Saturday, January 7, 2012

STEPHANOPO-MESS: ABCNEWS ANCHOR REVERTS TO DEM OPERATIVE IN DEBATE


Stephanopoulos struggles with fairness during NH debate - Daily Caller
Team Romney: Steph 'obsessed' with contraception= News OK
DEBATE #14
Billionaire Gives $5 Million To Pro-Gingrich Group - ABC
Ron Paul Slays Newt: 'When I was drafted, I was married and had two kids -- and I went' - The Hill
Truth Squad: Gingrich's claim that he was not eligible for the draft is true - CNN
Paul to finish 2nd in NH? - USA Today
Perry: Go back to Iraq
Santorum Eyes SC
Five takeaways from first debate in New Hampshire - CBS
MEDIA BIAS, STAGE TWO - PowerLine

After the debate at Breitbart

New Hampshire Primary 2012 - it's a livestream

Plus, the Live blog threads:
Michelle Malkin Saturday Night GOP Debate Open Thread
Blogmocracy
No Quarter (leans liberal)
Gateway Pundit
HillBuzz January 7th ABC Republican Debate in New Hampshire: Live Blog Transcript
Legal Insurrection
Ace of Spades Liveblogging the GOP NH Playoffs (not for the faint of heart)

It’s right there for all to see. George Soros is The Open Society Institute. Do you really think these organizations are being ethical and transparent when they are bought and paid for by the likes of George Soros? If you do, I have a bridge to sell you and some great swamp land that you really must see...

Sunlight Down the Spider Hole - Trevor Loudon

The Sunlight Foundation was founded in January 2006 with the stated goal of using the revolutionary power of the Internet and new information technology to enable citizens to learn more about what Congress and their elected representatives are doing and thus help reduce corruption, ensure greater transparency and accountability by government and foster public trust in the vital institutions of democracy. - KeyWiki

Unfortunately, the supporters of The Sunlight Foundation are suspect and funding is provided, in part, by George Soros. Therefore, the transparency and the claim of participants of self-policing blogs etc., while reducing corruption and increasing accountability, is highly doubtful and most likely is being used to an extent as a propaganda outlet....

DiscoverTheNetworks.org

Republican Candidates Ready to Rumble in Key New Hampshire Debate


The ABC News/Yahoo! News/WMUR debate that has the potential to be the most explosive one yet. - ABC

The debate, the only broadcast network debate in prime-time before the primary... will be moderated by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos, as well as WMUR-TV anchor Josh McElveen.

For every candidate, there is a lot at stake.

GOP New Hampshire primary debate tonight on ABC

Air Time: Saturday, January 7th at 9pm ET / 6pm PT on ABC

Live Stream: ◼ WMUR and ◼ Yahoo! News

Participants: Santorum, Romney, Paul, Perry, Gingrich, Huntsman

Virginia GOP party voter oath ‘unenforceable’

Gov. Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling are urging the Virginia state Republican Party to rescind a pledge requiring voters to say they intend to support the party’s presidential nominee before they are allowed to vote in the March 6 primary. - Washington Times

Before being allowed to cast their ballots, voters would have to sign a statement, often described as a “loyalty oath,” that says, “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.”

Proponents of the pledge say that because there is no party registration in Virginia, it helps weeds out Democrats looking to create mischief....

“It is not an oath; it is not a promise,” he said. “It is a statement of intent. … It will have the effect of dramatically reducing the number of Democrats who vote in the Republican primary in March who will be picking who they think is the weakest candidate who will run against Obama.”

Opponents, though, argue that it’s unenforceable, and could confuse or dissuade potential voters.

The Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union weighed in on Thursday, saying it thinks the requirement is unconstitutional and is prepared to sue if it remains in place.

California in retreat on social service spending

In his new budget, a frustrated Gov. Jerry Brown cuts a swath through California's renowned assistance programs. - LA Times

Reporting from Sacramento -- During his first governorship more than three decades ago, Jerry Brown warned that California was entering an "era of limits."

The austere state budget he proposed this week is a stark acknowledgment that the Golden State has now reached them. The Democratic governor's spending plan takes large steps toward dismantling much of California's once-vaunted social safety net.

Brown proposes cutting welfare services again as the state continues its struggle to shake off the effects of a deep and persistent recession. He would continue years of reductions in Medi-Cal, child care and home health aid. He would eliminate the Healthy Families program, which was a significant expansion of healthcare in California when enacted in 1997 and serves nearly 900,000 children.

Brown was visibly frustrated as he detailed what he described as the "tough medicine" California needs to balance its books but said a $9.2-billion deficit had forced his hand.

"California government is a very generous, compassionate political jurisdiction," he said. "When we have to reduce our spending, that spending is going to have to come from programs that are doing good."

He added: "I can't figure out any better way. This is the best I can do."

Gingrich softens his approach in New Hampshire

The former House speaker hasn't resorted to the verbal attacks against front-runner Romney that he unleashed in Iowa. Instead, he is contrasting himself on the issues and painting himself as more conservative. - LA Times

Why Gingrich tanked - Byron York/Washington Examiner

The conventional wisdom holds that Gingrich fell as a result of highly effective attack ads aired in Iowa by rival Ron Paul and a super PAC working on behalf of Mitt Romney. Certainly those ads, which focused on issues like Gingrich's paid work for Freddie Mac and his global-warming partnership with Nancy Pelosi, did some damage. But talks with voters here in New Hampshire and with politicos in South Carolina suggest the ads are not what killed Gingrich. It was Gingrich's reaction to the ads.

Voters who once supported Gingrich but have now turned away from him say that his hot-tempered response to the ads, rather than the ads themselves, simply turned them off. "He's got a temper," said one Tea Party member at a Nashua coffeehouse Saturday morning. "I don't want a guy with a temper with his finger on the button." Other voters said Gingrich's ill-tempered complaints about the ads distracted them from the former speaker's message about jobs, the economy, and American renewal.

In South Carolina, Gingrich's decision to call Romney a liar did not sit well with many Republicans, including those who don't support Romney.

ACORN to the #OWS Rescue

Remember ACORN? Well, the original left-wing "community organizing" group may be back in a new guise as a key behind-the-scenes ally of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. - John Fund/American Spectator

Given his cratering approval numbers and his consequent need to revive support from his base, it wouldn't surprise me if Obama's White House has decided to call in his old ACORN buddies to help him implement his reelection agenda. Perhaps OWS really stands for Obama Will Survive.

“In five to ten years when we look back, these will be some of the biggest, most important changes we’ve seen in a generation.”

The Paradoxical Scott Walker

At Great Cost, A Gifted But Flawed Leader Moves The Needle On Change In Wisconsin

The compensation package includes 10 paid holidays, 13 days of sick leave, and 26 days of vacation time each year

Job Title: Invitations Coordinator: SALARY RANGE: $53,500.00 to $102,900.00 / Per Year - USA Jobs: Working for America

KEY REQUIREMENTS
Background investigation
U.S. citizenship
May be required to serve a one year trial period.

DUTIES:
The major duties of this position include:
Develop and maintain a database to manage all invitations for CFPB to be represented at external meetings, panels, roundtables, conferences and other external events.

Research and provide background information so that the invitation can be appropriately considered by decision-makers.

Monitor and track all invitations and to ensure that all invitations are considered by the appropriate stakeholder and that decisions regarding the acceptance of the invitation are forwarded to CFPB staff in accordance with established timelines and protocols.

