The civil rights group ColorOfChange has started a petition urging Sony Pictures to fire co-chairman Amy Pascal.
In question are several emails that were hacked and leaked to the public, showing Pascal and Scott Rudin, a producer, joking about what “black” movies they should talk about with President Obama.
“Pascal’s comments are confirmation of the manipulative, exploitative relationship corporations like Sony have with Black folks” the petition reads. “Our genius, our cultural products, and our $1.1 trillion in buying power are not given the respect they deserve, regardless of the massive sums of money they result in for people like Amy Pascal.”
“We must hold Pascal accountable here; not just for her horrendous comments, but also for her role at the helm of a corporate agenda that views Black America as one big, lucrative joke,” reads the ColorOfChange letter.
Pascal has apologized for the comments in her leaked email:
“The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am,” Pascal said in her apology. “Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended.”
Here is a copy of the petition:
Dear Sony Pictures Entertainment,
Amy Pascal’s recently-unearthed, racially-charged email exchanges are completely unacceptable.
Her comments — which included speculation about President Obama’s taste in films (“Django,” “12 years,” “Or the butler. Or think like a man?,” “Ride Along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”) as well as the assertion that TV deals are “the new Black baby” in Hollywood — seem to confirm a manipulative, exploitative relationship corporations like Sony have with Black folks.
With so many incredible Black entertainers contributing their time and talents to Sony pictures — and Black audiences giving millions of their hard-earned money to your films as well — Pascal’s behavior is a truly intolerable slap in the face.
We demand Amy Pascal be fired from Sony Pictures Entertainment immediately.
A man in a red suit with a white beard robbed a Wells Fargo bank in San Francisco during the SantaCon party last weekend.
CBS San Francisco reports that a man dressed as Santa Claus approached the teller Saturday afternoon with a note demanding money.
The robber is described as 40-50 years old and about 5ft 11 inches. No word if he had elves or reindeer with him.
The devious Claus slipped into the streets filled with other merry Santas celebrating at the SantaCon party.
“The suspect decided to take advantage of this event dressed as a Santa,” said SFPD spokeswoman Grace Gatpandan.
The Alamo Draft House in Texas will show Team America: World Police now that the “controversial” movie The Interview has been pulled from theaters.
FOR THE RECORD: We were still going to show #TheInterviewMovie…
— Alamo Drafthouse DFW (@AlamoDFW) December 17, 2014
But instead the theater will host a huge Team America: World Police party on December 27.
— Alamo Drafthouse DFW (@AlamoDFW) December 17, 2014
In case you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about an American attack on North Korea and the late Kim Jung-Il. And it’s told with puppets.
Watch the trailer:
The U.S. Navy has revealed a new underwater drone named “Ghostswimmer” that looks like a giant blue fin tuna.
“GhostSwimmer will allow the Navy to have success during more types of missions while keeping divers and Sailors safe,” said Michael Rufo, director of Boston Engineering’s Advanced Systems Group. “It swims just like a fish does by oscillating its tail fin back and forth. The unit is a combination of unmanned systems engineering and unique propulsion and control capabilities.”
The spy-fish-drone is 5ft long and weighs 100 lbs. It can swim from 10 inches to 300 feet deep.
“This project and others that we are working on at the CRIC are important because we are harnessing the brainpower and talents of junior Sailors,” said Capt. Jim Loper, department head for Concepts and Innovation, Navy Warfare Development Command. “The opportunity for a young Sailor who has a good idea to get that idea hears, and to get it turned into action, is grater [now]than any other time in our Navy’s history.”
Yesterday, President Obama quietly signed the contentious $1.1 trillion spending bill into law. The bill will keep the government funded for nine more months.
Fox News writes: “The measure retains cuts negotiated in previous budget battles and rolls back some banking regulations. But it also retains spending for Obama’s health care law and pays for the administration’s fight against Ebola.”
The Department of Homeland Security will only be funded until February 27, 2015.
The agreement, negotiated mainly by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and House and Senate Republican leaders, was the result of a determined effort by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to avoid a government shutdown like the partial one in 2013 that damaged the GOP’s standing with the public.
