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ccp
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« Reply #400 on: July 15, 2010, 01:55:41 PM »

Great article BBG; looking well ahead.  I haven't seen this before.
Bamster would have to be thrown out in 2012.  Or else he could still have veto power from 2014 to 16.  Of course if the Cans can get 66 seats....

It is nice to dream.  Unleash America's potential!  Bring us back the faith in ourselves and place in the world.

We just need a few good men... and women.
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Freki
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« Reply #401 on: July 26, 2010, 08:01:53 AM »

Interesting overview


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DougMacG
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« Reply #402 on: July 27, 2010, 01:21:40 PM »

First, Freki - the Thomas Sowell clip was excellent.  You can put him in with Madison and Jefferson for timeless wisdom in my view.
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Posted previously, Dems generally win Hispanic vote by about 60-40.  For Obama that was 67% to 31%.  Getting back to 60-40 would be something and anything approaching 50-50 would be political landscape changing.  With immigration fights heating up, things could also turn the other way unless Republicans are able to SOON make a strong, winning argument  about economic growth and opportunity issues.  (Abortion opposition and family issues comprise another area of potential Hispanic-GOP agreement. According to Zogby, Hispanics support a pro-life position by a 78-21 percent margin.)  Business as usual for the GOP  brings a fall in Hispanic Dem support, not a rise in GOP support.  Note that the President of mixed color with his own personal appeal is not on the ballot, so this year the choice will fall back to issues and the quality local candidates.
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http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jaUSM3p8g6oNYSfkwAmkfx4s_4ZAD9H788N80

Poll: A few cracks in Obama's Hispanic support

By LIZ SIDOTI (AP) – 9 hours ago

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's once solid support among Hispanics is showing a few cracks, a troubling sign for Democrats desperate to get this critical constituency excited about helping the party hold onto Congress this fall.

Hispanics still overwhelmingly favor the Democratic Party over the GOP, and a majority still think Obama is doing a good job, according to an Associated Press-Univision poll of more than 1,500 Hispanics.

But the survey, also sponsored by The Nielsen Company and Stanford University, shows Obama gets only lukewarm ratings on issues important to Hispanics — and that could bode poorly for the president and his party.

For a group that supported Obama so heavily in 2008 and in his first year in office, only 43 percent of Hispanics surveyed said Obama is adequately addressing their needs, with the economy a major concern. Another 32 percent were on the fence, while 21 percent said he'd done a poor job.

That's somewhat understandable, given that far more Hispanics have faced job losses and financial stress than the U.S. population in general.

An unfulfilled promise to overhaul the nation's patchwork immigration system, which Hispanics overwhelmingly want to see fixed, also may be to blame. That's despite the fact that Obama is challenging an Arizona law that requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers have a reasonable suspicion he or she is in the country illegally.

Still, 57 percent of Hispanics approve of the president's overall job performance compared with 44 percent among the general population in the latest AP national polling.

"It's been tough, but I think he's been doing a fair job," says Tony Marte, 33, a physical education teacher in Miami who is a Nicaraguan native. He voted for Obama in 2008 and, so far, likes how Obama has handled the economy.

But Marte's not satisfied with Obama's work on immigration reform. "Nothing has been done," he says, adding that between now and 2012, Obama should "be looking out for the groups that put him up there. The Latinos. The minorities." He says he'll probably back Obama again but "we'll see."

The political power of Hispanics now and in the future cannot be overstated. They are the nation's fastest-growing minority group and the government projects they will account for 30 percent of the population by 2050, doubling in size from today.

Democrats long have had an advantage among Hispanics and maintained it even as George W. Bush chipped away at that support. Obama erased the GOP inroads during his 2008 campaign, winning 67 percent of their vote to 31 percent for Republican nominee John McCain. And Hispanics consistently gave Obama exceptionally strong marks in his first year as president.

With the first midterm congressional elections of Obama's presidency in three months, the poll shows a whopping 50 percent of Hispanics citizens call themselves Democrats, while just 15 percent say they are Republicans.

Among Hispanics, 42 percent rate the economy and the recession as the country's biggest problem; unemployment and a lack of jobs come in at 23 percent.

Ascencion Menjivar, a Honduran native who is a cook in Washington, isn't sold on the administration's approach to creating jobs and is waiting for a solution to get the economy back on track. "I think it'll be a long process," says Menjivar, 30. Still, he says Obama — "a genius" — eventually will make it happen.

Patricia Hernandez Blanco of Miami, 38, is less confident that recovery is under way. "I'm not sure it's improving," she says. Even so, this Cuban who voted for McCain says she would now cast a ballot for Obama.

Re-electing Obama would be "really stupid," counters Carlos Toledo of Puerto Rico, an independent voter, clothing store manager and self-defense instructor in Washington. Toledo, 35, disagrees with Obama's economic policies and says he worries about joblessness as budgets are cut and money is spent on wars despite the country's debt.

Behind economic woes, immigration comes in second in importance.

Since the controversy over the Arizona law erupted in April, Hispanics who mostly speak English at home gave Obama higher marks on his handling of their top issues than did Hispanics who primarily speak Spanish and who tend to be more recent immigrants or non-citizens.

Analysts say it's possible that the more English-dominant Hispanics rallied around the president following the enactment of the Arizona law and his challenge to it; some 40 percent of them approved of his performance on their key issues before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law in April, but the figure rose to 52 percent in the weeks after.

The poll also showed that two years after witnessing Hillary Rodham Clinton's White House bid, Hispanics are twice as likely to expect to see a woman than a fellow Hispanic become president.

Some 59 percent said it is likely that a woman will be elected president sometime in the next two decades, while just 29 percent thought it likely that a Hispanic will be elected president over that period. And, 34 percent of non-citizen Hispanics thought the country is likely to have a Hispanic president, compared with 27 percent of citizens.

A significant percentage of Latinos — 41 percent — said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is Hispanic.

The AP-Univision Poll was conducted from March 11 to June 3 by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Using a sample of Hispanic households provided by The Nielsen Company, 1,521 Hispanics were interviewed in English and Spanish, mostly by mail but also by telephone and the Internet. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Stanford University's participation in the study was made possible by a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #403 on: July 27, 2010, 04:24:13 PM »

Cracks in support?  Or carping from the Left which is left with no where to go?

"An unfulfilled promise to overhaul the nation's patchwork immigration system, which Hispanics overwhelmingly want to see fixed, also may be to blame".   

This is a euphemism for amnesty.

I'm not seeing much cause for hope of Rep political competence here and fear in the middle to long term that the Reps will screw this up and, like the aftermath of Prop 187 here in CA, be lastingly screwed.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #404 on: July 28, 2010, 02:51:18 PM »

The Foundation
"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt." --Thomas Jefferson

Editorial Exegesis

Nancy Pelosi has it backward on deficits"A major poll just gave Congress a favorability rating of 11% -- lowest in history. Never, it seems, have our representatives in Washington been so disconnected from the people they purport to serve. The disconnect was most evident in separate comments made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a conference of the far-left group Netroots Nation last weekend in Las Vegas. Both weighed in on vital topics. Both revealed why they're so out of touch with reality. Pelosi told the audience she adamantly opposes raising the retirement age for Social Security and said the Depression-era program shouldn't be cut to help reduce the deficit. 'When you talk about reducing the deficit and Social Security, you're talking about apples and oranges,' she said. She has it exactly backward. The No. 1 problem facing this nation is the massive deficit we face over the next 75 years, due almost entirely to the expansion of Social Security and Medicare. The only way to address the deficit is to address entitlements. ... Meanwhile, the speaker had the chutzpah -- or maybe it was twisted humor -- to tell the Netroot folks that Democrats are 'moving on all fronts to reduce the deficit.' ... Reid's comments, made to the same Netroot group, were equally absurd -- and no doubt offensive to voters. After his party insisted during more than a year of debate over the health care overhaul that they did not want a single-payer public option, Reid gloated to the Netroot gathering: 'We're going to have a public option. It's just a question of when.' ... Nor does Reid, like Pelosi, get that Social Security is in a deep crisis. He called it 'the most successful social program in the history of the world.' Successful? A program that socks future generations with trillions in higher taxes and lower standards of living? A program that's already running in the red and whose unsustainable finances promise to push the U.S. to the verge of bankruptcy? The arrogance of Reid's and Pelosi's remarks underscore the problems that the Democrats have with the electorate. They promised moderation and fiscal responsibility. Instead, we got a radical expansion of government power." --Investor's Business Daily

Insight
"Has anyone stopped to consider that we might come closer to balancing the budget if all of us simply tried to live up to the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule?" --Ronald Reagan

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." --cultural anthropologist and writer Margaret Mead (1901-1978)

Upright
"In case Al Qaeda, its cohorts, and their sponsors lack for summer reading, WikiLeaks ... has just tipped out onto the web a trove of classified U.S. military documents on the war in Afghanistan. As far as there's an upside to this, some of the concerns described in the documents may help focus attention on the problem of nuclear-armed Pakistan's double-dealing in fostering Islamist terrorism, while receiving huge handouts from the U.S. in its role as an ally. ... But in the larger picture, such leaks are routinely cherry-picked by the U.S. media, and in turn by the world media, for anything damning to the U.S. ... Not only will America's enemies now enjoy a chance to cull the leaked documents for any useful intelligence, but odds are that this huge data dump will become the latest ammo in the hands of the Blame-America-First contingent." --columnist Claudia Rosett

"The next time you hear a liberal scoffing at the idea that the American left has a set of 'talking points,' or that they're 'reading from the same script,' tell him to google 'JournoList.' Frankly, it is completely unsurprising that 400, invitation-only, members of leftist media, academia, think tanks and political activist associations would be attempting to coordinate their political strategy. When your ideology is bankrupt, the only thing left is strength in numbers. And when you revere the collectivist aspirations of Marxist/socialist all-encompassing government, 'group-think' becomes as natural as breathing." --columnist Arnold Ahlert

"From Karl Marx to today, the Left has always hated people on the Right, not merely differed or been angry with them. The question is: why? Here are three possible answers. First, the left thinks the right is evil. ... Second, when you don't confront real evil, you hate those who do. ... Third, the left's utopian vision is prevented only by the right. ... Hatred of conservatives is so much part of the left that the day the left stops hating conservatives will mark the beginning of the end of the left as we know it." --columnist Dennis Prager

"The more the president appeals to his base in racial terms, the more his appointees identify themselves as members of a particular tribe, and the more political issues are framed by racial divisions, so all the more such racial obsession creates a backlash among the racially diverse American people. America has largely moved beyond race. Tragically, our president and a host of his supportive special interests have not." --historian Victor Davis Hanson

"Elites may have more brilliance, but those who make decisions for society as a whole cannot possibly have as much experience as the millions of people whose decisions they pre-empt. The education and intellects of the elites may lead them to have more sweeping presumptions, but that just makes them more dangerous to the freedom, as well as the well-being, of the people as a whole." --economist Thomas Sowell


Dezinformatsia
Slamming Fox: "What is similar about Fox News' extensive coverage of some of the stories that most in the other media didn't give much attention to? And I'll take them to you right now. I'll spell them out for you: Van Jones, the New Black Panther story, ACORN, Shirley Sherrod. What's similar about those stories?" --CNN's Rick Sanchez (Uh, they all involve racist leftists for starters.)