Develop and maintain the CFPB-wide calendar, ensuring that all accepted invitations are placed on the CFPB calendar, and that all appropriate CFPB staff are alerted and invited to the event/meeting.

Serve as expert on calendar issues, providing advice and guidance to CFPB staff on use of the calendar and on protocols for consideration of invitations.

Here is some good news about State Senate redistricting from CRP Chairman Tom DelBeccaro:

Good news! We passed another important milestone!

As you know, the California Republican Party supported the referendum to have the Senate district lines drawn in a fair fashion. We supported that referendum because we do not believe that the Citizen Commission acted fairly in the way they conducted business in general and in the way they drew the lines in specific.

The CRP was not the only one skeptical of the Commission. Recently, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning investigative team at ProPublica cast a highly critical shadow over the way the Democrats gamed the system to their advantage with respect to the congressional districts. We also know that the recipients of donations from at least one Democrat Commissioner benefitted from the lines that were drawn.

Supporting the referendum was the right thing to do under all of the circumstances.

Today I am pleased to report that based on the total number signatures and the quality of the signature gathering - in which CRP volunteers played a key role - the referendum surpassed a key hurdle. Because the random sampling is indicating that we have sufficient signatures to qualify the Referendum for the November ballot, the State is now required to count all of the signatures to confirm the measure.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Obama’s Indefensible Cuts

In outlining his new defense strategy yesterday, President Obama became the first commander-in-chief to speak from the Pentagon’s pressroom. Unfortunately, he used the occasion to introduce nearly $500 billion in cuts that are likely to weaken the national security of the United States. - National Review Online

The problem with America’s warriors is not that they aren’t technologically sophisticated enough, but that there are too few of them. And yet the president’s plan would reduce the size of the Army and Marine Corps by a combined 10–15 percent, taking force levels back to roughly where they were at the end of the Clinton administration. The president calls this retrenchment “turning the page on a decade of war,” and he says more than he knows. For the move is proof that the administration has learned nothing from the 9/11 decade.



ALLEN WEST: “Barack Obama’s plan to slash defense spending completely decimates the ability of the military to be able to support and defend this country” - Bare Naked Islam

Stop insider trading dead in its tracks

It’s not enough members of Congress make $174,000 a year, some are trading on inside information to use their public service to enrich themselves. - Rick Perry at Human Events

Earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune ran a little noted editorial on the insider trading scandal plaguing Congress, calling out phony efforts to reform the rules and demanding that we finally put a stop to this outrageous and unethical behavior.

If you haven’t read the editorial yet, I recommend you do because while the professional political punditry class is more interested in superfluous items like the political horse race and candidate attire, the reality is that members of both parties in Washington, D.C., are abusing their positions and ordinary Americans have had enough.

REPORT: Occupy 'founder' collects millions from Wall St. through Democratic party...

Wall Street money for Elizabeth Warren - Boston Herald via Drudge

As Professor John Yoo noted yesterday, "it is up to the Senate to decide when it is in session or not." Consistent with the separation of powers, "the President cannot decide the legitimacy of the activities of the Senate any more than he could for the other branches, and vice versa."

Obama's Sham Constitutionalism - Roger Pilon/CATO Institute

Look at the facts here in light of Article II's language: These vacancies did not "happen during the Recess of the Senate." They happened when the Senate was in session, and the nominees for them were before the Senate when it was in session. But the Senate, for whatever reason, refused to confirm them....

Here too, then, a fundamental constitutional principle is at stake: Senate confirmation is one of the basic constitutional checks on unbridled executive power.

..(T)he Cordray appointment raises statutory problems as well, because the language of Dodd-Frank is clear: "The Secretary is authorized to perform the functions of the Bureau under this subtitle until the Director of the Bureau is confirmed by the Senate in accordance with section 1011." Cordray has not been "confirmed by the Senate." Therefore, he has no authority "to perform the functions of the Bureau under this subtitle."

Dodd-Frank is replete with constitutional and statutory problems, several of which have already been or are being litigated. One of its most egregious provisions, for example, provides that the Bureau will be funded not by the Congress but "from the combined earnings of the Federal Reserve System, the amount determined by the Director." And to ensure no political accountability, "Notwithstanding any other provision in this title, the funds derived from the Federal Reserve System pursuant to this subsection shall not be subject to review by the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate." Is it any wonder that Senate Republicans would not confirmed Cordray until changes were made to this monstrous act?

But Obama's actions yesterday had little to do with the law, constitutional or statutory. This was politics — Chicago politics, plain and simple. If any doubt remained, three years into his presidency, that Obama is a master demagogue, with class warfare as his central tool, this incident should dispel it. His "contempt for Congress" is simply the centerpiece of his 2012 campaign strategy. If you can't run on your record, vilify Congress and run against it. One can only hope that enough Americans see through it.

Why is Newt so Angry?


(Time: 15:27)
__________________
Newt Gingrich

Economist says Jerry Brown's budget underestimates revenue

Chris Thornberg, head of Beacon Economics, called the governor's forecast "bizarrely low." - Dale Kasler/Sacramento Bee

“For every protester I get, there are five or six people who come up … slip you a note and tell you to persevere. They are just as passionate, they are just not as angry about it.” – Governor Scott Walker

Scott Walker, undaunted by recall, urges governors to cut state budgets boldly - The Hill

Embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said politicians should boldly pursue a budget-cutting agenda even if Tea Party enthusiasm and popular support fades away.

Walker, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute, urged his fellow governors to follow the path he’s blazed in Wisconsin and seek “structural reforms” like eliminating collective bargaining rights for public workers.

“If you are going to do it, don’t go halfway,” Walker said, also suggesting that House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) shares his views.


Column: Why U.S. should cheer for Scott Walker - USA Today

The Walker recall will cost $9 million. - Althouse

Santorum tangles with voters over gay marriage, health insurance

“Marriage is not a right,” Santorum said. “It’s a privilege that is given to society by society for a reason….We want to encourage what is the best for children.” - Robin Abcarian/LA Times

“One of the things he talked about…was the lack of fathers, and he found that even fathers in jail who had abandoned their kids were still better than no father at all to have in their childrens’ lives.” Allowing gays to marry and raise children, he said, amounts to “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to. You may rationalize that that isn’t true, but in your own life and in your own heart, you know it’s true.”

The audience, half students and half local residents, reacted with snorts and applause.

Cpl. Jesse Thorsen for Ron Paul

Karen Brooks Campaign Kick-Off Breakfast

Saturday, January 7th
from 8:30AM to 10:30 AM
13th & D in Arcata at the 'D Street Neighborhood Center.'


If you can spare a can or two for Food Endeavor, there will be a collection container there.

Meet the candidate and hear Karen's plan for the 3rd District.

$730M fed loan to Russian-owned steel firm withdrawn after GOP challenge

The Detroit News reports this afternoon that the Obama administration is canceling subsidies to Russian steel firm Severstal for production of advanced high strength steel for autos in Dearborn, Michigan. Pricetag: $730 million - Michelle Malkin

GOP watchdogs... raised questions about the deal last fall.
“This announcement is a victory for taxpayers and steel manufacturers in Indiana,” he said in a statement. “The Severstal loan commitment never passed the sniff test, as multiple producers are already manufacturing this high strength steel without taxpayer financing.”
The rejection of the Severstal financing also comes amid wider GOP criticism of DOE loan and loan guarantee programs following the collapse of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra last year.

