Friday, January 30, 2015

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS

Meet Barack Obama, nonstop college campaigner. - Peter Hannaford/American Spectator 1.23.15

Expecting it to be another campaign speech, I sent this to several friends ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union address:

Recipe for Watching Obama’s State of the Union Speech Tonight:
1—Build and light a fire in the fireplace
2—Put some Mozart on the stereo
3—Pour a highball or a glass of wine
4—Open a good book
5—Enjoy
We spent a pleasant evening and, as it turned out, President Obama ran true to form.

After six years we know that the only thing he enjoys doing and at which he is good is making campaign speeches. When he gets restless dealing with issues that require statesmanship, he goes on a campaign swing, getting friendly audiences to smile and laugh at his jibes at Republicans, whom he despises.

This time he was off the next morning for Idaho and a speech to college students; then on to Kansas for another college audience. One would think he was running for student body president on both campuses. He was relaxed, enjoying self-congratulation and taunting Republicans to “bring me their ideas” so that he presumably he can “work” with them. His idea of negotiation and compromise meant, as usual, the other side adopting his position.

All this on-campus verve was going on while terrorism threats increased, Yemen was in turmoil, Iran continued to stall and ISIS was no closer to defeat than five months ago.

In his SOTU campaign speech he said he would not be on the ballot again and got a hand for it. His riposte was, “and I won twice.” True, but over the course of his six years in office, his party has lost both houses of Congress, governorships, and state legislatures.

He moved from that to the centerpiece of his agenda, which amounted to the dawn of an old era: income and wealth redistribution. This plays to the belief of the left wing of the Democratic Party that economics is always a zero-sum game. That is, if one person does well, someone else must do poorly. His answer: more taxes on success, coupled with more government spending. This was accompanied by his new pet, free tuition to community colleges.

His purpose in hammering away on these was not that he expects them to be passed, but to embarrass the Republican Congress ahead of the 2016 election. Apparently, he is convinced his agenda will be popular with the public. Shortly after the election he demonstrated his new-found gift of mind-reading when he said he’d “heard” the approximately 60 percent of Americans who didn’t go to the polls in November. From this mind-reading he has conjured his current agenda.

The American public, however, does not agree, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. It gave respondents a list of issues and asked “whether you think it should be an absolute priority for the Obama administration and THIS year’s Congress; or is something that can be delayed until next year; or something you think the Obama administration and Congress should not pursue.”

A strong majority said the “now” priority issues are creating jobs, defeating ISIS, cutting the federal deficit, securing the southern border and dealing with Iran’s nuclear threat.

About “reducing income inequality,” a majority said it should be put off or not pursued. The same was true of “increasing the minimum wage” and passing legislation to create “a pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens.

When it comes to climate change, nearly twice as many said it should be delayed or not pursued as those who gave it high priority.

Of the fifth issue, closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, 72 percent said to delay or not pursue it. Only 24 percent thought it should be a priority.

Elections have consequences. Like King Canute in days of yore, Barack Obama cannot command the waves to go backward and expect them to follow his command. He should stick to entertaining college students.
__________________

Peter Hannaford was closely associated with the late President Reagan for a number of years. He is a member of the board of the Committee on the Present Danger. His latest book is ◼ “Presidential Retreats.”

Mitt Romney Will Not Run in 2016







My mistakes about 2016 presidential race - Michael Barone/Human Events

According to the CBO, Obama's amnesty will cost taxpayers $8.8 billion. How does he plan to pay for it?

White House To Put DHS At Center Of Budget Fight - Conn Carroll/Townhall

President Obama will officially unveil his 2016 budget at the Department of Homeland Security Monday, making the funding of the agency the centerpiece of his administrations immediate fiscal priorities....

Unlike the rest of the federal government which has been fully funded through the end of September, funding for DHS is set to expire at the end of February. Republicans chose a shorter funding term for the departments as part of an effort to push back against Obama's November executive action on immigration which could grant up to 4 million illegal immigrants temporary amnesty over the next two years.

A Congressional Budget Office letter released Thursday estimated that 1.5 million illegal immigrants will take advantage of Obama's amnesty program through 2017. That same document also estimated that illegal immigrants granted amnesty by Obama will pay just $5.2 billion in income taxes through 2025, while consuming more than $10.2 billion in tax credits. Factoring in other spending programs, CBO estimates that Obama's amnesty programs will cost taxpayers $8.8 billion on net through 2025.