The BIG Lie: "You see, I think a lot of Americans think that, well gosh no, we don't want the tax cuts to expire. Ninety-eight percent of you, it doesn't even affect you." --MSNBC's Ed Schultz

Doesn't get it: "[W]hat I don't quite get is a lot of the people who are shouting about letting these tax cuts expire, they don't want it to happen, are the same people who are shouting about the deficit, and how troubling it is that the national debt is skyrocketing. And you can't have it both ways." --MSNBC's economics mastermind Contessa Brewer

Charity government: "Should George Steinbrenner's heirs pony up a voluntary contribution to the government from their estimated $500 million windfall because the federal estate tax has temporarily lapsed? 'It's an excellent question,' a smiling Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner said Thursday. At a breakfast with reporters, Geithner also was asked how he felt about The Boss' heirs cleaning up because of Steinbrenner's July 13 death -- an extremely timely demise in the tax sense. Geithner ducked, but did say he's upset Congress hasn't fixed a situation that denies the Treasury billions in unpaid taxes from wealthy Americans who die this year." --New York Daily News columnist Thomas DeFrank (The tax rate is 0 percent, meaning nobody is leaving taxes "unpaid.")

Dr. Freud, call your office: "Will the Democrats running for the House re-election, they're all running for re-election under the Constitution, and the Senate candidates, will they run away from President O'Carter? I mean, will they run away." --MSNBC's Chris Matthews, with a Freudian slip
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DougMacG
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« Reply #405 on: August 15, 2010, 01:23:00 PM »

JDN, I took this quote (away from context)over to politics to answer:" Until Bush came along I was a life long Republican.  The Republican core ideals can and do apply to all ethnic groups.  I blame it on poor Republican leadership and vague or unrealistic platforms.  The core (good) story of the Republican party is just not getting out."

Not just Bush, but the R. congress of that time needs to be answered.  Some here are conservatives, some are libertarians.  I'm sure some are neither, but among those who are like-minded we need to find areas of overlap such as founding principles and apply and promote the message.

Putting an R by your name doesn't make Bush, McCain or anyone else a Republican, a conservative, a libertarian or anything else.  Looking back, I give the Nixon presidency to the Dems (of today), the JFK tax cuts to the R's of today and the Clinton and Bush Presidencies mixed reviews. What I like to do is argue out are the policies and the vision, not the people and their blemishes. 

Bush created a huge new entitlement.  At that moment he was a Democrat by my labeling.  Likewise for No child Left Behind.   Whether they got the policy details right or wrong, it was a federal expansion into a non-federal area and that was wrong.  Problem with those reachout and crossover moves was that his new friends were backstabbers while he started to lose his old friends.  Bush siding with Dems on 'amnesty'. It was realpolitik idea for Republicans, like you suggest, but not a conservative, enforce our laws and our borders direction. Other policies of Bush were economically expansive or national security based, in crude modern terms things I call conservative.  Overall spending along with the earmark political payoff spending was obscene - and that congress were punished, politically, as was our nation.

Roughly 40% of the electorate is politically conservative and 40% liberal.  When a President's approval drops below 50% approval, he is losing support from moderates.  Dropping below 40% means losing the base. 

The Pelosi-Obama fiasco has given the Republican-conservative-libertarian movement a teachable moment, and remember that power in Washington shifted in Nov. 2006, not Jan. 2009.

There is a set of ideals and policies that we need in this country.  We will argue over what those are, but we need to settle some of the basic questions as a coalition if we want a direction changing election to have any meaning or mandate. 

If we can get that roadmap, blueprint, platform right, and get that very clear message out, then I don't care so much who joins in or who opposes us. 

What we had previously was muddled policies, muddled directions, muddled leaders and muddled elections.  What we learn from that is nothing IMO.  I agreed with the sentiment of 2006/2008 of throw the bums out.  I just think what followed should have been a clear and careful turn to the right instead of a sharp blind turn to the left.  That choice was never on the ballot.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #406 on: September 03, 2010, 04:42:15 PM »

Digest · September 3, 2010

The Foundation

"A universal peace, it is to be feared, is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts." --James Madison

Government & Politics

Warfront With Jihadistan: Obama's Speech

Tuesday evening, the Whiner-in-Chief gave yet another prime time speech, this time about ending the war in Iraq. Or was it about the war in Afghanistan? Or the "Bush" economy and joblessness? Whatever the point, Obama declared that combat operations in Iraq are "over" and that it was time to "turn the page" on the war.

Obama did give a strong tribute to U.S. troops, saying that they had "completed every mission they were given. They defeated a regime that had terrorized its people." Indeed they did, no thanks to Obama. Of course, if removing a terrorist regime is a good thing, then why did Obama oppose doing so? Perhaps Obama could ask the Kuwaitis about how the old Iraqi regime had terrorized people outside of Iraq, as well.

Ignoring the surge that turned the war around, Obama said of his predecessor, "[N]o one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security." Too bad that can't be said of Obama himself. He continued, "As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it." While he's right that there are patriots who honestly opposed the war from the outset, Obama skipped over how the political talking points of congressional Leftists who opposed the war -- after initially supporting it -- undermined our mission and emboldened our enemies.

We suppose it's no wonder that he ignored the surge. After all, in 2007, he pontificated, "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse." Later that year, he said of the surge, "The president has simply tried to gain another six months to continue on the same course that he's been on for several years now. It is a course that will not succeed."

Now that it has succeeded, Obama naturally wouldn't be eager to remind everyone of his position then. The same can be said for his refusal to even mention Saddam Hussein in his speech. One can only wonder, therefore, whether Obama believes the world is a better place -- and the U.S. more secure -- without the brutal tyrant.

Moving on to Afghanistan, Obama seemed to hedge a bit on his July 2011 withdrawal timeline, saying, "The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground." He also spoke of his own Afghan troop surge, saying, "I have ordered the deployment of additional troops who ... are fighting to break the Taliban's momentum. As with the surge in Iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time." Limited time being the goal, of course.

"Turning the page," then, Obama dispensed with national security in his speech about national security and moved into campaign mode on his economic agenda, though he tied it together with crocodile tears about the cost of the wars. Quite rich coming from someone whose one-year "stimulus" plan cost more than seven years of war in Iraq. If he wants us to "turn the page" to his economic policy, we'll have a chance to give a scathing review of that whole book on Nov. 2.

Quote of the Week
"While the speech may have helped him with Democratic voters, it is likely to undermine confidence in American leadership not only in Iraq and the broader Middle East, but in many other areas of the world. President Obama's proclamation of his 'central responsibility' for economic matters, shoe-horned into a major speech about Iraq -- one of the world's most important international security issues -- will only encourage foreign doubts about his Administration's commitment to finishing the job in Afghanistan, winning the struggle against Islamist extremism, and protecting U.S. allies around the world." --James Phillips of the Heritage Foundation


'Restoring Honor' Rally Draws Crowds, Critics

Author and Fox News Channel personality Glenn Beck held a "Restoring Honor" rally last weekend that filled most of the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Hundreds of thousands attended from around the country, eager to share the message of restoring hope and honor to America. Beck shared the stage with former Alaska Gov. and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, but both speakers downplayed the political aspects of the gathering. Beck's words certainly did have more of a religious tone, encouraging attendees to pray with their families, and to "recognize your place to the Creator. Realize that He is our King. He is the one who guides and directs our life and protects us."

National media outlets and liberals couldn't stomach the fact that Beck held his rally on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's historic "I have a dream" speech during the 1963 March on Washington. The media, of course, tried to make it into a race issue, searching for black people in the audience only to ask them what they were doing there. The "Rev." Al Sharpton accused Beck of co-opting King's legacy, and he held a rather pathetic little counter-gathering of his own.

The message and tone of the two gatherings were quite different. Many of the attendees of Beck's peaceful and respectful "Restoring Honor" rally were motivated to seek a change in direction in America -- one that is less reliant on government. There were many Tea Party supporters in the crowd, as well as average citizens tired of the high taxation and government intrusion in their lives.

Sharpton's "Reclaim the Dream" rally was, on the surface, an opportunity to celebrate King, but underneath was Sharpton's eternal quest to find rampant racism among American whites. Thus, one rally was about the greatness of America, while the other was a gripe-fest about how terrible she allegedly is.

Barack Obama, true to his nature, downplayed the significance of the Beck gathering. First he claimed to have ignored it, but then he told NBC's Brian Williams, "It's not surprising that someone like a Mr. Beck is able to stir up a certain portion" of the American people. This is reminiscent of his various derisive comments about "angry mobs" who are "waving their little tea bags" while they "bitterly cling" to guns and religion. It's no wonder that Obama's poll numbers are tanking when he holds the majority of the American people in such contempt.

This Week's 'Alpha Jackass' Award

"It's a free country. I wish it weren't, but it's a free country, and you got to, you got to respect that freedom." --Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, objecting to the Glenn Beck rally and typifying the Left's attitude toward free speech -- it's great only if they agree with it

News From the Swamp: Obama Calls for More Spending

Barack Obama once again focused blame for the ailing economy on Republicans this week, claiming that the GOP was stonewalling a "jobs" bill for political reasons. The legislation in question is a bill that would set up a $30 billion Treasury Department fund to make loans to small business owners through small, healthy community banks. Legislation has already cleared the House, but Senate Republicans are opposed because the bill does not address the expiration of the Bush tax cuts or the undue paperwork and tax burden that the new health care law will place on small businesses.

Obama claimed, "This bill is fully paid for. It will not add to the deficit, and there is no reason to block it besides pure partisan politics." We've heard that one before, most notably when the president said that ObamaCare would not add one dime to the deficit. In a sense, he was correct. It will actually add hundreds of billions of dimes to the deficit.

Republicans have privately admitted that they don't have the votes to stop this latest liberal boondoggle when Congress goes back to work on Sept. 13. But its passage will provide yet more proof that Obama's so-called fixes for the economy have only sunk America deeper in debt, and just in time for the midterm elections.

From the Left: Demo Rep. Johnson in Ethics Trouble

Another member of the Congressional Black Caucus is in ethical hot water this week. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a nine-term Democrat from Dallas, violated a number of rules in the distribution of college scholarships set aside by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. The Foundation is a nonprofit funded by corporate and private donations, providing approximately $700,000 every year for the 42 members of the Caucus to distribute in the form of scholarships.

It's hard to run afoul of the Foundation's disbursement rules, which are liberal to say the least. Lawmakers have wide latitude in how they disburse the funds. For instance, they can give a lot of small scholarships to many students or even one large scholarship to a single student. There are no stipulations about the selection process either -- lawmakers can do it by committee or individually. Among the few requirements are that the student live or go to school in the district represented by the Caucus member awarding the money, maintain a 2.5 grade-point average and not be related to a Caucus member.

Even with all that room to maneuver, Johnson still managed to blow it. Of the 43 scholarships she awarded between 2005 and 2009, 23 are in violation of Foundation rules. These awards totaling $25,000 went to her grandsons, great-nephews and the children of aide Rod Givens. Not only did she violate the anti-nepotism clause, but also in some cases the recipients don't live or go to school in her district. Johnson predictably played dumb, claiming that she "recognized the names when I saw them," but that she was unaware that she was violating the rules. This might have been a believable excuse were it not for the fact that Johnson actually chaired the Caucus in 2002 and served on the Foundation board from 2002-2005. As with other scandals involving CBC members Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters, we're left to determine whether Johnson was incompetent then or lying now.