Rick Santorum's "Real Concerns" About The Tea Party

The two Democrats that President Barack Obama appointed to the National Labor Relations Board during what he considered a congressional “recess” are not on the White House’s official list of Obama’s appointments and nominations for various positions.

Dem NLRB ‘recess’ appointments rushed, don’t appear on White House nominee list - Matthew Boyle/Daily Caller

Obama referred his two Democratic nominees, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, to the Senate on Dec. 15. The Senate adjourned for the year – but did not go into an official recess — on the following day.

WhiteHouse.gov tracks the status of all of Obama’s appointments and nominations. Block and Griffin do not appear on that list — a sign that the administration rushed the recess appointments through too quickly for the Senate to even consider them.

“It’s hard to argue that the Senate was obstructing these Democratic nominees when they don’t even appear on the administration’s own list of nominations and appointments,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce labor policy specialist Glenn Spencer told The Daily Caller.

When a reporter asked White House press secretary Jay Carney about the scant amount of time between the nominations and the recess appointments, he balked. Instead of addressing the constitutional requirement of allowing the Senate advice and consent on presidential nominations, Carney attacked Congress.

Obama's Recess Appointments: An Impeachable Offense?

Obama thumbs nose at Constitution on 'recess appointments' - Washington Examiner Editorial

President Obama's nonrecess "recess appointments" can't be excused as over-the-top electioneering. This president has crossed over from socialistic extremism into lawlessness and, perhaps, impeachability. - IBD

The U.S. Constitution established a strong presidency — so strong that even one of the most esteemed founding fathers, Patrick Henry, worried it would be kinglike. But this week saw a president exceed even those broad constitutional powers because doing so fits his election-year narrative of a "do-nothing Congress" so well.

Now we have the makings of a banana republic, where the rule of clearly written constitutional law is compromised by a ruler's subjective whim.

The Constitution is crystal clear on the recess appointment authority of the president.

"The president shall have power," Article II, section 2 states, "to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session."

The Senate has not been in recess. And Congress' authority over when it is and isn't in recess is no small matter of parliamentary procedure.

..."Neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days."

Yet Obama on Wednesday, with no recess in effect and against the publicly stated position of his own Justice Department, made four "recess appointments."

Democrats Passed Payroll Tax Extension During ‘Pro Forma’ Session on Dec. 23 - CNS

(S)o what? - Washington Post

NEW: Judge Cancels California Trade War

The newspaper headlines last week read, “California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Blocked in Court.” It was a component of California’s AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which was scheduled to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2012. - Cal Watchdog

But did the headlines tell the whole story? Did the low-carbon fuel standards imposed by the California Air Resource Board, which implements AB 32, involve reducing air pollution emissions? Or was it an interstate trade war?

...Last week’s ruling was by U.S. Federal Judge Lawrence O’Neill, a native Californian. He ruled that California couldn’t “balkanize” the commercial market for low-carbon fuels such as ethanol as part of its strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He said the part of California’s AB 32 dealing with low carbon fuel standards was unconstitutional and violated the Interstate Commerce Clause. The Commerce Clause gives the federal government sole jurisdiction over interstate trade.

America’s Founding Fathers put it in the Constitution to prevent states from fighting trade wars against one another. A key to American prosperity has been that the whole country is a vast free-trade zone.

In essence, CARB wanted to go back before the Constitution and set up its own sovereign governmental rules as if California were a separate country. But the court didn’t buy the environmental rationale and ruled it was both unconstitutional and an interstate trade issue.

Marco Rubio in letter to Obama: You are turning America into a 'deadbeat nation'

In a scathing letter sent to Barack Obama this morning, Senator Marco Rubio said that under the President’s first term in office, “more and more people have come to believe that America is becoming a deadbeat nation.” - Human Events

Rubio went on to pledge that he would challenge any further increase in the debt ceiling, arguing that “we [Congress] need to make it routine to actually spend no more than we take in.” In the letter obtained by HUMAN EVENTS, the Florida Senator said that President Obama’s upcoming request to increase the debt ceiling by a whopping $1.2 trillion will cause the nation’s public debt to surpass the $16 trillion mark.

“I will oppose your request to continue borrowing and spending recklessly.”

President Obama is expected to request the new borrowing power from Congress once the Senate and House return from their holiday recess.

If the President led the charge to reduce the country’s unsustainable debt in mid 2011 rather than punt the enterprise to a “Super Committee,” asserted Rubio, we’d already be on a pathway toward economic growth and prosperity. "Unfortunately, the first three years of your presidency have been a profile in leadership failure."

More from Sen. Marco Rubio: The junior senator from Florida makes an impassioned speech on the Senate floor on Dec. 16, 2011, calling for America's leadership to confront its debt and entitlement problems and act with urgency to shape solutions:



Rubio to Obama: You’re turning America into a “deadbeat nation” - HotAir

While you may choose to run your reelection campaign against a “Do-Nothing Congress,” your insistence on doing nothing to meaningfully tackle our debt poses a direct threat to America’s exceptional character and is leading us towards a diminished future.

CA gov Brown calls for more spending, $7 billion in new taxes

Mr. Brown’s budget was supposed to be released next Tuesday. But the state’s Department of Finance inadvertently posted the budget on its Web site on Thursday afternoon, sending Mr. Brown’s office scrambling to get his budget out. - Adam Nagourney/New York Times

Even if voters approve the taxes Mr. Brown proposed as part of the $92 billion budget for 2012 — which is far from certain — this budget still contains a new round of $4.2 billion in cuts, mainly to welfare and home health care. Last year, the state imposed over $5 billion in spending cuts.

“We’re doing the best we can,” Mr. Brown said at a news conference that served as a reminder of the extent to which budget problems have dominated his first year in office. “What I’ve laid out is going to be very hard to digest.”

California: Governor Brown thinks we’re stupid - Sister Toldja
A little background: under Proposition 98, passed in 1988, funds for K-12 education in California must increase every year *(4); it’s required by the state constitution. As you’ll see in the summary charts for the budget (PDF, via Moe Lane), Brown’s budget includes a $4.8 billion increase in K-12 funding. Look familiar? It should; that’s the same amount cited as a “slash” in funding in the above quote. In other words, the “cut in education funding” is really the elimination of a proposed increase, not a genuine cut at all.

And that’s the lie: the “cut” the Democrats are shrieking about would really be just holding education spending at it’s already-generous level.

*(4) The law can be suspended for a year by a 2/3rds vote of the legislature. (which may) have to happen if the voters reject the tax increase.
NEW: Gov. Brown’s Budget ‘Holds Kids Hostage’ - Katy GrimesCalWatchDog

Brown’s Proposed Budget Increases Spending, and Creates a False Choice - Jon Fleischman/Flash Report

As Senate Republicans have been pointing out for months, Dodd-Frank threw out judicial review, removed CFPB from the congressional appropriations process, provided five-year tenure protection for the director and transferred the agency from the Treasury Department to the opaque and unaccountable Federal Reserve.

Obama’s super-czar is on the loose - Michelle Malkin

...White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that the administration expects no retaliation for the end-run around the deliberative process. Playing the pharaoh’s helper, Carney airily dismissed widespread bipartisan questions about the legality of the power grab as “esoteric discussion.”

...This is not “bold.” It’s jackboot. It won’t benefit “middle-class Americans.” It’ll line lobbyist pockets, soak taxpayer dollars and fuel a Beltway rule-making bonanza. It’s not about reining in Wall Street abuses. It’s about consolidating bureaucratic authority and granting unprecedented immunity to a single super-cop from congressional and public oversight.