The letter also notes that amnestied immigrants will pay $17 billion in Social Security payroll taxes through 2025, but they will receive far more in Social Security payments when they retire then what they paid into the system. The White House previously acknowledged in December that illegal immigrants amnestied by Obama would be eligible for Social Security benefits.

(Josh) Earnest did not say if Obama's budget would identify how the administration planned to pay for the increased spending caused by his amnesty programs.

THREE TAKEAWAYS FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA’S DECISION TO SCRAP TAXING 529 PLANS

President Obama’s decision to drop his plan to tax the earnings of college savings plans known as 529s was a jaw-dropper for many reasons. Rarely, if ever, does a president offer up a detailed proposal in the State of the Union—the best annual opportunity for the White House to introduce and gain support for policy proposals—and then completely back away from it in less than a week. What on earth do we take away from this startling bit of politics? Here are our thoughts: - College Republicans (CRNC)

  1. This is amateur hour in the White House.
  2. Liberals are scraping the bottom of the barrel in search of revenue to fund their ideas.
  3. The president’s struggle offers a lesson in how difficult comprehensive tax reform will be.

Sacramento's Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep High School holds 'hijab day' for student



Promotion says Muslims would help girls exhibit 'modesty' - WND

...The “citizen’s note” to the principal, which prompted the student’s diatribe, called the promotion of Islamic law, or Shariah, “outrageous.”

“It’s outrageous primarily because it brought religion into a public school in a way that directly conflicts with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits school-sponsored prayer and religious indoctrination. Encouraging girls and women to wear hijabs for ‘modesty’ is clearly an example of religious indoctrination. Can you imagine the public outrage if a Jewish student requested ‘Yarmulke Day’ and all men and boys at the school were urged to wear a head covering of the type that Jewish men and boys wear?”

The citizen also noted that the Muslim Students Association “is considered by many national security experts to be tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

“In other words, tied to terrorism.”

A report by BizPacReview raised the question: Does separation of church and state only apply to some religions?”

The school did not respond to WND’s request for comment.

At the D.C. Clothesline blog, Islam expert and anti-Shariah campaigner Pamela Geller said: “When I was young, I remember the feminists and the leftists were all ‘burning bras’ during the left’s war on America. It was symbolic of the fight for women’s rights. So instead of a ‘hijab day’ at a California public school, why don’t they ‘burn burkas’ to stand in solidarity with women forced to wear the Islamic garb of shame and oppression?”

The Final Solution: a Nuclear Iran



Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, and in the Middle East a new Holocaust looms. - Charles Krauthammer/National Review

...The rise of European anti-Semitism is in reality just a return to the norm. For a millennium, virulent Jew-hatred — persecution, expulsions, massacres — was the norm in Europe until the shame of the Holocaust created a temporary anomaly wherein anti-Semitism became socially unacceptable....

European anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, however. It’s a European problem, a stain, a disease of which Europe is congenitally unable to rid itself....

The threat to the Jewish future lies not in Europe but in the Muslim Middle East, today the heart of global anti-Semitism, a veritable factory of anti-Jewish literature, films, blood libels, and calls for violence — indeed for another genocide.
...
The Iranian bomb is a national-security issue, an alliance issue, and a regional Middle East issue. But it is also a uniquely Jewish issue because of Israel’s situation as the only state on earth overtly threatened with extinction, facing a potential nuclear power overtly threatening that extinction.

On the 70th anniversary of Auschwitz, mourning dead Jews is easy. And, forgive me, cheap. Want to truly honor the dead? Show solidarity with the living — Israel and its 6 million Jews. Make “never again” more than an empty phrase. It took Nazi Germany seven years to kill 6 million Jews. It would take a nuclear Iran one day.





ONGOING MEASLES OUTBREAK

Many have speculated, but now a top federal health official is confirming that the outbreak of measles traced to several Disney theme parks was likely caused by a foreign visitor or an American who had recently returned from a trip outside the country.

...n 2000, the Centers for Disease Control had thought that measles were eliminated in the US, but starting in 2008, cases began to climb. In 2014, the number of cases exploded to over 600, more than all reported cases between 2009 and 2013. The CDC also reported that cases reached a 20-year high in 2014.

The CDC determined that the number of cases grew in the US due to an influx of foreign immigrants.

There is no treatment for measles once it is contracted. Patients should stay hydrated as they ride the illness out. Authorities say the only prevention is widespread vaccination.

