Saturday, December 24, 2011

OBAMA HEADS TO HOLIDAY WITH 44% APPROVAL RATING

GALLUP

South Carolina voter ID law rejected by Justice Department

South Carolina’s attorney general says he will fight the Justice Department in federal court over South Carolina’s voter ID law. - Meg Kinnard/Washington Times

The federal agency on Friday rejected the law, saying it makes it harder for minorities to vote. It was the first voter ID law to be refused by the Obama administration.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Reagan’s Roots’

REAGAN‘S ROOTS: THE PEOPLE AND PLACES THAT SHAPED HIS CHARACTER - Claude R. Marx/The Washington Times

Because he was a consequential and engaging president, Ronald Reagan continues to fascinate the public and help sell books. The desire by all the Republican presidential candidates to present themselves as wanting to run the country with Reaganite values shows the resiliency of Reagan’s worldview and values. Those wanting to learn about his accomplishments have a vast array of books and articles from which to choose. His presidency has been analyzed by academics, journalists and partisans (with varying degrees of success) across the political spectrum. However, less has been written in recent years about the facts that shaped his character and beliefs.

Peter Hannaford, a former Reagan aide who has written five previous books about his former boss, fills this gap nicely with the concise and insightful “Reagan’s Roots: The People and Places That Shaped His Character.”

__________________

"Reagan's Roots" is available locally at Eureka Books, 426 2nd Street in Old Town. Eureka.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Yes, Virginia, there are only three Republican candidates (Update: 2 or 3?)

Almost hard to believe, but only Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have qualified for the Virginia Republican primary on Super Tuesday in March. - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion

Perry Heartache In VA: Just A Bit Outside - The Other McCain

Perry disqualified from Va. primary ballot - Washington Post
Four candidates — Romney, Perry, Paul and former House speaker Newt Gingrich — turned in thousands of signatures by the deadline Thursday.

State party officials are spending Friday certifying the signatures. They have not examined Gingrich’s signatures yet, but expected to do so by late Friday night. His campaign said it submitted 11,050 signatures .

Update, 6:30 p.m.: Jerry Kilgore, former attorney general and chairman of Perry’s campaign in Virginia, said in an interview Friday night he did not know how many signatures were submitted. He said he was disappointed, but that qualifying for the Virginia ballot is a “daunting task.”

“Hopefully, he will do better in other states,’’ he said. “He can focus on other states.”

Candidates had until 5 p.m. to collect 10,000 signatures from across the state, including 400 from each of the 11 congressional district.

Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum did not submit signatures and failed to qualify on Thursday, according to state GOP officials.

Virginia, an increasingly important swing state, will hold its primary on Super Tuesday, March 6.

Donald Trump switched his party affiliation from Republican to “unaffiliated”

According to the source, he did so because he is “disgusted” with the way Republicans are handling matters in Washington, including the recent payroll tax cut deal. - ABC

(T)he move also sets Trump up for a potential third-party run for president — a possibility he began talking about almost as soon as he told his fans in May he wasn’t running.

Trump has sought to reach out to the group, Americans Elect, an online, independent presidential nominating organization that has already made it on the ballot in several states, including California.

Merry Christmas!

“Merry Christmas.” (T)hose words, and the emotion behind them, contain not the slightest trace of obligation. They are a wish, not a command; a gift, not a contract. They issue sweetly from any pair of lips, and rest gently upon any ear. No particular faith is necessary to give them wings… but the tiniest breath of hope will make them soar.

Christmas At Peace, An after-action report from the holiday wars. - John Hayward (Doc Zero) at Human Events

"Merry Christmas, everyone!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Obama sends out instructions on how to really annoy your family members at Christmas



Damn, but this video is just ripe for some mocking video response composed of parents and grandparents schooling the “kids”. Example: Grandma: my granddaughter is so sweet … she said she ‘liked what Obama stood for’ and when I asked her ‘what exactly is that?’ she got the funniest look on her face, like a guppy out of water

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: USA DEBT NOW $15,123,841,000,000!


link

Poll: Obama’s Approval Rating Among Hispanics Down 30 Points From Its High

Poll: Obama’s approval rating among Hispanics on the decline - The Hill

Report: Huntsman, Bachmann, Santorum Fail to Make Virginia Primary Ballot UPDATE: Close Calls for Newt and Perry

A certain number of petition signatures had to be delivered by close of business today in order for candidates to be included on the ballot for the March 6 Virginia Republican primary. - The Other McCain

Bachmann, Huntsman, Santorum not on Va. primary ballot Richmond Times Dispatch

Four Republican presidential candidates – Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Ron Paul — submitted paper work in time to qualify for Virginia’s March 6 primary ballot. . . .

Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman did not submit signatures with Virginia’s State Board of Elections by today’s 5 p.m. deadline.

Those who submitted the required signatures must clear another hurdle. The Republican Party of Virginia has until Tuesday to certify which candidates qualify. . . .

The State Board of Elections will turn over the petitions to the respective political parties for validating. Republican will begin the process Friday morning and have sought volunteers to help with the process.

Candidates must submit the signatures of at least 10,000 registered voters, with 400 from each of the 11 Congressional districts.

Romney submitted 16,026 signatures; Paul 14,361; Perry 11,911 and Gingrich 11,050.

The fact of President Obama’s temporary payroll tax reduction folly is that for short-term political gain, the president is robbing billions of dollars from the already unstable Social Security and Medicare funds. Why does the media ignore this undeniable truth?

Why Is Barack Obama Destroying Social Security and Medicare? - The Ulsterman Report

Recently, and for the first time in its history, Social Security paid out more than it brought in – a recipe for the total collapse of what some politicians like Texas Governor Rick Perry has rightly called a “Ponzi Scheme”. And while Democrats have historically prided themselves on being the political party that mandated Social Security decades ago, and continue to express their unwavering devotion to it, it appears the current Democratic President, Barack Obama, is willing to damage and perhaps ultlimately destroy that very system in the hopes of scoring temporary political points with voters.

It is an odd thing to watch Democrats push so aggressively for a particular tax cut that is in fact, directly stealing from the Social Security/Medicare fund in order to give voters about $20 extra each week. Of course, for those millions of Americans without a job, the Obama payroll tax/Social Security theft means absolutely nothing to them – except for the fact that if during their previous line of work they paid into Social Security and Medicare, Barack Obama is now stealing that money to give to those who still have jobs. Whereas cuts in the federal tax rates do not directly steal from any particular program, but rather work to stimulate long-term growth and job creation in the economy, Barack Obama is reducing payroll taxes – indicating that such cuts will “help the economy”, while saying nothing regarding that those payroll taxes are responsible for the direct funding of both Social Security and Medicare – two programs Barack Obama has repeatedly indicated his full and unwavering support for.

The question that remains then is WHY?

“His priorities are so messed up. He’s worried about a temporary tax cut when we ought to be talking about freeing entrepreneurs so that they have the confidence that they can create jobs in this country, putting people back to work. That’s what this president ought to be talking about, but he’s more interested in playing politics”

Rick Perry Blasts Obama for Payroll Tax Cut Extension - ABC

Rick Perry slammed President Obama for focusing on the payroll tax cut extension, a proposal that the Texas governor opposes because it’s temporary, instead of turning his attention to such broader reforms as expanding energy production to create American jobs. “His priorities are so messed up. He’s worried about a temporary tax cut when we ought to be talking about freeing entrepreneurs so that they have the confidence that they can create jobs in this country, putting people back to work. That’s what this president ought to be talking about, but he’s more interested in playing politics...”

Santorum Surge: It’s Real and Spectacular

Is it just me? Am I imagining things, or does Rick Santorum have a legitimate chance of scoring an upset in the Iowa GOP caucuses? - The Other McCain

In this case, the president — with his cross-country stumping in favor of the American Jobs Act — flattered our prejudices to betray our interests.

Why Republicans should have stood firmly against any payroll tax cut extension - HotAir

The Social Security trust fund was designed as a trust fund, to which we would all contribute. True, plenty of retirees receive far more in benefits than they ever contributed in the first place, but, the point is, Social Security is the one safety net in which we are all invested.