DICK MORRIS: DEMOCRATS ARE TANKING!

(H)ow Obama is destroying his party. Listen to these polls! (Video at link)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

To sum up: we see here contours of the 2012 reelection. Obama’s handlers accept that there is no record to run on after inauguration, and earlier hope and change vacuities no longer earn mass audiences. They grant that in his unguarded moments Obama reverts off the teleprompter to his Chicago DNA of waging puerile class warfare. They even agree that his twenty-something speechwriters cannot be trusted not to slip into the teleprompter something stupid like the ahistorical Cairo Speech or faux-Teddy Roosevelt diatribe

Being There — the Obama Sequel - Victor Davis Hanson

President Obama went into a deep slumber in December. When he woke up this January, he found himself back even in the polls, with neither a press conference nor another overhyped presidential televised address to be heard. Sleep, quiet, and solitude — all that appears wiser than campaigning, visibility, and speaking, both for Obama and Americans. In short, the president has really hit on something: an Obama going into a Rip Van Winkle somnolent state might just mean waking up again as president....

But he can increasingly remain mute, while, on late Friday afternoons and amid raucous Republican infighting, dumping appointments and executive orders as a quiet leftist.

Iowa caucus vote counter says Romney mistakenly given too many votes

Rumors are swirling about the results of the Iowa caucuses over who really won. According to Des Moines KCCI channel 8: - Washington Times

Caucus night was chaotic in many places, with hundreds of voters, candidates showing up and the throngs of media who followed. The world's eyes were on Iowa. But in the quiet town of Moulton, Appanoose County, a caucus of 53 people may just blow up the results.

Edward True, 28, of Moulton, said he helped count the votes and jotted the results down on a piece of paper to post to his Facebook page. He said when he checked to make sure the Republican Party of Iowa got the count right, he said he was shocked to find they hadn't.

"When Mitt Romney won Iowa by eight votes and I've got a 20-vote discrepancy here, that right there says Rick Santorum won Iowa," True said. "Not Mitt Romney.

DISSATISFACTION WITH the economy, expressed in spasms of anger toward Wall Street and Washington; the dashed hopes of many who believed that Barack Obama’s election would create a new spirit of unity; and genuine uncertainty about Democratic health care reform — all of these have created an historic opportunity for the Republican Party.

Boston Globe endorses Huntsman: For vision and national unity

Among the candidates, only two stand out as truly presidential, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. Both have track records of success, and both, through their policies and demeanors, have shown the breadth of spirit to lead the nation. But while Romney proceeds cautiously, strategically, trying to appease enough constituencies to get himself the nomination, Huntsman has been bold. Rather than merely sketch out policies, he articulates goals and ideals. The priorities he would set for the country, from leading the world in renewable energy to retooling education and immigration policies to help American high-tech industries, are far-sighted. He has stood up far more forcefully than Romney against those in his party who reject evolution and the science behind global warming.

With a strong record as governor of Utah and US ambassador to China, arguably the most important overseas diplomatic post, Huntsman’s credentials match those of anyone in the field. He would be the best candidate to seize this moment in GOP history, and the best-prepared to be president.

Did the Obama administration release classified information to Hollywood notables for a film about the operation that killed Osama bin Laden?

That’s a question Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) wants answered. And in response, the Pentagon’s inspector general has launched an investigation, King disclosed Thursday. - LA Times

At issue is whether the filmmakers — director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, who both won Oscars for their 2009 Iraq war movie "The Hurt Locker" -- were given access to classified information about a mission that remains shrouded in secrecy. While newspapers and magazines have published detailed accounts about the raid, much remains unknown to all but a few.

Wisconsin: Judge rules in favor of Gov. Walker and requires Government Accountability Board to check for duplicate/fake signatures on recall petitions.

Judge rules for Walker campaign in case against state election officials - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A judge ruled Thursday that the state Government Accountability Board needs to take more aggressive action to vet recall signatures that are expected to be submitted in two weeks against Gov. Scott Walker and other Republican office holders.

The ruling by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis came in a case filed Dec. 15 by Walker's campaign committee and Stephan Thompson, executive director of the state Republican Party, asking Davis to order the accountability board to seek out and eliminate duplicate and fictitious signatures and illegible addresses in recall petitions.

Davis, who refused to enter injunctions in the case, based his decision on his interpretation of state law, more than on equal protection arguments brought up by the Republicans. He also said that the board must take "reasonable" efforts to eliminate such signatures.


But the judge said they must make "reasonable" efforts. I think making a searchable database is crucial. You've got to at least check for duplicates. And I think people — like me — who didn't sign should be given the ability to ensure that our names were not appropriated. - Althouse

Most of these jobs are not jobs at all. That is, the majority are unpaid. Nothing is wrong with that; unpaid internships are a valuable way to gain work experience to up employability in the future. But for the president to tout those unpaid internships as “jobs” is disingenuous.

Obama targets teens with new summer "jobs" program - HotAir

Then, too, as Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner have pointed out, plenty of these positions would exist regardless of whether the president took any interest in them. But the president has taken in interest in them, for the same reason he has taken an interest in — oh, I don’t know — recess appointing partisan hacks to the National Labor Relations Board. He suspects that support for summer jobs will help his reelection effort.

President Obama on Thursday will unveil a summer-jobs initiative that the White House says is already on track to create 180,000 “work opportunities” in the private sector in 2012. - The Hill

That is the number of opportunities, which includes mentoring and unpaid internships, that companies have told the administration they are willing to create. Some 70,000 jobs are paid, the White House says.

The initiative was hatched after Congress failed to approve a $1.5 billion summer-jobs fund that President Obama had been seeking as part of the American Jobs Act.

“Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can’t wait for Congress to act,” a White House statement reads.

Coming Soon: ‘Work Opportunity Summer’ - Michelle Malkin

Goodbye “Recovery Summer” — Hello “Work Opportunity Summer.”

Alternate headline for partisan pessimists: Obama administration to create 110,000 unpaid volunteer jobs...

Mark Levin: Obama's Comment 'Forthright Statement Of A Dictator'

Mark Levin: 'We Have a Constitutional Crisis' Audio at link - CNS News

Rush Limbaugh: The Lawless Obama Regime... - Rush

Michael Savage: Here's what America will look like if Obama wins - WND via Drudge
“This is the most corrupt, incompetent, dangerous tyrannical administration in American history,” he declared.

“It’s not politics as usual. It’s not just Democrats versus Republicans,” Savage said.

Obama, he said, is “not a Democrat,” noting the president’s history of ties to Marxists and other radicals documented in his book “Trickle Up Poverty.”


“Obama has a long history of being at odds with American values and with America itself and the core principles of this country.” Savage said.

Savage pointed to media as one of the areas in which “step by step, degree by degree, we’re losing our freedom.”

GOP presidential candidates react to obama non-recess recess appointments

Speaking up in defense of the Constitution. - John Hayward at Human Events

The Republican candidates for president have begun responding to President Obama’s illegal appointment of Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which violates both the United States Constitution and the Dodd-Frank financial legislation which created the CFPB. Obama also appointed three new members of the National Labor Relations Board, again in violation of the Constitution.

These actions have been widely, but inaccurately, described in the media as “recess appointments,” but the Senate is not currently in recess. We have that on the authority of no less than… President Barack Obama. As the Heritage Foundation recalls, his vaunted “payroll tax cut” extension was passed by the Senate on December 23, and signed into law by the President on the same day, when the Senate was in pro forma session.

