple of deep breaths at the outset would have prevented this situation.  Having said all that, barring a miracle comeback from the Phillies I would like to see the Nats win a world series even if it comes after my apology


Dan Pfeiffer

Good on him for apologizing, but refer back to Pfeiffer’s snarky post in which he insisted that the bust was Right. Where. We. Put. It. Which was in the British embassy, as Krauthammer had said. It’s also worth noting that Reuters and National Journal — the two news outlets Pfeiffer cited in his defense in that post — have had the story totally wrong for years, while the blogs and columnists on the right have had it entirely right. The administration would be wise to put an adult in charge of its communications.

The British took the return of the bust as an insult and an ominous sign for our cross-Atlantic relationship. They have turned out to be right about that.

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Obama Didn’t Build OhioEnergy’s Coal Mine, but Company Says His Regulations Have Torn it Down

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama will campaign in Ohio tomorrow, but he will be greeted by newly unemployed workers in the swing state. Today, OhioAmerica Energy announced that it is shutting down operations at its operations near Brilliant, OH. The company pulls no punches, blaming the Obama administration’s regulatory policies for forcing the plant’s closure.

The company press release states that “Regulatory actions by President Barack Obama and his appointees and followers were cited as the entire reason. ‘Mr. Obama has already destroyed 83,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity generation in America,” said Mr. Michael T. W. Carey, Vice President of Government Affairs for Murray Energy. ‘Electric prices in the recent PJM Interconnection monthly auction were bid up 800 percent (8 times) for 2015-2016 because of this,’ he added.”

The press release adds up the jobs that the Obama regulations have destroyed at the Brilliant mining operation: “‘At its peak, OhioAmerican employed 239 local people in high-paying, well-benefited jobs,’ said Mr. Stanley T. Piasecki, General Manager and Superintendent. ‘University studies show that our Mines can create up to eleven (11) secondary jobs in our communities, for store clerks, teachers, etc., to serve our direct employees. Thus, if one uses the eleven (11) to one (1) multiplier, the Obama Administration has destroyed 2,868 jobs in eastern Ohio with this forced Mine closure,’ stated Mr. Piasecki.”

OhioAmerica’s founder, Robert E. Murray, was so distraught by the closure that he went to the mine and personally announced the layoffs to each employee, according to the press release.

“‘Mr. Murray created OhioAmerican, and our production began in May, 2007,’” said Mr. Piasecki. ‘The Mine was intended to last for at least ten (10) years. Now we have been forced by our own Country’s President and his followers and supporters to permanently close the operation,’ added Mr. Piasecki.”

The company release concludes on an ominous note: “‘There will be additional layoffs, not only at Murray Energy, but also throughout the United States coal industry due to Mr. Obama’s ‘War on Coal’ and the destruction that it has caused to so many jobs and families in the Ohio Valley area and elsewhere,’ said Mr. Murray. ‘Both Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden stated that there would be ‘no coal in America’ prior to their elections,’ said Mr. Piasecki. ‘They are making good on their intentions while they destroy so many lives and family livelihoods in this area for no benefit whatsoever.’”

President Obama promised to use “skyrocketing” energy prices to destroy the coal industry during his campaign for the presidency. One of his EPA administrations lamented that the agency could not simply tell coal producing communities to “go away.”

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Harry Reid: Mitt’s Late Father Would be ‘Embarrassed’

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Senate majority leader Harry Reid took to the leftwing Huffington Post to launch what may be the most negative attack of the presidential campaign to date. The Nevada senator insinuated that he knows a guy who knows a guy who swears up and down that Mitt Romney paid no taxes for 10 years. Reid is trying to fill the information vacuum left by Romney’s decision not to release more of his past tax returns — by filling that vacuum with a smear.

Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.

“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”

Reid is taking his cues on handling facts from ABC’s Brian Ross, it seems. Reid added that Romney’s late father George would be “embarrassed” by his son.

“His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said, in reference to George Romney’s standard-setting decision to turn over 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in the late 1960s.

George Romney passed away in 1995.

Under Reid’s tenure, the Senate has gone more than three years without passing a national budget.

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Obama Breaks with Israel on Iran as Romney Concludes Overseas Trip

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

While Mitt Romney has embarked on an overseas tour that included a well-received visit to Israel, the Obama campaign/White House has sought to play up its relationship with the Israelis. The president granted Israel more security funding for missile defense just prior to Romney’s visit.

But as Romney departs and heads back to the United States, out comes the longstanding conflict between the Obama administration and Israel. The president who called for Israel to return to its indefensible 1967 borders, and who has not visited Israel at all during his presidency, broke with the Jewish state today regarding sanctions against Iran.

“Sanctions are having a significant impact on Iran and its economy,” said Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.

But Netanyahu said on Sunday that the sanctions have not had the intended purpose of slowing Iran’s nuclear program “by one iota.”

“We have to be honest and say that all the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota,” Netanyahu said in a meeting with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

The remark was interpreted as a thinly-veiled attack on President Barack Obama, who has trumpeted his administration’s leadership on international sanctions.

When pressed by a reporter over Netanyahu’s comments, Rhodes said the sanctions are changing the calculus for Iranian leaders in determining whether to continue with their nuclear program.

“We do see the sanctions having an effect in terms of sharpening the choice for the Iranian government,” he said.

For its part, Iran responded to Romney’s trip by mocking him with a thinly veiled anti-Semitic remark.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is calling a visit to Israel by U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney as “kissing the foot” of the Jewish state to boost his bid for the White House.