It's Miller Time

Incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) conceded her primary race against challenger Joe Miller Tuesday after failing to gain enough ground during the absentee ballot count. Despite having 20 times the campaign cash as her opponent, she is the third sitting senator this year to be fired before the general election. Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) was ousted in a state convention and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-R-D-PA) lost his Democrat primary. Murkowski trailed Miller by 1,668 votes before absentee counting began, and after 15,000 had been counted she remained behind by 1,630 votes. Miller, a West Point and Yale Law graduate who earned a Bronze Star in the first Gulf War, will face Democrat Scott McAdams in November.

There has been much speculation regarding Murkowski's next step, including that she might take the Libertarian Party nomination to keep a slot on November's ballot. It would be generous to call her a moderate, however, and we doubt she or the Libertarian Party would find that a good fit. Miller, meanwhile, won by running a conservative -- and unusual -- campaign for Alaska. The 49th state is heavily addicted to federal cash, and Murkowski and the late Ted Stevens were experts at bringing home the bacon. Miller ran against such government excess, advocating that we restore the Constitution to its rightful place. In a year that has seen growing protests of government overreach, it's encouraging that this approach resonated that far north.


National Security

A Decision Made in Cole Blood

The White House proved again that to them terrorist acts are simply domestic criminal acts committed by "foreigners" as the Obama administration just announced a halt to the prosecution of the suspected al-Qa'ida mastermind behind the attack on the USS Cole, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The Cole was attacked on Oct. 12, 2000, by suicide bombers who detonated more than 1,000 pounds of explosives in a small vessel that pulled alongside the ship while it was on a refueling stop in Yemen. The blast killed 17 U.S. sailors and injured 39 others.

Why the sudden change of prosecutorial heart? A military official speaking on condition of anonymity to The Washington Post explained that "the administration does not want a high-profile terrorist tried in a military tribunal before major figures held at Guantanamo Bay start having civilian trials." Let that sink in for a moment: The Chosen One, through his legal lackey, Attorney General Eric Holder, has decided not to try the terrorists who attacked the Cole on the basis that doing so would introduce even more uncertainty into the execution phase of a poorly contemplated decision. Never mind the evidence linking al-Nashiri to the bombing.

Never mind, too, the palpable link between the Cole bombing and 9/11. Notably, one of the 9/11 hijackers -- Khalid al-Mihdhar -- also helped plan the Cole bombing. Additionally, imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who was linked both to the Fort Hood shootings and the Christmas Day "Undie Bomber," is also tied to the Cole attack. No, apparently the key take-away from the administration's actions is that an attack on an American warship -- one that resulted in the deaths of 17 American Patriots -- doesn't count nearly as much as ensuring that the civil-trial-for-war-criminals agenda remains on track.

Of course, it's also very understandable why the ironically named (of late) Justice Department would want to shed cases right now, especially in light of its legal offensive against Arizona holding the federal government to task in enforcing U.S. law. But we digress. For its part, Team Chosen has apparently borrowed a line from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail": "Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who."

As for us, our hearts are with the families of the victims of the attack on the USS Cole. We are truly heartbroken for these families that have now witnessed a full decade of justice denied, and our blood boils at the thought that this injustice will continue.

Middle East Peace Talks, Take 87

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week for the latest round of peace talks, the first in nearly two years. The good news is that they had such a good time that they agreed to do it again sometime. Another round of talks will convene on Sept. 14 and 15. To quote the great diplomat Forrest Gump, "That's all we have to say about that."

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #407 on: September 03, 2010, 04:42:58 PM »

Immigration Front: ICE Enforcement

Washington's elites are once again having it their way. On Aug. 20, Immigrant and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary John Morton wrote a memo to the agency's head of removal operations, telling him that being in the U.S. illegally is no longer grounds for deportation. Only illegals who pose a security threat or have violent records need now be deported. The memo represents Barack Obama's announcement of open borders to a waiting world. How much damage can one president create in a single term? Jimmy Carter was a piker compared to this guy.

The agency now has also begun an "outreach" program to illegals closest to eligibility for permanent status. It's coaching illegals on how to obtain the proper credentials to vote. ICE even sent a form letter to one illegal who had admitted to voting in a previous election, a felony. But ICE's priority is to get him his U.S. citizenship, not to enforce the law.

ICE workers themselves are so angry about Obama's dereliction of his duty that their union issued a membership consensus of "no confidence" in the agency's leaders, something a federal union has never done before. But the drug cartels, whose aim is to turn Mexico into a narco-state on our southern border, are thrilled with the new policy and have already stepped up the terrorizing of residents in Northern Mexico.

The recent massacre of 72 would-be illegals in Tamaulipas, Mexico, is the tip of an iceberg. Not only do the cartels smuggle and murder people, but they also enslave many for various reasons: some are forced into sex slavery and some into the ranks of the gangs' foot soldiers. This part of the president's "fundamental transformation" of America is getting ugly.

In other news, the Justice Department has followed through on their threat to sue Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for supposed "civil rights" violations in his efforts to round up illegal aliens. It's now the third federal suit against Arizona -- all because the state is picking up federal slack.


Business & Economy

10th Amendment Uprising Against ObamaCare

More than 20 states are suing the federal government over this year's Democrat-engineered hostile takeover of the nation's health care system. They argue (correctly) that Uncle Sam has no constitutional authority to mandate that individuals purchase health insurance. Continuing its pattern of constitutional reinventions, however, the Obama administration claims that the Commerce Clause gives Congress the authority. (It must be right next to the "federal government can do most anything" clause.) We would point to Article I, Section 8 and the 10th Amendment for evidence to the contrary.

The legal challenges notwithstanding, seven of the states involved in the lawsuit (Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Nevada) are accepting subsidies provided under ObamaCare to help employers cover early retirees. Jane Jankowski, press secretary for Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, explained, "Gov. Daniels does not agree with [ObamaCare], but Indiana will seek funds that help Hoosiers when there are no complicated strings or costs attached."

Meanwhile, the Florida Supreme Court, by a 5-2 vote, nixed a ballot initiative attempting to amend the state's constitution to say that Floridians have the right not to buy mandatory health care coverage. Citing "misleading and ambiguous language" in the ballot summary, the judges said their "only recourse is to strike the proposed constitutional amendment from the ballot." In 2004, however, the court resolved a ballot question by having state officials replace the summary with the full amendment text. Strange how recourse options have changed since then.

This Week's 'Braying Jenny' Award
"Unfortunately, there still is a great deal of confusion about what is in [the health care law] and what isn't. ... So, we have a lot of re-education to do." --Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Great idea. Maybe they can even set up some camps to help with the "re-education" effort, à la Chairman Mao's Little Red Playbook.

Income Redistribution: Record Number Receiving Federal Aid

A new survey shows the number of Americans on the government dole has reached a record high, with one in six now receiving some form of government aid. According to a USA Today survey, more than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid (up 17 percent since December 2007), more than 40 million receive food stamps (a 50 percent jump), nearly 10 million receive unemployment benefits (almost four times the 2007 number), and more than 4.4 million are on other welfare programs (up 18 percent). As numbers have risen, so have costs. Welfare, food stamps and unemployment benefits now carry respective price tags of $22 billion, $70 billion and $160 billion, with Medicaid claiming some $273 billion in federal tax dollars, spiking 36 percent in just two years.

LaDonna Pavetti of the left-wing Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues the government "should be there to support people when the economy can't." But the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner points out that government programs are "much harder to unwind in the long term."

Speaking of government programs, Social Security snagged the spotlight last week, thanks to former Republican senator and current co-chair of Barack Obama's deficit committee Alan Simpson, who described the entitlement program as "a milk cow with 310 million tits." An unpleasant way to speak the truth.

Finally, wrapping up the "Recovery Summer" touted by the White House, the Labor Department announced that employers cut 54,000 jobs in August (mostly temporary census workers) and unemployment rose to 9.6 percent. But not to worry. As Joe Biden says, "No doubt we're moving in the right direction."

Judicial Benchmarks: Judge Rules Against Gov't on Drilling Ban

"A federal judge on Wednesday rejected the U.S. government's request to dismiss an industry lawsuit challenging its deepwater oil and gas drilling moratorium, dealing another blow to the Obama administration," Reuters reports. After the administration issued its first drilling ban in June, Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc., and other drilling companies sued. According to Reuters, "As a result of Louisiana-based Hornbeck's lawsuit, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans blocked implementation of the drilling ban on June 22."

What did the administration do? Why, draw up another ban, of course. However, noting that the second moratorium made "no substantial changes" to the first one, Feldman denied the administration's efforts to dismiss the Hornbeck suit.

Meanwhile, an oil platform off the Louisiana coast caught fire Thursday, just 245 miles from BP's Deepwater Horizon. Thirteen people were aboard but no one was injured seriously, and the fire is reportedly out. It appears that little or no oil was spilled, but this will no doubt increase the resolve of those who oppose drilling and want even more regulation. After all, when regulations don't work, the answer is always more of them.

Regulatory Commissars: Report Cars

Fearing consumers aren't making the politically correct choices, the Obama administration has proposed grading new passenger vehicles with letter grades from A to D based on fuel efficiency and tailpipe emissions. Currently, the EPA rates a vehicle's city and highway mileage, along with estimating the annual fuel cost. Under the EPA's and Transportation Department's proposal, the only cars that can receive Big Brother's Official Seal of Approval with an A-plus, A or A-minus are electrics and plug-in hybrids. No word on whether all Chrysler or GM products are automatically granted an A while they're still owned by the federal government.

As can be expected, grade inflation is awarded in inverse proportion to how powerful the vehicle is, so small, weak-sister econoboxes dominate the top grades while larger family vehicles are at the other end of the spectrum. Not coincidentally, this inversion generally mirrors the sales numbers of the vehicles, with the biggest sellers typically being the would-be lower graded but larger and more powerful vehicles.

Due to the administration's unrivaled talent for creating unintended consequences, the proposed environmental rules may actually encourage more environmental pollution. Notably excluded are several important factors for evaluating a vehicle's efficiency, such as longevity and upstream energy usage, both of which are important in comprehensively evaluating Obama's A+ graded electric vehicles. When the government conveniently excludes non-tailpipe emissions, all the power plant emissions generated in charging the electric cars isn't counted even though such power plant emissions may exceed the tailpipe emissions of a gas vehicle. We wonder if a grade can be assigned when liars figure and figures are made to lie.


Culture & Policy

Second Amendment: EPA Doesn't Ban Lead Ammo
In early August, the Center for Biological Diversity and four other radical environmentalist groups filed a petition with the EPA to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Claiming that lead ammunition and fishing tackle "have a devastating effect" on wildlife, they asked the EPA to enact the ban under the authority of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Recognizing this petition for what it really was, a back-door attempt to restrict gun rights, the hunting, outdoor recreation and shooting community quickly mobilized.

There was one major problem with the radicals' petition: Ammunition is exempt from regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Undeterred, the radicals claimed that the EPA had the authority to regulate ammunition anyway. In an act unusual for the overreaching and power-hungry agency, the EPA denied the petition last Friday, admitting that it doesn't have jurisdiction to regulate ammunition under the Act. The agency is still considering the petition as it pertains to fishing tackle.

No one seriously expects this to be the end of the matter. The well funded and notoriously litigious Center for Biological Diversity and its radical cronies will almost certainly file a federal lawsuit. No doubt they will ask the courts to do to lead ammunition what they did to carbon dioxide: require the EPA to regulate something it should leave alone. Common sense has -- for a change -- prevailed at the EPA. We can only hope it also prevails in the courts.