If we grant the President the extra-Constitutional power to unilaterally decree that the Senate is not actually in session, then he has just completely voided his own payroll tax cut extension. Or are the last few desperate partisans trying to defend this outrage prepared to argue that Obama gets to decide whether individual days of a pro forma session count as “recess” or not? Or that the President can sign laws that didn’t actually pass Congress?...
Today's Must Read

Santorum: Senate Should Do What It’s “Supposed To” Over Illegal Recess Appointment, Including Suing Obama - The Hill Briefing Room

“I hope that the United States Senate does what they’re supposed to do, and they should go and even take the president to court. This is not something that the president should get away with,” he said.

So Much For The Bailout — Government Motors To Move Chevy Volt Production To China

link - Politicons via Tammy Bruce
GM deal moves electric car development to China -- a 'shakedown'? - USA Today

AP Source: GM to call back 8,000 Chevy Volts

Bob Huff named Republican leader in California Senate

The Senate Republican Caucus, as expected, is starting the new year with a new leader. - Sacramento Bee

Senate Republicans unanimously selected Bob Huff as the successor to outgoing leader Bob Dutton in a closed-door meeting following today's legislative session.

Huff said he expects"pretty much a continuum" of the caucus' current leadership style and policies, citing job creation and keeping Democrats from picking up the seats they need to secure a two-thirds majority in next year's election as top priorities.

"I expect this to be more of a baton handed off," he said of the transition.

Sarah Palin will keynote CPAC

Per a release from the American Conservative Union this morning, Sarah Palin is stepping back into the spotlight as the keynote speaker at next month's Conservative Political Action Conference - Burns and Haberman/Politico
“Few national conservative leaders in America today energize and inspire our grassroots activists like Gov. Sarah Palin. Her strong record of leadership, championing of our shared principles and magnetic personality have made Sarah Palin a hero to millions of conservatives across the country,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. “As we ready for the critical 2012 election, I’m honored to welcome Gov. Palin to the Conservative Political Action Conference for the first time ever.”

Newt Gingrich: Timid vs Bold


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Newt Gingrich

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

McCain to endorse Romney tomorrow

John McCain will endorse his '08 rival Mitt Romney tomorrow, a top Republican source confirmed to POLITICO.

McCain’s endorsement will help Romney pivot away from Iowa, toward New Hampshire, and turn the page on the caucuses in any case. But McCain also symbolizes much of what the GOP base doesn’t want in its 2012 nominee, so it’ll be interesting to see just how closely Romney hugs the Arizona senator.

Rove questions value of McCain endorsement - Burns and Haberman/Politico

Obama's unconstitutional power grab

Unprecedented “Recess” Appointment Contradicts Obama Justice Department - Speaker Boehner

President Obama today made an unprecedented “recess” appointment even though the Senate is not in recess – “a sharp departure from a long-standing precedent that has limited the President to recess appointments only when the Senate is in a recess of 10 days or longer,” according to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

It turns out that the action not only contradicts long-standing practice, but also the view of the administration itself. In 2010, Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal explained to the Supreme Court the Obama administration’s view that recess appointments are only permissible when Congress is in recess for more than three days. Here’s the exchange with Chief Justice John Roberts:

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: And the recess appointment power doesn't work why?

MR. KATYAL: The -- the recess appointment power can work in -- in a recess. I think our office has opined the recess has to be longer than 3 days. And -- and so, it is potentially available to avert the future crisis that -- that could -- that could take place with respect to the board. If there are no other questions –

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Thank you, counsel.

Speaker Boehner called the appointment an “extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab,” and noted that the position “had not been filled for one reason: the agency it heads is bad for jobs and bad for the economy.” Read his full statement here, and read the statement from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) here.

Breaks Democrats’ own rule from Bush administration - Stephen Dinan and Susan Crabtree-The Washington Times

Obama bypasses Senate to fill labor board posts - AP

President Barack Obama is bypassing GOP opposition to make three more recess appointments - this time to the National Labor Relations Board.

The move came hours after Obama used a similar tactic to install former Ohio Atty. Gen. Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Both moves infuriated GOP leaders, who threatened legal action and warned that Obama was setting a dangerous precedent by ignoring the will of Congress.

Big Labor Applauds - AP
LEGAL SHOWDOWN - The Hill
The recess appointments broke with legal precedent, as they while the Senate is holding regular pro forma sessions. Republicans insist the Senate has not been in recess thanks to the seconds-long sessions held every few days, but White House attorneys determined the procedural move is a gimmick that can be ignored by the president.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blasted the move as an "unprecedented power grab" and said he expects "the courts will find the appointment to be illegitimate."
Obama Chooses Politics Over Principle in Naming Cordray 'President playing with fire' - Bloomberg

Press Questions DNC Chair: Will Obama Drop Biden for Clinton?

On CNN, Wasserman Schultz was asked to react to this statement, "Robert Reich is predicting that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the vice presidential nominee along with President Obama." - Weekly Standard

"That is an inaccurate prediction," Wasserman Schultz said. "Joe Biden and President Obama will be the ticket through November 6th of this year."

Likewise, on MSNBC, Chris Matthews asked the DNC chair: "Do you think it's going to be the same ticket this time, Obama and Biden?"

"Oh, absolutely," Wasserman Schultz told the liberal television host....

Michele Bachmann Drops Out of Presidential Race



Rep. Michele Bachmann has suspended her presidential campaign after placing last in Tuesday’s Iowa Republican caucuses - ABC

“Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, so I have decided to stand aside,” Bachmann said at a news conference, flanked by her parents, husband and five children. “I have no regrets, none whatsoever. We never compromised our principles and we can leave this race knowing we ran it with the utmost integrity.”

Romney edges Santorum in Iowa photo finish

Facing embarrassing Iowa loss, Romney squeaks by - Byron York/Washington Examiner

Santorum ‘committed’ to competing in N.H., S.C. - Susan Ferrechio/Washington Examiner

Late, late, late deciders flock to Santorum - Byron York/Washington Examiner

Romney edges Santorum in Iowa photo finish - Hayley Peterson/Washington Examiner

Romney’s watchwords in Iowa: Divide and conquer - Michael Barone/Washington Examiner

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Static, Bad Audio Interrupt Obama's Iowa Webcast - no cheering, chanting or clapping

RICK SANTORUM 29,944 MITT ROMNEY 29,926,


IOWA: TWO WAY PHOTO FINISH - Des Moines Register

Hawaii GOP sees caucus as recruiting opportunity

Republicans hope to build their ranks and weigh in on the party's nominee - Star Advertiser

“How Iowa Caucuses work”


Great interactive Google county map link!!!
Des Moines Register interactive “How Iowa Caucuses work” ...[both dem and republican]
via Patterico’s Pontifications
IOWA CAUCUS RESULTS HQ - The Other McCain
Iowa Caucuses LIVE - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion
Open thread: Iowageddon; Update: Fox predicts Bachmann will finish last; Update: Full entrance poll data added - HotAir
At the Iowa Caucuses. - Althouse

Iowa - Caucus Results from the Washington Examiner

I worried about breaking the news to my friend Reid, a hard core liberal. "Don't be mad at me," I told him, "but I'm afraid I have to vote Republican this coming election."