Certainly, Social Security is in desperate need of reform — I’m one who didn’t flinch when Rick Perry called it a Ponzi scheme — but a payroll tax cut is not it. If ever President Obama’s rhetoric about taxes as “investments” was true, it’s in the case of the payroll tax. Even workers among the 47 percent of Americans who pay “no taxes” still contribute to Social Security. Especially given that the cut will likely produce no very great burst of economic activity, the extension can, perhaps, best be interpreted as a redistributive policy.

...In this case, the president — with his cross-country stumping in favor of the American Jobs Act — flattered our prejudices to betray our interests. Of course we’re prejudiced in favor of the cut. Who doesn’t want more take-home pay? But at a time when broken entitlement programs are the major driver of our economy-crushing debt, reducing contributions to Social Security — outside of the context of comprehensive reform — betrays our interests.

Bush 41 Endorses Romney, Not Gingrich

Bush, the 41st president of the United States, told the Houston Chronicle that he felt Romney was the best choice for Republicans and cited past conflict with Gingrich as a reason he had trouble backing the former House speaker. - The Street

Krauthammer: Ron Paul’s misunderstanding of history is simply staggering

Krauthammer cites a comment from the last debate where Ron Paul argued that we should pick up the phone and call Iran just as Kennedy did with Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis. - The Right Scoop

Yet Krauthammer says it didn’t happen that way at all and proceeds to recite what did happen and finishes by saying that Ron Paul’s misunderstanding of history is simply staggering (video)

Biggest question – what took people so long on Ron Paul?
- Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion

Now that Newt’s surge has stalled or burst, the full frontal attack is being launched on Ron Paul. It’s not that the scrutiny is not warranted, it’s just interesting that it took so long.

CLAIM: 'Draft Hillary' movement part of vast right wing conspiracy...

“If it is, in fact, a Hillary supporter, I would urge whoever is doing it to please stop. She is not going to run, and this effort only serves to embarrass her. If the person is on this list, or if anyone on this list knows who is behind it, tell them to knock it off.” - Politico via Drudge

Hillary Clinton’s people — current and former — are mystified, suspicious and bit peeved with the recent raft of mysterious “Draft Hillary” robocalls and emails and a mangy http://www.runhillary2012.net/ web site – which looks like it was produced in the Hindu Kush.

The current theory, according to posts on a listserv frequented by former Clinton 2008 staffers and senate staff forwarded to POLITICO, is that it’s a GOP plot.

The presumed Republican motive, however feckless, is that the campaign would sow divisions in the Democratic ranks, and remind people that the secretary of state is a lot more popular than the man who bested her in the primaries four years ago. (The fact that Clinton is hugely popular isn’t lost on the scattered remnants of Hillaryland who see a 2016 race as a possibility, but think any premature talk about her ambitions would sabotage her chances.)

But the current text that accompanies the online petition being pushed around is so bare bones it seems phony on its surface (“Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should be the Democratic Party’s 2012 Presidential nominee. Run Hillary Run!”) and seems to be as implicitly anti-Obama as explicitly pro-Clinton (“We need a president who will not compromise on core democratic values”). But who knows.

Cantor invites Obama to Hill: 'He could bring his dog'


"I saw the president out yesterday doing his Christmas shopping. I saw he brought his dog with him. You know, we're here. He could bring his dog up here. We are pet friendly. You know, again, it will not take a long time," Cantor said. "We could probably resolve the differences within an hour." - Real Clear Politics
Boehner invites, too; Obama declines - National Review
Today, Speaker Boehner called President Obama to discuss the Speaker’s desire to provide a full year of tax relief for American families before December 31st. With Senator Reid having declined to call his Members back to Washington this week to join the House in negotiating a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut, the Speaker proposed that the President send members of his economic policy team up to Congress to find a way to accommodate the President’s full-year request. The Speaker reiterated that if their shared goal is a one-year bill, there is no reason an agreement cannot be reached before year’s end. The President declined the Speaker’s offer.
Did Bo Return From Hawaii for Obama’s Photo Op? - White House Dossier
Bo Obama was supposed to be in Hawaii. Instead, he showed up at President Obama’s side Wednesday shopping for treats at Pet Smart

According to Michelle Obama’s press office, the first dog was planning to go to Hawaii with the first lady and the Obama daughters. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that he in fact had gone there. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser quoted an eyewitness who said he had seen the Portuguese Water Dog having his walk.

So what is Bo doing back in Washington shopping at PetSmart?

THE FIGHT OVER THE $40 TAX CUT: #40dollars


Obama Launches “$40″ Payroll Tax Cut Campaign - White House Dossier

From the White House:
In the afternoon, the President will continue to urge House Republicans to do what’s right for the American people by allowing a vote on the short term bipartisan compromise passed by almost the entire Senate. If Congress fails to extend the payroll tax cut, the typical family making $50,000 a year will have about $40 less to spend or save with each paycheck.
Obama will point people to a new section of the White House website where they can “share what a $40 paycheck means to them.” In addition, he’ll urge them to make use of a new Twitter hashtag, #40dollars.

Obama to trot out real Americans in tax tiff - National Journal
'Waa, No Pizza Night': Sad Stories Roll In at Request of Obama White House - CNS News
Michelle's Hawaiian pizza party, in Hawaii - Washington Examiner
What Does $40 Mean To Obama? Doggie Treats For Bo… - WeaselZippers
On the same day the White House asked Americans to explain “What does $40 mean to you?” President Obama spent $41 on his dog Bo during a shopping trip in Northern Virginia. - CNS
On the same day the White House asked Americans to explain “What does $40 mean to you?” President Obama spent $41 on his dog Bo during a shopping trip in Northern Virginia.

According to the White House pool report, the president left the White House at 12:45 with Bo in tow: They stopped at a Pet Smart: “Okay, Bo, don’t get too personal here,” POTUS admonished, holding tightly to Bo’s leash. He pulled out a $50 bill to pay for two items, one a large dog bone. Total was slightly more than $41.”

President Obama then stopped at Best Buy, where he spent $194.48 on gifts for his daughters. “Let’s see if my credit card still works,” he joked. It worked.

Obama’s Media Flying Monkeys Get Their Marching Orders, Gear Up To Do Battle


Now the mainsteam media aren't even trying to conceal it. - Investors Business Daily

"An all-star list of progressive and liberal media folks came to the White House (Monday) to chat with President Obama over coffee in the Roosevelt Room," reported ABC's Jake Tapper — who wasn't invited.

"The group chatted with the president about economic messaging, his agenda for 2012, the various campaign arguments against different GOP candidates, the desire among some Democrats for him to highlight his foreign policy accomplishments, fighting corporate influence, and the 'crappiness' of the Senate filibuster."

A skeptic might think it was just a president sharing his thoughts with reporters. But this wasn't even that. None of these chosen ones at what Mediabistro called the "ego summit" wrote or broadcast anything about this White House pow-wow.

According to Tapper, this session was all about "messaging" — how to smear the president's political opponents, both in the Congress and on the campaign trail, with a single coordinated voice to maximize the impact....

Participants included Washington's most visible elites — Ezra Klein and Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, Frank Bruni of the New York Times, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, Katrina vanden Heuvel and Chris Hayes of the Nation, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo and Faiz Shakir of ThinkProgress. All filed out of the White House and then — like the flying monkeys from "The Wizard of Oz" — flew off to spread the messaging Obama wanted.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Arpaio: ICE refusing to take illegal immigrants from MCSO

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Lt. Justin Griffin says they pulled over a vehicle and have eight people in their custody for human smuggling at 35th Avenue and Durango. Griffin says they attempted to give four of the detainees to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but MCSO says ICE is refusing to take them. - KPHO

Arizona sheriff's officers turn in federal credentials - USA Today

Dozens of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail officers lined up at a news conference in Phoenix Wednesday to ceremoniously hand in their federal credentials a week after they were stripped of the ability to verify the immigration status of inmates.