Ahmadinejad did not specifically name Romney, but his comments were an unmistakable jab at the Republican contender’s stop this week in Israel. Romney strongly backed Israel’s drive to stop Iran from possibly seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the claims.

Ahmadinejad questioned why Romney would make “concessions to get some pennies for (his) campaign?”

Ahmadinejad made the comments during a speech Tuesday broadcast on state TV.

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Why ‘You Didn’t Build That’ is a Problem

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

At Bloomberg, Josh Barro has an excellent essay about why “you didn’t build that” is a problem.  I’ll commend to you all the whole essay, but in the middle of it, he quotes from a scene in the second season of The West Wing:

The president’s speech calls to mind a second-season West Wing episode, in which speechwriter Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) explains to the staff of some liberal house members why he won’t insert a line in President Bartlet’s upcoming speech. They want the president to attack Republican tax cut proposals as financing “private jets and swimming pools” for the wealthy. As Seaborn argues:

Henry, last fall, every time your boss got on the stump and said, “It’s time for the rich to pay their fair share,” I hid under a couch and changed my name. I left Gage Whitney making $400,000 a year, which means I paid twenty-seven times the national average in income tax. I paid my fair share, and the fair share of twenty-six other people. And I’m happy to ’cause that’s the only way it’s gonna work, and it’s in my best interest that everybody be able to go to schools and drive on roads, but I don’t get twenty-seven votes on Election Day. The fire department doesn’t come to my house twenty-seven times faster and the water doesn’t come out of my faucet twenty-seven times hotter. The top one percent of wage earners in this country pay for twenty-two percent of this country. Let’s not call them names while they’re doing it, is all I’m saying.

When Barack Obama has made an argument for progressive taxation that even Aaron Sorkinfinds distasteful, he has erred. That’s not a problem that has anything to do with the president being black.

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Elizabeth Warren Wants America to ‘Invest’ Like Communist China

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Democrat Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has committed yet another gaffe. Wait, it’s not a gaffe, it’s a packaged campaign ad that reflects what she wants voters to think of her. In the ad, Warren laments that the US doesn’t “put people to work” with infrastructure “investments” at the level of the communist Chinese government.

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TRANSCRIPT: We’ve got bridges and roads in need of repair and thousands of people in need of work. Why aren’t we rebuilding America? Our competitors are putting people to work, building a future. China invests 9% of its GDP in infrastructure. America? We’re at just 2.4%. We can do better. We can build a foundation for a strong new economy and get people in MA to work right now. I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message. Let’s go to work.

President Obama had the chance to “invest” nearly a trillion dollars from the 2009 stimulus, but he chose instead to spend vast amounts to pay off unions before admitting that there weren’t any “shovel ready” jobs to fund.

Warren is borrowing her ideas from pretentious NYT columnist Tom Friedman, who regularly publishes his wish that America could “be China for a day” so that those in charge could spend money the way the communists do, without having to get the consent of the people whose money they would be spending.

China has one of the worse environmental records in the world, and this year one of its “investments” poisoned a major river with 20 tons of cadmium.

Warren is far from the first Democrat to praise communism in recent years. Obama hired communist Van Jones to be his “green jobs” czar, and Obama communications officer Anita  Dunn praised communist dictator and mass murderer Mao Zedong in a 2009 speech. A leader with the Communist Party USA wrote in June 2012 that re-electing Barack Obama is “absolutely essential.”

Update: Warren had to do some damage control after claiming that Wall Street backs her candidacy because she can rescue capitalism. Warren, who has no private sector experience, now admits that her comment was “over the top” and “silly.” “Desperate” and “totally insane” might have been closer to the mark.

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Deal Reached to Avoid Government Shutdown

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Republicans and Democrats have forged a deal to avoid a government shutdown in the middle of the presidential campaign.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a sixth-month deal to continue funding the federal government through March of next year.

“It will provide stability for the coming months … This is very good,” Reid told reporters Tuesday afternoon. The deal was reached by Reid (D-Nev.), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President barack Obama.

Votes on the continuing resolution won’t come until after the August recess. The deal is still being drafted, Reid said. The continuing resolution is free of controversial riders, he added.

The agreement heads off a partisan government shutdown fight before the November elections that neither party wanted.

Under the agreement, funding would be consistent with the $1.047 trillion level set forth in the 2011 Budget Control Act, above the $1.028 trillion called for by Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget proposal.

While the funding levels could anger some tea party conservatives who have called for deeper cuts in federal spending, many Republicans are eager to head off a contentious budget fight on the eve of a presidential election and would rather punt the issue into next year, hoping Mitt Romney will be in the White House.

Could the Tea Party blow up the deal in the House? There are 66 members in the caucus and perhaps half that many sympathetic enough to its goals of less spending and smaller deficit that they would consider voting with them. Combined with some Democrats who, for a variety of reasons, would want to embarrass the Republicans, they might get close to defeating the continuing resolution.

But there probably aren’t enough members in both parties who are willing to go to the mattresses on this, so besides some grumbling, it will probably pass.

The continuing resolution will take away a line of attack for President Obama who has been accusing Republicans of wanting to raise taxes on the Middle Class once the Bush tax cuts expire on January 1, 2013. Those cuts have been saved until at least March, when a possibly reduced GOP majority in the House — and narrow majority in the senate — will have their hands full trying to maintain tax rates where they are now. The issue will certainly test the abilities of Mitt Romney if he is elected and will serve as a kickoff for the budget and tax fights that will dominate next year’s politics.


It appears that the continuing resolution will not keep the Bush tax cuts through March. They will still expire at the end of the year unless Congress can deal with the issue in the lame duck session after the election.