Not all Republicans were pleased with the negotiations. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) “chafed” at Republican leadership’s refusal to use the spending bill to challenge Obama’s executive amnesty plan that would “shield more than 4 million immigrants from deportation and make them eligible for work permits.”
On the other hand, liberals were unhappy with a provision “that did away with a requirement that large banks spin off their lucrative derivatives business into separate subsidiaries” and certain changes to campaign finance reform laws.
After hackers threatened a “9/11 style” attack against the The Interview premiere, the movie’s stars have cancelled their press tour.
The movie is a comedy about a pair of journalists who are enlisted by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jung-un.
The duo cancelled appearances on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Watch What Happens Live,” a Yahoo interview, and a Buzzfeed Brews event in New York on Tuesday that was cancelled just a few hours before it was supposed to take place.
“The world will be full of fear,” states the scary message. “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”
North Korea is thought to be behind the attack because of the movie’s subject matter, but they have denied any involvement in the attacks but said the hack was “righteous deed.”
More from Adams: ”Whenever [there is a] Republican … traitor like Scott McClellan or Dave Iglesias who used to be at the Justice Department, they are raised to hero status, they’re feted in the media.”
PJ Media’s Legal Editor J. Christian Adams appeared on Fox Business’s Lou Dobbs Tonight to talk about the Obama administration’s attitude about the rule of law and NSA reforms.
(UPDATED: RNC Responds to PJ Media) EXCLUSIVE: RNC Operatives Join Holder’s Campaign Against Texas, Several Other States
RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer is denying the claims made within this article, both via phone and by submitting comments below as “SeanS”.
Additionally, Tom Hofeller, mentioned in this article, claims via email that this article is “unequivocally false.”
PJ Media not only has 100% confidence in the accuracy of the article’s contents, we offered Spicer, via email, three additional questions for the RNC to answer regarding their denial:
1. Does RNC oppose a renewed Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, or is the story accurate that RNC consultants are working on a fix?
2. Does RNC oppose an amended Section 4?
3. Was RNC’s staff involved in the 2006 reauthorization of Section 5 — advocating amendment and higher burdens on states?
We stated that we would wait for their responses and would publish them in this article.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that the Justice Department will seek to recapture Texas and return it to federal oversight for approval of all election law changes such as photo voter identification. Holder’s move comes after the Supreme Court in June freed Texas and other states from the requirement that all state election laws be approved in Washington, D.C. Holder’s move prompted outrage from Texas Senators Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and Governor Rick Perry.
The three should also be angry with the Republican National Committee. PJ Tatler has learned that staff at the RNC have been spending RNC donations plotting to do exactly what Eric Holder is seeking to do – return Texas and other states to federal oversight.
According to RNC sources frustrated with the race-based effort, paid RNC consultant Tom Hofeller (email@example.com) is spending RNC donations to develop race-based criteria to grab Texas and other states and place them back into federal receivership. The sources tell Tatler that nearly all of the members of the actual committee have been kept in the dark about this effort, and no mention is ever made in RNC fundraising efforts — for good reason, because GOP donors would be furious.
Hofeller, a long-time RNC consultant on redistricting, has devised ways to force several states back into federal receivership by amending the Voting Rights Act to grab states and force them to obtain Washington, D.C. approval. He is hopeful that Congressional Republicans will use his RNC-generated ideas to accomplish this goal.
So far, the Republicans in Congress have shown more sense than the Republicans paid by the RNC, and are cool to the idea of returning states to federal receivership.
According to congressional sources, Hofeller has also been misrepresenting the importance of the law struck down by the Supreme Court. Hofeller has told Hill sources the federal election oversight law is essential to elect Republicans, something most Republicans on the Hill no longer believe is true. Hofeller has spread this message while being paid by the RNC.
RNC fundraising is down this year. If the rank and file learn that donations are being used to place states back under Eric Holder’s boot, to attack voter ID, and pay race-obsessed consultants like Hofeller, expect RNC fundraising to suffer further. Why should donors pay the RNC to help Eric Holder attack Texas?
The bigger question: why is the RNC paying anyone like Tom Hofeller one red cent to do something that the overwhelming majority of Republicans oppose?