Arpaio spoke at the same news conference, saying he's going to hold the federal government to its promise to send 50 federal agents to do such screening in his jail. But he predicted there will be illegal immigrants in jail who won't be deported and will be put back on streets.
"I want to see how many agents are going to be coming to our jail," the sheriff said. "I want to see how long it will take for 50 agents from across the country to work in our jails."
The Department of Homeland Security announced Dec. 15 that more than 90 of Arpaio's Maricopa County jail officers could no longer check whether inmates were in the county illegally.

Rep. J.C. Watts Endorses Newt Gingrich for President



"When you consider where we are today, and you think about the good, old days of balanced budgets, entitlement reform, and paying down our National debt, getting tax relief; as a Republican majority, Newt Gingrich was the Speaker, we haven’t seen things like that in the last thirteen years."
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Newt Gingrich

Dems Plead Guilty to Felony Charges in Voter Fraud Scandal in Troy, New York



Last week, we told you about an election fraud investigation with allegations of faked signatures to get then-candidate Barack Obama on the Indiana primary ballot in 2008. - Fox News Insider

Today, four Democratic operatives, including a city councilman, have pleaded guilty to felony charges in a voter fraud scandal to try to steal the primary election — this time in Troy, New York.

Fox News first broke the story nationally about the allegations that absentee ballots were forged in the 2009 primary in Troy of ◼ the Working Families Party, a group once associated with the defunct community group ACORN. Voters told Eric Shawn that they never signed absentee ballot applications and that ballots were cast in their names. ... read the rest.

CA GOP: Investigation Uncovers Democrats' Successful Efforts to Subvert Citizens Redistricting Commission


An investigation has uncovered evidence that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outright manipulated the redistricting process to benefit Democrat candidates. - CA GOP

SACRAMENTO — An investigation has uncovered evidence that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outright manipulated the redistricting process to benefit Democrat candidates. The report, published this morning by ProPublica, a Puliter-Prize winning investigative journalism website, detailed the relationship between the DCCC and local activists, stating that "California's congressional Democrats ran a secret effort earlier this year to manipulate the work of the independent citizen's panel that drew the state's new political districts, foiling the intent of reformers who sought to remove the redistricting process from the control of party bosses."

Read the entire ProPublica investigation, "How Democrats Fooled California's Redistricting Commission" ◼ HERE, as well as the report in the San Jose Mercury News ◼ HERE.

The California Republican Party has consistenly expressed concerns that the redistricting process, which was designed to be a transparent, non-partisan procedure, had been overrun by partisan interests and its outcome unfairly manipulated.

"The ProPublica report vindicates my repeated contention that the redistricting process was hijacked," said CRP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro. "That report, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. The corruption of the process went far beyond what was disclosed in that report. No fair minded person can now say the process or the result was fair. I am calling for an immediate and thorough investigation, by Congressional and State authorities, to get to the bottom of this obviously corrupted process. Beyond that, the lines as drawn by the Commission should not be used in any way for the upcoming elections."

Earlier this year, Chairman Del Beccaro wrote a scathing article in the political website, Flash Report, called ◼ "The Redistricting Commission — Worse Than I Could Possibly Imagine." In it, Del Beccaro wrote:

"It has been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The intentions of Prop 11 and 20 were indeed good. But the process intended to provide fair redistricting has been overtaken by partisanship and incompetence. The truly fair-minded people on the Commission cannot allow this process to be cynically hijacked. It is time for them to vote down any plans that remotely resemble the most recent visualizations. It is also time for Californians to consider saving themselves from the Commission they created, even if that means by referendum."

From the Redistricting Commission's inception, the CRP petitioned the CRC to conduct itself with openness and fairness. In March, the party recommended that the commission hire bi-partisan line drawing experts and Voting Rights Act counsel to assist them with re-drawing legislative lines to avoid the commission being cast as a partisan one. Instead, they chose to ignore the party's advice and hired Q2 Data and Research, a firm widely known for its ties to Democrats. Please ◼ read the letter (pdf) Chairman Del Beccaro sent to the commissioners regarding this decision.

Chairman Del Beccaro also chronicled the Commission's proceedings with pieces in the ◼ Sacramento Bee and ◼ Fox and Hounds Daily, which pointed out the high level of partisanship involved with the selection of Q2 Data and Research.

Shortly thereafter, it was ◼ revealed by Cal Watch Dog that one of the commissioners, Dr. Gabianno T. Aguirre, had made multiple political campaign contributions to Democratic candidates and has a special "web of connections" with a special interest group that submitted its own redistricting proposals to the commission. Again, a clear violation of the Redistricting Commission's rules.

The CRP ◼ called for Aguirre to step down as his involvement compromised the commission's integrity. Those calls fell on deaf ears, and Dr. Aguirre was allowed to maintain his position on the Commission.

These concerns, as well as numerous other complaints, are ◼ listed in this memo from Fairness and Accountability In Redistricting (F.A.I.R.) as well as links to official letters to the Citizens Redistricting Commission listed below:
CRC PRA Request (PDF)
Letter to CRC re: McDonald Barreto (PDF)
Letter to CRC re: Population Deviation (PDF)
Letter to CRC re: Aguirre (PDF)
Letter to the CRC re: Not Adopt Senate Plan (PDF)
Bagley Keene Act Proposition Objection to Action' (PDF)

How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission - ProPublica
California Democrats secretly influenced drawing of new political district boundaries - Lisa Vorderbrueggen/Contra Costa Times

The Frenzy Over ProPublica's Redistricting Report - KQED
Astroturf Groups: ProPublica's most detailed reporting pieces together a trail of emails and actions leading from Democratic VIPs to mysterious websites to, ultimately, testimony offered in commission hearings as representative of "community groups." Only the commissioners themselves can truly answer whether they were conned about the identity or backers of any particular person and/or group. It's worth noting, though, that a few weeks into the 2011 process, commission members confirmed that they were sensing patterns in public hearings of certain people who purported to be average Joes... but clearly were not.

"Perhaps Holder believes that perjury is now passé, or at least that a DOJ employee does not have the requisite “state of mind” when the ideological cause is deemed righteous enough."

Breaking Bombshell News on DOJ Perjury Imminent - PJMedia

The Justice Department Condones Perjury … Again - Hans A. Spakovsky/PJMedia
A career employee in the Voting Section of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has confessed to committing perjury, sources say. The employee, Stephanie Celandine Gyamfi, reportedly told investigators from the Inspector General’s Office that she perjured herself during an inquiry into Justice Department leaks during the previous administration. Despite the admission, she has not been fired for criminal malfeasance. Indeed, it appears she has not been disciplined in any meaningful way at all.

The genesis of Ms. Gyamfi’s perjury is apparently rooted in political attacks on the Bush Justice Department. Throughout 2005-2007, numerous attorney-client privileged documents, confidential personnel information, and other sensitive legal materials were leaked from inside the Voting Section to the Washington Post and various left-wing blogs.

One of the most prominent leaks involved the Voting Section’s privileged, internal analysis of the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan, submitted to the Civil Rights Division in October 2003 for review under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The contents of the internal memorandum appeared on the front page of the Washington Post on Dec. 2, 2005, to great fanfare from Democrats on Capitol Hill and their surrogates in the liberal blogosphere....

Amazingly, despite Ms. Gyamfi’s admission of committing perjury not once, but three times, she so far has been neither terminated nor disciplined by the Justice Department. In fact, her boss, Voting Section Chief Chris Herren, continues to assign her to the most politically sensitive of matters, including the Department’s review of Texas’s congressional redistricting plan.
Confessions of Perjury Inside DOJ - J. Christian Adams at Breitbart's Big Government

The New York Times Is Suing the DOJ Over the Assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki

Back in September President Obama had U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki assassinated. When pressed on the legality of using "targeted killing" against a U.S. citizen without first providing due process, the Most Transparent Administration in History™ clammed up. Eventually word leaked that White House and DOJ lawyers had written a memo justifying the assassination. The memo was "secret." - Reason

Back in September President Obama had U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki assassinated. When pressed on the legality of using "targeted killing" against a U.S. citizen without first providing due process, the Most Transparent Administration in History™ clammed up. Eventually word leaked that White House and DOJ lawyers had written a memo justifying the assassination. The memo was "secret."