Around the Nation: Treading on the Gadsden Flag

An Arizona homeowner is under pressure from his homeowners' association to remove the "debris" from his roof. The "debris" in question is a Gadsden flag flown from his house since earlier this year. Commonly known as the "Don't Tread on Me" flag, the yellow banner with a coiled rattlesnake originated in the Revolutionary War when it was flown above ships. It since has been adopted as a symbol of the Tea Party movement.

The homeowner, who was himself a member of the Avalon Village Community Association until July, says, "It's a patriotic gesture. It's a historic military flag. It represents the Founding Fathers. It shows this nation was born out of an idea." Shortly after resigning due to a dispute with the board's president, he received the first notice about the flag. Now, even the ACLU has come to his defense, saying that homeowners' associations don't have the right to "hijack" their members' First Amendment rights. Avalon Village, for their part, says they are following a state statute that allows residents to fly the U.S. flag, the state flag, the official flags of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, and various Indian nation flags. A similar threat was rescinded in Colorado, and some retired Marines are fighting to have the flag flown over the state Capitol in Connecticut.

And Last...

Everyone is okay at the Discovery Communications building in Silver Spring, Maryland. For nearly four hours on Wednesday afternoon, James J. Lee held three people hostage at gunpoint inside the building. He had what appeared to be explosives strapped to his body.

Lee was no right-wing lunatic with a gun, but a radical lefty environmentalist who had protested Discovery before. His rambling demands included changing programming to add more shows warning against "giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution" and stopping shows that are "advertising weapons of mass-destruction." Lee also wanted Discovery Channel to "find solutions for unemployment and housing." He continued, "Saving the environment and the remaning [sic] species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels. The humans? The planet does not need humans." He experienced an "awakening" after watching Al Gore's environmental propaganda film, ''An Inconvenient Truth." Does that now qualify it as "hate speech"?

After negotiations failed to placate Lee, police shot and killed him, granting him his wish for fewer people on the planet. We just hope the cops didn't use lead bullets. That might be bad for the environment.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #408 on: September 24, 2010, 08:27:10 PM »

Moving a post by BBG to here:
========================

Senators Seek Investigation of Obama Administration for Discussing Koch Tax Status

BY John McCormack

September 24, 2010 5:38 PM

Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican of the Finance Committee, has requested a formal investigation of the Obama administration over a senior administration official's comments on the tax status of Koch Industries--a private company targeted by Democrats, including President Obama himself, for funding libertarian and conservative causes.

Grassley and six other Republican senators on the Finance Committee sent a letter today to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, in which they asked the inspector general to investigate "a very serious allegation that Administration employees may have improperly accessed and disclosed confidential taxpayer information. As you know, section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code protects the privacy of federal tax returns and return information.  This law was enacted as a result of the use of tax information for political gain during the Watergate scandal."

At an August 27 press briefing, a senior administration official, who appears to be Austan Goolsbee, said:

in this country we have partnerships, we have S corps, we have LLCs, we have a series of entities that do not pay corporate income tax. Some of which are really giant firms, you know Koch Industries is a multibillion dollar businesses. So that creates a narrower base because we've literally got something like 50 percent of the business income in the U.S. is going to businesses that don't pay any corporate income tax.

"[T]he statement that Koch is a pass-through entity implies direct knowledge of Koch’s legal and tax status, which would appear to be a violation of section 6103," the senators wrote in their letter today. "Alternatively, if the statement was based on speculation, it raises the question of whether the Administration speculating about any specific taxpayer’s liability is appropriate."

Grassley and his colleagues don't necessarily buy the Obama administration's claim that the information about Koch came from publicly available sources.

The senators write that the senior administration official "comments on the legal structure of Koch Industries, Inc. (Koch) and its impact on the group’s tax liability. While Koch’s website indicates some of the Koch companies are limited liability companies (LLC) or limited partnerships, there is no indication that Koch itself is a Subchapter S Corporation, which is one type of flow through entity, or a Subchapter C corporation.  In addition, an LLC can choose to be taxed as Subchapter C corporation."

The senators conclude their letter with these requests to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration:

we ask that you obtain and review a transcript of the August 27, 2010, press briefing to determine the basis for the Administrations employees’ statements and review the PERAB’s work in preparing its report on corporate tax reform.  In particular, we ask you to address the following questions.

1)      Did Administration employees, including PERAB employees, have access to tax returns and return information in compiling the PERAB report?

2)      If yes, how many companies’ tax returns did the PERAB employees review and did they follow the procedures prescribed under the regulations governing section 6103 for accessing and protecting taxpayer information?

3)      Did Administration employees, including PERAB employees, violate section 6103 when they discussed the tax status of Koch Industries, Inc. and its related companies?

4)      If violations of 6103 did not occur, what was the basis for the statement regarding Koch’s legal and tax status and was the statement appropriate?


Source URL: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/senators-seek-investigation-obama-administration-discussing-koch-tax-status
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #409 on: September 29, 2010, 02:44:13 PM »

Chronicle · September 29, 2010

The Foundation
"In reality there is perhaps no one of our natural Passions so hard to subdue as Pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will now and then peek out and show itself." --Benjamin Franklin

The Demo-gogues
With friends like these... "People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up. ... If people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place. ... It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. ... The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible." --Barack Obama hammering his own base in an interview with Rolling Stone

"[I want to] remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives. This president has done an incredible job. He's kept his promises." --Joe Biden on the same talking points

"And so those who don't get -- didn't get everything they wanted, it's time to just buck up here, understand that we can make things better, continue to move forward and -- but not yield the playing field to those folks who are against everything that we stand for in terms of the initiatives we put forward." --Joe Biden

"We have an electorate that doesn't always pay that much attention to what's going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what's happening." --Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), another snotty elitist lecturing voters

The GOP's best friend: "f we allow this to be a referendum on whether people are happy where they are now, we'll lose." --Joe Biden

But on the other hand: "I guarantee you we're going to have a majority in the House and a majority in the Senate. I absolutely believe that." --Biden

Patronizing: "There are strains in the Tea Party that are troubled by what they saw as a series of instances in which the middle-class and working-class people have been abused or hurt by special interests and Washington, but their anger is misdirected." --Barack Obama

"[Fox News has] a point of view that I disagree with. It's a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world." --Obama in the Rolling Stone interview

On fiscal responsibility: "What I'm seeing out of the Republican leadership over the last several years has been a set of policies that are just irresponsible, and we saw in their Pledge to America a similar set of irresponsible policies. ... [Although GOP leaders] say they want to balance the budget, they propose $4 trillion worth of tax cuts and $16 billion in spending cuts, and then they say we're going to somehow magically balance the budget. That's not a serious approach." --Barack Obama, who must consider Republicans amateurs when it comes to blowing money

Editorial Exegesis
"Democrats seeking to boost voter turnout this fall are beginning to sound like the late comedian Chris Farley's portrayal of a 'motivational speaker' on Saturday Night Live. Farley's character sought to inspire young people by announcing that they wouldn't amount to 'jack squat' and would someday be 'living in a van down by the river.' ... This week President Obama chimed in with another uplifting message about the American electorate. Mr. Obama told Rolling Stone that the tea party movement is financed and directed by 'powerful, special-interest lobbies.' But this doesn't mean that tea party groups are composed entirely of corporate puppets. Mr. Obama graciously implied that a small subset of the movement is simply motivated by bigotry. The President said 'there are probably some aspects of the Tea Party that are a little darker, that have to do with anti-immigrant sentiment or are troubled by what I represent as the President.' The tea party is now supported by a third of the country in some polls. Perhaps advocates for smaller government shouldn't take Mr. Obama's comments personally. In the new Democratic attacks on the voting public, not even Democrats are spared. Vice President Joe Biden recently urged the party's base to 'stop whining' and 'buck up,' a message echoed by Mr. Obama in his Rolling Stone interview. The President ... added that 'if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place.' Making the case for left-wing voters to show up in November, Mr. Obama told Rolling Stone that he is presiding over 'the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.' We'd agree, but his problem is that most Americans don't like that agenda and millions of voters in both parties wanted him to oversee an economic expansion instead. Blaming the voters is not unheard of among politicians, but usually they wait until after an election." --The Wall Street Journal


Insight
"We demand entire freedom of action and then expect the government in some miraculous way to save us from the consequences of our own acts.... Self-government means self-reliance." --President Calvin Coolidge (1873-1933)

"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." --American writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)

Upright
"Progressives want to raise taxes on individuals who make more than $200,000 a year because they say it's wrong for the rich to be 'given' more money. Sunday's New York Times carries a cartoon showing Uncle Sam handing money to a fat cat. They just don't get it. As I've said before, a tax cut is not a handout. It simply means government steals less. What progressives want to do is take money from some -- by force -- and spend it on others. It sounds less noble when plainly stated." --columnist John Stossel

"Americans are learning once again that campaign rhetoric is no substitute for sound economics. And any American President who promises to make your life better by vilifying your fellow countryman, is a very dangerous character indeed." --columnist Austin Hill

"What optimistic Americans used to call a rising tide that lifts all boats is now once again derided as trickle-down economics. In other words, a newly peasant-minded America is willing to become collectively poorer so that some will not become wealthier." --historian Victor Davis Hanson

Point: "Obama and his cronies keep referring to 'the last decade' in their sorry attempt to blame the Republicans for the present state of the nation. The truth, however, is that the GOP only ran things for the first six of those 10 years. Once the liberals took control of Congress in 2006, it was Dodd, Frank and Obama, along with their good friends at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who brought about the housing meltdown and the ensuing financial collapse. Since 2008, it's been the Obama administration that has sent the national deficit soaring through the stratosphere." --columnist Burt Prelutsky

Counterpoint: "In the 'Pledge to America' they unveiled last week, House Republicans promise they will 'launch a sustained effort to stem the relentless growth in government that has occurred over the past decade.' Who better for the job than the folks who ran the government for most of that time?" --columnist Jacob Sullum

"[The tea party movement] is about electing people who are going to get the Federal government to stop pressing the handle that has been flushing America's wealth, ingenuity, and capacity for hard work down the toilet bowl of history by promising more and more to people who have produced less and less until no one has anything." --political analyst Rich Galen


Dezinformatsia
The sycophant's lament: "People don't appreciate some of the amazing legislative agenda that [Barack Obama has] accomplished. Is this a failure of leadership? Has he allowed the opposition to define him?" --ABC's Christiane Amanpour

Asking the tough questions: "Former President Clinton said he doesn't think the Democrats, and you included, have been rigorous enough in pushing back against some of the Republican attacks. Over these next five weeks [before the November election], Mr. President, do you intend to change your tone or your emotion in terms of your pushing back?" --NBC's Matt Lauer to BO

Demented: "You think business can sit on those billions and trillions of dollars for two more years after they screw Obama this time? Are they going to keep sitting on their money so they don't invest and help the economy for two long years to get Mr. Excitement Mitt Romney elected president? Will they do that to the country?" --MSNBC's Chris Matthews

The "living constitution": "Joe Miller, the Palin-blessed Republican nominee for Senate in Alaska, suggests that Social Security is unconstitutional because it wasn't in the Constitution. The Constitution is a dazzling document, but do these originalists really think things haven't changed since then? If James Madison beamed down now, he would no doubt be stunned at the idea that America had evolved so far but was hemming itself in by the strictest interpretation of his handiwork. He might even tweet about it." --New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd

Newspulper Headlines:
Breaking News From March: "Democrats Decide on Political Suicide" --The New Republic website

Questions Nobody Is Asking: "Will God Save the Democrats?" --TheAtlantic.com

Answers to Questions Nobody Is Asking: "Why Democrats Are Pushing a Series of Bills Doomed to Fail" --Christian Science Monitor

The One Thing They Know About: "Congress Changes Intellectual Disability Wording" --Associated Press

Out on a Limb: "Bill Clinton: There's a 50-50 Chance for Peace Deal" --YNetNews.com (Israel)

News You Can Use: "Manhattan Is No Place to Juice Up Your Mitsubishi Clown Mobile" --Bloomberg

Breaking News From 1 Samuel 17:50-51: "Humiliating Doesn't Begin to Describe Giants' Performance" --CBS Sports website

Bottom Stories of the Day: "Obama Calls Republican Leaders 'Irresponsible'" --ABC news website (U.S.)