I apologize for the error.

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Gaffe Flashback: Obama and Whose Death Camps?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The mainstream media is making hay of Mitt Romney’s alleged gaffes during his overseas trip. When President Obama made this whopper of a gaffe in May of this year, it caused an international incident.

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There were no “Polish death camps.” The death camps operated in occupied Poland were run by the German Nazi regime. Obama’s embarrassing failure to accurately state such obvious history forced a public letter of apology from the president to the people of Poland.

Deploying Cokie Roberts’ logic, Obama offended a country full of white people, so he must be a racist. Or an idiot. Or both.

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Mystery Calls Highlight Final Day of Texas Senate Runoff

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Today is runoff election day in Texas, and there is no hotter race than the GOP race for Senate. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst squares off against former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

At 11:05 am central time this morning, central Texas resident Philip Hornsey says his phone rang. When he picked up, he says the call on the other end sounded like a robocall but within seconds it handed off to a real person. That person said he wanted to remind Hornsey to vote for Ted Cruz tomorrow. Tomorrow, August 1, is the day after the runoff vote.

Hornsey replied “Tomorrow? I believe the election is today.” The man on the other end responded “I’m sorry to hear that.” A moment of static followed, then the man said “misinformed.” Hornsey says that he hung up on the unidentified caller at that point. He told the story to his fiancee, who has experience working in political campaigns including McCain-Palin, and she suggested that he call Ted Cruz’s campaign office. He did, and the campaign informed him that they had received similar calls from concerned Texans. Hornsey provided the Cruz campaign the phone number that his caller ID showed, which is 972-349-6348. That area code, 972, is for the Dallas area. A reverse lookup found no links from that number to any entity.

Ted Cruz campaign manager John Drogin verified that several Texans have gotten such calls. One person told Drogin that the live person on the other end of the call said that they were required to stick with the script that they were supposed to use for the calls. Drogin added that one recipient said the mystery call came from a New Jersey number.

There were similar shenanigans over the weekend. The Cruz campaign held a rally with Sarah Palin in The Woodlands on Friday, and Drogin says Texans started receiving calls from a woman identifying herself as “Sarah” shortly thereafter, urging recipients of the call to support Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Drogin said that the deceptive calls are typical of the tactics the Dewhurst campaign has deployed in the days leading up to the runoff vote. Another Cruz campaign official hinted that the deceptive calls, if they are coming from the Dewhurst campaign, are not a tactic one would expect to see from a campaign that is confident of winning today’s vote.

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Reporters Set Romney Up, Declare it a Gaffe

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Gov. Mitt Romney visited Poland’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Press attending the visit shouted obnoxious questions at Romney, such as “What about your gaffes?” and “What about the Palestinians?” Romney, aware that he is visiting a site that is sacred to the Polish people and also aware that his had not called a press conference for that moment, ignored the questions. Reporters continue shouting, until Romney aide Rick Gorka tells the reporters to “Kiss my ass” and “Show some respect.”

These reporters regularly demonstrate their ample capabilities in the former, in the way they suggest that Obama’s routine gaffes are either not gaffes or were taken out of context. As for the latter, they don’t respect our own military and its sacrifices to keep us free, so they’re highly unlikely to respect the war dead of any other country.

The whiny reporter’s claim at the end that Romney hasn’t answered press questions during his European tour: As false as Andrea Mitchell’s WaWa attack. As fake as an NBC audio edit. As dishonest as an ABC presentation of video evidence.

I thought my personal opinion of the national media couldn’t get any lower. Turns out, I was wrong.

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First Fast and Furious Report Lays Out Findings in Gunwalking Operation

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

The congressional overseers of the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious today released the first report in a three-part series on the botched gunwalking operation, concluding that it might have contributed to the deaths of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and an unknown number of Mexican citizens.

The 2,359-page report is based on transcribed interviews with 24 individuals, informal interviews with more than 50 individuals, and the review of more than 10,000 pages of documents.

“ATF and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office failed to consider and protect the safety of Americans, Mexicans, and fellow law enforcement personnel throughout Operation Fast and Furious,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Issa (R-Calif.). “Testimony and a persistent reluctance to fully cooperate make clear that many officials at ATF and the Department of Justice would have preferred to quietly sweep this matter under the rug.”

“Though they are among the most vocal objectors to oversight by Congress, this investigation has also shown that both agencies are among those most in need of additional scrutiny and attention from Congress,” he added.

“Though Attorney General Holder testified that the case was ‘fundamentally flawed’ and President Obama has stated that mistakes may have been made, all responsible ATF officials still work either at the ATF or within the Department of Justice,” states the report. “The two men most closely identified with the failed strategy of the case and who bear the brunt of responsibility for supervising the operation on a day-to-day basis, William Newell and David Voth, have both kept their jobs at ATF.”

Noting that this first report “is not intended to imply in any way that the mistakes and responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious are limited to ATF and other federal officials who were based in Arizona,” the forthcoming second report of the joint Congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious promises to detail “the mistakes and culpability of Department of Justice officials based in Washington, D.C.”

“The ATF wasted time, money and resources on wiretaps and put agents in harm’s way trying to learn about the links that other agencies had already made,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said. “It’s a classic case of government agencies’ failure to connect the dots. The ATF leadership claims it didn’t get the full picture from the FBI until after the case was over.”

“We know the DEA was actively giving information to the ATF, but the ATF dropped the ball,” Grassley continued. “Whistleblowers put the spotlight on Operation Fast and Furious. The ATF clearly needs to clean up its act, and the Department of Justice needs to make certain this kind of program is never allowed to happen again. This report provides a road map of what went wrong.”

