1. Budgetary blues
Imagine, if you will, a major corporation trying to run itself without having a budget for three years. Its officials undoubtedly would be hauled into jail for violating Sarbanes-Oxley. Yet that is exactly what Washington is doing, as the Democratic-controlled Senate has bottled up passage of a budget for over 1,000 days—leading to endless battles over omnibus spending bills and continuing resolutions, both convenient vehicles for fiscal mischief.
By Brent Bozell February 4, 2012 8:43 am
While Democrats mock Mitt Romney for his alleged lack of interest in the “very poor” and focus their political pitch on income inequality, one can’t help noticing the Obamas running around to $35,000-a-head fundraisers with the very rich and very famous in New York City and Hollywood.
The painfully superficial liberal approach to poverty gets old, as does its corollary tenet that conservatives who reject liberals’ failed ideas lack compassion. Indeed, Obama seemed to devote half the words in his prayer breakfast speech to proving that Scripture compels liberal policies. Read More…
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
That threat is to the House of Representatives. Republicans claimed a sweeping victory there in 2010, a win that stopped President Obama’s marauding legislative agenda. Yet that has led to a certain Republican nonchalance about the House in 2012. Read More…
By Quin Hillyer on 2.3.12 @ 6:08AM
Obama’s the man leading the Occupy the Oval Office movement.
The Republican presidential campaign thus far has been so bizarre and, frankly, depressing, that some of us have failed to adequately cover worrisome developments on a number of other important fronts. By ineptness and, worse, by deliberate design, Barack Obama daily makes this nation weaker abroad, less free (and more authoritarian) at home, economically more feeble, and in the civic realm Read More…
February 2, 2012, 10:11 AM EST – posted on NumbersUSA
Representative Diane Black (R-Tenn.) introduced H.R. 3842, a bill that would stop the Department of Justice and the Obama Administration from pursuing lawsuits against Arizona, South Carolina and Alabama over their state immigration enforcement laws.
“While the federal government and the Obama Administration have failed to take any action, indicidual states have put forth measures that give law enforcement the authority to address the alien populations in their states- only to see the Obama Administration slap them with politically motivated lawsuits,” Rep Black told The Daily News Journal. Read More…
February 2, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Pres. Obama’s own staff has produced the data to show that the President was wrong Monday when he said America doesn’t have enough engineers, was wrong last week in the State of the Union to say we need more high-skilled foreign workers, and was wrong in sending out spokespersons to claim that not enough Americans are obtaining engineering degrees. But the President — like most Republican leaders — tends not to look for facts when thinking about immigration but just looks to his elite business cronies.
Look at the numbers in this shocking new report . . . Read More…
As the upcoming elections draw closer, let me make three predictions that I personally guarantee. First, they will set a record as being the most expensive ever, even accounting for inflation. Second, all the usual do-gooders and reformers will complain that this money undermines “democracy” and something must be done. Third, all efforts to curtail lavish spending (e.g., limits on individual contributions, public funding of presidential elections, transparency of donations, etc.) will fail, just as before. Read More…
Susan Stamper Brown February 1, 2012 12:51 pm
During World War II, posters displaying the slogan “Loose lips might sink ships” reminded service members and civilians alike to avoid indiscreet discussions about secure information that could be exploited by the enemy and used against America during wartime. People understood that freedom of speech did not give them license to spill their guts because national security was vital to victory and victory was paramount to America’s survival. Read More…
Where was the public outcry for justice when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry bled to death at the hands of a drug cartel in cahoots with the U.S. government? It happened in the Peck Canyon corridor northwest of Nogales, Arizona — nowhere. The general public didn’t hear about it.
It’s been one year and two months since agent Terry died. Within weeks of his demise, his shocking murder would illuminate a bizarre and murderous government plot to run guns, lots of guns — over 2,000 guns — into the hands of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Members of Sinaloa were behind 19,097 murders in Mexico between 2006 and 2010. But that didn’t stop the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in conjunction with the U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona from initiating a program in 2009 that would add at least 300 more dead bodies to that sobering pile of human remains south of the border.
Within 24 hours of Terry’s death, officials had traced two AK-47s to an ATF Phoenix-based operation dubbed Fast and Furious. Read more:
posted at 12:50 pm on February 1, 2012 by Tina Korbe
Every minute the presidential candidates debate their plans to create jobs, reform the tax code, protect the country, achieve energy independence, explore space and strengthen the family (among other things) is a minute they don’t debate their plans to reform entitlements. Those other issues are important — but, in the end, it’s the entitlement state that is bringing us to our knees. It’s the welfare state that will, as The Washington Examiner’s Phil Klein argues, destroy us.