Cruz Calls for Investigation Into State Dept.-Funded Nonprofit Group assisting a campaign that is attempting to defeat Netanyahu

Nick Muzin, deputy chief of staff for Cruz, said the senator was “very disturbed by the reports that the State Department has funded an organization that’s playing a direct role in trying to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu.” - Washington Free Beacon

The OneVoice Movement, a U.S.-based nonprofit group that is partnering with the V15 effort to oust Netanyahu in Israel’s March elections, received two grants from the State Department in the past year, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday.

Cruz and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry calling on the State Department inspector general to investigate whether OneVoice has used any of the grant money to support its partnership with V15, and whether its actions violate its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

“We write to express strong concerns over the recent media reports that a U.S. taxpayer funded 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called OneVoice is actively working with a campaign operation called V15 or ‘Victory 2015’ in an effort to influence the outcome of the elections in Israel on March 17, 2015,” wrote Cruz and Zeldin.

White House ratchets up criticism of Netanyahu... - Bill Kristol/Weekly Standard
Inside HQ of 'Obama army' opposing Netanyahu - WND
OneVoice is reportedly sponsored by scores of nonprofits and received two grants in the past year from the U.S. State Department.

The State Department is also listed as a partner of OneVoice on the group’s website.
The Obama Administration’s actions towards Israel become more intolerable each day, carrying with their insults deeply damaging national security implications for our country. - Breitbart



The Shameless Hackery of Harry Reid

...even Huffington Post correspondents are laughing at Democrats' preposterous faux umbrage. - Guy Benson/Townhall

The man's an established liar, a bizarre obsessive, a remorseless slanderer -- but you already knew that. He's also, unsurprisingly, an exquisite hack. Ever since voters demoted Prince Harry in November, his views on various Senate protocols and precedents have undergone a remarkable and dramatic evolution. He who grinningly nuked filibuster rules in 2013 has suddenly mustered strange new respect for the practice:



Reid's more egregious shamelessness comes in the form of his recent attacks on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom he accuses of strong-arming the legislative process by limiting amendment votes on the Keystone Pipeline bill:



This is rich. Richer, in fact, than Reid himself has become during his tenure as a supposed "public servant." The minority leader hopes Americans will forget that until very recently, he held McConnell's title. For the full duration of calendar year 2014, Harry Reid permitted precisely 15 amendment votes* on all legislation taken up by the United States Senate. Total. Prior to Reid's tweet above, the new Republican-controlled Senate had already surpassed that number in one week, and had held 24 votes on amendments to the Keystone bill alone. Democrats (who've been praising the more functional system under McConnell) have taken to griping that the Republican majority is betraying its pledge to respect an "open amendment process" by trying to place some limits on endless offerings.... KEEP READING

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Senate has passed a bill to clear construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

The vote was 62-36. Nine Democrats joined with Republicans to support the bill despite President Barack Obama's promise to veto it..

Senate approves Keystone pipeline bill, in face of White House veto threat - FOX

And asked Thursday about the vote, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated that Obama would veto.

It remains unclear whether majority Republicans could round up additional support to override. Since they took over the Senate in January, Republicans have made approving the Keystone pipeline their top priority on the heels of big wins in the November elections.

The Senate vote capped weeks of debate that was often messy and on one occasion had the Senate in session into the early morning. Dozens of additions to the bill were considered, but only a handful, such as getting the Senate on the record that climate change is not a hoax, made it into the measure.

"The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. But the Keystone jobs debate has been important for the Senate and for our country," McConnell said. "The Keystone infrastructure project has been studied endlessly, from almost every possible angle, and the same general conclusion keeps becoming clear: Build it."

The bill authorizes construction of the 1,179-mile pipeline, which would carry oil primarily from Canada's tar sands to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipeline to Gulf Coast refineries.

SACRAMENTO OFFICIALS WERE NOT TOLD ABOUT SUSPECTED EBOLA CASE

Sacramento City officials say they were not informed that there is a potential Ebola victim in their mist and that the fatal virus might have reached California’s capital city. - Breitbart California

Sharyl Attkisson Testifies: If You Cross The Obama Administration, You Will Be Attacked and Punished

Investigative reporter and author of Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington Sharyl Attkisson testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday as part of attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch's confirmation hearing. - Katie Pavlich/Townhall

During her testimony, Attkisson detailed government intimidation she has endured under the Obama administration, particularly through the Department of Justice, for pursuing investigative stories unfavorable to the administration. Attkisson has been an investigative reporter for decades and has pursued stories of government corruption, waste, fraud and abuse in both political parties.