TAX FIGHT TURNS UGLY... OBAMA PHONES IT IN... Then goes Christmas shopping...

Headlines on Drudge
GOP shuts down House on Dems’ payroll-tax gambit Washington Times

The House was set to hold a pro forma session, but two top Democrats, Reps. Steny H. Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen, demanded to be recognized to try to force a vote on the two-month extension. House Republicans have blocked that deal, which is strongly backed by President Obama, and are holding out for an extension that covers all of 2012.

Obama calls Boehner, Reid amid tax cut standoff Mercury News

The White House says President Barack Obama has called House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to urge a resolution to the payroll tax cut standoff.

Obama and Bo go Christmas shopping - Politico

After calling congressional leaders to reaffirm his support for the Senate-passed two-month extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, Obama exited the Oval Office with Bo in tow and headed to a shopping strip in Alexandria, Va. — a man alone with his dog as his family vacations in Hawaii.

Boehner: It's time for Obama to get involved on tax deal

When hardworking taxpayers have work to finish, they don't knock off early. They stay and get the job done. Let's follow their example and come together to do the right thing for our economy and our country. - John Boehner at USA Today

This fall, President Obama called for a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut, and the House passed a year-long extension, with bipartisan support. Our bill would also extend and reform unemployment insurance, protect seniors' access to doctors through Medicare, and help create jobs. Unfortunately, instead of passing the House bill or any other year-long extension, Democratic leaders in the Senate passed a two-month measure and left town for the holidays.

Washington doesn't get to punt on this one.

The president and the House are right to want to extend this tax cut a full year, rather than two months. Having run a small business, met a payroll, and hired workers, I've seen first-hand how Washington's Band-Aids and gimmicks cause further uncertainty for employers and employees alike. The idea that the federal government can set tax rates in two-month increments without doing any harm is exactly the kind of Washington thinking that has helped run our economy off the tracks.

Don't take my word for it. Non-partisan payroll tax experts have told Congress that a two-month extension is "unworkable," and that it "could create substantial problems, confusion and costs affecting a significant percentage of U.S. employers and employees."

Just as important, hardworking taxpayers trying to make ends meet or save for college or retirement deserve to know what their paychecks will look like for the whole year — not just an eight-week stretch.

The American people expect Congress to pass a one-year extension, and we should not wait to finish this work. We should complete it immediately. ...read the rest

LA Mayor Villaraigosa Calls For Budget Cuts To Offset Millions In #OccupyLA Costs

Repairs to City Hall’s lawn where the Occupy group set up camp on Oct. 1 will require an estimated $400,000. The police action to clear out the encampment on Nov. 30 cost more than $700,000. - losangeles.cbslocal.com

Additional expenses are attributed to hauling away debris from the camp, and cleaning up graffiti that defaced City Hall marble walls and trees.

Analysis: Chevy Volt Costing Taxpayers $250,000 Per Vehicle



CAVUTO: Volt sales inflated with taxpayer fleet buys... via Drudge

The Audi president called the Chevy Volt a “car for idiots,” but because the average Volt owner earns $170,000 a year and the average American couldn’t afford to buy it if they wanted to, it sounds more like the taxpayers are the ones who have been played for fools... - Michelle Malkin

Chevy Volt Costing Taxpayers Up to $250K Per Vehicle - CapCon

Each Chevy Volt sold thus far may have as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it – a total of $3 billion altogether, according to an analysis by James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Hohman looked at total state and federal assistance offered for the development and production of the Chevy Volt, General Motors’ plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. His analysis included 18 government deals that included loans, rebates, grants and tax credits. The amount of government assistance does not include the fact that General Motors is currently 26 percent owned by the federal government.

The Volt subsidies flow through multiple companies involed in production. The analysis includes adding up the amount of government subsidies via tax credits and direct funding for not only General Motors, but other companies supplying parts for the vehicle. For example, the Department of Energy awarded a $105.9 million grant to the GM Brownstown plant that assembles the batteries. The company was also awarded approximately $106 million for its Hamtramck assembly plant in state credits to retain jobs.

The company that supplies the Volt’s batteries, Compact Power, was awarded up to $100 million in refundable battery credits (combination tax breaks and cash subsidies). These are among many of the subsidies and tax credits for the vehicle.
[...]
The $3 billion total subsidy figure includes $690.4 million offered by the state of Michigan and $2.3 billion in federal money. That’s enough to purchase 75,222 Volts with a sticker price of $39,828.

Interview with James Delingpole - Part 1

Shock – Completely misleading story about Newt saying gays should vote for Obama

The left-wing blogs, and even some parts of the mainstream media, are pushing the story today that Newt Gingrich told gays to vote for Obama. - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion

But it’s all a lie. Gingrich never said he wanted gays to vote for Obama, or that he did not want to “engage gay Americans.”

The video finally was released, and the question to Gingrich was “on this one specific issue” of gay marriage.

All Gingrich said was that if the single most important and determinative issue to a gay person was implementing gay marriage, then that person would be disappointed in Newt and probably should vote for Obama. Newt made clear that if gay marriage was not the determinative issue, then the person should consider Newt (video and links at Legal Insurrection)

NRCC: House Dems’ Deep Commitment to Small Business Job Destruction

Washington Democrats' Latest Job-Destroying Action Targets Small Businesses and Leaves Struggling Middle Class Families Waiting for Much-Needed Tax Relief - National Republican Congressional Committee blog

⚈ President Obama has repeatedly insisted that the payroll tax holiday for middle class families be extended for one full year, a measure the House passed on a bipartisan basis last week.

⚈ But instead of giving middle-class families security about how much will be left in their paycheck in 2012, Democrats are insisting on creating uncertainty for American families by kicking the can two months down the road. Sadly, Democrats' irresponsibility could create "substantial problems" for small business job creators.

⚈ Democrats' decision to avoid payroll tax certainty for American families is just the latest example in what has become a never-ending pattern of job-destroying actions by Washington Democrats.