Why Young Liberals, Like Me, Will Vote Ron Paul - Huffington Post

NBC's Andrea Mitchell on New Year's Day made it clear to Nightly News viewers that her Obama-loving network will continue using the race card to assist the current White House resident's reelection



Andrea Mitchell on Iowa: 'Too White, Too Evangelical, Too Rural' - Newsbusters

Road to American economic recovery - Gingrich played major role in prosperity of the 1990s

Despite the rhetoric in the crowded field, only one aspirant has the resume and track record to get the job done.... - William Loughrey/Washington Times

Mr. Gingrich once before transformed a ruined economy strangled by regulation and the Washington status quo, invoking memories of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and even Milton Friedman.

In 1990, when George H.W. Bush negotiated a budget agreement and sought to raise taxes - breaking his own “no new taxes” pledge - it was Mr. Gingrich, the minority whip, who led the revolt among conservatives in the House.


RNC: Failed Promises: Iowa Edition


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RON PAUL GETS 'ROCK STAR RECEPTION' AT HIGH SCHOOL

Ron Paul gets rock star reception at Valley High School - Des Moines Register
ENDORSED -- BY SANTORUM'S NEPHEW! - The Daily Caller
ACLU Report Card Puts Ron Paul Above President Obama! - mcnbc
More coverage on the ACLU report card:
ACLU report card finds fault with Obama, rivals - SF Chronicle
ACLU Campaign Report Card: GOP Split on Constitution - aclulibertywatch.org
The report card itself

Rick Perry: America is Calling


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Rick Perry

The Obama Job-Shoveling Machine

A thousand jobs, shoveled right out the door. - Peter Hannaford on 1.3.12 at The American Spectator Online

Last January, with typical understatement, President Obama proclaimed, in his State of the Union address, that alternative "clean" energy would be "our generation's Sputnik moment," and that it would be "an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet and create countless new jobs for our people." (Never mind that the federal government does not make investments, it only spends money that otherwise belonged to taxpayers.)

Iowa Caucus Day

Iowa Caucus Day: Will there be a winnowing — or not? - Michelle Malkin (image source)
There are an estimated 614,000 active registered Republicans in Iowa. A small fraction of them will turn out tonight to vote in the first-in-the-nation GOP presidential caucus. The anticipated top three placers are a toss-up. Sunday’s PPP poll had it 20/19/18 for Paul, Romney and Santorum.
Iowa: the selection process begins - neoneocon
Iowa Caucus Day – Open and Updates - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion
Iowans officially begin the caucus process today at 7pm Central. The polls are fluctuating on a seemingly daily basis with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul making their late surges while Mitt Romney continues to hold steady at around 23%. Although Gingrich has dropped back in the pack a bit of late due in large part to an onslaught of negative campaigning against him by his opponents in Iowa, he still has plenty of reason to believe he can fare well tonight.

Especially in the case of Iowa, these polls are not necessarily illustrative of what the outcome will be in the caucuses themselves. The most telling statistic of why Iowans are in a constant state of flip-flop is the fact that at least 40% remain undecided as to who they will cast their vote for when they actually step into the booth. Perhaps the only thing certain about tonight is that the outcome is anything but a foregone conclusion.
Iowa Caucus Day: News, Aggregation and Updates - And So It Goes In Shreveport

LET THE VOTING BEGIN...

Last day: 23 Iowa campaign stops combined - Associated Press writers Brian Bakst, Thomas Beaumont, Philip Elliott, Mike Glover, Kasie Hunt and Shannon McCaffrey in Iowa contributed to this report. Espo reported from Washington.

Obama Enters the Twilight Zone

Obama to Turn Up Attacks on Congress in Campaign - New York Times

If you want to gain a better appreciation for the fantasy world that President Obama is trying to create in order to win re-election, you couldn’t do much better than to read this New York Times story. - Commentary Magazine

Why Santorum’s Surge Has Staying Power

The latest polls out of Iowa confirm two things as we head into the caucuses: Ron Paul has peaked, and his support is now on the downswing. And Rick Santorum is surging, going from single-digits to third place in a matter of days. - Commentary Magazine

Romney leads Paul in Des Moines Register Iowa Poll; Santorum surges - Des Moines Register

Santorum, who has been largely invisible in the polls throughout the campaign season, is now beating the other evangelical choices and has a clear shot at victory Tuesday night.

...The collapse of the bottom half of the field fueled Santorum’s surge, said Charlie Cook, founder of the Cook Political Report.

“He has become the remainder man,” Cook said.

Undecideds decided to decide, and Santorum was the fresh choice. He hasn’t endured the media scrutiny into his record and whomping from negative advertising like others who made flash-in-the pan ascendancies, analysts said.

Sorry, Santorum fans, but Romney will win this - Ezra Klein/Washington Post

Will 2012 Be Our 1979?

Of course, after Carter’s mistakes, Russia eventually left Afghanistan and finally quit Central America; we got our hostages back and survived serial Islamic terrorism; and the Chinese left Vietnam. - Victor Davis Hanson/National Review

All that said, much of our problems for the next few decades originated during 1979 when an impression was left that proved hard to correct.

...this coming year we will see a new boldness among Islamic forces in North Africa; China will show the flag far nearer to Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea; some independent-minded former Soviet Republics will be forced to move closer to Russia; Turkey won’t worry too much whether it overflies Greek or Cypriot airspace — or worse; Iran will test a missile or do something stupider; North Korea may resume its now-and-then shelling of the south; and Lebanon and the West Bank will heat up again — all on the impression that either the U.S. doesn’t much care, does care but is too broke or weary to do much about it, or beneath its public warnings harbors some quiet sympathies for such “corrections” in a prior flawed global order.

Last Chance To Elect a True Conservative

Principled conservatives do know that Romney is not worthy of their vote. - Town Gall

Okay. It is now officially crunch-time for conservative voters. Time for them to grow-up, stand on principle, admit there is not a perfect candidate, cast aside the pretenders, flip-floppers, and flakes, and unite behind the most genuine traditional values espousing candidate in the field. That being Texas governor Rick Perry.

Gingrich drawing crowds despite the polls

“He’s the most intelligent and interesting candidate on the stage,” said Gene Beach, Republican mayor of Marshalltown, who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other Gingrich supporters in the Junction Sports Bar here. - Columbus Dispatch

In October, Gingrich was rising in the polls and appeared poised to be the un-Romney, but that was before a third-party political-action committee supporting Romney went on Iowa television and radio with an estimated $3.5 million in attack ads, “virtually all of them aimed at me,” Gingrich lamented in a TV interview yesterday.

“Iowa has an opportunity to really change American politics by proving that negative campaigning does not work,” Gingrich told the big crowd in Marshalltown.

...“I would love to see Newt go toe-to-toe with Obama in a debate,” Messerer said. “All this baggage they talk about, that’s water over the dam.”

Analysis: GOP race has yet to fully test Romney

Mitt Romney’s surprisingly easy rise to the top of Iowa presidential polls, aided by his GOP rivals’ in-fighting, masks vulnerabilities he will have to confront eventually. - Boston.com

Monday, January 2, 2012

The payroll tax cut debate almost prevented Obama from taking his annual Christmas trip to Hawaii. He delayed the trip nearly a week

Obama ending vacation, readying for re-election - AP

After more than a week out of the spotlight, Obama plans to make his presence in the campaign quickly known.

The president will host a live web chat with supporters in Iowa Tuesday night as the caucuses are unfolding. The following day, Obama will travel to Cleveland for an event focused on the economy.