"The job of getting at the truth has never been more difficult. Facets of federal government have isolated themselves from the public they serve. They covet and withhold public information that we as citizens own. They bully and threaten access of journalists who do their jobs, news organizations that publish stories they don't like and whistleblowers who dare to tell the truth," Attkisson said. "When I reported on factual contradictions in the Administration's accounts regarding Fast and Furious, pushback included a frenzied campaign with White House officials trying to chill the reporting by calling and emailing my superiors and colleagues, using surrogate bloggers to advance false claims, one White House official got so mad he angrily cussed me out. The Justice Department used its authority with building security to handpick reports allowed to attend a Fast and Furious briefing, refusing to clear me into the public Justice Department building."

"Let me emphasize that my reporting was factually indisputable, government officials weren't angry because I was doing my job poorly, they were panicked because I was doing my job well," she added.

Attkisson: Reporters treated like 'enemies of the state' under Obama - The Hill

"If you cross this administration with perfectly accurate reporting they don’t like, you will be attacked and punished,” Attkisson said. "You and your sources may be subjected to the kind of a surveillance devised for enemies of the state."

CBO still refuses to score Obamacare, ignores 15 tax hikes in healthcare law

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this week released their annual Budget and Economic Outlook which sets the budget baselines and estimates for the whole year.

Buried in Appendix B of the report is CBO's attempt to provide an updated score of Obamacare. But that's not what they did. They only scored the "coverage provisions" of the law, ignoring some fifteen tax increases which are also a part of Obamacare and its cost to taxpayers.

Here's what the report says about its half score:
"Those estimates address only the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA and do not reflect all of the act’s budgetary effects. Because the provisions of the ACA that relate to health insurance coverage established entirely new programs or components of programs and because those provisions have mostly just begun to be implemented,CBO and JCT have produced separate estimates of the effects of the provisions as part of the baseline process. By contrast, because the provisions of the ACA that do not relate directly to health insurance coverage generally modified existing federal programs (such as Medicare) or made various changes to the tax code, determining what would have happened since the enactment of the ACA had the law not been in effect is becoming increasingly difficult. The incremental budgetary effects of those noncoverage provisions are embedded in CBO’s baseline projections for those programs and tax revenues, respectively, but they cannot all be separately identified using the agency’s normal procedures. As a result, CBO does not produce estimates of the budgetary effects of the ACA as a whole as part of the baseline process."
This is just another version of "we can't score it anymore" that CBO Director Doug Elmendorf (and his Gruber-gate methodology on Obamacare) has become known for.

List of tax hikes ignored in the CBO half-score of Obamacare
-3.8 percent surtax on investment income
-Hike in top Medicare payroll tax rate to 3.8 percent
-Medicine cabinet tax
-Additional surtax on health savings account (HSA) distributions
-Cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs)
-Medical device tax
-High medical bills tax
-Tanning tax
-Tax on employer retiree drug coverage in Medicare
-Charitable hospital tax
-Pharmaceutical manufacturers tax
-Health insurance tax
-Tax on executive compensation in the health sector
-"Black liquor" tax hike
-Codification of "economic substance doctrine"




FCC raises threshold for high-speed internet as service providers cry foul

New benchmark means 55 million Americans currently lack broadband access after chairman derides internet companies’ advertisement claims - The Guardian

...The definition of broadband is set to be raised from 4 megabits per second (Mbps) to 25Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps to 3Mbps for uploads.

With that speed as the benchmark, significantly fewer Americans have access to high-speed broadband. Under the previous definition, 19 million Americans were without access; the new definition means that 55 million Americans – 17% of the population – now do not have access to high-speed broadband, according to the FCC’s 2015 Broadband Progress Report, which is in the final editing process but was cited at the hearing....

PAT CADDELL, FMR. DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: "I Have Never Seen A President Occupying Himself In His Own Fantasy World"



link - Real Clear Politics

The problem is with the word "is. Remember that? Most of these lawyers (presidents who have been attorneys) have never been in the real world but they're trying to develop things that I believe justify what is unjustifiable. To serve a president who I think is himself a lawyer, and as I said, occupying his own kind of fantasy world. And what scares me -- it bothers me, is because you've had guests on earlier, every one of them explaining why this is a mistake.

We have four-star generals and admirals saying why this is a mistake and I'm waiting for someone, particularly the Iranian things coming up -- as a Democrat I want someone, I don't care if it's Bill Clinton, I don't care if it's [Senator] Bob Menendez, somebody needs to go to the White House and tell the president what time of day it is.