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Texas AG Dares Obama on Online Ammo Sales

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama is reportedly “evaluating” a Democrat-sponsored bill that could effectively ban online sales of gun ammunition. The bill, filed Monday by a pair of blue state Democrats, would require reporting of bulk sales of ammunition to law enforcement. It would also require photo ID at the time of ammunition purchase. The Democratic sponsors, Sen. Frank Lautenberg of NJ and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of NY, filed the bill in response to the mass shooting in Aurora, CO on July 20, 2012. The bill, if it became law, would represent an infringement on the Constitutionally-protected right to bear arms.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a longtime foe of the Obama administration who led the lawsuit challenging ObamaCare and is fighting to retain the state’s new voter ID law, reacted quickly to the news that the president will evaluate the anti-gun legislation. On Facebook, Abbott posted a link to a Huffington Post article about the bill, with this headline:

Pres. Obama may limit gun ammunition sales. Unbelievable. In Texas, we have a saying for that: COME & TAKE IT.

That line is a reference to an incident that happened in Gonzales, TX on October 2, 1835. Texas, then a part of Mexico, dared Mexican troops sent to retrieve a cannon loaned to the town for protection. The townspeople flew a flag adorned with a cannon and the words COME AND TAKE IT, and the ensuing clash marked the beginning of the Texas revolution.

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Obama Donates $5k to Himself

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama has donated to his own campaign for the first time. Politico reports that the president donated $5000 to his own campaign, and then emailed his supporters that he made the donation “as a gesture.” The $5k donation from the president, who has a history of making bad investments in questionable enterprises, meets the individual maximum that one person can donate to one campaign, but candidates may give an unlimited amount to their own campaigns. Barack Obama is a multi-millionaire thanks to his wife’s high salary at the job she once occupied at a Chicago area medical center and sales of his books, which have been found to be riddled with “composite” characters and fictitious yet life-changing events.

The gesture is not a large one for the Obamas: The First Lady reportedly wore a $7,000 jacket to a reception at Buckingham Palace on July 27.

The Obama campaign is clearly struggling to keep up with Mitt Romney’s fundraising. It has fired off fundraising emails in the last two days with subject lines “Romney defeats Obama” and “This will be blunt.” Both emails highlight Romney’s growing fundraising advantage.

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Dem Rep: Flip-Floppers Don’t Count on Tax Vote Because Dems Were ‘Held Hostage’ in 2010

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

The ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said on CNN this morning that Democrats who voted to extend all the Bush-era tax cuts won’t be accused of being flip-floppers for voting against the GOP proposal this week because they were “held hostage back then too.”

“You hear the Republicans say that they don’t want to re-tax the job creators,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). “I have seen absolutely no proof that these — the tax policy of the president, by the way, which is now passed the Senate — is hurting anything other than that would hurt job creators.”

He acknowledged that getting the Senate Democrats’ extension of tax cuts for lower- and middle-income brackets only would be “very difficult” but “very, very unfortunate.”

“It’s unfortunate we’re in a place in Washington where right now where it seems like very little is going to be done,” Cummings said.

The congressman was asked about 89 members of the Democratic Party who voted for the tax cuts in 2010 and whether having to answer for flip-flops would be a problem this fall.

“No, because basically as far as I’m concerned we were held hostage back then too,” Cummings said. “I think basically, you know, people are — they can see through this. I know my constituents do.”

The tax cuts were last extended in the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress, when Democrats still controlled the House.

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UK Police Arrest Man for Negative Tweet

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Free speech has unofficially died in the United Kingdom. Negative tweets have gotten soccer players charged by the British Football Association, even investigated by British police. Now, a man who tweeted his upset after a British diver failed to medal in the London Olympics has been arrested.

Police say a man has been arrested in connection to Twitter postings directed at British Olympic diver Tom Daley.

Daley’s father died of brain cancer a year ago and the 18-year-old Olympian had hoped win a medal “for myself and my dad.” But he finished fourth on Monday in the 10-meter synchronized platform with teammate Pete Waterfield.

Afterward, a Twitter user sent him several negative messages, including: “You let your dad down i hope you know that.”

Dorset Police said early Tuesday that a 17-year-old man was arrested at a guest house in Weymouth “on suspicion of malicious communications” in relation to Twitter threats made against Daley.

The tweet is arguably crass, but there’s no implied or direct threat.

Meanwhile, imams across London preach bigotry and hate every single day, and Muslim protesters occasionally take to the streets to directly threaten the entire country.

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Video: Mitt Romney Speaks in Jerusalem

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney delivered a speech in Jerusalem today, capping a trip across Europe to meet with US allies who have largely been shunned by the Obama administration. Romney traveled to London, site of the 2012 Olympic games, promising to bring the bust of Winston Churchill that President Obama rejected back to the White House. He traveled to Poland, meeting with freedom hero Lech Walesa, and the former Polish president and Nobel laureate all but endorsed Romney for president. And in Jerusalem, Romney did something that the International Olympic Committee has refused to do: He memorialized the Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Romney also pledged to stop Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons, and pledge to be a strong friend to Israel, declaring that Jerusalem is its capital. WH spokesman Jay Carney could not answer the simple question “What is the capital of Jerusalem?” during a briefing last week.

Media coverage of Romney’s trip has been extraordinarily negative and unfair. President Barack Obama has not visited Israel during his term.

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NPR Host: Romney’s Poland Trip Is Racially Motivated

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

National Public Radio’s Cokie Roberts just nuked the fridge.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: So today is Poland. Why is he stopping in Poland. What does he hope to accomplish with that?