BACKGROUND

President Obama has repeatedly insisted that the payroll tax holiday for middle class families be extended for one full year, a measure the House passed on a bipartisan basis last week:
OBAMA: "INEXCUSABLE" FOR CONGRESS NOT TO EXTEND PAYROLL TAX CUT FOR ONE YEAR: "While this agreement is for two months, it is my expectation -- in fact it would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year. It should be a formality." (President Barack Obama statement, 12/17/2011)
But instead of giving middle-class families security about how much will be left in their paycheck in 2012, Democrats are insisting on creating uncertainty for American families by kicking the can two months down the road. Sadly, Democrats' irresponsibility could create "substantial problems" for small business job creators:
REID TAKES HIS BALL AND GOES HOME, INSISTS HE WON'T "REOPEN NEGOTIATIONS" ON FULL-YEAR INCOME TAX RELIEF: "But Harry Reid, leader of the Democratic-controlled Senate, insisted he would not recall the chamber to reopen negotiations. Reid has won backing from some Republicans in the Senate who have called on their colleagues in the House to back the deal." ◼ (Thomas Ferraro and Richard Cowan, "Obama Says Time Running Out for Payroll Tax Cut Deal," Bloomberg, 12/20/2011)
PELOSI SAYS SHE WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN NEGOTIATIONS FOR FULL-YEAR INCOME TAX RELIEF: "And on Monday night, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she would not appoint any House Democrats to participate in the conference." ◼ (Lucy Madison, "House Rejects Payroll Tax Cut Compromise," CBS News, 12/20/2011)
FULL-YEAR PAYROLL TAX RELIEF WOULD SAVE $1,000: "The payroll tax break alone is worth roughly $1,000 a year for an average family and affects about 160 million Americans." ◼ (Tom Cohen and Allen Silverleib, "House Disapproves of Senate Payroll Tax Plan," CNN Politics, 12/20/2011)
93% OF HOUSE DEMOCRATS OPPOSE FULL $1,000 TAX BREAK: ◼ (Roll Call 923, Clerk of the U.S. House, 12/13/2011)
HEADACHES ON THE HORIZON FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IF DEMOCRATS' DISASTER PASSES:
PELOSI-REID PLAN "CANNOT BE IMPLEMENTED PROPERLY": "Officials from the policy-neutral National Payroll Reporting Consortium, Inc. have expressed concern to members of Congress that the two-month payroll tax holiday passed by the Senate and supported by President Obama cannot be implemented properly." ◼ (Jake Tapper, "Two-Month Payroll Tax Holiday Passed By Senate, Pushed By President, Cannot Be Implemented Properly, Experts Say," ABC News, 12/19/2011)
PELOSI-REID PLAN COULD BRING MORE IRS HEADACHES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: "‘The concern is really for those who don't use a payroll service provider,' he said. Americans will have different outcomes, he said, causing confusion ‘because they'll have different outcomes. Some will have it done on time, some won't, some will have adjustment notices later in the year.' … Isberg wrote that ‘many payroll systems are not likely to be able to make such a substantial programming change before January or even February. The systems affected tend to be highly complex, normally requiring at least ninety days for a change of this magnitude for software testing alone; not to mention analysis, design, coding and implementation.'" ◼ (Jake Tapper, "Two-Month Payroll Tax Holiday Passed By Senate, Pushed By President, Cannot Be Implemented Properly, Experts Say," ABC News, 12/19/2011)
PELOSI-REID PLAN "COULD CREATE SUBSTANTIAL PROBLEMS, CONFUSION AND COSTS" TO "A SIGNIFICANT PERCENTAGE OF EMPLOYERS": "Pete Isberg, president of the NPRC today wrote to the key leaders of the relevant committees of the House and Senate, telling them that ‘insufficient lead time' to implement the complicated change mandated by the legislation means the two-month payroll tax holiday ‘could create substantial problems, confusion and costs affecting a significant percentage of U.S. employers and employees.'" ◼ (Jake Tapper, "Two-Month Payroll Tax Holiday Passed By Senate, Pushed By President, Cannot Be Implemented Properly, Experts Say," ABC News, 12/19/2011)
Democrats' decision to avoid payroll tax certainty for American families is just the latest example in what has become a never-ending pattern of job-destroying actions by Washington Democrats:
EPA POISED TO FINALIZE NEW UTILITY MACT RULE THIS WEEK: ◼ (Patrick Reis, Politico's "Morning Energy", 12/19/2011)
UTILITY MACT RULE IS PROJECTED TO COST 1.44 MILLION JOB-YEARS: "Some plants may shut their doors while others will sharply decrease production or abandon plans to expand their facility. The NERA study predicts that the United States will lose 1.44 million job-years (where one job is for one year) by 2020 should both regulations be finalized and implemented." ◼ (Paul A. Yost, National Association of Manufacturers, 8/4/2011)
MORE MAJOR REGULATIONS AVERAGED UNDER OBAMA THAN UNDER BUSH OR CLINTON: "According to an analysis of the Federal Register by George Mason University's Mercatus Center, the Cabinet departments and agencies finalized 84 such regulations annually on average in President Obama's first two years. The annual average under President Bush was 62 and under President Clinton 56." ◼ (Editorial, "Regulation for Dummies," Wall Street Journal, 12/15/2011)
"EVIDENCE IS OVERWHELMING" THAT "OBAMA REGULATORY SURGE IS ONE REASON THE CURRENT ECONOMIC RECOVERY HAS BEEN SO LACKLUSTER": "The evidence is overwhelming that the Obama regulatory surge is one reason the current economic recovery has been so lackluster by historical standards. Rather than nurture an economy trying to rebuild confidence after a financial heart attack, the Administration pushed through its now-famous blitz of liberal policies on health care, financial services, energy, housing, education and student loans, telecom, labor relations, transportation and probably some other industries we've forgotten. Anyone who thinks this has only minimal impact on business has never been in business." ◼ (Editorial, "Regulation for Dummies," Wall Street Journal, 12/15/2011)
"CBO: STIMULUS HURTS ECONOMY IN THE LONG RUN": "CBO said that while the Recovery Act boosted the economy in the short run, the extra debt that the stimulus piled up ‘crowds out' private investment and ‘will reduce output slightly in the long run — by between 0 and 0.2 percent after 2016.'" ◼ (Stephen Dinan, "CBO: Stimulus Hurts Economy in the Long Run," The Washington Times, 11/22/2011)
"THE REAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS 11 PERCENT": "But today, the most important sentence isn't a report on something that just happened, but a fresh look at something that's been happening for the last three years. In particular, it's this sentence by the Financial Times' Ed Luce, who writes, ‘According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent.'" ◼ (Ezra Klein, "Wonkbook: The Real Unemployment Rate is 11 Percent," The Washington Post, 12/12/2011)

"This is an embarrasment!" Congressman West on House Floor

Hugo Chávez blasted President Barack Obama as a “clown” and an “embarrassment” who has turned the United States into a “disaster”

Chávez’s comments came in the wake of Obama’s Monday written interview with the Caracas paper El Universal, where the U.S. president questioned Venezuela’s connections to those countries. - Politico

Chávez hit back strongly at Obama on state TV Monday, according to The Guardian, saying the president gave the interview only to “win votes” in the 2012 election.

“Mr. Obama decided to attack us,” Chávez said. “Now you want to win votes by attacking Venezuela. Don’t be irresponsible. You are a clown, a clown. Leave us in peace … Go after your votes by fulfilling that which you promised your people.”

“Focus on governing your country, which you’ve turned into a disaster,” Chávez said, according to The Guardian

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Egyptian Women March, Decry Abuse by Military


Thousands of Egyptian women descended on downtown Cairo's central Tahrir Square on Tuesday to protest what many have described as systematic abuse of female activists by the interim ruling military regime. - Wall St. Journal

"The administration chose to support environmentalists over jobs — job-killers win, American workers lose."

Obama's policies are so destructive, even his union pals are getting pissed - Doug Ross

Obama's Job-Killing Machine Rolls On - IBD Editorial

President Obama tells anyone who'll listen that from dawn until dusk he's focused on job creation. Apparently, no one in his administration listens, since day after day they keep making job-killing decisions.

In fact, when it comes to jobs, Obama's policies are so bad that even his union pals are starting to notice.

The latest to take notice is the Communications Workers of America union. It reported last month that AT&T's $39 billion bid for T-mobile would have brought 5,000 quality jobs back from overseas and created "as many as 96,000 additional quality jobs in the build-out of high-speed wireless broadband."

Instead, AT&T this week decided to spike its acquisition plans after Obama's Justice Department sued and his Federal Communications Commission came out against it, claiming the merger would result in higher consumer costs. Even if that risk were true, it's cold comfort to all those who won't get these jobs.

Then there's Obama's own decision to put the protection of environmentalist votes over the creation of tens of thousands of good jobs by delaying his Keystone XL pipeline decision until after the election.

Terry O'Sullivan, general president of the Laborers' International Union of North America was astonishingly blunt in his response: "The administration chose to support environmentalists over jobs — job-killers win, American workers lose."

And Obama's attacks on the private jet industry caused International Association of Machinists President Tom Buffenbarger to take offense. "In this industry, a few misguided words can put at risk even the ever-so-modest recovery we have experienced."... Read more...

Gary Johnson Goes Libertarian

Johnson Goes Libertarian - Volokh Conspiracy

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has decided to drop out of the GOP primaries and run for President as a Libertarian.
'
Gary Johnson to drop out of GOP primary to run as Libertarian - Politico

The former two-term New Mexico governor, whose campaign for the GOP nomination never caught fire, will make the announcement at a press conference in Santa Fe on Dec. 28. Johnson state directors will be informed of his plans on a campaign conference call Tuesday night, a Johnson campaign source told POLITICO.