(Thanks to The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto)

Village Idiots
Pot and kettle: "If you love deficits, you will love the Republican plan." --White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, who must have missed the deficit quadrupling under Democrat control

More lectures: "People have a right to be angry. They have a right to be disappointed. But they still have to be make a choice. An election is not a referendum on their anger. It's a choice between two candidates." --Bill Clinton

That's a good question: "Do you know how many political and economic decisions are made in this world by people who don't know what in the living daylights they are talking about?" --Bill Clinton

We know what's best for you: "[T]here's a little Homer Simpson in all of us. Sometimes we have self-control problems, sometimes we're impulsive and that in these circumstances, both private and public institutions, without coercing, can make our lives a lot better. Once we know that people are human and have some Homer Simpson in them, then there's a lot that can be done to manipulate them." --Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, on helping us make "right choices"

We're not buying what you're selling: "I'm extremely sensitive to the feelings of the families of 9/11." --Ground Zero Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Short Cuts
"President Obama's old sloganeering has worn thin. It's time for a new motto for the most powerful man in the world. And he's up to the challenge. Obama's new slogan: 'It's not me, it's you.'" --columnist Ben Shapiro

"On the political gimmickry scale, the GOP's new 'Pledge to America' is worse than some, better than others. Let's say it falls somewhere between the Federalist Papers and a Harry Reid press release -- which, admittedly, pins it down as much as saying you lost a cufflink somewhere between Burkina Faso and Cleveland." --columnist Jonah Goldberg

"This week, all we've heard about is how [Christine] O'Donnell once said she went on a date with a guy in high school who claimed to be a witch. (So what? Bill Clinton married one!)" --columnist Ann Coulter

"President Obama signaled a change in U.S. policy toward the Third World Thursday in a U.N. speech. He said he intends to promote commerce and free trade with poor nations rather than just give them money. If it works there, he's going to try it here." --comedian Argus Hamilton

"I've got some problems with evolution myself. ... I look around at, say, Democrats, and I say, 'That's evolved?'" --columnist P.J. O'Rourke
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DougMacG
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« Reply #410 on: October 01, 2010, 10:29:55 AM »

We had quite a discussion a month or 2 ago about how impossible it will be for conservatives to win over the Hispanic vote.  Meanwhile, the Dems margin of winning that vote has shrunk from a 32 point margin to 13 in 2 months.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/143330/Midterms-Dems-Gain-Young-Voters-Slip-Hispanics.aspx
Barely half of Hispanics in September planned to vote Democratic

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #411 on: October 01, 2010, 11:19:24 AM »

If I read the article correctly, that is because His Glibness failed to push amnesty hard enough.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #412 on: October 17, 2010, 09:44:41 AM »

It will be strange governance and more difficult to assess blame if/when Republicans take the House, close in on the Senate and then nothing much gets accomplished.  As VDH put it, Obama doesn't mind that his agenda cost so many of his colleagues their jobs partly because of his narcissism and because:

"a sober reflection that a Republican Congress in 2011-12 can be blamed for cutting the “needy” while Obama can take credit for the upturn that will surely follow once business grasps his socialist agenda is stalled."
----
Just heard Gibbs say the people want to see the two parties to work together.  But people aren't moving toward Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, Marco Rubio for examples because they will work seamlessly with President Obama, they are voting against Harry Reid etc. because they did.
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In the previous discussion in this thread, polls show Hispanic support weakening for Dems.  Crafty wrote "because [they] failed to push amnesty hard enough".

True. And he is setting up the same ambivalence for gays.  Dems are supposedly their ally yet he continues to mostly thwart the gay agenda based on polls and the old political reality of where else are they going to go.  Answer to that is that if there is no meaningful difference on one issue, they may vote on some other issue like the economy or not vote at all.
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Dems carried congress in the 2008 election by 10.2% in total votes where polling has the possibility of that margin flipping nearly that far this year the other direction.  What changed?  One theory: voters to change Washington, but not to change our country.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2010, 09:46:48 AM by DougMacG » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #413 on: October 29, 2010, 10:58:19 AM »

Assuming Harry Reid loses, the new Dem leader of the senate will be Schumer who I fear but I don't think has much more national appeal than Harry Reid. (Dick Durbin, if not Schumer.)  Probably Steny Hoyer becomes Dem leader of the House if R's win there assuming Nancy won't want to be minority leader and fly a smaller plane.
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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/us/politics/29schumer.html?_r=1&ref=politics
As Reid Falters, Schumer Subtly Stands in the Wings - NY Times
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Speaker of the House is a big deal because for one thing is second in line behind VP to ascend to the Presidency.  Presumably Boehner keeps his leadership post for winning but I would hope R's start from scratch and pick their very best going forward.  Ryan or Pence come to mind.  And it can't be someone running for President.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #414 on: November 04, 2010, 10:31:15 AM »

Republicans just took back a majority of Governorships.  Interesting political point by Paul Mirengoff at Powerline regarding the Senate:

"Republicans have a natural majority in the Senate. In a "50-50" election, the presidential race goes to a recount while the House splits down the middle and ultimately goes to the party who has won the redistricting battles. But in the three cycles necessary to populate the Senate, "50-50" elections go to the Republicans due to the equal representation of small, mostly Red, states.

Yet, (red states) Arkansas and North Dakota have two Democratic Senators (until January), Montana has two, South Dakota has one, Nebraska has one, and Indiana has one (until January). Over the next two cycles, assuming Republicans can maintain something close to 50 percent status or better, the Senate should come to reflect its natural Republican majority."
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(A simple majority in the Senate however is not enough to get business done.)
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DougMacG
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« Reply #415 on: November 05, 2010, 12:33:31 PM »

Rarick, I think you nailed this one: "That is why Reid won. The thinking independants of nevada would mostly dislike Schumer, and if there is going to be a democratic majority in the senate- better to have OUR guy there rather than someone else's."

R's were projected to fall short in the Senate so Reid would still be the powerful majority leader for Nevada.  If this were to be a sweep and he would lose power anyway then they may have swung the other way to the inexperienced challenger.  It is hard for me to think like centrists absent of core principles.
--------------

Flashback, I ran across this Washington Post focus group study of the 2008 Dem field from 4 years ago.  Some insights.  Many have died a political death since then.  Most interesting is Hillary was considered unelectable and IL state senator Barack Obama was not mentioned:  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/eye-on-2008/focusing-grouping-the-2008-dem.html 
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G M
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« Reply #416 on: November 05, 2010, 12:51:14 PM »

Here I was thinking Reid won because of vote fraud.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #417 on: November 05, 2010, 04:34:38 PM »

Lets be fair here.   As much as I liked Angle for unabashedly speaking Tea Party truths, IMHO we need to remember she was also a pretty awful candidate and not-ready-for-prime-time in many ways.
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« Reply #418 on: November 05, 2010, 04:41:01 PM »

Funny that the polling tended to show them in a dead heat, then Reid wins by a much larger margin.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #419 on: November 05, 2010, 04:56:29 PM »

She polled even amongst non-union households, but was badly behind with union households.  The unions bussed their people in and now their hooks are deeper into Reid than ever.
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G M
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« Reply #420 on: November 05, 2010, 05:08:53 PM »

The Kansas City mob has older and deeper hooks.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #421 on: November 05, 2010, 05:35:55 PM »

It would not surprise me , , ,
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G M
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« Reply #422 on: November 05, 2010, 06:51:09 PM »

http://www.allbusiness.com/crime-law-enforcement-corrections/criminal-offenses/14197159-1.html

When the Mob Museum opens in mid-2011, I'll be looking for what is omitted.

Will it include the roughest period of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's life, when mobsters dubbed him "Cleanface"?

Will it include graphic photos of Anthony Spilotro's brutal murder, when his family still lives in Las Vegas?

Will it be a paean to Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, the longtime mob mouthpiece? Or will he be a bit player, despite taking the lead to create the museum and preserve the old courthouse/post office?

The museum's creative director, Dennis Barrie, doesn't have all the answers yet. He doesn't know whether "Cleanface" will be part of the museum or how Spilotro's murder will be portrayed, although he assured me Frank Rosenthal will be included. Of course, it would be really odd if Rosenthal (a Goodman client) wasn't featured, since he and Spilotro were our city's leading mob figures in the '70s and '80s.

**Snip**


When the final decisions on what's in and what's out are made in April, I bet the Spilotro photos are in, and Cleanface is out.

Reid has said many times that the period in the late 1970s, when he was receiving death threats and was suspected of corruption, was the worst time of his life. In 1979, wiretaps were released of an eight-hour secret meeting in a Kansas City basement where Sicilian mobster Joe Agosto told Kansas City mobsters about the skimming at Las Vegas hotels and gossiped about local notables. Nicknames were used and there were references to Cleanface and Mr. Clean. "I gotta Cleanface in my pocket," Agosto said.

Reid, the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, was Cleanface. But was he corrupt? Nevada gaming officials hired outside investigators, who, after a five-month investigation, concluded Agosto was bragging. But the moniker stuck. Google Cleanface and one of the first items up references Harry Reid.

A video of a Gaming Commission meeting in which Rosenthal screams at Reid and claims Reid somehow betrayed him exists, but I doubt that ends up in the museum either.
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G M
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« Reply #423 on: November 05, 2010, 08:05:45 PM »

http://gsting.blogspot.com/

An interesting primer on Nevada politics and the "g-sting" scandal.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #424 on: November 05, 2010, 08:23:03 PM »

Save me the search please  smiley what is the URL for the material on Reid?
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G M
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« Reply #425 on: November 05, 2010, 09:43:48 PM »

I can't find a transcript where the FBI intercepted Joe Agosto bragging that Harry"Mr. Cleanface" Reid was on his payroll.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #426 on: November 18, 2010, 12:22:30 PM »

Ethics chief counsel recommends censure for Rangel

http://www.seattlepi.com/national/1153ap_us_rangel_punishment.html?source=mypi

Followup to some discussion on Charlie Rangel on rants and thought pieces.

It is wonderful that the Dem congress acted at all on this IMO.  Rangel was begging to make himself look like he is being persecuted by the new Republican House and it didn't come to that.  He already lost his Chairmanship and would have lost it any way in the party sweep.  Expulsion vs. censure? I don't really care.  It was for mostly his constituents to remove him.  He was just re-elected with 80 percent of the vote.  If he really is criminally guilty, jail might keep him from voting in congress.  We are going to get a liberal from Harlem no matter what.  It is Democrats that should wish Rangel would go away. 