Cokie Roberts: Well, I think part of it was a desire to portray President Obama as something of a wimp, and say he’s abandoned Eastern Europe. But look, you remember well the Reagan Democrats. Those ethnic white voters who had been Democrats for many years; turned out for Ronald Reagan, and have been fairly predictable Republicans since then. Now it’s a smaller percentage of the population — of the voting population — than it used to be, but white voters are still much more Republican than any other group in the electorate. They went for McCain in 2008 by 55%. And I think that getting those ethnic voters excited is really what Romney has in mind here. It’s more for the folks at home — the descendents of the people that he will be speaking to — in Poland.

Right. Going to Poland has nothing to do with shoring up an alliance that Obama has ruptured with his missile shield deal or his promised “flexibility” to the Russians. Going to Poland has nothing to do with acknowledging the role that country and its lion Lech Walesa played in freeing the world from the sort of ideologies that Obama at least doesn’t mind, if he won’t often openly support them. It has nothing to do with burnishing Mitt Romney’s foreign policy credentials and showing him as a plausible president. Poland is full of white people, so in Cokie Roberts’ mind, Mitt Romney’s trip there is racist.

Vermont is also full of white people. Democrats own the state, so…

Cokie Roberts’ seeing racism in this trip is evidence that she is a racist. It’s also evidence that she is using her national, taxpayer-funded perch to follow the DemMSM script, which is to use every opportunity to paint Romney, his campaign and his supporters as racists who only oppose Obama because of his race.

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Senators to Obama, Clinton: UN Gun Treaty Threatens 2nd Amendment Rights

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Fifty senators from both sides of the aisle wrote President Obama last week to oppose ratification of an arms trade treaty that they say would threaten Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

In October 2009 the Obama administration voted for the U.S. to participate in negotiating the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty. Negotiations fell through at the U.N. a day after the senators wrote Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement Friday evening that the U.S. supports a second round of negotiations next year.

The treaty would require that each member state have national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms and to regulate arms brokers.

“Having reviewed the Chairman’s Draft Paper made available by the United Nations, we are concerned that the Arms Trade Treaty poses dangers to rights protected under the Second Amendment,” the senators wrote.

They note that the draft nominally applies only to “international arms transfers,” but defines such transfers as including “transport” across national territory. It requires signatories to “monitor and control” arms in transit, and to “enforce domestically the obligations of this treaty” by prohibiting the unauthorized “transfer of arms from any location.”

“This implies an expansion of federal firearms controls that would be unacceptable on Second Amendment grounds,” they wrote.

The draft requires nations to “maintain records of all imports and shipments of arms that transit their territory,” including the identity of individual end users, and requires that nations “shall take all appropriate measures necessary to prevent the diversion of imported arms into the illicit market or to unintended end users.”

The senators asked that the treaty “explicitly recognize the legitimacy of hunting, sport shooting, and other lawful activities – including the collection and display by individuals and museums of military antiques – related to the private ownership of firearms, and related materials.”

“Second, the treaty should not include the manufacturing, assembly, possession, transfer, or purchase of small arms, light weapons, ammunition, or related materials that are defined under domestic law by national authority as legal for private ownership, nor should it contain any open-ended obligations that could imply any need to impose controls that would have any domestic effect on any or all of these items,” they wrote. “Third, the Draft Paper is based in part on recognizing the inherent right of all states to individual or collective self-defense. We certainly agree that this right is inherent, at least, in all democratic and law-abiding states. But we also believe that the right of personal self-defense is a human right that is inherent in the individual.”

The senators vowed to oppose ratification of the treaty if it doesn’t rise to their standards of Second Amendment protection.

Democrats who signed the letter were Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.).

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Fauxcahontas to Blaze Trail for Clinton at DNC Convention

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The Democrats have tapped former President Bill Clinton to try to make the case for Obama’s economic performance at the DNC convention in Charlotte next month. ABC reports that Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren will open for Clinton.

“It will be an honor to share the convention stage with President Clinton on Wednesday, and to talk about what is happening to America’s families,” Warren said in a statement released by the Democratic National Convention Committee. ”I grew up in a hardworking family, in an America that was investing in kids like me. President Obama is committed to making sure that America has a level playing field for all our families and to ensuring that every kid has the opportunity to make it.”

Warren is running against Sen. Scott Brown, who won the late Ted Kennedy’s seat in a special election in 2010. Warren has been engulfed in controversy after her past claims to Cherokee Indian heritage surfaced. She apparently claimed to be Cherokee to receive preferential hiring treatment at the universities for which she has lectured. She continues to insist that she is a Cherokee, despite the fact that Cherokee genealogists have found no evidence to back up that claim. Cherokee tribal representatives have tried for weeks to meet with Warren, but she has brushed them off. One of her ancestors was among the troops who forcibly moved the Cherokee along the Trail of Tears.

None of this seems to bother President Obama or the Democratic Party.

“She was asked to speak because President Obama knows that Elizabeth is one of the strongest advocates for what’s at stake for the middle class– and our shared vision to move the country forward,” Mindy Myers, Warren’s campaign manager, informed supporters in a fundraising email shortly after the news broke, according to the ABC report.

Warren’s “advocacy” has also stirred controversy. In Sept 2011, during a “Talking Tour” she delivered strident remarks on the tax debt that successful business owners owe the rest of society.

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President Obama would echo those remarks in Roanoke, VA in what has come to be known as the “You didn’t build that!” speech.