July 4, 1776
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Bored viewers of Fox News may be wondering why former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has been on the last few weeks, saying essentially nothing — except occasionally defending Eric Holder. Given that the Texas native is now working at Nashville’s Waller law firm representing targets of criminal investigations, perhaps it isn’t surprising he has kind words for the contemptuous and dishonest current attorney general.
The Waller law firm’s webpage doesn’t list any clients for Gonzales, so it is hard to know if his media appearances have brought in any business.
On Fox, Gonzales characterized the criticism of Holder as a “distraction” and said it “just comes with the job.” He should be pointing out what has become clear to rational Americans: that Holder is a liar and has rightfully been found in contempt of Congress. Gonzales concludes that Holder “can still be effective” and says attacks on Holder can “be totally politically motivated.”
One former Republican Justice Department political appointee tells PJ Media, “These quotes show America what anyone who ever worked with Gonzales has known for years: he is a moron.”
But Gonzales’ boring appearances on Fox go beyond merely helping Eric Holder seem less dishonest and inept; they extend to defending the nasty Prism program.
Gonzales’ defense of Prism on Fox doesn’t surprise congressional staffers familiar with the story of how Gonzales worked to exclude his predecessor, Attorney General John Ashcroft, from the legislative maneuvering behind the laws enabling Prism.
When the Patriot Act was being negotiated in Congress, it wasn’t Attorney General John Ashcroft who captained the effort, it was then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales.
Today in his statement on the NSA surveillance programs, President Obama said, “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”
That’s a specific articulation. What Americans should be asking is if the government (or corporate proxies) are now recording or plan to record phone calls of millions of Americans — possibly for later analysis.
Next Generation’s Allen West will be honored at a dinner hosted by the American Freedom Alliance on Tuesday night with their “Heroes of Conscience Award.”
AFA describes the award as:
[M]en and women who work daily to support the values and ideals which have formed the very cornerstone of our civilization. We are grateful for their courage and tenacity in elevating the study of the classics, promoting democracy and free enterprise and focusing on the elements that guarantee individual liberty. In defense of our freedoms, they have dared to venture beyond the comforts of family, career and personal commitments, taking great risks on a daily basis in order to preserve and elevate these precious gifts to humanity. They are truly worthy recipients of our annual Heroes of Conscience Awards.
Next Generation is an educational effort by PJ Media that examines “the issues of the day through the lens of the next generation.” West, a former congressman, is director of Next Generation Programming. He is leading the effort to develop new Internet TV shows and other media that can be viewed on NextGeneration.TV
If the issue of timber certification proves one thing, it’s that activist campaigners are willing to distort, lie and even intimidate to maintain their influence.
It’s easy to toss an issue so obscure into the weeds, but these machinations are real and they are costing the American consumer.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the forest certification metric of choice for the environmental lobby. The standard is further buoyed as the lone means of certification included in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, which is enforced by 14 federal agencies and 34 state governments.
These various government edicts taken in sum and it’s apparent FSC has an extraordinary monopoly on green building projects in America.
This unusual government preference for FSC comes even as numerous other reputable certification systems exist, including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
Worse, the flaws with FSC are vast and immediate.
Less than a quarter of all forests certified by FSC are even in North America and the program’s regional variances mean that it’s nearly impossible to establish a consistent metric for timber certification. It has 23 varying standards across the glob, lacking a single uniform approach. In practice, it means that timber import from another country would be necessarily lesser than timber sourced from the few American-approved forests.
But having built their certification empire, environmentalists are not ready to cede any regulatory ground to competing standards.
FSC and its allies in the environmental lobby routinely accuse rival programs of allowing clear-cutting; in truth, however, FSC’s regional variances has wrought this very result.
One regional standard, found in Russia, actually allows for clear-cutting forests, the very thing activists prop up as justification for shutting out competition. Just last year, IKEA found themselves in the crosshairs of international scrutiny for following these standards.
Furthermore, the fact that so few American forests are certified by FSC means that timber is frequently imported from these clear-cut forests to meet the demands of certifying government buildings as green. The energy exerted to transport the timber is dramatically increased from what it would otherwise be, and many American timber jobs are a non-starter.
In short, surface-level support for FSC is hardly consistent with the supposed goals of environmental activists and reeks of inconsistency and hypocrisy from the get-go.