I give the Dems some credit here.  They said they would clean up the house and they didn't, but in this one instance I give them credit for eventually doing something here and not letting it slide forward.
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ccp
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« Reply #427 on: November 18, 2010, 01:14:48 PM »

"It is Democrats that should wish Rangel would go away."

It does not appear that Democrats have any shame.

We should all be wishing he go away.

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ccp
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« Reply #428 on: November 19, 2010, 12:43:47 PM »

My opinion as well as these authors.  I couldn't agree more.  It is a joke.  Pay a fine, say your sorry, get embarassed and lets all move on.  What a joke.
Congress cannot be expected to police their own anymore than anyone else.  I don't want him there so Republicans can use him as poster boy.  He should be thrown out.  Good bye.  Go to pasture you self serving narcissitic piece of garbage.  Your 80 yrs old.  Go away!  Nothing ever changes.  Only the people in charge.

****Rangel ‘trial’ spotlights flaws in House ethics process
By Rachel Rose Hartman
          By Rachel Rose Hartman and Holly Bailey

Every two years around this time, a common mantra repeated by Democrats and Republicans alike makes its way through Capitol Hill: This will be the Congress that finally cleans up Washington.

"We're going to drain the swamp," Nancy Pelosi vowed in 2006, echoing congressional leaders before her. And just last week, Eric Cantor, the No. 2 GOP leader in the House, promised virtually the same thing as the Republicans prepare to take the House majority. "We will drain the swamp rather than learn to swim with the alligators," Cantor declared.

But the conclusion this week of the House Ethics Committee investigation of New York Democrat Charlie Rangel confirms what virtually everyone in Washington knows about the House's interest in cracking down on ethics: It's a joke.


After two years of investigation by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the official name of the ethics committee), Rangel was sentenced to a slap on the wrist for 11 separate ethics violations. It's a humiliating blow to the vanity of a 20-term lawmaker, perhaps, but Rangel won't have to resign from Congress or face penalties beyond paying back taxes on the charges. Rangel, like those before him, will benefit from a system designed entirely by Congress to protect its own.

Democrats and Republicans alike have worked for years to undermine the House ethics process. And as a result, the ethics committee has long functioned in a state of political stalemate--in part because both parties insisted on an equal number of representatives on the committee, which ensured a deadlock.

During the ethics committee's 2004 investigation of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), GOP leaders threatened to defund the committee. The panel ultimately found DeLay guilty of several ethics violations -- but it was an indictment in Texas for violating campaign finance laws, rather than the committee's punishment, that drove him from Congress.

And the dynamic that played out in DeLay's case is not uncommon. The House may recommend that a member be stripped of a committee assignment when a member's activities suggest the taint of corruption, but other than that, a lawmaker who appears to be connected to corruption usually just continues business as usual. The House, in short, protects its members.

When the FBI found $90,000 in bribes hidden in Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson's freezer in 2006, the House Ethics Committee voted to open an investigation, but didn't appear to do anything. It wasn't until a year later that the House Ethics Committee announced an official investigation--a proceeding that occurred after federal prosecutors had already indicted Jefferson on 16 charges related to corruption.

In other cases, the law has acted well before the ethics committee got  around to pursuing an inquiry. Florida GOP Rep. Mark Foley resigned from Congress in September 2006, when news broke that Foley had sent sexually suggestive instant messages to teenage boys. The ethics committee then opened an investigation that found Dennis Hastert and other Republican leaders negligent in the case, but not in violation of House rules. The panel did not recommend any sanctions.

An additional frustration for watchdog groups is that the committee operates in secrecy and has a policy of not commenting on any ongoing investigations.

In 2008, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to change the committee's high-secrecy profile by leading the charge in creating an Office of Congressional Ethics to strengthen the House ethics process, increase transparency, and serve as a link between the ethics committee and the public. But as we've seen in Rangel's case, complaints surrounding the ethics process continue.

The committee has one more trial on its plate before the session concludes: A House proceeding opens Nov. 29 for California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, who faces three ethics charges connected to her advocacy for a bank with ties to her husband.

Beyond that, however, the House ethics process seems likely to revert to the earlier status quo as the majority switches to Republican control.

Incoming Speaker John Boehner has already begun talk of defunding the Office of Congressional Ethics, which he opposed from the start, arguing it's an unnecessary expense and has been an ineffective body. Boehner's opponents argue his plans could move the House backward in the ongoing fight to combat corruption in Washington.

(Photo of hearing with Rangel, far right: Getty Images/Mark Wilson)*****
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DougMacG
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« Reply #429 on: November 19, 2010, 01:05:43 PM »

CCP, my take: These are laws he broke (allegedly).  We need prosecution, fair trial, then penalty.  Not committees.  He lost his Chairmanship.  He faced public humiliation from his peers.  He (and about a dozen crooked Obama appointees) helped bring down his party and his own political cause and continues as a negative force.  Sure he should be thrown out, but that should have been done by his voters who placed no importance on decency.  So let Pelosi with her name and face attached to opposing the will of Americans and Rangel synonymous with corruption and tax cheating serve on for their leftist causes.  I personally don't care as long as they are out of power.  That means two more years before some new liberal with innocence and charisma can start a freedom-hating, race-baiting career from that leftist congressional district.  Meanwhile we have thousands of great new candidates and leaders gaining experience across the country to run for the next level.
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ccp
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« Reply #430 on: November 19, 2010, 01:49:47 PM »

"Sure he should be thrown out, but that should have been done by his voters who placed no importance on decency."

The same voters who like OJ Simpson.  the same voters who elected a crack addict to DC mayor.
I am sorry.  The joke is on them.
There is hope at the end of the tunnel.  A few like Congresman West of Florida hopefully can wake up more of these people from the angry get the "white boy crowd".
I note that MSNBC angry gay Madcow is going after Congressman West now.  We can't have a successful Black Republican now can we?  Same as the threat of Sarah Palin. Cannot have successful conservative woman can we.  Make them top priority for the liberal hit squads.

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« Reply #431 on: November 19, 2010, 05:17:19 PM »

I couldn't remember the mayor's name, but just google 'dc mayor on crack' and it comes right up. Marion Barry.

CCP, add to your list Keith Ellison the pretend Muslim who represents Minneapolis which is one of the strongest gay populations (Democrat) outside of San Fran(Muslims stone gays), he represents the strongly Jewish (Democrat) suburb where AL Franken grew up (Infidels/Zionists?) and he represents the rich white elite urban Democrats of the professional and business financial center of the Twin Cities even though he is anti-business and insurance violates Islam. Before congress Ellison made a name for himself defending a gang member who killed a cop.  Ellison led protests chanting "we don't get no justice, you don't get no peace".  Besides the violence threatened, you've got to love the grammar.

Quietly to the southwest of Ellison (people leaving the city), my friend our young conservative congressman may be joining the Ways and Means Committee in the MAJORITY where Rep. Rangel has left the Chairmanship, the committee and the majority.

In politics I fear the reasonable, mild mannered, center sounding leftists more than I fear Rangel, Ellison or Rev. Wright.  Unfortunately, we need a face on Leftism.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2010, 05:44:26 PM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #432 on: November 20, 2010, 09:57:42 AM »

"he represents the strongly Jewish (Democrat) suburb where AL Franken grew up (Infidels/Zionists?) and he represents the rich white elite urban Democrats of the professional and business financial center of the Twin Cities even though he is anti-business and insurance violates Islam. Before congress Ellison made a name for himself defending a gang member who killed a cop.  Ellison led protests chanting "we don't get no justice, you don't get no peace".

My "fellow" angry liberal Jews would rather support this guy than a Republican.  Just goes to further my theory that to them - a Republican - is worse than a Nazi.  Just look at Soros. A holocaust survivor who thinks the best thing is for the government to control us. Of course, he also seems to have his investments appropriately in the right place at the right time while he manipulates our political system.  He/they definitely have screws loose.

Au contraire.  To me these same liberal elites who in their own minds know all, think they are smarter than the rest of us, wiser than us do gooders have far more in common with Nazis than the right.
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G M
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« Reply #433 on: November 28, 2010, 08:24:44 PM »

A headline from the future with President Obama: "The Sunni-Shia Nuclear Arms Race Escalates".

I wonder how much gas will be then....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cables-saudis-iran

America is not short of allies in its quest to thwart Iran, though some are clearly more enthusiastic than the Obama administration for a definitive solution to Iran's nuclear designs. In one cable, a US diplomat noted how Saudi foreign affairs bureaucrats were moderate in their views on Iran, "but diverge significantly from the more bellicose advice we have gotten from senior Saudi royals".

In a conversation with a US diplomat, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain "argued forcefully for taking action to terminate their [Iran's] nuclear programme, by whatever means necessary. That programme must be stopped. The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it." Zeid Rifai, then president of the Jordanian senate, told a senior US official: "Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions, carrots, incentives won't matter."

In talks with US officials, Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed favoured action against Iran, sooner rather than later. "I believe this guy is going to take us to war ... It's a matter of time. Personally, I cannot risk it with a guy like [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive."

In another exchange , a senior Saudi official warned that Gulf states may develop nuclear weapons of their own, or permit them to be based in their countries to deter the perceived Iranian threat.

No US ally is keener on military action than Israel, and officials there have repeatedly warned that time is running out. "If the Iranians continue to protect and harden their nuclear sites, it will be more difficult to target and damage them," the US embassy reported Israeli defence officials as saying in November 2009.

There are differing views within Israel. But the US embassy reported: "The IDF [Israeli Defence Force], however, strikes us as more inclined than ever to look toward a military strike, whether launched by Israel or by us, as the only way to destroy or even delay Iran's plans." Preparations for a strike would likely go undetected by Israel's allies or its enemies.

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told US officials in May last yearthat he and the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, agreed that a nuclear Iran would lead others in the region to develop nuclear weapons, resulting in "the biggest threat to non-proliferation efforts since the Cuban missile crisis".


The cables also expose frank, even rude, remarks about Iranian leaders, their trustworthiness and tactics at international meetings. Abdullah told another US diplomat: "The bottom line is that they cannot be trusted." Mubarak told a US congressman: "Iran is always stirring trouble." Others are learning from what they describe as Iranian deception. "They lie to us, and we lie to them," said Qatar's prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim Jaber al-Thani.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #434 on: November 30, 2010, 10:43:55 PM »

Interesting update on the Hispanic vote by Jay Cost.  Dems won Hispanic vote by 22% but that actually is an improvement and close enough for the overall sweep.



Nobody it seems ever talks about the white vote:



Black vote he says still swings 90-10 to the Dems.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/how-did-gop-hispanic-voters-2010_519739.html
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #435 on: December 01, 2010, 11:05:58 AM »

Anyone but a congresscritter would be out on his a$$ after foolishness like this:

Items Stolen John Conyers' Government-Registered Cadillac
Vehicle driven by Congressman's 20-year-old son

Updated: Tuesday, 30 Nov 2010, 3:28 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 30 Nov 2010, 7:09 AM EST

By myFOXDetroit.com Staff

DETROIT (WJBK) - The son of Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., says items were stolen out of the government vehicle he was driving last Wednesday in downtown Detroit, FOX 2's Simon Shaykhet reports.