Cindy Sheehan: "I Haven't Paid My Taxes" In Eight Years



Cindy Sheehan at "Occupy Rose Bowl." - Real Clear Politics

Iowa officials brace for Occupy protests

Republicans across Iowa are bracing for trouble on Tuesday, concerned that caucus sites will be the next stop for the Occupy protesters who've staged demonstrations and disruptions at election events across the state. - Politico

Rasmussen: Dem party affiliation at all-time low

Rasmussen’s latest monthly survey of 15,000 respondents for party affiliation shows Republicans gaining more than a percentage point from November to December and nearing the year-long high, while Democrats declined to the lowest level in the Rasmussen series: - HotAir
Partisan Trends: Number of Democrats Falls to All-Time Low - Rasmussen

Republican National Committee on Facebook

Reince Priebus: 2012 is finally here and tomorrow the fight to defeat Barack Obama officially begins with the First Votes cast against him in Iowa. These First Votes against Obama will be votes cast against his failed promises, job-killing policies, his record high unemployment, unpopular overhaul of America’s entire healthcare system and out of control spending which resulted in massive debt. Voters will go to the caucuses tomorrow and cast their ballots against Obama with those First Votes we are one step closer to removing him from office and electing a Republican President this year.

http://www.facebook.com/GOP

The Top 10 political and policy stories to watch for in 2012

Plus, a bonus look at major anniversaries next year. - Human Events

1. 2012 Presidential Election
2. ObamaCare Showdown in the Supreme Court
3. Control of the Senate in 2012
4. Payroll Tax Cut Extension
5. Can We Have National Constitutional Carry Reciprocity in 2012?
6. The Volatile Situation In Iran
7. The Arab Spring, One Year Later
8. Eurozone Debt Crisis Continues
10. China: Chipped, Cracked not Broken, Yet

Democrats’ ‘Brain Trust’ Hit by Antisemitism Accusations

Accusations of antisemitism are building against the Center for American Progress (CAP), the left-wing umbrella organization that serves as a “brain trust” for Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the Obama administration. - Breitbart's Big Government

The latest to weigh in are the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, two leading American Jewish organizations, which have joined the Simon Wiesenthal Center in criticizing CAP and its offshoot, Media Matters for America, for attacks on Israel that go beyond legitimate criticism and may cross the line into antisemitism.

Last month, Politico reported that CAP and MMfA have both taken anti-Israel positions that “are challenging a bipartisan consensus on Israel and Palestine that has dominated American foreign policy for more than a decade.” These stances include downplaying the threat of a nuclear Iran, and suggesting that pro-Israel groups have pushed the U.S. into confrontations in the Middle East....

Until recently, the anti-Israel views espoused by CAP and MMfA were on the far-radical fringe of American political debate. As CAP and MMfA have grown in importance, however, their anti-Israel agendas have become more prominent within the Obama administration and the Democratic Party as a whole, leading to a rift that has already had electoral consequences.

Unless Democrats act to contain the damage, the controversy over charges of antisemitism at CAP and MMfA could affect debates–and votes–in the crucial campaign of 2012.

Mitt Romney: Restore America's Greatness


__________________
Mitt Romney

Ron Paul: Believe


__________________
Ron Paul

Morning Bell: New Year’s Resolutions for Conservatives

The key to keeping your New Year’s resolutions is to make them more realistic. - Heritage.org

f you’re fond of the term “states’ rights,” have a soft spot for nullification, are tempted by isolationism or are wary of equality, here are four simple resolutions to begin getting right with America’s principles. Once you have these down, you can start correcting your friends and move on to other core concepts.

1. Speak of Federalism, not “States’ Rights”
States don’t have rights. People do.

2. Resist the Nullification Temptation
(P)lease don’t start talking about nullification as the magical silver bullet that other conservatives somehow overlooked in their efforts to repeal Obamacare (or any other unconstitutional law, for that matter).
Nullification is blatantly unconstitutional.

3. Isolationism is un-American

4. Equality is not a four-letter word

This and more at Heritgae.org

GOP’s election battle plan: Use Obama’s own words against him

(H)e made specific promises and entered office with lofty expectations and has failed to deliver on both. - Peter Wallsten/Washington Post

With Republican voters in Iowa set to finally begin picking a nominee to challenge President Obama, GOP officials in Washington are quietly and methodically finishing what operatives are calling “the book” — 500 pages of Obama quotes and video links that will form the backbone of the party’s attack strategy against the president leading up to Election Day 2012....

The new GOP playbook is designed to take one of Obama’s great assets — the power of his oratory — and turn it into a liability. It details hundreds of potential targets, partially a result of a president who Republican strategists say is unusually prone to making detailed promises.

A 2009 Obama statement that his stimulus bill would lift 2 million Americans out of poverty, for example, is paired against census data showing that more than 6 million Americans have fallen into poverty since he took office. A pledge that an administration housing plan would “help between 7 and 9 million families restructure or refinance their mortgages” is paired against news reports showing the government spent far less than promised and aided fewer than 2 million.

And his 2008 Democratic nomination acceptance speech vow that a green jobs initiative would create 5 million jobs is matched up against news reports from this year depicting lackluster results and headlines about Solyndra, the failed maker of solar panels that received hundreds of millions in federal loan guarantees.

One Obama quote will be featured prominently: In 2009 he said on NBC’s “Today” show that if he could not fix the economy in three years, “then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

“That’s a clip the American people will hear and see over and over and over again throughout the next year,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “The nice thing about Barack Obama is that he’s given us plenty of material. The one thing he loves to do is give speeches.”

60 Minutes: The Majority Leader: Rep. Eric Cantor

Even if Perry beats Iowa expectations, a tough road awaits

Gov. Rick Perry has won every election he's entered during his 27-year political career, but all signs point toward that streak ending Tuesday night in Iowa's Republican presidential caucuses. - Statesman

If recent polls are accurate, Perry's best possible outcome is a third-place finish Tuesday behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who are in a tight battle for the top spot. Thanks to lowered expectations caused by his own stumbles and others' surges, Perry's team would probably celebrate third place as a comeback, pointing to the old adage that there are three tickets out of Iowa.

Caucus Diary: Rick Perry, once a power, now aims for third place in Iowa - Boston.com

Melding: Occupy protests seek meeting with DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Occupy Des Moines demonstrators want to meet with the Democratic National Committee chairwoman before the Iowa caucuses get started. - GlobeGazette

The protesters say they want to meet with chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Monday to talk about "putting the majority of Americans at the top of the party's agenda."

◼ UPDATE: DNC chair refuses to meet with 'Occupiers' in Iowa... - Real Clear Politics via Drudge

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The biggest little story of 2011

Blogs and upstart websites have altered news delivery forever, and the networks are now covering stories broken on news websites as often as they are breaking their own. - The Daily Caller

But that is just part one of the new media revolution. Part two began on September 20, when California Congressman and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa held a telephone press conference on the developing gunwalker component of the “Fast and Furious” scandal. The substance of the call concerned a possible FBI cover-up, the appointment of a special prosecutor and other recent developments in the Department of Justice’s program, which allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, resulting in the deaths of border patrol agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens.

But, as momentous as the news Issa delivered was, the method of his delivery was even more significant. Issa didn’t reach out to the household names of big journalism. He didn’t call newspaper reporters or broadcast news outlets. For whatever undeclared reason, the mainstream outlets did not deem the “Fast and Furious” scandal worthy of their viewership’s attention, so Issa solved his own problem. He called bloggers. In that single act, a sitting congressman took a little credibility away from established news outlets and handed it to the blogosphere....