It’s better understood when the deep ties FSC maintains with the most radical elements of the green “movement” are given the light of day. The intra-workings here are the root cause of the abrasive, unethical tactics used in attempts to keep the monopoly in place.
For instance, consider the connections fringe groups like the Dogwood Alliance maintains with FSC.
Dogwood has repeatedly launched public smear campaigns against businesses that choose SFI as their timber certification metric, with notable targets in the last decade including Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. The tactics incorporated into these smear efforts have included the absurd, such as an “Occupy KFC” protest, to outright civil disobedience and disinformation campaigns.
Chris Salcedo, executive director of the Conservative Hispanic Society, says that it’s high time that the Obama administration treats the Islamist terrorist threat for what it is.
Chris Salcedo of the Conservative Hispanic Society gives us some things to consider, with all the talk about illegal and legal immigration reform.
That’s no moon, and even if it was, fire can’t melt steel…
“Currently Alicia Keys is being urged to cancel her performance in Tel Aviv this July, via Facebook, open letters, Twitter and a petition with thousands of signatures,” The Creative Community for Peace reports. They’d like some help punching back twice as hard, as the president would say:
Many artists scheduled to perform in Israel are being inundated by false accusations about Israel, particularly that it is an Apartheid state. Currently Alicia Keys is being urged to cancel her performance in Tel Aviv this July, via Facebook, open letters, Twitter and a petition with thousands of signatures. It is critical that all artists hearing the same false accusations, hear from voices that support liberal, open democracies and the independence of artists.
Addressing Keys directly, the Creative Community for Peace adds:
We therefore urge you to keep your tour date in Israel, the land Madonna calls “the energy center of the world.” Join the ranks of independent-minded artists who have performed in Israel recently, including Rihanna, Macy Gray, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Black Eyed Peas, Missy Elliot, Metallica, Linkin Park, Lady Gaga, Seal, Meshell Ngedecello, Erykah Badu and many others. Your fans in Israel are looking forward to seeing you and know that you will use the power of your music to help bring hope and peace to the region!
Click here to read the whole thing, and then add your signature to the petition, if you agree.
Specially green-certified government structures are consuming more water and energy resources than less expensive conventional buildings, a new life-cycle analysis by the National Research Council has found. Shocked, we are.
A recently-released report by the NRC revealed the Department of Defense is spending upwards of 8 percent more on green certified buildings than conventional buildings for design and construction costs while reaping negligible, if not negative, energy rewards.
DOD construction regulations stipulate that new or renovated military structures be built to the specifications established by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Twelve other government agencies, including the mammoth Government Services Administration, also mandate adherence.
“Research studies indicate that the incremental costs to design and construct high performance or green buildings typically range from 0 to 8 percent higher than the costs to design and construct conventional buildings,” the 231-page report reads. It also noted that “not every individual … green building building achieved energy or water savings when compared to similar conventional buildings.”
The certification program has weathered intense congressional criticism for restrictions levied on common plastics, like bullet proof glass and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping, and a ban most certified US timber, and was forced to table even tighter regulations last year.
Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, who requested the NRC study, said DOD should “remain flexible” and abandon its LEED-only standard.
“The findings made by DOD and the National Research Council show that a strict LEED policy for green buildings does not achieve consistent and significant energy, water, or cost savings for military construction across different geographic areas,” Wicker said in a statement.
Amid increasing congressional and industry concerns, some government agencies have expressed an apparent willingness in recent weeks to ease its LEED-only standard.
The GSA, which serves as the landlord for the civilian federal government, published a notice earlier this month that it would accept public comments on the three competing certification systems for green building standards, LEED, Green Globes and the Living Building Challenge.
In its report, though, the NRC recommended DOD maintain its current certification standard. Wicker said the counsel ran counter to the agency’s own findings of diminished environmental and energy benefits.
“I am disappointed that despite negativing findings and mixed results, the NRC recommended DOD continue its LEED policy for green buildings. DOD should consider all the rating systems and standards available and remain flexible in its policies to better ensure energy and water savings.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Following is the full text of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) Republican Address to the Nation, as prepared for delivery:
Good evening. I’m Marco Rubio. I’m blessed to represent Florida in the United States Senate. Let me begin by congratulating President Obama on the start of his second term. Tonight, I have the honor of responding to his State of the Union address on behalf of my fellow Republicans. And I am especially honored to be addressing our brave men and women serving in the armed forces and in diplomatic posts around the world. You may be thousands of miles away, but you are always in our prayers.