John Conyers III, 20, told police two Apple MacBooks, valued at $1,100 apiece, and more than $27,000 worth of concert tickets to the Fillmore were stolen out of a burgundy 2010 Cadillac Escalade registered to the 14th Congressional District.

The police report says the vehilce was parked at Brush Street and Congress around 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 24. When Conyers returned around 12:30 a.m., he noticed scratches on the side door and items scattered throughout the interior.

Click here to read the police report >>

Shaykhet says the incident brings into question why the son of a congressman was driving a registered government vehicle.

"I don't know of a single person in congress in the 16 years I was there who had to put vehicle titles in the name of the government," former U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg tells FOX 2.

According to the U.S. General Services Administration Web site , if an employee allows an unauthorized person to use a government vehicle, that employee could be suspended or fired.

"I would tell you that they better use this (vehicle) just for the purpose of what they had been required to do," said Knollenberg. "Not to get into the hands of a relative or a friend or whatever."

Currently, there is no word on why John Conyers III was driving the vehicle. A spokesperson for the congressman's office tells FOX 2 she will get back to us on the allegations.

FOX 2 is also working to get details on what the concert tickets were for and if the stolen laptops had any sensitive government information.

Conyers has been a member of the U.S. House since 1965.

His wife, Monica, is serving a 37-month federal prison sentence for corruption after pleading guilty last year to a bribery scheme involving her vote on the Detroit City Council in favor of a sludge-hauling contract.

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/items-stolen-john-conyers-government-registered-cadillac-20101130-mr
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ccp
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« Reply #436 on: December 02, 2010, 04:26:26 PM »

Remember how Dennis Hastert had some sort of ownership in a mall.  Next to the mall was a road paid for by - guess? - Federal monies.
Remember how Harry Reid had part ownership in a land deal with a similar scam - Federal money used to pay for a road to be built next to this land.
Recall how Pelosi's family is making a fortune in the lobbyist game. 
Notice Delay being convicted.
These are our "leaders".  The joke is on us.
I told you the Rangel thing is a sham.  Maxine Waters is going to get off.  There are no ethics.  No one is holding these people accountable.  The game is rigged.  Most are re-elected. 

***A question of ethics
Voters sent Congress a clear message: End corruption now. Will Democrats listen and, more important, act?
By Jonathan Turley

In her first statement after the Democratic takeover of the House, the presumptive new speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, pledged that her party would create “the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history.”

History, however, should give citizens pause before they celebrate the dawn of a new day. Pelosi's promise is eerily similar to the vows of her two predecessors.

Notably, in this election, Democrats took back the seats that they lost in 1994 when Newt Gingrich, who became speaker, led a Republican takeover based in part on his promise to create the most ethical Congress in history. Yet, ethics quickly gave way to earmarks, and Gingrich left the House in scandal.

We heard the same words from Dennis Hastert in 1999, when he became speaker. During Hastert's speakership, the leadership actually loosened ethics rules and prevented some bipartisan reforms from coming to the House floor. Hastert even engineered the removal of GOP members from the ethics committee who had voted to admonish former majority leader Tom DeLay for his misconduct — before DeLay resigned under indictment.

This history explains why lobbyists on K Street are not packing moving boxes in anticipation of an outbreak of good government. After all, these same Democrats remained silent for many years in the face of corrupt practices, often engaging in the very conduct that would now have to be prohibited.

Even so, there is one unexpected glimmer of hope: They might not have a choice. To the surprise of both parties, exit polls cited corruption in Congress as one of the most important issues motivating citizens to vote. President Bush had campaigned for some of the most corrupt members of Congress. His political adviser, Karl Rove, admitted after the elections that “the profile of corruption in the exit polls was bigger than I'd expected.”

Of course, “reform” can take the most curious forms in the parallel moral universe of Congress. For example, in 1997, the mislabeled House Ethics Reform Task Force moved to prevent ethics charges rather than ethics violations. Not only did the members bar citizens from bringing charges, but both parties also entered into a secret 7-year moratorium on any ethics charges by members.

While Republicans richly deserve the lion's share of blame for the grotesquely corrupt 109th Congress, it is only fair to note that ranking Democrats have long fought to preserve and benefit from many of the same loopholes and technicalities.

Democratic whip Dick Durbin of Illinois has been criticized for accepting trips for himself and his wife that were paid for by outside groups such as the not-for-profit Aspen Institute. Likewise, the presumptive Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, was recently scrutinized for alleged ethics lapses, including a controversial land deal in Las Vegas and the use of campaign funds to give Christmas bonuses to workers at his luxury condo building in Washington.

None of this means that the Democrats cannot show that they are capable of personal change with needed political reform. Yet, the last Democratic proposals for ethics reforms contain obvious gaps that would allow the continuation of corrupt practices, including some favored by their leadership.

If Pelosi is serious about “draining the swamp,” here are 10 practices that would have to end:

•Free vacations. Prohibit travel for members and their family and staff paid by outside groups, including not-for-profit organizations.

•Playing the market. Bar members from legislating in areas where they have financial interests by closing a loophole in the definition of “outside income,” which excludes investments and stocks. Better yet, require the use of blind trusts by members (already used by executive and judicial officers).

•Quid pro quo deals. End the practice of receiving windfall private deals from partners, who then receive generous government contracts. Require recusal from any matter in which a business partner has a direct financial interest.

•Self-policing. Create an independent office of ethics in which non-members investigate and rule on allegations of unethical conduct.

•Misuse of campaign funds. Prohibit the use of such funds for any purpose other than direct campaign costs for the original recipient, barring the transfer of funds to other candidates.

•Family lobbyists. Bar members from any official contact with family members who are employed as lobbyists and require recusal from any committee with jurisdiction over issues on which a spouse or a child is a lobbyist. Enact an ethics principle that expressly condemns the employment of spouses or children as lobbyists as harmful to the institution.

•Family businesses. Strengthen nepotism rules, including a ban on the hiring of spouses and family as campaign staff or contractors.

•Gifts. Change the scope of prohibited gifts to include the use of private jets by members and catered food for members or staff. Also require the valuation of gifts by an independent ethics committee.

•Club privileges. End all special access to the floor and other areas for former members that allows them free access as lobbyists.

•Earmarks. The primary currency for corrupt practices and pork barrel projects remains earmarks — special pet projects inserted into budgets outside of the usual competitive bidding and appropriations processes. Democrats have proposed changes but not the most obvious: Ban earmarks.

Believing in Pelosi's promise is the ultimate victory of hope over experience. Indeed, Democratic proposals still fall short of a true cleaning as opposed to a quick dust and polish in the “first 100 hours.” Yet, if she implements these 10 reforms, Pelosi can prove that it is possible for reformed sinners to sin no more.



Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.****
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #437 on: December 02, 2010, 08:14:16 PM »

I think we have a thread with Corruption in the title.  Lets use that for replies to these posts.
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« Reply #438 on: December 11, 2010, 01:30:39 PM »

The message from the last election more so than the rejection of the healthcare takeover and growth of big government is that people just hated the way it was done - with backroom deals and political earmark payoffs.  Enter the new lameduck deal for tax rate extensions, now filled with ethanol subsidies, solar, wind, unemployment and who knows what else since the deal is not yet in writing.

That aside, Paul Krugman, they only pretend economist to the left of the President hates the tax rate extensions but gets one timing point correct (for the wrong reasons):
----
"This political reality makes the tax deal a bad bargain for Democrats. Think of it this way: The deal essentially sets up 2011-2012 to be a repeat of 2009-2010. " http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/opinion/10krugman.html?_r=1
----
Under the deal, if not extended before the next election cycle, investors will again be paralyzed in uncertain about future rates, the economy will show it, the Democrats will be blamed for it, and it will be a hugely important Presidential and possible Senate changeover election year.

P.S. If the Ryan roadmap could be passed and signed, all of this would be moot, Obama's economy would surge, he could keep his nice residence with the putting green and the organic garden, keep his Spanish vacation perks and keep his unlimited aircraft privileges.  He could do it for the children. I wonder if Bill Clinton told him that yesterday...
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #439 on: December 23, 2010, 08:05:13 PM »

Moving CCP's post to this thread:

I wish Charles would stop telling us how smart Obama is.  He isn't.  He was dragged into negotiations kicking and screaming and only because his advisors were telling him to emulate Clinton who has given him the roadmap showing him how to improve his poll numbers.  That doesn't make him smart.  Yet the mainstream media has taken this line of talk up and are running at full speed trying to con us all into buying into the genius of the ONE.  We will see how brilliant he is next year when his super majorities in both houses are gone.

We all knew that Pelosi and Reid were going to ram through their agenda in the lame duck session.  No surprise.  And all Bamster has to do is sit back and take the credit like he did anything.

I do agree with Charles that if the tax cuts stimulate the economy over the next few years Bamster will have a better shot at re election.  He will take all the credit speaking about his bipartisan genius, all the devotees in the MSM will claim he is a centrist "all along" and the dopey swing voters will swoon all over it.  Perish the thought.  But Clinton did just that!:
 
***By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, December 17, 2010

If Barack Obama wins reelection in 2012, as is now more likely than not, historians will mark his comeback as beginning on Dec. 6, the day of the Great Tax Cut Deal of 2010.

This Story
Season's greetings from the Obamas
The new comeback kid
When it comes to politics, Obama's ego keeps getting in the way
Obama had a bad November. Self-confessedly shellacked in the midterm election, he fled the scene to Asia and various unsuccessful meetings, only to return to a sad-sack lame-duck Congress with ghostly dozens of defeated Democrats wandering the halls.

Now, with his stunning tax deal, Obama is back. Holding no high cards, he nonetheless managed to resurface suddenly not just as a player but as orchestrator, dealmaker and central actor in a high $1 trillion drama.


Compare this with Bill Clinton, greatest of all comeback kids, who, at a news conference a full five months after his shellacking in 1994, was reduced to plaintively protesting that "the president is relevant here." He had been so humiliatingly sidelined that he did not really recover until late 1995 when he outmaneuvered Newt Gingrich in the government-shutdown showdown.

And that was Clinton responding nimbly to political opportunity. Obama fashioned out of thin air his return to relevance, an even more impressive achievement.

Remember the question after Election Day: Can Obama move to the center to win back the independents who had abandoned the party in November? And if so, how long would it take? Answer: Five weeks. An indoor record, although an asterisk should denote that he had help - Republicans clearing his path and sprinkling it with rose petals.

Obama's repositioning to the center was first symbolized by his joint appearance with Clinton, the quintessential centrist Democrat, and followed days later by the overwhelming 81 to 19 Senate majority that supported the tax deal. That bipartisan margin will go a long way toward erasing the partisan stigma of Obama's first two years, marked by Stimulus I, which passed without a single House Republican, and a health-care bill that garnered no congressional Republicans at all.

Despite this, some on the right are gloating that Obama had been maneuvered into forfeiting his liberal base. Nonsense. He will never lose his base. Where do they go? Liberals will never have a president as ideologically kindred - and they know it. For the left, Obama is as good as it gets in a country that is barely 20 percent liberal.

The conservative gloaters were simply fooled again by the flapping and squawking that liberals ritually engage in before folding at Obama's feet. House liberals did it with Obamacare; they did it with the tax deal. Their boisterous protests are reminiscent of the floor demonstrations we used to see at party conventions when the losing candidate's partisans would dance and shout in the aisles for a while before settling down to eventually nominate the other guy by acclamation.