Michelle Obama’s Unsavory School-Lunch Flop

The first lady’s initiative has been a disaster. - Michelle Malkin at National Review

According to a weekend report by the Los Angeles Times, the city’s “trailblazing introduction of healthful school lunches has been a flop.” In response to the public hectoring and financial inducement of Mrs. Obama’s federally subsidized anti-obesity campaign, the district dropped chicken nuggets, corn dogs, and flavored milk from the menu for “beef jambalaya, vegetable curry, pad Thai, lentil and brown rice cutlets, and quinoa and black-eyed pea salads.”

Sounds delectable in theory. But in practice, the initiative has been what L.A. Unified’s food-services director Dennis Barrett plainly concludes is a “disaster.” While the Obama administration has showered the nation’s second-largest school district with nutrition awards, thousands of students voted with their upset tummies and abandoned the program. A forbidden-food black market — stoked not just by students, but also by teachers — is now thriving. Moreover, “principals report massive waste, with unopened milk cartons and uneaten entrees being thrown away.”

This despite a massive increase in spending on nutritional improvements — from $2 million to $20 million alone over the last five years on fresh produce.

This despite a nearly half-billion-dollar budget shortfall and 3,000 layoffs earlier this year.

Earlier this spring, L.A. school officials acknowledged that the sprawling district is left with a whopping 21,000 uneaten meals a day...

Fire at Iran refinery prompts state of emergency

Isfahan is home to Iran's uranium conversion facility, which operates
under IAEA surveillance. Photograph: Caren Firouz/Reuters

Malfunction in Isfahan refinery, the second largest in Iran, results in black out, burning of gas, oil residues - YNET

A malfunction at an Isfahan refinery caused a leakage of cooling water from its generators - the latest in a string of mysterious mishaps in Iran in the past few months. A power outage was created as a result and a state of emergency was declared at the refinery, the Iranian Mehr news agency reported.

Wow, They’re Still Blowing Up Iran - Michael Ledeen/PJMedia

Iran: explosion in Isfahan reported

Isfahan is home to Iran's uranium conversion facility (UCF), which operates under IAEA surveillance. Iran's main uranium enrichment facilities are situated in the city of Natanz to the north-east of Isfahan, where many of the country's centrifuges are installed. In recent years, Iran's nuclear activities at Natanz have been at the centre of an international dispute.

Earlier this month, a huge explosion at a missile base in the west of Tehran killed more than 30 members of Iran's revolutionary guards, including Major General Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, a senior commander described as the architect of the country's missile programme.

In recent years, Iran's nuclear and missile programmes have experienced a series of setbacks in what has been widely seen as a covert war against the Islamic republic.

Behold! The Dear General


Behold! The Dear General - Peter Hannaford on 12.20.11 at The American Spectator (image source)

The Dear Leader is dead. Long live The Dear General, his son and appointed heir.

Soon after the death of Kim Jong-il was announced, U.S. television audiences were treated to many clips of North Koreans keening and wailing over the passing of The Dear Leader. Since he had died (on a train) two days before the announcement, there was plenty of time to stage-manage the grief.

Kim was a master of keeping leaks about the poverty and repression of his people to a minimum. Ever since his father, Kim Il-sung, founder of the Kim dynasty, had turned the country into the Hermit Kingdom, news for the outside world was carefully rationed. He was concentrating power in the military and security forces and keeping most of the population under very tight control, while bestowing privileges on an elite few who danced and sang in praise of him.

Beginning in summer 2010, Kim Jong-il, then still recovering from what is believed to have been a 2008 stroke, anointed his third son Kim Jong-un as potential successor. This young man, now 28, supplanted his eldest brother, Kim Jong-nam, who had fallen from favor and decamped to Macau to lead the good life. The second son, Kim Jong-chol, apparently has a position in the Workers' Party of Korea's Organization and Guidance Departments.

Despite no military schooling or background, Kim Jong-un in August last year was made a four-star general by his father and promptly dubbed, "The Dear General." Some of his schooling was in Switzerland, prompting some observers to guess that his exposure to Western standards might lead him to lean toward reform. This is wishful thinking, for the country is tightly managed by the army and state security apparatus and The Dear General can be expected to closely follow its wishes.

He will have as his mentor and guide his uncle by marriage, Chong Song-taek who is married to Kim Jong-il's only sister. In 2009, Chong was elected to the powerful National Defense Commission. On that commission, he is the director of the bland-sounding Administration Department. His duties are anything but bland. In fact, the job title means he oversees the Ministry of Public Security and the State Security Department, both pivotal power levers.

Just prior to Kim Jong-il's death, at age 69, it was expected that the frequently fruitless Six Party Talks would soon be resumed, aimed at reducing a North Korean nuclear threat. This is not likely to happen any time soon. Nor is it likely, as some observers speculate, that young Kim Jong-un will carry out some daring and aggressive move against South Korea or Japan as a means of proving his mettle to his military regents. He has had nearly 17 months to build relationships with them and, with the guidance -- and protection -- of Mr. Chong, he is likely to spend his early months in office working behind the scenes to further consolidate support.

More than anything else, the military elite members want to protect the status quo. They may set diplomats to talking with representatives of the other five members of the Six Party group, but this is all it will be, talk. As for military action, it can come later, once the elite is comfortably settled in with The Dear General. Provocative action is a staple of North Korea's strategy, for it has almost always brought concessions from the other parties, either in the form of food for starving peasants or commodities to run the economy. It will come in due course.
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Peter Hannaford is a board member of the Committee on the Present Danger. His latest book is Reagan's Roots: The People and Places That Shaped His Character.

The Festival of Light - Happy Chanukkah



Blessing over Candles
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe

asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us

l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amein)
to light the lights of Chanukkah. (Amen)


Chanukkah begins at sunset on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, and ends at sunset on Wednesday, December 28, 2011.

House kills payroll-tax bill, sets up showdown with Senate

As predicted by Republican leaders on Sunday, the motion to disagree with the Senate was approved with the support of nearly every Republican. The motion was passed 229-193, and only 7 Republicans voting against it. - HotAir

"If Newt Gingrich were being nominated for sainthood, many of us would vote very differently from the way we would vote if he were being nominated for a political office."

The Past and the Present - Thomas Sowell/Real Clear Politics
While the televised debates are what gave Newt Gingrich's candidacy a big boost, concrete accomplishments when in office are the real test. Gingrich engineered the first Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 40 years -- followed by the first balanced budget in 40 years. The media called it "the Clinton surplus" but all spending bills start in the House of Representatives, and Gingrich was Speaker of the House.

Speaker Gingrich also produced some long overdue welfare reforms, despite howls from liberals that the poor would be devastated. But nobody makes that claim any more.

Did Gingrich ruffle some feathers when he was Speaker of the House? Yes, enough for it to cost him that position. But he also showed that he could produce results.

In a world where we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available, the question is whether Newt Gingrich is better than Barack Obama -- and better than Mitt Romney.

Romney is a smooth talker, but what did he actually accomplish as governor of Massachusetts, compared to what Gingrich accomplished as Speaker of the House? When you don't accomplish much, you don't ruffle many feathers. But is that what we want?

Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain.

Those who want to concentrate on the baggage in Newt Gingrich's past, rather than on the nation's future, should remember what Winston Churchill said: "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." If that means a second term for Barack Obama, then it means lost big time.
Thomas Sowell contrasted with anti-Newt Romney PAC money - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion
Going After Gingrich - New York Times
Candidates and their allies have spent more than $600,000 over the past 10 days on television ads in Iowa criticizing Newt Gingrich, with the bulk being spent by a “super PAC” supporting Mitt Romney.
A furious and sustained barrage of criticism aimed at Newt Gingrich appears to be reshaping the volatile Republican nomination contest once again with just two weeks left before voters begin weighing in. - New York Times
Attack ads are blanketing Iowa, fueled by millions of dollars from his rivals and a group supporting Mitt Romney. Mailboxes are filling up with anti-Gingrich leaflets. And on the stump, his rivals have stepped up their assault on Mr. Gingrich’s time in Congress and his commitment to conservative causes.

Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, emerged in early December with a strong lead in some national polls and with commanding leads in Iowa and South Carolina. But new surveys suggest that political gravity could be dragging him down, opening the race up again and highlighting once more the fickle search among conservatives for an alternative to Mr. Romney.