Bring up entitlement reform and emotionally-driven accusations will pepper the conversation. Ground rules are required. Here are the two I would propose: (1) Society has obligations to the weakest among us, to those who literally cannot work, but (2) The rule for those who can work ought to be, to borrow a Biblical principle, “He who does not work, neither let him eat.” (Ironically enough, that second principle was invoked by Lenin himself — but he limited the meaning of “work” to labor. A better definition might be the creation of value, under which definition the activity of the “bourgeoisie,” the control of the means of production, is also work.)
Incidentally, it shows far less concern for the happiness of people to give them handouts than it does to require them to earn their success. The correlation between earned success and happiness is well-documented. It’s shabby and shameful that politicians care more about their own reelection and the consolidation of power among them than the happiness of those whose votes they buy with handouts.
It was a strong rebuke of the majority of media commentators who insist that Latino-Americans can only be won by promising rewards for lawbreaking. It added a sign of much greater dignity in the rule of law for the Latino population than most in the media are willing to give it.
And it was a victory for the concept of self-deportation as an alternative to mass deportation and mass legalization.
Nobody can say that Floridians — both Latino and non-Latino — weren’t provided a clear choice on the immigration issue. Immigration may not have been a top issue for most of the voters but it was one of the most publicized parts of the debates and contest.
- Newt Gingrich campaigned hard among Latino voters with his continuing call for legalization and work permits for many illegal aliens and his pounding criticism of his opponent as “anti-immigrant” for opposing legalization.
- Mitt Romney in two debates continued his campaign-long opposition to long-term work permits and legalization of illegal aliens and created a national media sensation by talking about “self-deportation” as the top goal for the illegal population.
Florida Republicans went strongly for Romney (46% to 32%), but the Latinos among them went for the anti-amnesty, pro-self-deportation candidate by an even greater margin. More…
|Written by Brian Koenig|
|Tuesday, 31 January 2012 12:31|
Freddie Mac has again entered the spotlight as a new report claims the government-sponsored enterprise betrayed American homeowners after placing multibillion-dollar bets that will pay off if homeowners remain shackled by costly mortgages with interest rates well above current rates. In a scathing new revelation of their investigation, National Public Radio (NPR) and ProPublica, an independent investigative news service, uncovered multibillion-dollar investments made by Freddie in late 2010 that will pay off only if homeowners remain trapped in high-interest mortgages.
In effect, while the taxpayer-owned mortgage giant is helping consumers secure mortgages, at the same time it is making those mortgages more difficult to refinance.
Not only do these investments clash with Freddie’s public mandate, the report also found that the company has substantially inflated the size of its investment portfolio. Under provisions stipulated in a 2008 bailout contract — which along with its cousin Fannie Mae granted ownership to taxpayers — Freddie is supposed to be reducing its investment portfolio; however, the NPR-ProPublica report unveiled that the company’s new securities have infused greater volatility in its portfolio. ABC News explained how such investments are administered:
Securities owned by Freddie fall into two categories. In one are those backed mainly by principal. These pay a low return but are considered low-risk. The second category holds securities backed by mortgage interest payments only. These pay a higher rate but are considered riskier, since, if homeowner defaults, Freddie as the insurer must pay the entire value of the mortgage. Known as inverse floaters, these investments are harder for Freddie to offload onto investors. More…
The Right To Keep And Bear Arms
The Second Amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The right to arms derives from the right of self-defense, and therefore is an individual right. Thomas Jefferson said, “No free man shall be debarred the use of arms.” Patrick Henry said, “The great object is that every man be armed.” Richard Henry Lee said, “To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms.” Thomas Paine said, “[A]rms . . . discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe.”
James Madison, who introduced the Bill of Rights in the House of Representatives, said its amendments “relate first to private rights.” Sen. William Grayson said the amendments “altogether respected personal liberty.” Tench Coxe said the Second Amendment protected the people’s “right to keep and bear their private arms.” More…
Diary)/Tuesday, January 31st at 2:00PM EST
As a United States Senator, I have sworn an oath to support, defend, and bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. Complying with this Oath is not always convenient. Sometimes this requires voting against legislation that embodies policies I agree with, other times it requires taking a stand when doing so may not be popular.
The Constitution itself is not a document of convenience. It specifies an onerous process – bicameralism and presentment – with which the government must comply to enact legislation. And it imposes separation of government powers and a system of checks and balances between the different branches.
Among those checks and balances is the requirement that the President’s nominations of federal judges and executive officers receive the Advice and Consent of the Senate before they take office, unless they are nominated during a Senate recess.