And Obama pulled this off at his lowest political ebb. After the shambles of the election and with no bargaining power - the Republicans could have gotten everything they wanted on the Bush tax cuts retroactively in January without fear of an Obama veto - he walks away with what even Paul Ryan admits was $313 billion in superfluous spending.

Including a $6 billion subsidy for ethanol. Why, just a few weeks ago Al Gore, the Earth King, finally confessed that ethanol subsidies were a mistake. There is not a single economic or environmental rationale left for this boondoggle that has induced American farmers to dedicate an amazing 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop - for burning! And the Republicans have just revived it.

Even as they were near unanimously voting for this monstrosity, Republicans began righteously protesting $8.3 billion of earmarks in Harry Reid's omnibus spending bill. They seem not to understand how ridiculous this looks after having agreed to a Stimulus II that even by their own generous reckoning has 38 times as much spending as all these earmarks combined.

The greatest mistake Ronald Reagan's opponents ever made - and they made it over and over again - was to underestimate him. Same with Obama. The difference is that Reagan was so deeply self-assured that he invited underestimation - low expectations are a priceless political asset - whereas Obama's vanity makes him always needing to appear the smartest guy in the room. Hence that display of prickliness in his disastrous post-deal news conference last week.

But don't be fooled by defensive style or thin-skinned temperament. The president is a very smart man. How smart? His comeback is already a year ahead of Clinton's.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #440 on: December 24, 2010, 09:52:51 AM »

I think Krauthammer is definitely on to something here, especially with this:

"he had help - Republicans clearing his path and sprinkling it with rose petals." 

Ain't that the Truth!!! angry   
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G M
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« Reply #441 on: December 29, 2010, 04:54:12 PM »

http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/12/many_russians_here_aligning_wi.html

Many Russians here aligning with Republicans
Published: Sunday, December 26, 2010, 6:26 AM     Updated: Sunday, December 26, 2010, 6:32 AM

Tom Wrobleski Arkadiy Fridman says that the Citizens Magazine Business Club, a confederation of more than 50 Russian-owned businesses here and in Brooklyn, has aligned itself with the Molinari Republican Club in an effort to increase the Russian community's political and economic clout.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Many Russian immigrants to the "red borough" of Staten Island are flocking to the Republican Party, saying that the national Democrats' "socialistic" policies remind them too much of the top-down oligarchy they fled in their native land.

With many of the borough's Russian arrivees already owning businesses and active in civic organizations, their muscle could help the Island GOP solidify electoral gains made this year, when the party took back congressional and Assembly seats.

Businessman Arkadiy Fridman said that the newly formed Citizens Magazine Business Club, a confederation of more than 50 Russian-owned businesses here and in Brooklyn, has aligned itself with the Molinari Republican Club (MRC) in an effort to increase the Russian community's political and economic clout.

CLOSE TO OWN VISION
 
"We decided we had to support this club," said Fridman, a former Soviet Army officer who came to the United States in 1992. "They are very close to our political and business vision."

In the wake of the national GOP's big wins this year, when the party took back control of the House, Republicans everywhere are more confident that their bedrock message of smaller government and lower taxes will resonate with American voters.

Fridman said that the Democrats "are going in an absolutely different direction," focusing on "income redistribution" and rich-versus-poor "class war."

"It's too socialistic," said Fridman, head of the non-profit Staten Island Community Center and president of Citizens Magazine, a public affairs publication. "It's very painful for us to see."

The Democrats' national losses were seen as a rejection of President Barack Obama's health care reform law and other initiatives that opponents say went too far in pushing government control on Americans.

BAD REMINDERS
 
The Big Brother approach reminds Fridman too much of what he left behind in the former Soviet Union.

"It's the same rule like it was there," said Fridman, who estimates there are around 55,000 Russian immigrants here.

Michael Petrov of the Digital Edge data management firm in Bloomfield, said that he objects to the "micro-managing of the economy" he's seen from city as well as federal officials.

"Government is affecting small business more and more," said Petrov, who came to the United States in 1994. "It's the same as what's happening in Russia."

The Citizens Club, formed earlier this month, looks to support and grow local businesses here; introduce Russian firms to the borough's existing business and political communities, and promote Russian community representatives to serve in elected office.

MRC president Robert Scamardella has actively been courting members of the Russian community this year.

"One of the main initiatives I have pursued has been to expand the base of the party by reaching out to diverse potential constituencies and securing their support and involvement," said Scamardella, an attorney.

"This decision by leaders of the local Russian community illustrates the effectiveness of this approach. We will continue to reach out to other communities and seek their association with the Republican Party."

Former Borough President Guy Molinari, the MRC's namesake, said he'd noticed over the years that Russian immigrants here tended to register Republican.

Molinari called the affiliation with MRC "a natural marriage."

"They want to be involved, be part of the community," Molinari said. "They come from a country where they weren't able to express themselves, didn't have the right to organize or vote. They appreciate it more than some of us who were born here."

Brooklyn attorney David Storovin said that the fact that the MRC is made up of business professionals "who are successful in their own right," also made the match an attractive one.

He said that he and other Russian immigrants are also drawn to the GOP's traditional veneration of flag and country.

GRATEFUL FOR FREEDOMS
 
Reflecting the American Dream ideal that has drawn immigrants here since the county's founding, Storovin said that many Russians are "grateful" for the religious, business and travel freedoms the United States provide, and want to show it.

"We do feel patriotic," Storovin said.

Yevgeniy Lvovskiy, of the ZHL Group development firm, said that many Russians here also are looking to break ethnic stereotypes that paint Russia as being all about "Siberia, beer and vodka."

"We are looking for an opportunity to prove ourselves," said Lvovskiy, who came to the United States in 1999. "If you work hard, and do the right thing, you get rewarded. We want to show people we are normal."

It's that self-starting stance, he said, that makes Russians here more in line with GOP orthodoxy.
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ccp
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« Reply #442 on: December 30, 2010, 01:25:20 PM »

Crafty points out:

"he had help - Republicans clearing his path and sprinkling it with rose petals."

Yes and were not many of them the "establishment" 'cans who were voted out?

Agreed, good point and just as, or even more outrageous then the liberal crats.

It has all the appearances of them vengefully "sticking it" to their consituents before they had to leave.  I can only assume they are doing their best to loot everything they can before they go back to their law practices, or lobbying companies to make a killing.

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ccp
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« Reply #443 on: December 30, 2010, 01:33:15 PM »

"Many Russians here aligning with Republicans"

A number of physicians I work with are from Eastern Europe and generally as far as I can tell they are quite shocked at the left turn this country is taking.
They will tell me they fled Eastern Europe to get away from this and now Obama et al are doing it here. cry

I am so proud of my fellow Jews and their historical accomplishments but I am also so disgusted by the liberal progressive socialist types of which there are many and they absolutely ARE a loose cabal it seems in the MSM and in acadamia, and in politics behind the scenes working incessantly and relentlessly to shove their agenda down all out throats.

For goodness sakes Communism was invented by a Jew.

It was one thing as a well intentioned theory in, what the 1850's, but ain't it obvious by now it doesn't work?

We need someone who CAN convincingly make the case is that we ARE giving the country away. 

 
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G M
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« Reply #444 on: January 02, 2011, 02:25:29 PM »

http://legalinsurrection.blogspot.com/2011/01/bloomberg-v-booker.html

Saturday, January 1, 2011
Bloomberg v Booker

New Yorkers are always a hard bunch to please, but after this week's freak blizzard (can we stop calling them freak blizzards now that they happen on the regular?) has landed New York City (and 2012 flirt) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D/R/Ind/2012) in hot water. Almost a week after the storm, many New York City streets remain unplowed, snow clearing crews are sparse, and entire neighborhoods are still snowed-in. Bloomberg is under fire from all sides for the slushy cleanup.

Jump the Hudson River for an entirely separate story: Cory Booker (D) Mayor of Newark, and likely 2013 candidate for Governor has been personally clearing his own resident's driveways, streets and sidewalks while coordinating emergency care all from his cell phone via Twitter. He's been all over the press for his literally up-to-the-minute responses to stranded residents, and become a national Twitter sensation among social media addicts. Shovel in hand, Booker is making Bloomberg's modest cleanup look like an unorganized mess.

Whether it's 2012 for Mayor Bloomberg or 2013 in New Jersey for Mayor Booker, we'll be hearing about this snowstorm long after it melts away.

PS: Wondering just how bad a snow cleanup can get? Take a look at New York's wonderful snow-clearing property-destroying abilities:

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ccp
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« Reply #445 on: January 06, 2011, 03:15:16 PM »

Does anyone understand or know what this lady does that makes her so "effective"  at shoving her will on everyone?

Other than being a world class liar I don't see any obvious great intellectual talents yet everyone seems to bend to her will and fear her behind the scenes.

What is the missing link that us regular people are not privy to?

I just don't get it.

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bigdog
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« Reply #446 on: January 06, 2011, 04:51:49 PM »

Well, as Speaker she campaigned for several D's in 2008, let them lambast her in 2010, controlled debate on the floor of the House, has major impact over committee assignments, and big time sway over the contributions of the DCCC. 
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #447 on: January 06, 2011, 05:26:39 PM »

Woof,
 Not to mention that many so called moderate and bluedog Dems are just as far left as she is.
                                    P.C.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #448 on: January 06, 2011, 08:49:50 PM »

And she has a 100% safe district.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #449 on: January 06, 2011, 11:25:32 PM »

CCP,  If you or I agreed with her agenda I think it would be easier to see what an effective leader she was in terms of advancing and passing legislation.  I'm surprised she wanted to stay on.   Bizarre to me but I think it means she really believes in what she is doing. From my point of view the election proved they are wrong.  From her point of view, they aren't done.  She is a historic person, first woman Speaker and largely the architect of big programs that could become permanent, including national healthcare, cap and trade carbon regulation, Don'tAskDon'tTell, internet regulation, tax hikes on the wealthy, and ultimately gay marriage.  The election past was a misunderstanding.  The public is a step behind them in enlightenment and with the turnout of a Presidential election, her plane could get re-fueled so they can finish their work and lock in the programs. 

Her members support her for the shared accomplishments. They got big things done and they have no new members, tea party equivalents, to shake things up.  The returning caucus is quite a bit to the left of those of the last 4 years because the moderates from weaker Dem districts were weeded out.

From where we sit these leaders rarely seem like the brightest light.  Was Bob Dole the most influential or charismatic Republican of his time? Gerald Ford? Mitch McConnell? Denny Hastert?  For the Dems, Tip O'Neill, Jim Wright, Tom Foley?  I guess they all have behind-the-scenes-skills (see bigdog's post) and maybe they rise to the top as a compromise away from the more flamboyant and controversial personalities.
-----
PS. Going back a couple of posts, thank you GM for the NY snow removal video.  I post some winter stories but I think readers in warmer places just think we're nuts for living here.  I needed something today from a garage that the city blocked with a wall of snow against it higher than the garage doors, now frozen as hard as rock.  I considered cutting a new doorway on the side but decided to leave it until spring.  Bloomberg is a bit of a glib one himself.  Good to see him squirm a little.  Imagine that, a snowfall of 20 inches in a northern climate - the urban leaders look so surprised.  Out in the x-urbs, people have trucks, plows, a plowing contracts or major investments in giant snowblowers.  But they also have space; you have to put the snow somewhere.
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