“It’s definitely a full frontal assault,” said John Stineman, a Republican strategist who managed the 2000 presidential campaign of Steve Forbes in Iowa.

Obama’s Middle Class Betrayal

(B)eyond the not-so-thinly-disguised “us-against-us” rhetoric emanating from his teleprompter, what has Obama actually accomplished on behalf of the middle class? - Net Right Daily

Barack Obama literally can’t stop talking about the American middle class. During his unofficial 2012 campaign kickoff speech in Kansas earlier this month, he used the term “middle class” eighteen times as he derided those of us who still believe in free market principles like individual ingenuity and self-sufficiency.

“We simply cannot return to this brand of ‘you’re on your own’ economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country,” Obama said, passionately defending the doctrines of government dependence and class warfare that have been the hallmarks of his regime.

But beyond the not-so-thinly-disguised “us-against-us” rhetoric emanating from his teleprompter, what has Obama actually accomplished on behalf of the middle class?

Not much. Despite his administration’s unprecedented investment in the expansion of an already obscenely-big government, the middle class has wound up paying for – not benefiting from – Obama’s policies. In fact the numbers would indicate that Obama’s stated intention to “spread the wealth around” has actually produced a shrinking middle class – one with less income and more debt.

Two Iowa conservative leaders pick Rick Santorum, ask other candidates to merge

Rick Santorum Gets Endorsement by Key Iowa Social Conservative Leader Bob Vander Plaats - The Other McCain
Two weeks before the Republican nominating contest opens at the Iowa caucuses, former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has won a highly-coveted endorsement from one of the state’s social conservative leaders.

Bob Vander Plaats, who has sought to put his imprint on the Republican presidential race for months, announced Tuesday that he would support Mr. Santorum. He and other evangelical Christians have talked openly about their struggle to unite behind one candidate, but he urged others to follow his lead. . . .

The Family Leader said Tuesday that it would remain neutral in the race, a decision that was reached after several lengthy meetings with members of the board, according to Republicans familiar with the discussions. But in the end, participants said, Mr. Vander Plaats decided to make a personal endorsement.
Vander Plaats Endorses Santorum - New York Times
At this late stage in the campaign, it remains an open question how the endorsement will affect the Iowa caucus campaign. Mr. Vander Plaats’s political activity, including leading the effort to remove three judges from the Iowa Supreme Court last year in a battle over same-sex marriage, has made him a lightening rod in some Republican circles.
Another social conservative leader, Chuck Hurley, joined Vander Plaats in endorsing Santorum - Des Moines Register
Will the next boomlet candidate be … - HotAir
__________________Rick Santorum

Missing $4,155? It Went Into Your Gas Tank This Year

It's been 30 years since gasoline took such a big bite out of the family budget. - CNBC

Gingrich wins Tea Party Patriots straw poll

"An overwhelming number of activists from around the nation showed they are serious about electing a candidate who advances tea party principles," said National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin. - CNN

Attacks on Ryan Medicare proposal named 'lie of the year'

The claim that House Republicans' budget would end Medicare is the "lie of the year," according to the fact-checking website Politifact. - The Hill

According to Politifact's analysis, saying the Ryan plan "ends Medicare" overlooks the fact that its changes would not affect people 55 and older. Politifact also said Medicare would remain in existence, but in a different form — which Ryan's critics say is the same thing as ending Medicare.

Gallup: Both Romney And Gingrich In Statistical Tie With Obama In Head-To-Head Matchups…

Both Romney and Gingrich Tie Obama on 2012 Ballot - Negative voting more a factor against Obama than against either Republican via ◼ weaselzippers

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich essentially tie President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election preferences of registered voters nationwide. Fifty percent of registered voters would support Obama in each hypothetical matchup, while 48% would give their vote to Gingrich or Romney.

...Registered voters' rationale for their vote choice in an Obama vs. Romney matchup breaks down as 39% backing Obama because they are for him and 11% backing Obama as a vote against Romney. At the same time, 30% back Romney as a vote against Obama, while 18% back Romney because they are actively for him.

The findings are similar in the hypothetical Obama vs. Gingrich matchup; however, the percentage of registered voters saying their vote for Obama would be a vote against the Republican is slightly higher with Gingrich than with Romney as the hypothetical nominee, 15% vs. 11%.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Author Brad Thor Endorses Santorum: ‘The Right Man, at the Right Time’

Brad Thor said: “There is one presidential candidate who understands and can swiftly address the threats facing our nation — and that candidate is Rick Santorum...." - The Other McCain

"Rick Santorum has stood strong against radical dictators in Syria and Iran, the gravest threat to our national security. Rick knows that the world would be forever changed by Iran getting a nuclear weapon, and he has sworn to keep this from happening. I am excited to add my endorsement to the growing list of prominent supporters who understand thatRick Santorum is the right man, at the right time to lead our nation.”
Rick Santorum said: “I am thrilled to receive Brad’s support today. Brad has stood out as an author who didn’t just sit in his office and write about the threats facing America, but dove into the issue and learned first-hand that the threats are real and need to be addressed. We need a president who understands these issues, and I am committed to standing tall for America, our values, and our security.”

You can criticize Newt’s judicial plan without lying about it

Newt was asked whether Congress would have the power to compel appearance and if so, by what mechanism; Newt answered that it was no different than in an impeachment proceeding where the Congress could compel appearance... - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion

I disagree with subpoening judges in a context other than constitutional impeachment proceedings.

But the media, including the conservative media, is misrepresenting what Newt said, claiming that Newt wants to arrest judges whose decisions he does not like. That’s just not true.

BOEHNER: GET BACK TO WORK

House Set to Vote Down Payroll Tax Cut Extension - New York Times

Boehner demands Senate cancel its vacation - Stephen Dinan/Washington Times
Racing to meet an end-of-year deadline, House Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday the House will insist on a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut and demanded senators cut short their Christmas vacation, return to Washington and hash out an agreement the old-fashioned way.

“The president has said repeatedly no one should be going on vacation until the work is done. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have said exactly the same thing,” Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said at a morning press conference.

Mr. Boehner stunned senators and the White House on Sunday when he rejected the bipartisan two-month deal the Senate passed a day earlier, 89-10. He said that doing tax cuts in two-month increments doesn’t give the economy certainty.

...The two-month extension was worked out by the top Republican and Democrat in the Senate. But Mr. Boehner said the House never signed off on the deal, and said he always had told senators he wouldn’t begin negotiating until the upper chamber actually produced a bill of its own to match up with the House, which earlier had passed a full-year extension of the 2 percentage point payroll tax cut.

According to the Senate schedule, senators are not supposed to return to town for another month.
Senate refuses to renegotiate payroll tax cut deal - Reuters/WNEP

Unlike Mitt, Newt dares — and he may yet win. As the old Dem bumper stickers used to say, “Newt Happens.”

The Gingrich Gestalt
- Mark Steyn From the December 31, 2011, issue of NR

Egypt clashes move into 4th day; US worried


EGYPT'S DAY OF SHAME: Female protesters beaten with metal poles as vicious soldiers drag girls through streets = Inderdeep Bains/Daily Mail via Drudge
SOLDIERS STRIP, STOMP WOMEN - Reuters
Caught on camera: Bahrain human rights activist handcuffed and dragged along ground for sitting on a roundabout (and now SHE's been charged with assault)- - Daily Mail
CHAOS IN TAHRIR SQUARE: U.N.'s Ban condemns excessive force in Cairo clashes - Reuters
SHOCK PHOTOS: Soldiers baton-charge Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square after eight die and 300 are wounded in new clashes - Craig MacKenzie/Daily Mail
Islamists claim sweep of second round vote - Reuters
Blast hits gas pipeline to Jordan, Israel... - Reuters
Egypt clashes move into 4th day; US worried - Reuters
Ancient books, maps burned - Al Arabiya

New from North Coast authors

Several local authors have recently released books that cover a variety of topics, some of which are timely for the holiday season or might make gift-giving decisions a bit easier. They include a children's story that reveals the origins of Santa's flying reindeer, a biography about Ronald Reagan's formative years, a western tale and a novel about teenage boys on a backpacking trip with their nature-loving dad.... - The Times-Standard

* “Reagan's Roots: The People and Places That Shaped His Character” by Peter Hannaford, published by Images from the Past. Available online or through local bookstores.