Events of the last few weeks show just how inconvenient the Constitution can be for politicians who want to get their way at any cost. On January 4, 2012, President Obama attempted to bypass the Senate and unilaterally “recess appoint” those nominees even though the Senate was not in fact in recess.
These are brazen actions with real consequences. As a duly sworn United States Senator I feel duty bound to resist these actions, regardless of the difficulty.
In taking a stand against the President’s unconstitutional assertion of executive power, I have already been targeted by the President himself. In his weekly radio address, the President singled me out, suggesting that I am playing politics with the judicial nominations process. More…
It’s already been widely reported that Warren Buffett, a major shareholder in Obama, Inc. will be one of the primary beneficiaries of the decision from the White House to kill the Keystone pipeline and the jobs it would create.
The administration now makes no attempt at all to disguise the fact that most decisions he makes are made in the best interest of Obama, Inc. shareholders.
Buffett’s railroad, the BNSF Railway- now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Obama, Inc.- in a remarkable coincidence, will instead, apparently and patriotically, transport Canadian oil to the US at only a slight premium to the oil companies than it would have cost to transport via the Keystone pipeline.
Ohmygosh. What a fortunate coincidence for all of us. Maybe now Buffett’s secretary will be able to afford the higher tax bracket her jerk-off boss puts her in and she won’t have to decide between her medication and cat food. More…
This is Allen West at his best.
Submitted by Trevor on January 31, 2012 – 11:11 pm EST
Congressman West even mentions Ayn Rand’s great novel “Atlas Shrugged.”
A liberal super PAC is set Monday to launch what it is billing as a multimillion dollar campaign to “Take Down the Tea Party Ten.”
The effort by the progressive outfit CREDO aims to use the new big-spending super PAC model, which can accept unlimited donations, to back extensive local organizing and “education” aimed at defeating 10 members of Congress seen by the left as the worst of the worst.
“We’re talking about some of the most odious members of Congress. Even for Republicans these guys are low,” said Campaign Manager Matthew “Mudcat” Arnold in a statement.
“We’re going to empower local activists to organize their friends and neighbors to lay out the truth about their representatives in the most basic terms,” Arnold added. “They are anti-woman. They are anti-science. They are hypocritical, bigoted, and have said and done things that are downright crazy. They’ve done more to embarrass their constituents than they have to govern or work toward solutions. They are unfit for Congress, and we’re going to help their constituents hold them accountable.” Post Continues on www.huffingtonpost.com
On Thursday, January 26, 2012, Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch appeared on Fox Business’s Stossel, along with The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle, to talk about the implications of President Obama’s State of the Union address and why his rhetoric doesn’t always seem to match his actions.
News from The Hill:
By Erik Wasson
The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday predicted the budget deficit will rise to $1.08 trillion in 2012.
CBO also projected the jobless rate would rise to 8.9 percent by the end of 2012, and to 9.2 percent in 2013.
These are much dimmer forecasts than in CBO’s last report in August, when the office projected a $973 billion deficit. The report reflects weaker corporate tax revenue and the extension for two months of the payroll tax holiday.
Nearly every week, the TSA makes news by strip-searching an elderly woman, or suffering an inexplicable breach in security, or detaining a U.S. Senator (Rand Paul), accusing him of being hostile when a security camera clearly indicates that “passive” better describes his demeanor.
Many frequent business travelers, also known as “road warriors,” can recount, on demand, their own unflattering anecdotal stories involving the TSA. (One of my favorites is how a TSA screener angrily jerked a rag doll out of the hand of a one-armed girl, about seven years old, who was reluctant to give up her doll to a stranger to put on the x-ray conveyer belt. Another is how a screener demanded that my now-deceased, then elderly mother-in-law get up out of her wheelchair and walk through the metal detector. The screener couldn’t understand that Ola couldn’t walk a step.)
Hamilton’s intent in Federalist Paper No. 8 was to make the case that a strong Union among the states would help ward off hostilities between and among them.
In the context of making a somewhat tangential point, he wrote this:
”Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.”
Does “they” sound like us?
Making Money On Poverty: JPMorgan Makes Bigger Profits When The Number Of Americans On Food Stamps Goes Up
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) warned Monday that the majority of U.S. voters would soon be dependent on the government.
Speaking Monday on KFYO news radio in Lubbock, Texas, DeMint said Democrats have more time to be engaged in politics because Republican voters are too busy “raising kids” and “starting businesses” to keep up.