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Obama was apparently using Warren’s speech without attribution, in his Roanoke speech. It turns out that both Obama and Warren borrowed their thinking from Berkeley professor  and far left activist George Lakoff.

Neither Clinton, Warren nor Obama have significant private sector work experience.

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Agreement Reached on New Iran Sanctions, Heads to House and Senate

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Bipartisan negotiators reached agreement on new sanctions against the Iranian regime that will be voted on by each chamber before Congress leaves for the summer break.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said the 147-page amendment strengthens current sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program “by leaps and bounds.”

“It updates and expands U.S. sanctions, and counters Iran’s efforts to evade them,” she said. “The bill sends a clear message to the Iranian regime that the U.S. is committed, through the use of sanctions, to preventing Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.”

The expanded energy sanctions in the bill effectively blacklist the Iranian energy sector and anyone doing business with it. New and expanded sanctions targeting financial institutions, shipping companies, and insurers doing business with Iran will close major loopholes that the regime was taking advantage of to avoid the sting of sanctions.

The bill also blocks Iran’s ability to insulate itself from sanctions through oil-for-gold swaps, other trading and bartering schemes, and selling energy bonds and issuing government debt.

“This legislation incorporates great ideas and specific provisions from bills proposed by members of the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle,” Ros Lehtinen said. “If properly implemented, this bill will impose crippling economic pressure on the Iranian regime in order to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear program and other dangerous policies. The House and Senate will be taking up the bill this week, and I urge President Obama to quickly sign it and vigorously enforce its provisions.”

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Obama Readies to Lay Out ‘Specific Agenda’ for Second Term

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama held yet another high dollar fundraiser Monday night. At the $40,000 per plate party in New York City, the president said that he intends to begin explaining what he would do with a second term in office, according to an ABC report. Perhaps we’re due for another “pivot to jobs.”

“This phase of the campaign I think you’re seeing a lot of negative ads and a lot of contrast ads, although when people start saying how terrible it is I just have to remind them  to take a look at what Jefferson and Adams had to say about each other, and democracy has always been pretty rough and pretty messy,” Obama said.

“There is going to be, though, as the summer winds down and we get into the fall, the need for voters in these swing states to know not just what they’re voting against but also what they’re voting for. And so we’ll be spending a lot of time talking about the specific agenda that I intend to pursue in the second term, which I think will make sure that this economy is going full guns.”

The economy is stuck above 8 percent unemployment and threatening to dip back into recession. If the president’s agenda for a second term is anything like his actions in the first, he will have a lot on his plate: Americans can expect more payoffs to unions, no meetings with experienced job creators, more laws like ObamaCare that a majority of the people oppose, more taxpayer-funded loans to the president’s supporters, “flexibility” to establish deals with the Russians, more high unemployment, an even less secure border, perhaps another deadly scandal like Fast and Furious, lavish vacations, and golf.

Four years ago, then Sen. Obama specifically promised not to go negative on his opponent, decrying “slash and burn politics” before airing thousands of negative ads against Sen. John McCain. So far, his campaign against Mitt Romney has consisted almost entirely of negative ads. His email campaign has devolved from strategy memos and poll numbers to angst, hectoring and manipulation.

A new Gallup poll out on Monday shows some ominous news for the president. President Obama has been campaigning lately on increasing taxes on the wealthy. But voters rank creating jobs, reducing government corruption, reducing the federal budget deficit and several other issues far ahead of raising taxes. The Romney campaign has been stressing the economy and reducing the deficit, and is in better sync with voters’ priorities.


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Mitt’s Veep: There’s an App for That

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The Mitt Romney campaign released a new smart phone app today. Called “Mitt’s VP,” the app will be the campaign’s first official distribution channel for announcing who will be selected as Romney’s vice presidential running mate. Available here for both iPhones and Android, the app will push a notification of Romney’s vice presidential selection. It will also allow users to post the selection to their social networks. Users can also use the app to donate to the campaign and purchase exclusive campaign swag.

“The historic announcement is getting closer,” said Beth Myers, Romney Campaign Senior Adviser in a campaign press release. “Soon everyone will know who Mitt Romney selects as his Vice Presidential running mate. With this new app, users can be the first to know the second member of America’s Comeback Team.”

“The first official way to learn the name of the Republican Vice Presidential candidate is by using our new ‘Mitt’s VP’ app,” said Romney Digital Director Zac Moffatt.  “Users of the app will be the first to get the news on the biggest political decision of the year through an instantaneous alert on the one device most people carry around the clock – their phone.”

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Five ATF Officials Blamed for Fast and Furious

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Representative Darrell Issa’s final report on his oversight committee’s investigation into the ATF operation Fast and Furious is due to be released sometime this week. But the LA Times got a sneak peek and discovered some surprises:

Republican congressional investigators have concluded that five senior ATF officials — from the special agent-in-charge of the Phoenix field office to the top man in the bureau’s Washington headquarters — are collectively responsible for the failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation that was “marred by missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy.”

The investigators, in a final report likely to be released later this week, also unearthed new evidence that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix initially sought to hide from the Mexican government the crucial information that two Fast and Furious firearms were recovered after the brother of a Mexican state attorney general was killed there.

According to a copy of the report obtained Monday by The Times, the investigators said their findings are “the best information available as of now” about the flawed gun operation that last month led to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. being found in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents.

Two more final reports, they said, will deal with “the devastating failure of supervision and leadership” at the Department of Justice and an “unprecedented obstruction of the [congressional] investigation by the highest levels of the Justice Department, including the attorney general himself.”