In our new age, the old media is slowly and reluctantly learning that they can no longer unilaterally decide what is news and what isn’t. Perhaps more importantly, Issa has reminded us that in a free society, it is the people’s duty to police the fourth estate in order to facilitate the fourth estate’s duty: to protect the people.

40,000 state laws taking effect at the start of the new year

New laws toughen rules on abortions, immigrants, voters - msnbc
New year brings new laws in California - LA Times

Of 760 bills signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011, most take effect Jan. 1.

RESOLVE: THIS IS THE YEAR TO GET INVOLVED POLITICALLY, FOLKS!

Register Voters.
Become a Poll Worker.
Become a Poll Watcher.
Walk Precincts.
GOTV.
Donate.

Ten 2011 Examples of Major Media Malfeasance

It will get even worse in 2012. - PJMedia

In 2011, passive news consumers were extremely ill served, as the leftist legacy media seemed to almost completely abandon any pretense of objectivity or fairness left over from its disgraceful collective performance in 2010.

Why did this happen? Beyond the normal factors, 2011 saw White House thuggery directed at a press corps already inclined to reflexively parrot its positions reach previously unseen heights.

To name just three examples:
In March, Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers, sent to cover a fundraiser involving Vice President Joe Biden and Florida Senator Bill Nelson, was confined in a closet “to keep him from mingling with high-powered guests.” Sentinel editors “dropped the story.”

In April, the White House banished San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci “for using a video camera to capture an event.” The paper was “threatened with more punishment if they reported on it.” Chronicle Editor at Large Phil Bronstein called the White House’s subsequent attempt to deny it all “a pants-on-fire moment.” Press coverage elsewhere was scant.

In May, the White House Press Office “refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser” because it objected “to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed.” The shutout was virtually ignored.
It’s reasonable to believe that the constant threats of White House pushback and especially of access denial significantly drove this year’s extraordinarily negligent coverage of the administration’s scandals, corruption, policy failures, and misleading statements. What follows are just ten out of dozens of this year’s worst examples of media malfeasance. Except for the final two, which are clearly this year’s most egregious, they are in no particular order. In most cases, there was no press coverage, or no further coverage, of the items cited.
1. “I am (possibly) the greatest.”
2. “Taunt a Republican for me.”
3. Yet another word for “lied.”
4. “Scandal-free” pretense.
5. Obama’s false Mama drama.
6. Libya Labeling.
7. Condescension Cover-up.
8. Goodbye, Iraq.
(T)he two worst examples.

Runner-up: Covering for the Occupy Movement. After Obama effectively endorsed the Occupy Wall Street movement, it was inevitable that the press would do its utmost to cover up and downplay the movement’s deaths (including at least one murder); sexual assaults; socialist, far-left, labor union (including the News Media Guild) and “1%” backing; its disease-ridden filth; the costs it imposed on governments, businesses, and the economy; and its fundamentally violent nature. Though the center-right New Media pushback was impressive, I still believe that most Americans don’t understand that the Occupy movement has been and remains an intimidation-driven enterprise co-opted by the mainstream left to assist wherever possible in ensuring Barack Obama’s reelection.

The Worst: Fast and Furious. This wasn’t a close call. The Occupy movement’s death toll is nine. The death toll from Fast and Furious is “at least 300 Mexicans” and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. This is a government-sponsored operation whose only “coherent” justification appears to be to create enough mayhem in the Southwest and elsewhere to justify the imposition of stricter gun laws and ultimately the end of an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. We have an attorney general who is so deep in the muck that he’s parsing the meaning of the word “lie.” And yet, with the impressive exception of Sharyl Attkisson at CBS, we’ve seen near silence and reflexive self-defense from the rest of the establishment press. The story wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for Attkisson and several heroic center-right blogs. In fact, as of December 13, according to Mary Chastain at BigJournalism.com, Brian Williams at NBC’s Nightly News has not mentioned Fast and Furious even once during 2011.

As bad as this past year was, there’s every reason to believe that 2012 will be worse. The press has to figure out a way to drag a president who is very unpopular despite their best efforts to date across the November finish line while the White House continues its “oversight.”
Today's MUST READ

Five myths about the Iowa caucuses

Americans like to deal in stereotypes. But not all New Yorkers are rude, not all San Franciscans are gay, and not all Iowans are farmers. - Washington Post

If Mitt Romney wins Tuesday, it will be because many conservatives split their votes among the plethora of candidates and he was able to assemble a center-right coalition of moderate Republicans. Is Iowa conservative? Yes. Far right? No.

...Iowa gets all this attention because it’s first, not because people here are any more serious about the democratic process than other Americans. And the ability of Iowans to predict winners is limited. The more traditional outcomes of the caucuses include “winnowing the field” of candidates, as Howard Baker once described it. Iowa may start the process, but other states finish it.

For the foreseeable future, a spectre is haunting progressivism, the spectre of abundance. Because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people, and because progressives believe that only government’s energy should flow unimpeded, they crave energy scarcities as an excuse for rationing — by them — that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans’ behaviour.

George Will: Be of good cheer, conservatives - HotAir
Energy issues aside, the author also sees plenty of room for optimism regarding the November elections even if Obama wins a second term, and the Senate is the key. By taking the majority there, the GOP’s stamp of approval would be required for any future appointments to agencies such as the NLRB, the EPA and the energy department. These entities, which Will refers to as unconstrained instruments of presidential decrees, will lose much of their power to do mischief through what amounts to extra-legislative lawmaking.
Imagine what a horror 2011 was for progressives as Americans began to comprehend their stunning abundance of fossil fuels — beyond their two centuries’ supply of coal. - George Will/National Post
Progressives responded with attempts to impede development of the vast proven reserves of natural gas and oil in the U.S. and Canada. They bent the willowy Obama to delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canadian oil sands; they raised environmental objections to new techniques for extracting gas and “tight” oil from shale formations.

An all-purpose rationale for rationing in its many permutations has been the progressives’ preferred apocalypse, the fear of climate change. But environmentalism as the thin end of an enormous wedge of regulation and redistribution is a spent force.

There's a lot of 1980 in the 2012 presidential election, which doesn't mean it will end the same way, but still. The incumbent looks smaller than previous sitting presidents, as did Jimmy Carter. His efforts in the Oval Office have not been generally understood as successful. There's a broad sense it hasn't worked. And Democrats don't like him, as they didn't Jimmy Carter.

Gingrich Is Making Romney Better - Peggy Noonan/Wall st. Journal

This continues as one of the most amazing and underappreciated facts of 2012—the sitting president's own party doesn't like him. The party's constituent pieces will stick with him, having no choice, but with a feeling of dissatisfaction. It is not only the Republicans who have been unhappy this year. All this will have some bearing on the coming year.

President Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Into Law

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today, allowing indefinite detention to be codified into law. - ACLU

The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.

...We are extremely disappointed that President Obama signed this bill even though his administration is already claiming overly-broad detention authority in court. Any hope that the Obama administration would roll back those claims dimmed today. Thankfully we have three branches of government, and the final word on the scope of detention authority belongs to the Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the scope of detention authority. But Congress and the president also have a role to play in cleaning up the mess they have created because no American citizen or anyone else should live in fear of this or any future president misusing the NDAA’s detention authority.

The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.

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