Eureka author Peter Hannaford is on a national tour of lectures for his latest book -- his sixth about the 40th president of the United States.

The first week of December he was in Illinois and spoke at 12 events in cities and towns where Reagan spent his childhood and youth.

”Ronald Reagan's character was formed during the first 21 years his life,” said Hannaford. “Except for living in Chicago for a few months when he was 4, all of those years were spent in rural northwestern Illinois.”

Three months after graduating in 1932 from Eureka College, a small liberal arts school 25 miles east of Peoria, Ill., Reagan got his first job as a radio sportscaster at a station just across the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa.

The second half of Hannaford's book tour took place this past

week. On Monday he spoke at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, Tuesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, and Thursday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He returned to California to appear on Friday as the featured speaker at the Marin County Republican Christmas Gala in Mill Valley.
Hannaford was closely associated with the late president in the California governor's office, during the years between Reagan's governorship and presidency, and in his post-White House years. This is his 10th published book. His 11th, “Presidential Retreats” will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2012.

After 22 years in public affairs and public relations in Washington, D.C., Hannaford and his wife, Irene, moved to Eureka in 2006.
__________________

"Reagan's Roots" is available locally at Eureka Books, 426 2nd Street in Old Town, Eureka.

POLL: PAUL PULLS AHEAD

Gingrich Collapses in Iowa as Ron Paul Surges to the Front - The Atlantic Wire

A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows that Ron Paul has taken the lead in the Iowa caucus race, while Newt Gingrich's support is fading fast. A different Gallup poll shows Gringrich still holding the lead, but slipping, while The New York Times has Paul in the lead as well.

Gingrich has seen his numbers in the PPP poll drop from 27 percent to 14 percent in just three weeks, while his favorability rating is now split at 46 percent for to 47 percent against, the worst of any candidate not named Jon Huntsman. That's quite a fall for someone who looked to be running away with the state and taking charge on the national level.

Mitt Romney has also seen his numbers tick up slightly (to 20%), putting him just behind Paul (23%) for second place. The poll measured voters who are planning to vote in the Republican caucus.

Perhaps the most telling secondary question was, "Do you think Newt Gingrich has strong principles?" Only 36 percent say that he does, but for Paul that number was 73 percent.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gingrich Survives Glare to Exploit the Spotlight

By mid-November, Mr. Gingrich had lifted himself from a low of about 2 percentage points in the polls in mid-June to the lead in many national and state polls. Now, with just 16 days until Republican voters begin choosing a nominee at the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, he is favored in three of the four early voting states; the exception is New Hampshire, Mr. Romney’s adopted home state. - Katharine Q. Seelye/New York Times

As the perceived front-runner, he is drawing a barrage of attacks from his rivals. His strategy appears to be set on the spur of the moment: he had planned to spend this weekend at home, but as the criticism mounted and his negative ratings rose, he added a Sunday-morning television appearance and conference calls with reporters and supporters . In one call, he asked listeners to press 1 if they wanted to speak on his behalf in Iowa and 2 if they wanted to be a precinct captain. The burst of activity underscored just how far he remains behind Mr. Romney in fund-raising and get-out-the-vote efforts.

But if Mr. Gingrich can sustain his resurgence, he will have pulled off one of the most striking turnarounds in American politics....

“I’m looking at Newt,” Sheila Ness, 58, a dog breeder in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who had supported Mr. Cain, said the other day. She said she liked that he knew how Washington worked: “I figure he’s been there before.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dead at age 69


In a "special broadcast" Monday from the North Korean capital, state media said Kim died of a heart ailment on a train due to a "great mental and physical strain" on Dec. 17 during a "high intensity field inspection." It said an autopsy was done on Dec. 18 and "fully confirmed" the diagnosis. - AP via Drudge

This year there have been investigations, indictments or convictions for vote fraud in California, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland. In all but one case, the alleged fraudsters were Democrats

Voter fraud is real. And voter ID laws are really needed; they are not racist - Jack Kelly/Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Fraud of the magnitude which swings elections typically combines absentee ballot fraud and voter registration fraud. At least 55 employees or associates of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now have been convicted of registration fraud in 11 states, says Matthew Vadum of the Capital Research Center, who's written a book about ACORN.

Of 1.3 million new registrations ACORN turned in in 2008, election officials rejected 400,000.

"There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of a state's interest in counting only eligible voters' votes," wrote liberal Justice John Paul Stevens for a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court's 2008 decision upholding Indiana's ID law, the toughest in the nation.

In a speech Tuesday at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library at the University of Texas, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a full scale assault on the laws the Supreme Court said are constitutional and necessary.

...A Gallup poll Tuesday indicates why Mr. Holder is trying so hard to gut ballot security measures. Mr. Obama trails in all swing states. Democrats fear they can't win next year unless they cheat.

THE DIGITAL STORY OF THE NATIVITY

Not So Fast: Boehner Opposes 2-Month Senate Payroll Tax Plan

Yesterday the Senate passed a temporary plan that would extend unemployment and the payroll tax cut for two months, and give President Obama 60 days to decide about the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. - Michelle Malkin

It was thought that the House would follow the Senate and pass the bill early next week, but after John Boehner’s interview this morning, not so fast:
House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that he opposes the Senate plan to extend the payroll tax cut for two months.
Boehner, R-Ohio, told the NBC program “Meet the Press” that Congress should continue negotiations to come up with a compromise by the end of the year that would extend the lower payroll tax rate for a full year, as sought by President Barack Obama.

“I believe that two months is just kicking the can down the road,” Boehner said in explaining Republican opposition in the House. “I’m tired of it. … It’s time to just stop, do our work, resolve our differences and just extend it for one year.


House GOP Leaders Want New Payroll Tax Cut Bill - ABC

A day after rank-and-file House GOP lawmakers used a conference call to spew venom against the Senate-passed bill, Boehner said he opposed the legislation and wanted congressional bargainers to craft a new, year-long version.

"The president said we shouldn't be going anywhere without getting our work done," Boehner said on NBC's "Meet the Press," referring to President Barack Obama's oft-repeated promise to postpone his Christmastime trip to Hawaii if the legislation was not finished. "Let's get our work done, let's do this for a year."

A spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the House would vote Monday to either request formal bargaining with the Senate or to make the legislation "responsible and in line with the needs of hard-working taxpayers and middle-class families."

...Though GOP leaders support extending the payroll tax and jobless benefits, some House Republicans question doing that, arguing it won't produce jobs and could weaken Social Security. The payroll tax, subtracted from workers' paychecks, is used to finance Social Security.

Nikki Haley talks about why she endorsed Mitt Romney

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who became a fresh face of the tea party movement during her 2010 campaign, Friday threw her support behind Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. - Philip Rucker/Washington Post

Bob Dole endorses Romney for Republican nominee

In an open letter to Iowa voters, Dole - himself a former presidential candidate - said a great deal was at stake on January 3, when Iowa votes in the first nominating contest for the 2012 presidential election. - Reuters

"A number of my friends are currently candidates seeking the GOP nomination. But the time has now come for us to decide who among them can defeat Barack Obama in 2012. I've made my decision, and I believe our best hope lies in Governor Mitt Romney," Dole wrote.

"As President, Mitt Romney will succeed in turning this country around," he wrote. "He rescued a flailing Winter Olympics when it was mired in financial scandal. He was an exceptional Governor of Massachusetts, who managed to both balance the state's budget and cut taxes while dealing with an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature."

...Dole was Senate majority leader at the same time that Newt Gingrich - one of Romney's main rivals in the quest to unseat Obama - was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

But the two Republican congressional leaders were often at loggerheads, with Dole often frustrated by Gingrich's firebrand personality. An exasperated Dole once said to Gingrich: "You pay a penalty for leadership. If you don't want to pay the penalty, maybe you ought to find some other line of work."