As a political issue, Fast and Furious is a smoldering ember, just waiting for the right kindling to set it afire. But if there had been something of that nature in the report, it would have been leaked long before this.

AG Holder’s stonewalling is working — so far. The line is being held by his underlings, and while there has been some damaging documents released — including one that proves Holder lied to Congress about when he first learned about Fast and Furious — there has been no smoking gun or defection from the ranks that would ignite a firestorm and do serious political damage to the president.

The train of accountability will no doubt stop with the ATF. Unless Representative Issa can get his hands on those subpoenaed documents, some of which purportedly deal with Justice Department meetings on Fast and Furious, the ATF will take the fall and for all intents and purposes, that will be the end of it.

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Will Banning Football Increase Violence?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Helen Smith

I have a post over at my blog exploring the need for aggressive outlets for young men. You can read it and comment here.

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Now Up on the PJ Media Homepage

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 - by Ed Driscoll

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VIDEO: GOP Leaders Highlight How Tax Hike Would Fry Neighborhood Restaurants

Monday, July 30th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

House Republicans are gearing up to fight the Senate Democrats’ extension of some of the Bush-era tax cuts with a message that an extension of all of the cuts is needed for America’s small businesses.

After “Stop the Tax Hike Day” in home districts on Friday, the GOP will vote on a tax plan this week before heading home for the summer recess.

Paving the way for that vote is a video released today by Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) office, in which third-generation restaurant owner-operator Michael Passalacqua tells the story of Angelo’s Restaurant and its role in the economy.

“My family has been in business for 73 years and I truly see us as a fabric of the community,” Passalacqua says in the video. “This economy is just absolutely teetering and raising taxes on anybody at this particular time seems to me to be relatively foolish.”

With consumer spending in danger from a looming tax hike, Passalacqua says, “It’s just going to be tons of money dropped right out of the economy immediately.”

Ninety-three percent of food locations are small businesses employing fewer than 50 employees, according to the National Restaurant Association, and restaurants employ nearly one in 10 Americans.

“With the economy already at a near standstill, the president’s proposed tax hike on American small businesses comes at the worst possible time for job creators,” McCarthy said. “Independent reports confirm that raising taxes on more than 900,000 small businesses threatens 710,000 jobs and would reduce economic output by 1.3 percent. It just doesn’t make any sense to punish American families and small businesses already struggling to make ends meet in this tough economy.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) confirmed the House will vote this week on H.R. 8, the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act sponsored by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), and H.R. 6169, the Pathway to Job Creation Through A Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act, sponsored by Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.).

“Two years ago, the President said extending these same tax rates was the ‘right thing to do’ for jobs, the middle class and small business. Keeping taxes low is still the right thing to do to get this economy growing again,” Cantor said. “In the near term, our plan gives working families and small businesses the certainty that they will not face a tax increase. In the long term, we will reform the tax code to spur sustained economic growth.”

Watch the “Taxation Nation” video from the heart of Pennsylvania:

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Allen West Doesn’t Always School CAIR Apologists, But When He Does…

Monday, July 30th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The cuddly-named CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing case. It’s executive director, Nezar Hamze, tried to trap Rep. Allen West at a recent public meeting. That, as you’ll see in the video, was a mistake.

Exit question: Is the Romney campaign sure that a “boring white guy” is really the way to go on the veep pick?


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Help Us Get Twitter’s Attention to Free the Dead @INSTAPUNDIT Twitter Account. #RespondTwitter

Monday, July 30th, 2012 - by Nina Yablok

UPDATE 9:19pm PDT July 30, 2012: @Instapundit has been turned over to Glenn Reynolds. His RSS feed should be up and running shortly. We couldn’t save the “followers” list so please re-follow @Instapundit.

Thanks everyone for the help!

Remember in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy and her homies made it to the Emerald City? Just when you think everything is going to be okie-dokie-fine and they are all scrub-a-dubbed up, the Wicked Witch of the West rides by on her broomstick and writes “SURRENDER DOROTHY” in black smoke across the sky.  Well sometimes as an attorney, I feel like I need to hire a skywriting plane to get a response from other attorneys.  But right now I’m thinking the Internet, and specifically Twitter, might be the best way to get a response. Let me tell you why.

First the short version, if you don’t want to read the whole sad tale: I’m an attorney. I’m trying to reach Twitter’s legal department. I can’t by any conventional means. I’m asking for help by tweeting #RespondTwitter and linking to this blog post.

Now the whole story:

I’m all for automation, and given a choice I will do business online before I’ll go to a store or print out and mail or fax in some form.  Give me the chance to fill out an online form for something and I’m a happy camper… usually.

So I was my usual happy camper self when, after Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, asked me to try to get the Instapundit Twitter handle back for him, I found that Twitter had a special page for submitting trademark problems.  Instapundit is Glenn Reynolds’ registered trademark.

The Instapundit situation was unique in that it wasn’t a poacher or typical infringer who had taken the trademark as a Twitter handle. In our case, a fan had gotten to Twitter before my client and had used the @Instapundit Twitter account to push my client’s RSS feed through the Twitter account. Other than not being able to respond to direct tweets, this was OK with Glenn. He was going to use the account to do the same thing: push his RSS feed; he’s a big proponent of opening up the wild wide world of internet communications to everyone.

However, when Glenn modified his website, the RSS feed information changed. And the fan who had started the Twitter account never updated the link with the RSS feed. So the Twitter account with the Instapundit registered trademark is not tweeting. It’s dead, Jim.

And worse yet, the Instapundit trademark is associated with Glenn’s reputation as a very prolific blogger. Therefore, having a dead Twitter feed is beyond “not a good thing”; it’s a dilution of the mark’s value.