The State of the Union address is always a reminder of how unique America is. For much of human history, most people were trapped in stagnant societies, where a tiny minority always stayed on top, and no one else even had a chance.
But America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious, and that everyone everywhere has a God-given right to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.
Like most Americans, for me this ideal is personal. My parents immigrated here in pursuit of the opportunity to improve their life and give their children the chance at an even better one. They made it to the middle class, my dad working as a bartender and my mother as a cashier and a maid. I didn’t inherit any money from them. But I inherited something far better – the real opportunity to accomplish my dreams.
This opportunity – to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life – it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington. It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs.
Presidents in both parties – from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan – have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity.
But President Obama? He believes it’s the cause of our problems. That the economic downturn happened because our government didn’t tax enough, spend enough and control enough. And, therefore, as you heard tonight, his solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.
This idea – that our problems were caused by a government that was too small – it’s just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.
And the idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle class taxpayers – that’s an old idea that’s failed every time it’s been tried.
More government isn’t going to help you get ahead. It’s going to hold you back.
More government isn’t going to create more opportunities. It’s going to limit them.
And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. It’s going to create uncertainty.
Because more government breeds complicated rules and laws that a small business can’t afford to follow.
Because more government raises taxes on employers who then pass the costs on to their employees through fewer hours, lower pay and even layoffs.
And because many government programs that claim to help the middle class, often end up hurting them instead.
For example, Obamacare was supposed to help middle class Americans afford health insurance. But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with. And because Obamacare created expensive requirements for companies with more than 50 employees, now many of these businesses aren’t hiring. Not only that; they’re being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers.
Now does this mean there’s no role for government? Of course not. It plays a crucial part in keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life. But government’s role is wisely limited by the Constitution. And it can’t play its essential role when it ignores those limits.
There are valid reasons to be concerned about the President’s plan to grow our government. But any time anyone opposes the President’s agenda, he and his allies usually respond by falsely attacking their motives.
When we point out that no matter how many job-killing laws we pass, our government can’t control the weather – he accuses us of wanting dirty water and dirty air.
When we suggest we strengthen our safety net programs by giving states more flexibility to manage them – he accuses us of wanting to leave the elderly and disabled to fend for themselves.
And tonight, he even criticized us for refusing to raise taxes to delay military cuts – cuts that were his idea in the first place.
But his favorite attack of all is that those who don’t agree with him – they only care about rich people.
Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren’t millionaires. They’re retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They’re workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They’re immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy.
Sen. John McCain released the following statement on the progress of former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination to become the next Defense Secretary.
Washington, D.C. – “I share many of the concerns expressed by my colleagues regarding Senator Chuck Hagel’s positions on many national security policy issues. His performance before the Senate Armed Services Committee was discouraging and disappointing, and his often adversarial attitude toward legitimate questions from Committee members was troubling.
“At the same time, I have full confidence in the Committee’s rigorous process for vetting nominees, which has been developed and relied upon for decades by Members of both parties. This process ensures a comprehensive and thorough examination of every aspect of a nominee’s history, including but not limited to personal and public records, tax returns, potential conflicts of interest, and an FBI background check, all carried out by highly experienced professionals from both parties. As a member of the Committee for 26 years, and most recently as Ranking Member, I have always been confident that no matter how I personally felt about a particular nominee, the Committee’s process produced the information that Members needed to make up their minds on the President’s nominees and to vote on them within the Committee.
“The integrity of the Armed Services Committee’s nomination process is vitally important. It ensures that no matter which party holds power in the White House or the Senate, nominations for critical national security positions are handled in a fair and appropriate manner that is mindful of the enormous responsibilities these positions hold for our nation’s defense. With this in mind, I have examined the information and responses to Members’ questions that Senator Hagel has provided to the Committee, and I believe that he has fulfilled the rigorous requirements that the Committee demands of every Presidential nominee to be Secretary of Defense. As a result, I believe it is appropriate for the Armed Services Committee to vote on Senator Hagel’s nomination and determine whether to move this nomination to the Senate floor where Members can debate and express their own judgments on Senator Hagel. I will not participate in any walkout of tomorrow’s Committee vote – an action that would be disrespectful to Chairman Levin and at odds with the best traditions of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“Finally, I share Senator Graham’s deep concerns about unanswered questions regarding the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. The American people deserve to have all the answers about why four brave Americans died in Benghazi, and this Administration’s actions – including those of the President – before, during and after that tragic day.”