“We’re at a point in America where about half of the people are getting something from government and the other half are paying for it, and we’re on track to have 60 percent getting something from government and 40 percent paying for it,” DeMint said.
“What that means is people who vote are not going to vote for less government, and if we’re not careful we’ll end up like Greece, where even in the middle of a bankruptcy the people are still marching in the streets for more benefits.”
DeMint said small-government conservatives are “busy with real life” while big-government liberals work for benefits from the government.
“The people who want more from government, who are dependent on government, are well organized and well-motivated under the Democratic umbrella,” he said.
“The rest of the country — those that are working and paying taxes — are so busy with real life, like raising kids and starting businesses, they don’t like politics and generally don’t vote like the other side does.”
Over the last three years, the number of Americans on food stamps has skyrocketed by two-thirds and stands at a record-high 46 million citizens, or one out of every seven people in the United States. Despite the historic rise in food stamp use, however, the Obama Administration believes not enough people are receiving food stamps who should be and is offering More…
My Catholic priest, Father Larry Swink, delivered a homily on Sunday that I told him would make headlines. In the toughest sermon I have ever heard from a pulpit, he attacked the Obama Administration as evil, even demonic, and warned of religious persecution ahead. What was also newsworthy about the sermon was that he cited The Washington Post in agreement—not on the subject of the Obama Administration being evil, but on the matter of its abridgment of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
What is happening is extraordinary and unprecedented. The Catholic Church is in open revolt against the Obama Administration, with Fr. Swink noting from the pulpit that priests across the archdiocese were joining the call on Sunday to rally Catholics to resistance against the U.S. Government. He said we are entering a time of religious persecution and that Catholics and others will have to make a final decision about which side they are on.
The issue is what the Catholic Bishops have called a “literally unconscionable” edict by the Obama Administration demanding that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. More…
As part of their ongoing “jobs agenda,” House Republicans will unveil this week and soon consider the American Energy & Infrastructure Act (AEIA) to reauthorize transportation spending for five years. The “highway bill” promises a host of reforms (consolidating programs and streamlining red tape) and includes increased oil and gas exploration. But unfortunately these reforms are meant to distract from the overall size of the program, and the fact that such spending will require a massive bailout from federal taxpayers.
[Before getting into the proposal, let’s first reflect on something. What does it say about a Republican Majority when their number one priority heading into an election year is to pass a massive federal infrastructure bill? I know Republicans are split on the issue, and that many burn all of their anti-Keynes stimulus talking points to give transportation spending a special dispensation as a government “job creator.” But really? This is what they want to fight on and draw stark differences with the other party? That is depressing.]
Proponents of federal infrastructure spending have long maintained its legitimacy based on the fact that it is user financed by drivers who pay gas taxes. Good driving years generate enough revenue for generous spending on roads and bridges, and bad driving years require such spending to be ratcheted back. The problem is that the last highway bill—the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act (SAFETEA)—increased spending levels far above what the trust fund could support (and 31% over previous levels). Of course, Congress refused to scale back the spending and instead infused the programs with money from general taxpayers. These bailouts of the highway trust fund occurred in 2008 ($8 billion), 2009 ($7 billion), and 2010 ($19.5 billion).
Posted by Diary)/Monday, January 30th at 12:26PM EST
Those who won the jackpot on tax day benefited primarily from refundable tax credits; the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC, the refundable portion of child tax credit), and the now-expired Making Work Pay Credit. In 2011, refundable credits the burgeoning welfare empire, approaching $1 trillion in total federal, state, and local expenditures. While it would be nice to get rid of these redistributive “tax expenditures” for everyone, we could start with illegal aliens.
Last July, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Collection released a shocking report detailing how illegal aliens are able to utilize a filing loophole to obtain billions in ACTC funds. While EITC appropriations are protected from illegals (those who don’t engage in identity theft) because they are only awarded to those who provide a valid Social Security number, the same cannot be said for the ACTC. Illegals can receive the ACTC by merely providing an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) on their 1040 form, which is blithely issued by the IRS. In 2010, according to the report, illegals received $4.2 billion in ACTC payouts. That accounts for roughly 15% of all outlays for that refundable credit.
During the December imbroglio over the payroll tax cut, the House inserted a provision to require a valid Social Security number in order to collect the ACTC. Republicans planned to use the savings as part of the offset package. Now that the bill, HR 3630, is pending before the conference committee, we must ensure that the ACTC provision is part of a legitimate proposal to offset the cost of the extenders package.
Latest Friday night document dump shows Holder was informed of Brian Terry’s murder on day Fast & Furious weapons killed border agent
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice dumped documents related to Operation Fast and Furious on congressional officials late Friday night. Central to this document dump is a series of emails showing Holder was informed of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder on the day it happened – December 15, 2010.