Direct tweets to the fan who opened the account resulted in no response.  We don’t know if the individual is dead or alive, bored or fed up, retired to a tropical island with no internet access, or what.

So I put in my somewhat simple trademark issue request on Twitter’s handy-dandy trademark issue form. And waited. And waited. Two weeks later I got an email saying they had received my form and would process it.  One small step for doing things right.

Two weeks after that I got an email with the subject line “Twitter Support: update on Trademark Issue – (tradename)” at 5:14 on a Friday night. The email said, “Please read this carefully and respond to confirm that your report as currently submitted is complete and valid or reply with the additional information required as described below. We will not be able to investigate further and this ticket will be closed unless we receive a response to this message.” It then had the same questions as on the original form I had submitted.  It did not clarify what question had not been answered to their satisfaction.

So I restated my case in slightly different terms, and sent back the email.  I received the exact same email again at 7:12 p.m., and again at 9:12 p.m., and again at 12:05 a.m. the next morning. I responded to all of the requests except the last one because I was pretty sure by that time that the LOLcats had taken over Twitter’s automated system.

I waited another 2 weeks and sent an email to Twitter’s support email again, basically saying “what’s up?” and I almost immediately received a reply saying, and I quote, “You tried to update a request that has been closed. Please submit a new request at http://support.twitter.com/forms. You can also visit our help center at http://support.twitter.com for self-help solutions to common problems. Thanks!”

Well sorry, but no thanks. I’ve done that already.

But I R an attorney. I know things. Like the Scarecrow, I have a Doctorate in Thinkology. One thing I know is that I can look up the “agent for service of process” for companies in California. The agent for service of process is the human being (or company) who (or which) is supposed to accept official legal papers on behalf of the company.

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Actual AP Quote — ‘State and local officials are struggling to figure out how to respond, and in some cases asking how far government should go in trying to protect people from themselves.’

Monday, July 30th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The quote comes in the context of an Associated (with stupid big government ideas, terrorists, and generally shoddy journalism) Press story about the deadly menace of people texting while they’re walking around. Are they walking into nuclear power plants, causing deadly meltdowns and taking entire regions off the power grid? Are they texting their way into the cockpits of crowded airliners thereby taking them out of the sky? Are they texting their way en masse onto crowded freeways, slowing the velocities along normally speedy interstates into a Los Angeles-style crawl? Has their pedestrian texting brought about the zombie apocalypse? No, they’re walking into poles and off train platforms, stuff like that. Here are a few of the cases causing civilizational panic.

The cases include a 24-year-old woman who walked into a telephone pole while texting; a 28-year-old man who was walking along a road when he fell into a ditch while talking on a cellphone; a 12-year-old boy who was looking at a video game when he was clipped by a pickup truck as he crossed the street; and a 53-year-old woman who fell off a curb while texting and lacerated her face.

One 67-year-old man walking along the side of a road was hit a by a bicyclist who was talking on a cellphone as he rode. The pedestrian injured a knee.

Those banal tales of not much woe don’t lead the piece. Instead, here’s the lurid opening, which does not end in gross bodily harm.

A young man talking on a cellphone meanders along the edge of a lonely train platform at night. Suddenly he stumbles, loses his balance and pitches over the side, landing head first on the tracks.

Fortunately there were no trains approaching the Philadelphia-area station at that moment, because it took the man several minutes to recover enough to climb out of danger. But the incident, captured last year by a security camera and provided to The Associated Press, underscores the risks of what government officials and safety experts say is a growing problem: distracted walking.

On city streets, in suburban parking lots and in shopping centers, there is usually someone strolling while talking on a phone, texting with his head down, listening to music, or playing a video game. The problem isn’t as widely discussed as distracted driving, but the danger is real.

As real as texting while failing to control two tons of steel and glass at 80 mph on I-35? I’m dubious.

Reports of injuries to distracted walkers treated at hospital emergency rooms have more than quadrupled in the past seven years and are almost certainly underreported.

The AP’s writer was probably writing while distracted. That sentence finished with what’s known as a guesstimate. He pulled it out of somewhere other than the latest alarmist post from the CDC.

There has been a spike in pedestrians killed and injured in traffic accidents, but there is no reliable data on how many were distracted by electronics.

“No reliable data” in the past used to mean no story, and therefore no call for government to go all busybody. How times have changed. Now, it’s “no reliable data, no problem!”

Here comes the money quote.

State and local officials are struggling to figure out how to respond, and in some cases asking how far government should go in trying to protect people from themselves.

In Delaware, highway safety officials opted for a public education campaign, placing decals on crosswalks and sidewalks at busy intersections urging pedestrians to “Look up. Drivers aren’t always looking out for you.”

Philadelphia officials are drafting a safety campaign that will be aimed in part at pedestrians who are looking at their devices instead of where they’re going. “One of the messages will certainly be `pick your head up’ — I want to say `nitwit,’ but I probably shouldn’t call them names,” said Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and public utilities.

No, you shouldn’t. Nitwit. What do you wanna bet this government official texts while walking all the time?

I’m not the first to observe this, but we have gone from a government ordered to safeguard our God-given liberties (that’s who the “Creator” is when the Founders make that reference) to a government going out of its way to devise new “crises” as excuses to protect us from our own formerly sovereign selves. The road we are on with respect to our government, or more accurately without any respect of our individual freedom from our government, is not a good one and it will not end well. That the mainstream media now often acts as little more than conduits for government press releases is a crime against the idea of a truly free press.

h/t The Brian Wilson Show

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