Via The Blaze TV.
When the nation gathers around its television sets this upcoming Sunday to watch the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers face off for best title in the NFL, Americans everywhere will be feeling the effects of our weak energy policy (even if they don’t know it).
Chicken wing consumption during this year’s Super Bowl is estimated to be 1.23 billion wings, down 12.3 million from last year. One of the culprits culpable for the decline is high ethanol prices, which have driven chicken companies to produce one percent fewer birds due in large part to “record high corn and feed prices,” according to the 2013 Wing Report by the National Chicken Council. Meanwhile, the Renewable Fuels Standard diverted 40% of the nation’s total corn production to be used as motor fuel, in the form of ethanol. This, combined with severe drought conditions last year, has driven the price of ethanol to record highs, which in turn forced chicken farmers to reduce the size of their flocks. Thus, Americans are seeing painfully higher prices at the grocery store.
According to Gallup, nearly 76% of Americans say higher food prices are hurting their family’s finances, and this year’s Super Bowl festivities will be the latest manifestation of that fact. Prices are only estimated to get even higher. Converting 40% of our animal feed to gasoline because of the renewable fuel standard is not helping consumers or their pocketbooks, as misguided energy policies continue to “peck” away at our recovery.
The full text of President Barack H. Obama’s second inaugural address, as prepared for delivery.
Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.
For more than two hundred years, we have.
Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.
Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.
Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.
Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.
But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.
This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.
We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.
Gov. Rick Perry released the following statement regarding President Obama’s executive actions:
“The Vice President’s committee was appointed in response to the tragedy at Newtown, but very few of his recommendations have anything to do with what happened there.
“Guns require a finger to pull the trigger. The sad young man who did that in Newtown was clearly haunted by demons and no gun law could have saved the children in Sandy Hook Elementary from his terror.
“There is evil prowling in the world – it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds. As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children.
“In fact, the piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally. The second amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president.”
Today, the president is announcing that he and the administration will:
- Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
- Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
- Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
- Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
- Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
- Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
- Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
- Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
- Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
- Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
- Nominate an ATF director.
- Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
- Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
- Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
- Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to developinnovative technologies.
- Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
- Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
- Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
- Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
- Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
- Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
- Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
- Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
“The National Rifle Association of America is made up of over 4 million moms and dads, daughters and sons, who are involved in the national conversation about how to prevent a tragedy like Newtown from ever happening again. We attended today’s White House meeting to discuss how to keep our children safe and were prepared to have a meaningful conversation about school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals.
“We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment. While claiming that no policy proposals would be ‘prejudged,’ this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners – honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans. It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works – and what does not.”
Former Reagan AG Ed Meese, Ken Blackwell Lead Group Calling on Republicans to Reject Boehner’s ‘Plan B’
A group called the Conservative Action Project has released a letter today calling on House Republicans to vote against Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” if it comes up for a floor vote. The group released a statement along with a stellar list of signatories, headlined appropriately “NO MORE TAXES!!!!!!!!”
NO MORE TAXES!!!!!!!!!
As leaders of broad based American citizen groups we call upon Republican House Members to vote no on Speaker Boehner’s Tax Hike known as “Plan B.” This tax increase bill is just like the tax increase proposal Nancy Pelosi offered last year on May 23rd.
Speaker Boehner, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and too many Members of the Republican conference have forgotten that the problem in Washington is too much spending and not too little taxation.
When the American people voted to return the Republican majority in the House last month we sent you to cut spending. Instead, you are now voting on the Pelosi plan to increase taxes next year.
We urge Members of the House to vote no on the procedural rule to stop the Pelosi/Boehner tax plan from coming to the House floor for a vote.
Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General
Brent Bozell, President, ForAmerica
Erick Erickson, Editor, RedState.com
Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring
J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Faith & Freedom Coalition
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
David N. Bossie, President, Citizens United
Alfred Regnery, President, The Paul Revere Project
William Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government
Chris Chocola, President, Club for Growth
George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom
Michael Needham, Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Action for America
Morton Blackwell, Chairman, The Weyrich Lunch
Peter Thomas, Chairman, The Conservative Caucus
Amy Kremer, Chairman Tea Party Express
Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
David Y. Denholm, President, Public Service Research Council
Jim Backlin, Christian Coalition of America
Becky Norton Dunlop, former Reagan Administration official
Gary Bauer, President, American Values
David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
David McIntosh, former Member of Congress, Indiana
Robert (Bob) Reccord, Exec. Dir., Council for National Policy
T. Kenneth Cribb, former Domestic Advisor to President Reagan
(All organizations listed for Identification purposes only)
PJ’s Patrick Poole joined Pat Gray, Diana West and Stu Burguiere on Blaze TV Wednesday to discuss the protests that have erupted in Egypt after Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi granted himself dictatorial powers.
Three years ago, Dr. Keith Smith, co-founder and managing partner of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, took an initiative that would only be considered radical in the health care industry: He posted online a list of prices for 112 common surgical procedures. The 51-year-old Smith, a self-described libertarian, and his business partner, Dr. Steve Lantier, founded the Surgery Center 15 years ago, after they became disillusioned with the way patients were treated at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, where the two men worked as anesthesiologists. In 1997, Smith and Lantier bought the shell of a former surgical center with the aim of creating a for-profit facility that could deliver first-rate care at a fraction of what traditional hospitals charge….
The former Libertarian Party standard bearer advises his fellow party faithful to pull the lever, push the button or mark the box for Mitt Romney in an editorial.
It’s simple. Libertarians believe in less government; lower taxes; cutting rules, regulations and mandates to get government out of the way of small business; reining in out-of-control government agencies like the EPA; auditing the Fed; and balancing the budget. Sound familiar?
So do Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Certainly a little less than Libertarians, including me, would like. But, I’ll take incremental progress over no progress. Mitt Romney is a step in the right direction.
Barack Obama is a thousand miles in the wrong direction — a direction that leads to the bankruptcy of our children and grandchildren and the destruction of the American Dream. A vote for anyone but Romney is a vote for Obama and his disastrous road that leads to the end of America (as we know it).
The Obama you’ve seen for the last four years is nothing like the radical man who will be unleashed for the next four. The first Obama term was just a small taste of things to come. Without having to answer to voters again, Obama will be his REAL radical self. Without restraint, Obama will ignore Congress, and govern by Executive Order. These radical Executive Orders from “Obama unleashed” will change America forever.
Don’t believe me? Are you aware Obama issued almost 1,000 executive orders in his first term? That’s more than all other presidents in history combined (and still counting). In a second term Obama will render Congress meaningless.
Read the whole thing. Especially if you’re an undecided Libertarian who has not voted yet.
The topline number is scary: Romney and Obama remain tied at 47 in the final Politico battleground poll. But underneath that, Romney leads strongly among independents, 47-32. Republicans lead Democrats on the generic congressional ballot, 47-46. Also:
Romney maintains a significant 6-point advantage on who is better for the economy and creating jobs, 51 percent to 45 percent. A majority, 53 percent, disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, 57 disapprove of his spending policies and 54 think the country is on the wrong track.
For the first time all year, Romney has taken the lead on which candidate will better handle tax policy. Obama was up by 2 points for the past four weeks, but Romney pulled ahead by 1 point, 48 percent to 47 percent — a statistical tie.
Obama is stronger on non-economic issues, but the margin has narrowed in several categories. His 10-point edge on foreign policy has tightened to 7 points in the past few days. His 8-point lead on Medicare narrowed to 6 points. A 14-point advantage on standing up for the middle class last week ends at 11 percent.
Obama’s 5-point advantage on the question of which candidate more shares your values last week is now a 1-point advantage, 48 percent to 47 percent. A 3-point edge on who is the stronger leader dwindled to 1 point.
Romney has used his closing argument to argue that he’s best suited to bring real change, and it appears to have had an impact. Voters see him as more able to get things done, by 49 percent to 44 percent, than Obama.