An email from one official, whose name has been redacted from the document, to now-former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke reads: “On December 14, 2010, a BORTAC agent working in the Nogales, AZ AOR was shot. The agent was conducting Border Patrol operations 18 miles north of the international boundary when he encountered [redacted word] unidentified subjects. Shots were exchanged resulting in the agent being shot. At this time, the agent is being transported to an area where he can be air lifted to an emergency medical center.”
That email was sent at 2:31 a.m. on the day Terry was shot. One hour later, a follow-up email read: “Our agent has passed away.”
Burke forwarded those two emails to Holder’s then-deputy chief of staff Monty Wilkinson later that morning, adding that the incident was “not good” because it happened “18 miles w/in” the border.
Wilkinson responded to Burke shortly thereafter and said the incident was “tragic.” “I’ve alerted the AG [Holder], the Acting DAG, Lisa, etc.”
Then, later that day, Burke followed up with Wilkinson after Burke discovered from officials whose names are redacted that the guns used to kill Terry were from Fast and Furious. “The guns found in the desert near the murder BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about – they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store,” Burke wrote to Wilkinson.
“I’ll call tomorrow,” Wilkinson responded.
In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Sara Murray reports that “Nearly Half of U.S Lives in Household Receiving Government Benefits.”
The pool of Americans relying on government benefits rose to record highs last year as an increasing share of families tapped aid in a weak economy.
Some 48.6% of the population lived in a household receiving some type of government benefit in the second quarter of 2010, up a notch from 48.5% in the first quarter, according to Census data.
Expanding government programs combined with the worst downturn since the Great Depression have led to an explosion in the share of Americans relying on outside help. To combat prolonged economic weakness, Congress extended unemployment benefits to a record 99 weeks (up from the normal 26-weeks offered in most states). The food stamp program was tweaked so it was more generous. Americans flocked to Social Security disability, a last bastion of support for some of the long-term unemployed. . . .
That number is up from 32.8% a year ago (when a total of 46.8% of the population lived in a home receiving benefits). The biggest increases came from an uptick in those turning to food stamps and Medicaid.
Nearly 15% of Americans lived in a household receiving food stamps in mid-2010; Almost 26% had access to Medicaid.
Only a small share of the population accessed cash welfare benefits as the 1990s overhaul made it more onerous in many cases to receive and maintain those payments. Some 1.9% of the population lived in a household that received welfare in the second quarter of 2010.
By Erin McPike – January 30, 2012
An official endorsement Saturday night from last year’s Tea Party standout, Herman Cain; an all-but-official backing from longtime Tea Party darling Sarah Palin; and the support of an increasing number of Tea Party officials around the country have not lifted Gingrich back over Mitt Romney in the Florida polls. That weakened clout has been accompanied by the Republican establishment’s full-throttle charge at Gingrich’s past — to great effect with the primary here just one day away.
from Brasscheck TV
Meet Kevin Jackson, the black Tea Party activist disgusted at the prejudices of Obama’s supporters
I am interviewing Jackson, a Republican blogger and author of The Big Black Lie, a critique of liberal America, because I heard him on US television saying that voting for Obama was racist. ‘They wanted the black president,’ he told Fox News. ‘Racists that they are, they voted for the man because he’s black, not because he’s qualified.’ More…
Kevin Jackson of The Black Sphere appears on BBC World to speak about American politics on behalf of TheTeaParty.net
Introducing Incarcerex ℞: Helping politicians
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Reuters Busted on Rubio Hit Piece
Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller outlines a total of 7 falsehoods or exaggerations in the story. Dylan Byers of Politico spoke to Reuters staff who refused to go on the record (an interesting stance for a newsman), and writes:
One senior staffer at Reuters described the episode to me as a “fiasco,” another as a “disgrace.”
It was so bad, in fact, that the editors and writer involved have been asked not to talk about it. (I reached out to editors David Lindsey and Eric Walsh, but have not heard back.)
They won’t even defend themselves! How bad must it be if you can’t even fabricate a rationalization of the facts. The facts must themselves be damning. John Hinderake of Powerline calls it the “worst news story of 2012.”
There are two hypotheses for what happened at Reuters:
1. An incompetent reporter did a half-assed job of research, and his editors (who either assigned or approved the story to the reporter in the first place) didn’t bother with fact-checking. Or
2. They were fed flawed oppo research. Which raises the obvious question of who would want to knock Rubio out of consideration.
Let’s examine each. Read more: