the America Emperor

2012 Presidential Elections!!!!

Danae has got the talent and skills to be a professional politician

Danae has got the talent and skills to be a professional politician

Girls at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch are pimping for Ron Paul?

Girls at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch are pimping for Ron Paul?

Ron Paul mocks Rick Santorum for claiming to be a consertive

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran

As President I wouldn't hesitate to bomb Iran - I'd bomb Iran on my first day in office - I'd bomb Iran on election day - (Sigh) I guess I'd better find something to wear too!

Newt Gingrich's huge ego sinking???

Newt Gingrich's Titanic and gigantic huge ego is sinking as he suspends his campaign for President

President Obama using his murder of bin Laden to get reelected

President and Emperor Obama is jumping with joy because he can use his murder of bin Laden to get reelected in 2012 - They Republicans say why can't he just quietly don a flight suit and land on an aircraft carrier under a gigantic mission accomplished sign

  "Government of the people; by the elected officials and appointed bureaucrats; for the elected officials, appointed bureaucrats and special interest groups that helped them get into power!

    Michael Kaery

More on that "Food Stamp President" thing

Many years ago when I worked for DES I found out that 1 out of every 10 people gets food stamps. I was rather shocked. Today it is worse. I think 1 out of every 8 people now get food stamps. Who says America ain't a socialist police state?

Next time you are getting your groceries at Fry's, Basha's or Safeway remember that for every 8th guy in line, the 7 people in front of him are being forced by the government to pay for the 8th guy's food.

"Food stamp use has soared over the last decade, and now some 44 million people receive the assistance" (That is about 14 percent of America's 300 million population)


Who's getting food?

Fraud is a risk to federal safety-net programs

January 23, 2012

Newt Gingrich revels in politics by hand grenade, and he tossed one last week when he said "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history." Gingrich implied this was evidence of a White House that wants to expand public dependency on the government.

If Gingrich hadn't been so intent on scoring lusty cheers at a South Carolina presidential primary debate, he might have clued people into an important and unsettling issue.

Food stamp use has soared over the last decade, and now some 44 million people receive the assistance. You can call this a bipartisan phenomenon: reports that the number of people using food stamps jumped by 14.7 million during Republican George W. Bush's term and has risen by 14.2 million so far under Democrat Obama.

The nation's economic troubles explain much of that. Unemployment was just 4.2 percent in January, 2001. Even with three successive months of decline, it stood at 8.5 percent last month.

But joblessness doesn't explain all of what's going on with food assistance. Program costs have shot up from $16 billion in fiscal 2001 to $76 billion in the last fiscal year — far outpacing inflation, unemployment, poverty rates or any other relevant measure.

The federal government operates two-dozen food subsidy programs. The most important federal anti-hunger programs operate under the Agriculture Department, including school lunches and the biggest of them all: food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

SNAP provides money to low-income households to buy food at approved retailers. In Illinois, recipients receive their benefit electronically on plastic "LINK" cards that work like debit cards.

The freefalling economy accounted for part of the spending increase between 2007 and 2010, but a bigger share of the increase came from rule changes, a University of Chicago study shows. Relaxed eligibility standards and a boost in maximum benefits accounted for much more of the additional spending than did the poor economy, the study shows.

More people eligible for food stamps are collecting them. In a meeting last week with the Tribune editorial board, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said his agency, which runs the program jointly with state governments, has worked diligently to raise participation rates.

A healthy economy producing more jobs and better wages will be the best antidote to rising food stamp demands. But the government does need to do a better job of oversight on eligibility. The government should assist the poor … but not everyone who figures out how to claim free food. We don't see enough scrutiny to separate need from fraud in government food programs.

A recent Chicago Tribune analysis of the federal free-lunch program in Chicago Public Schools uncovered disturbing signs of fraud. Far more students receive the benefit than would be expected, based on participation rates in related anti-poverty programs.

Apparently it's common and easy to fool Uncle Sam.

In one case, the Tribune reported, when an application for the program showed a student's family made too much money to qualify for free lunch, a school clerk provided a fresh form to be resubmitted with falsified information. "Nobody checks the applications anyway," the clerk explained.

Vilsack tells us that fraud in food-subsidy programs is at a record low. But he also tells us that his agency is cutting its staff, even as the number of Americans claiming food stamps has soared. The agency relies on state administrators to weed out recipients who don't belong on the program. States are cutting back staff sharply too.

Law enforcement tends to uncover food-stamp fraud in the course of investigating other crimes. Just before Christmas, for instance, a resident of East St. Louis, Ill., was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison in a tax-fraud case. Turned out she lied to obtain food stamps as well. In fiscal 2011, states disqualified 44,483 individuals for fraud. That represents one-tenth of 1 percent of program participants.

In December, the Agriculture Department announced "new tactics" to combat fraud, but they don't inspire confidence. Among them, for instance, was a "policy clarification" saying that offering food stamps for sale on Craigslist or Facebook is a no-no. The department claims that illegal trafficking in food stamps has fallen from four cents on the dollar in 1993 to a penny on the dollar between 2006 to 2008, which it refers to as the "current level," despite the huge numbers who have qualified for benefits since 2008.

If it took the agency until the end of last year to address the trafficking potential of social media, its claims about "current" fraud levels should be viewed skeptically.

The Agriculture Department and a lot of other government agencies are going to face significant constraints on spending in the coming years. They have to justify every dollar. The government can justify spending to provide sustenance to the poor … but it has to make sure that that sustenance goes to the poor.

We've seen enough reports about forms being falsified, LINK cards being bartered for cash and subsidies going to the deceased to conclude that oversight needs improvement. Taxpayers should have assurance that their money is going to those who need it. Continued support for these important safety-net programs depends on public confidence in their integrity.

Remember that school clerk: "Nobody checks ..." Start checking, and see what turns up.

FACT CHECK: Gingrich flubs history in GOP debate

They are not lying, they are saying how things where supposed to have been. At least that's what they think.


FACT CHECK: Gingrich flubs history in GOP debate

By CALVIN WOODWARD | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Newt Gingrich called rival Mitt Romney a "terrible historian" but flubbed his own history in Congress on Monday night when he claimed the nation ran four consecutive budget surpluses during his time as House speaker. Romney attacked Gingrich's financial links to Freddie Mac while ignoring his own.

The accusations were fast out of the gate in the latest Republican presidential debate, and reality got tromped in the process.

A look at some of claims and how they compare with the facts:


GINGRICH: "When I was speaker, we had four consecutive balanced budgets."

THE FACTS: Actually, two.

The four straight years of budget surpluses were 1998 through 2001. Gingrich left Congress in 1999, so he only had a hand in surpluses for his last two years. The budget ran deficits for his first two years as speaker.

The highest surplus of that four-year string came in budget year 2000, after Gingrich was out of office.

Overall, the national debt went up during the four years Gingrich was speaker. In January 1995, when he assumed the leadership position, the gross national debt was $4.8 trillion. When he left four years later, it was $5.6 trillion, an increase of $800 billion.


ROMNEY: "I don't think we can possibly retake the White House if the person who's leading our party is the person who was working for the chief lobbyist of Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac was paying Speaker Gingrich $1.6 million at the same time Freddie Mac was costing the people of Florida millions upon millions of dollars."

THE FACTS: While going after Gingrich forcefully on the issue, Romney did not mention his own earnings from the government-backed lender and its sister entity, Fannie Mae, which came to light in his most recent financial disclosure report.

The report shows he has as much as $500,000 invested in the two lenders. GOP presidential hopefuls almost across the board have blamed the two institutions for contributing to the housing crisis that helped to drag the nation into recession. Among Romney's ties: a mutual fund worth up to $500,000 that includes assets from both lenders among other government income, and separate investments in each of the lenders in Romney's individual retirement account, each worth between $100,000 and $250,000.

Romney campaign officials said Monday the investments were handled by a trustee with no direction by the candidate.


GINGRICH: "I left the speakership after the 1998 election because I took responsibility for the fact that our results weren't as good as they should be. I think that's what a leader should do. I took responsibility. And I didn't want to stay around, as Nancy Pelosi has. I wanted to get out and do other things."

ROMNEY: "He had to resign in disgrace."

RON PAUL: "I think the reason he didn't ... run for speaker, you know, two years later — he didn't have the votes. That was what the problem was. So this idea that he voluntarily reneged and he was going to punish himself because we didn't do well in the election, that's just not the way it was."

THE FACTS: Gingrich didn't exactly resign in disgrace after he became the first speaker reprimanded and fined for ethics violations, slapped with a $300,000 penalty, in January 1997. He limped to re-election as speaker after that. But his number was soon up.

Within months, he was fending off a revolt from fellow Republicans weary of his antics and mercurial ways.

As Paul suggested in the debate, unexpected GOP losses in the 1998 elections were the last straw for Gingrich in the eyes of House Republicans. Three days later Gingrich announced he was stepping down as speaker and giving up his seat in Congress.

Paul's recollection now is supported by some of Gingrich's words back then. He told Republicans, "I'm willing to lead but I'm not willing to preside over people who are cannibals," sounding less like a man interested in a career change than one intent on escaping a boiling pot.


ROMNEY: "Our Navy is now smaller than any time since 1917. And the president is building roughly nine ships a year. We ought to raise that to 15 ships a year. Under this president, under prior presidents, we keep on shrinking our Navy."

THE FACTS: Romney is correct about the size of the Navy, but the numbers alone don't tell the story.

At 285 ships the Navy is small by its own historical standards but still larger than the navies of the next several nations combined. These days, it's not how many ships but what they can do. There is a longstanding trend toward smaller numbers of more complex and expensive vessels.

Still, the Navy has noted the smaller size of the current fleet and plans to add 28 ships over several years. The shrinking of the fleet size has spanned Republican and Democratic administrations, as the Navy restructures and plans for the addition of new platforms.


RICK SANTORUM: "One of (my proposals) would be to be able to deduct losses from the sale of your home. Right now you can't do that. You have to pay gains, depending on the amount, but you can't deduct the losses, as other capital losses can be."

THE FACTS: For a brief description, it was accurate. What Santorum did not explain, in appealing to Floridians who have one of the worst housing markets in the country, is that the tax code is already stacked in favor of home ownership.

Homeowners get many tax breaks from the government, most notably mortgage interest and property tax deductions. Under federal law, when you sell your private residence, you can make up to $250,000 in profit — $500,000 if you are married — and not owe any capital gains taxes. That's a large tax break. There's no such break if you have such a profit in selling stocks or works of art.

But there is a trade-off: You can't claim a loss when you sell your private residence.


ROMNEY: President Barack Obama's $814 billion economic stimulus program "didn't create private-sector jobs."

THE FACTS: There is no support for that assertion. Between 1.2 million and 3.7 million full-time-equivalent jobs were created last year because of the stimulus, according to an August 2011 report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Meanwhile, another government report found the stimulus program has paid $34.5 billion in tax incentives to businesses, including $260 million to hire younger, unemployed war veterans.

Economists debate whether the stimulus lived up to its promise or was worth the cost, but no one seriously argues that it created no jobs. Many believe it helped to end the recession even while falling short of its employment goals.


Associated Press writers Tom Raum, Jim Drinkard, Anne Gearan and Jack Gillum contributed to this report.

Gingrich’s firm paid $25,000 a month by Freddie Mac


Gingrich’s firm paid $25,000 a month by Freddie, according to contract

Gingrich’s former firm releases Freddie Mac contract

By Dan Eggen, Published: January 23

GOP candidate Newt Gingrich, who has said he never lobbied on behalf of his consulting clients, reported to a top lobbyist with Freddie Mac as part of a $25,000-a-month contract, according to records released late Monday.

The one-year contract overseen by Freddie Mac executive Craig Thomas represents only a portion of the former House speaker’s long relationship with the mortgage giant, which spanned eight years and resulted in at least $1.6 million in fees for Gingrich’s empire.

The partial documentation also appears unlikely to quell escalating demands from GOP rival Mitt Romney, who has sharply criticized Gingrich for his lucrative career collecting tens of millions of dollars in fees from Freddie Mac, health-care firms and other clients.

The attacks, repeated in Monday night’s presidential debate, are part of an attempt by Romney to blunt Gingrich’s momentum after a commanding primary victory in South Carolina on Saturday. A new ad from the Romney campaign alleges that Gingrich “cashed in” on the housing meltdown by taking money “from the scandal-ridden agency that helped create the crisis.”

The 15 pages of documents released late Monday consisted primarily of contractual boilerplate, along with signature pages laying out the $300,000 annual fee. The “scope of services and fees” consists of a single paragraph with no details.

The Gingrich campaign did not respond to a request for comment on whether it planned to release any more Freddie Mac records.

Gingrich has offered varying explanations for his ties to the mortgage company, initially claiming he was hired as a “historian” and later characterizing himself as a strategic adviser. Gingrich and his supporters have repeatedly denied that he acted as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac or any other client.

“If you read the contract,” Gingrich said in Monday’s debate, “. . . I was supposed to do consulting work. There is no place in the contract that provides for lobbying.”

Thomas, who at the time was director of public policy at Freddie Mac, was identified as the “project director” in the Gingrich contract. Thomas was listed as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac in 2000, 2005 and 2006, according to disclosure records.

The Freddie Mac contract is part of a series of tit-for-tat releases between Gingrich and Romney, who is releasing his 2010 tax returns after withering attacks from Gingrich on the issue. Gingrich released records last week showing that he and his wife paid an effective federal tax rate of about 32 percent on income of $3.14 million.

Gingrich has been dogged for months by questions about his lucrative consulting contracts with Freddie Mac, a government-sponsored mortgage company that is viewed by many conservatives as a prime cause of the housing crisis. Gingrich has said he warned the company about its “insane” lending practices.

Bloomberg News reported that Gingrich had earned up to $1.8 million from Freddie Mac from 1999 to 2008 to build support among Republicans for its private-public business model. The Gingrich campaign disputed portions of the report, but resisted releasing any documents from the arrangement until now.

In an explanation on its Web site, the Gingrich campaign says that “at no time did Gingrich lobby for Freddie Mac,” nor did he “ever advocate against pending legislation affecting Freddie Mac.” The campaign said Gingrich “offered strategic advice” to Freddie Mac and a “very wide range of clients” through his consulting firm.

Gingrich also repeatedly sought to play down his personal role in the contract, suggesting in one interview that he only spent about an hour a month talking with Freddie Mac officials.

The Freddie Mac contracts were just a small part of a vast financial empire, often dubbed Newt Inc., assembled over the past decade. The private and nonprofit groups led by Gingrich brought in an estimated $150 million since he left Congress.

One entity, a think tank called the Center for Health Transformation, collected dues of up to $200,000 per year from insurers, hospitals and other health-care firms in exchange for “access to Newt Gingrich” and political advice, according to records and interviews.

Why does he want a job that pays a measly $400,000

If Mitt Romney made $45 Million the last two years I wonder why he is running for President which pays a lousy $400,000 per year with a dinky $50,000 expense allowance?


January 24, 2012, 12:35 am

Romney Tax Returns Show 2-Year Income of $45 Million


Mitt Romney’s campaign released details of his federal tax returns on Tuesday morning, showing that he is likely to pay a total of $6.2 million in taxes on $45 million in income over the two tax years of 2010 and 2011. (View full returns here)

The details of the returns, confirmed by a senior campaign official, provide the most detailed view yet of his wealthy family’s finances. The disclosure comes after a barrage of pressure to release his returns — which Mr. Romney has never done, even when he was elected governor of Massachusetts.

The disclosure — reported early Tuesday by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News — showed a vast array of investments, from a recently closed Swiss bank account to holdings in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, all underscoring the breadth and depth of his wealth, which has become a central issue in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mr. Romney said last week that his effective tax rate was “about 15 percent,” a figure lower than that of many affluent Americans. But his returns suggested that he paid an effective tax rate of nearly 14 percent.

In addition to his 2010 taxes, Mr. Romney is set to release estimates for his 2011 taxes, which he will file in April. The campaign will report that he will pay $3.2 million in taxes for 2011, for an effective tax rate of 15.4 percent. That is a slightly higher effective rate than he paid the year before, when he paid about $3 million to the Internal Revenue Service.

Mr. Romney, a Mormon, has long said that he had promised to give 10 percent of his income to his church. His tax return shows that over two years he and his wife, Ann, gave $7 million in charitable contributions, including $4.1 million to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more,” Mr. Romney said during Monday night’s debate. “I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”

Mr. Romney also said that there were “no surprises” in his tax returns. Referring to the fact that nearly all of his income is taxed as capital gains at a 15 percent rate, rather than as earned income at rates of up to 35 percent, Mr. Romney questioned a proposal by Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, to reduce capital gains taxes to zero.

“Under that plan, I’d have paid no taxes in the last two years,” Mr. Romney said.

The Romneys hold as much as a quarter of a billion dollars in assets, much of it derived from Mr. Romney’s time as founder and partner in Bain Capital, a private equity firm. And in federal financial disclosures Mr. Romney made when he began his presidential campaign he said those assets generated at least $9.6 million in income in 2010 and part of 2011, most of it from capital gains, dividends and interest on their investments.

Questions about Mr. Romney’s wealth have dogged him for weeks as his rivals for the Republican nomination assailed his tenure at Bain Capital and pressed for details about his taxes.

Mr. Romney hesitated repeatedly when asked whether he would release his tax returns, as his father had done when he was running for president several decades ago.

Initially, Mr. Romney said that he had no intention of releasing his tax returns, maintaining that the financial disclosure reports that all federal candidates must provide should suffice.

But the pressure grew stronger when Mr. Romney — apparently in an offhand, unplanned way — acknowledged that he pays about 15 percent in taxes, most of it on dividends and capital gains.

Following that statement, the pressure grew for Mr. Romney to release more information by making his tax returns public. Mr. Gingrich pressed him on the issue in two debates

Details about Mr. Romney’s tax payments, wealth and income will inevitably be compared with similar disclosures already made by Mr. Gingrich, as well the man Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich hope to unseat, President Obama.

Mr. Gingrich, who on Saturday won the Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, released his own tax returns last week showing that he and his wife, Callista, had an adjusted gross income of $3,162,424 from their various business ventures in 2010. They paid $994,708 in federal tax, according to the return, for an effective tax rate of 31.7 percent.

Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, released their tax returns in April, showing an adjusted gross income of $1,728,096 for 2010 — much of it from sales of his books “Dreams From My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.” The Obamas paid $453,770 in federal taxes, for an effective tax rate of 26.3 percent.

During the debate, Mr. Romney had predicted that there would be little in his tax returns that would prove to be controversial.

“You’ll see my income, how much taxes I’ve paid, how much I’ve paid to charity,” Mr. Romney added in the debate. “You’ll see how complicated taxes can be. And will there be discussion? Sure. Will it be an article? Yeah. But is it entirely legal and fair? Absolutely. I’m proud of the fact that I pay a lot of taxes.”

But the documents are sure to be a source of ammunition for his Republican rivals and his Democratic critics, who have made his personal wealth an issue as he seeks the nomination of his party.

In a memorandum to reporters on Sunday, Bill Burton, a former deputy press secretary to Mr. Obama, hammered Mr. Romney for his initial unwillingness to release his returns.

“Even though he is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Romney pays a lower tax rate than many middle class Americans,” said Mr. Burton, who now runs a “super PAC” on behalf of Mr. Obama.

“Romney also has access to complicated legal maneuvers involving offshore accounts and retirement savings that simply are not available to everyday Americans,” Mr. Burton said.

Ron Paul silenced in Jan 23, 2012 debate


Brian Williams was a Disgrace Silencing Ron Paul, Rick Santorum

By Roy A. Barnes

COMMENTARY | The four remaining GOP presidential candidates debated in Tampa, Fla., on Monday night on NBC, moderated by the "NBC Nightly News" grandstanding anchor Brian Williams. This spectacle was mostly a dialogue between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. During the first part of the debate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum were basically left out. BuzzFeed reported Paul and Santorum spoke less than five minutes for the first one-third of the program.

This program was a massive disgrace. Williams should be ashamed of himself for generally excluding Santorum and Paul. If these debates aren't going to strive to give equal time to the participants, why do the organizers even bother to invite those who they are going to disrespect? According to The Hill, during the first 40 minutes, Paul only got to speak once and Santorum got to talk twice. Watching the first part of the debate made me feel very uncomfortable because I kept thinking about how Paul and Santorum must've been feeling being left out and having to stand and listen to long blocks of dialogue between Romney and Gingrich. They traded barbs over things like the former's charge of the latter being involved in "influence peddling," as reported by ABC News.

This debate lasted just less than 100 minutes, as reported by USA Today but when factoring in the irritating commercial breaks, it was even less. This debate was a wasted opportunity, but Santorum and Paul didn't protest, acting very polite despite being disrespected by Williams.

Yet the establishment media has been signaling the GOP race is down to two candidates, for on Sunday, the host of "Face the Nation," Bob Schieffer, called for a one-hour debate between just Gingrich and Romney, according to HuffPost Media.

I am tired of debate moderators who do not strive to let everyone have as close to equal time as possible. The establishment TV media continues to try to influence how the public will vote, especially when they deny equal time to all the debate candidates.

The public shouldn't take the bait, but instead be discerning and be informed outside of prime time, because an informed citizen is the biggest deterrent against the biased, scheming talking heads on TV like Williams.

Gingrich pledges moon colony during presidency

I guess Gingrich isn't a conservative Republican who believes in the Constitution. He is now in Florida and promising them government pork if they vote for him. Gingrich will complain about Obama's Democratic pork, but I guess when it's Republican pork, Gingrich doesn't have a problem with it.


Gingrich pledges moon colony during presidency

By Amy Gardner

COCOA, Fla. — Newt Gingrich told a cheering crowd along Florida's Space Coast late Wednesday that he would establish a permanent colony on the moon, and develop a spacecraft that can get to Mars, by the end of his second term as president.

Gingrich, who has long held a fascination with space exploration and has talked extensively about further missions to the moon, Mars and beyond, committed for the first time to pushing aggressively for such programs if he wins the White House. Just a few miles from Cape Canaveral, he played to a crowd eager for a renewal of the nation's space program. The speech also gave him a chance to tweak Mitt Romney, his leading rival for the GOP nomination, who has mocked Gingrich's "zany" ideas.

"I was attacked the other night for being grandiose," Gingrich said. "I would just want you to note: Lincoln standing at Council Bluffs was grandiose. The Wright Brothers standing at Kitty Hawk were grandiose. John F. Kennedy was grandiose. I accept the charge that I am grandiose and that Americans are instinctively grandiose."

The line drew raucous applause from a crowd of at least 500 in a hotel ballroom here, as did Gingrich's lengthy riff on his fascination with space travel. His interest goes back to his early youth, when he read Missiles and Rockets magazine and obsessed over the Soviet Sputnik program. He also proclaimed that the "weirdest thing" he ever did in Congress was to introduce a "Northwest Ordinance for space" that would allow a moon colony to become a state once 13,000 lived there.

(Asked afterward by a reporter when the moon-state would hold its presidential primary, Gingrich said, "I think the moon primary would probably come late in the season."

"Here's the difference between so-called romantics and practical people," Gingrich said during his address. "I want every single young American to say to themselves, I could become one of those 13,000, I can be part of building a bigger, better future, be part of a generation of courageous people who do something big and bold. We want Americans to think bolder about space and rebuild the country we love."

That last line drew a thunderous applause and drew the room to its feet.

Lest anyone think that Gingrich wants government to grow in order to launch these new programs, he proposed setting aside 10 percent of NASA's budget for prizes to be awarded for the innovations that lead to the moon and Mars. He also promised to scrutinize the NASA bureaucracy and billion-dollar programs that don't produce results.

"If they have as many bureaucrats now, when they're not launching, as they had when they were launching, you really have to ask: What it is they do? I think this is a very serious problem. We have a huge Washington bureaucracy that thinks. We actually need a lot more doing."

Gingrich also said that exploration of the moon and beyond would have far-reaching commercial applications. He talked of "commercial, near-earth activities" including science, tourism and manufacturing. He even went on an extended riff on improving the technology of synthetic materials used in airliners ("I want to pour synthetics — actually they wrap it. It's very strange").

"Look," Gingrich said. "Without getting into Heinlein’s novels, I think there are a lot of different things you'd want to learn: How to live in low gravity. How to create certain capabilities that lead beyond the moon. How to develop assets that the moon has. How to do manufacturing in low-gravity environments.

The list went on and on.

Obama using military raids to get reelected!!!


Navy SEAL raid in Somalia shows campaign ahead

Associated PressBy KIMBERLY DOZIER and ROBERT BURNS | Associated Press – 1 hr 54 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy SEAL operation that freed two Western hostages in Somalia is representative of the Obama administration's pledge to build a smaller, more agile military force that can carry out surgical counterterrorist strikes to cripple an enemy.

That's a strategy much preferred to the land invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan that have cost so much American blood and treasure over the past decade. The contrast to a full-bore invasion is stark: A small, daring team storms a pirate encampment on a near-moonless night, kills nine kidnappers and whisks the hostages to safety.

Special operations forces, trained for such clandestine missions, have become a more prominent tool in the military's kit since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that led to the ongoing war in Afghanistan. The administration is expected to announce Thursday that it will invest even more heavily in that capability in coming years.

The SEAL Team 6 raid in Somalia, which followed last May's operation that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, has political dimensions in an election year.

It gave an added punch to the five-state tour President Barack Obama began the day after he delivered his State of the Union speech. Obama did not mention the raid that was unfolding during his Tuesday night address, but he dropped a hint upon arriving in the House chamber by telling U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, "Good job tonight."

The SEAL mission also helps soften the blow of defense cuts the White House is seeking in spite of a chorus of criticism by hawkish lawmakers. Not to be discounted is the feel-good moment such missions give the American public, a counterbalance to the continued casualties in Afghanistan.

After planning and rehearsal, the Somalia rescue was carried out by SEAL Team 6, officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a secret mission. It was not clear whether any team members participated in both the raid in Somalia and the bin Laden mission in Pakistan.

The SEALs parachuted from U.S. Air Force special operations aircraft before moving on foot, apparently undetected, to the outdoor encampment, two officials said. They found American Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Poul Hagen Thisted, a 60-year-old Dane, who had been kidnapped in Somalia last fall.

The SEALs encountered little resistance from the kidnappers during the operation, which lasted about an hour to an hour and a half, two U.S. officials said. Only one of the attackers fired back and was quickly subdued, one official said. The rest were believed killed, though officials did not rule out the possibility of an escape, as aerial surveillance of the scene was hampered on the cloudy, dark night.

Army special operations MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters then swooped in to the subdued encampment near the town of Adado to carry away the SEALs and hostages.

The captors were heavily armed and had explosives nearby when the rescuers arrived on the scene, Pentagon press secretary George Little said, but he was not more specific. Little declined to say whether there was an exchange of gunfire and would not provide further details about the rescue beyond saying that all of the captors were killed by the Americans.

The American raiders caught the kidnappers as they were sleeping after having chewed the narcotic leaf qat for much of the evening, a pirate who gave his name as Bile Hussein told The Associated Press by phone. Hussein said he was not present at the site but had spoken with other pirates who were. They told him that nine pirates had been killed in the raid and three were taken away, he said. However, two U.S. officials said no Somalis were captured. Little said the decision to go ahead with the rescue was prompted in part by rising concern about the medical condition of Buchanan. He said he could not be specific without violating her privacy but did say U.S. officials had reason to believe her condition could be life-threatening.

Mary Ann Olsen, an official with the Danish Refugee Council, which employed Buchanan and Thisted in de-mining efforts in Somalia, said Buchanan was "not that ill" but needed medicine.

In the last week or so U.S. officials had collected enough information to "connect the dots" that led Obama to authorize the mission on Monday, Little said.

A Western official said the rescuers and the freed hostages flew by helicopter to Camp Lemonnier in the nearby Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information had not been released publicly.

The hostages were expected to leave Djibouti fairly soon, one U.S. official said, and will travel to another location for medical screenings and other evaluations before heading home. A key U.S. ally in the region, Djibouti hosts the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, a U.S.-led group organized under U.S. Africa Command.

A U.S. defense official said Thursday that Buchanan and Thisted had been flown to Naval Air Station Sigonella, on the Italian island of Sicily, for medical screenings and other evaluations before heading home. Buchanan's family is meeting her at NAS Sigonella, which is the hub of U.S. Navy air operations in the Mediterranean and hosts an Italian air force base.

The mission was directed by Army Gen. Carter Ham, head of Africa Command, from his headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Panetta and other members of Obama's national security team monitored the mission from the White House before traveling to the Capitol to attend Obama's speech.

Minutes after Obama completed his State of the Union address he was on the phone with Buchanan's father to tell him that his daughter was safe.

Several hostages were still being held in Somalia, including a British tourist, two Spanish doctors seized from neighboring Kenya and an American journalist kidnapped on Saturday.


Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor and Julie Pace in Washington, Jason Straziuso and Katharine Houreld in Nairobi, Kenya and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.


Follow Kimberly Dozier at , Katharine Houreld at and Robert Burns at

F* those public record laws, I'm the Emperor of Arizona

Well at least that's how Arizona Governor Jan Brewer feels!

I have probably sent at least 100 requests for public records to the members of the Tempe City Council and the Tempe Mayor. They have ignored almost all of them.

It seems like most elected officials consider themselves royal rulers who are above the law.

Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer seems to feel the same way.


Brewer won't release copy of letter she handed to Obama

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez - Jan. 26, 2012 11:56 AM

The Republic |

Gov. Jan Brewer will not release a copy of the letter she delivered to President Barack Obama on Wednesday, her spokesman said, because it was a "personal, handwritten" correspondence and no one in her administration has a copy of it.

The spokesman, Matthew Benson, directed The Republic to the White House to obtain a copy, later writing in part, "The only copy is with President Obama."

A spokesman for the White House said Thursday the executive branch typically does not release letters sent to the president and directed the newspaper to Brewer's office.

The handling of the letter, considered a public record by experts, raises legal questions about the way the Governor's Office is complying with the state's public-records law.

"Absolutely it's a public record - it's created in her official capacity," Dan Barr, a First Amendment attorney, said Thursday.

"There's nothing remotely personal about this. She presented it to the president of the United States in the most public way possible. The whole reason to hand him this letter in public is for political theater, and then to be asked what was in the letter. I find it incredible to believe there is no copy - and that there is not at least a draft of this letter lying around. My response to that excuse is - is that your story? Really?"

The Republic asked for a copy of the letter Wednesday and earlier today, filed a records request for the letter, among other records pertaining to the note.

Benson denied the requests, repeating his statement that the letter was personal, and the office had no copy. He also said that any draft media release or e-mails to and from staff about the letter are "considered work product" and not subject to release.

A public record generally is defined as any record created or maintained by a public official or government entity, no matter whether it is handwritten, typed or recorded. The public records law requires all public officials to make and maintain records "reasonably necessary to provide knowledge of all activities they undertake in the furtherance of their duties."

Experts say a letter from a sitting governor to the president regarding the economy, jobs and border security, is "obviously" a public record.

Brewer delivered the letter, sealed in a white envelope, to Obama as she welcomed him on the tarmac of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The two spoke intensely for a few minutes and at one point, she pointed her finger at him. During the encounter, they were talking over each other before Obama appeared to walk away from the governor while they were still talking.

Later, Brewer described the contents of the letter on national TV, saying she wrote the note to invite the president to lunch and a tour of the Arizona-Mexico border to discuss border security.

Brewer said she wrote to Obama to tell him about "Arizona's comeback," "our great economy," "how great Arizona is," and asked for a chance to sit down and talk to him.

David Bodney, a Phoenix attorney and public-records expert, said the Governor's Office was obliged to keep - and release - a copy of the letter.

"It doesn't matter if it was hand-written, it doesn't matter if she used governor's stationary, it doesn't matter if she used a personal pen," said Bodney, who also provides legal counsel to The Republic. "What matters is the content. One is hard-pressed to imagine a letter from the governor of Arizona to the president of the United States could be purely personal and exempt from the public-records law on the assumption that it was not purely personal," he added, "Then her office would have been obliged to maintain a record of that correspondence."


Transcript of Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer's letter to President Obama

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 6:28 pm | Updated: 6:47 pm, Thu Jan 26, 2012.


A copy of the handwritten letter Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer delivered to President Barack Obama on the tarmac at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport was released Thursday afternoon.

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Mr. President,

Welcome to Arizona!

You've arrived in a state at the forefront of America's recovery -- and her future. We were at the brink. We were at the bottom of the list in job creation. Today, we have a balanced budget and we're in the top 10 for job creation.

I'm proud of that hard-won recovery -- the result of many tough decisions, courage and perseverance.

My hope is while you are here you will have a chance to see our tremendous results first hand.

We both love the great country, but we fundamentally disagree on how to best make America grow and prosper once again. I'd love an opportunity to share with you how we've been able to turn Arizona around with hard choices that turned out to be the right ones.

And, of course, my offer to visit the border -- and buy lunch -- still stands!

With respect,


Here is a link to a PDF copy of the handwritten letter


Brewer releases copy of letter she handed to Obama

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez - Jan. 26, 2012 10:43 PM

The Republic |

In a sudden about-face, Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday evening made public a copy of the letter she handed President Barack Obama during their high-profile encounter a day earlier that dominated national news, the blogosphere and water-cooler conversation.

Brewer had presented the letter to Obama during an official airport welcome that turned into a brief confrontation, during which she pointed a finger at the president.

At one point Thursday, the feisty interaction at the start of the president's visit to the Valley sent "Jan Brewer" to No. 8 on Twitter's trending topics in the U.S. Online sales of Brewer's book "Scorpions for Breakfast" exploded. And the "finger wag" led to a petition by state Democrats asking Brewer to apologize to the president.

Brewer continued to defend her actions Thursday, saying she meant no disrespect to the president and explaining that she often gestures when she speaks. She called allegations that their confrontation was a publicity stunt "absolutely ridiculous."

In a Thursday night interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Obama shrugged off the tarmac encounter.

"What I have discovered is that -- I think it's always good publicity for a Republican if they're in an argument with me."

He added: "But this was really not a big deal."

Some of the discussion Thursday in the media and on the Internet about the encounter centered on what was in the letter the governor delivered to Obama on the tarmac of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, particularly after her office said it would not be releasing the letter.

When The Arizona Republic requested a copy, Brewer's spokesman, Matthew Benson, said no copies existed and the letter was "personal, handwritten" correspondence not subject to open-records laws.

On Thursday, Benson released the letter, saying: "Unbeknownst to me" a copy was made. "I sincerely regret the miscommunication."

The one-page letter was written in cursive script on Executive Office stationery. The letter touches on job creation, the state's budget, and Brewer mentions visiting the border.

The letter says in part:

"You've arrived in a state at the forefront of America's recovery -- and her future," she wrote. "We both love this great country, but we fundamentally disagree on how to best make America grow and prosper once again. I'd love an opportunity to share with you how we've been able to turn Arizona around with hard choices that turned out to be the right ones. And, of course, my offer to visit the border -- and buy lunch -- still stands."

The governor signed the letter "With respect, Jan."

After Brewer delivered the letter to Obama, the two spoke intensely for a few minutes and she pointed her finger at him. During the encounter, they were talking over each other before Obama appeared to walk away from the governor while they were still talking.

Brewer later said that the conversation left her "breathless" and that Obama had brought up her book.

Brewer's book, "Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America's Border," deals with the state's tough immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, the events that precipitated it and the fallout from its passage.

She repeatedly skewers the president in the book, painting a different picture of her June 2010 Oval Office meeting with Obama than she did in media interviews after the event, when she told media it "was a successful meeting, and I'm encouraged by that."

In the book, however, the governor criticizes Obama for publicly mocking the state and SB 1070. She said Obama was condescending towards her during their 2010 meeting and lectured her about his efforts for comprehensive immigration reform.

"It wasn't long before I realized I was hearing the president's stump speech," the book said. "Only I was supposed to listen without talking. He was patronizing."

And after Wednesday's encounter, she called Obama disrespectful because he walked away from her in mid-sentence.

"Well, I would never have walked away from anybody having a conversation," she said. "And, of course, that is what it is. It is disrespectful for me."

Video and photos of the encounter overshadowed the presidential visit and once again catapulted Brewer into the national spotlight.

She's been there before for different reasons.

In 2010, when she signed immigration law SB 1070 into law, she did it on a national stage. Months earlier, she was thrust in the national spotlight after she paused for 13 seconds during a televised campaign debate. Critics ridiculed her for mangling the English language, saying "We have did what was right for Arizona."

Despite her most recent headlines, Jay Carney, a White House press secretary, on Thursday told reporters on Air Force One that the airport confrontation was "overblown."

"It's not a very big deal, at all," Carney said. "Some of this is political theater, to some degree, I guess."

Brewer's initial handling of the letter, and her contention that it was personal, raised legal questions about the way the Governor's Office was complying with the state's public-records law. Experts considered the letter to be a public record that should be released.

"There's nothing remotely personal about this," said Dan Barr, a First Amendment attorney who also advises the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona Inc. "She presented it to the president of the United States in the most public way possible. The whole reason to hand him this letter in public is for political theater, and then to be asked what was in the letter."

A public record generally is defined as any record created or maintained by a public official or government entity, no matter whether it is handwritten, typed or recorded.

Benson said late Thursday that he does not know who made a copy of the letter, and he would not say who informed him of the copy.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Doonesbury makes fun of Ron Paul & Libertarians

Doonesbury makes fun of Ron Paul & Libertarians

Dr. Paul, your candidacy defies understanding.

Doonesbury makes fun of Ron Paul & Libertarians

Excuse me?

While everyone shares some of your views, very few people share them all.

Does he mean like ending the insane "war on drugs"? Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Cutting the literally billions of dollars in government welfare programs for rich corporations in the industrial military complex? Ending the unconstitutional Patriot Act? Ending the Homeland Security and TSA, who's main functions is to grope and feel up travelers at airports? Expecting Americans to pay 30 percent of their income to support the insane, bloated Federal bureaucracy? In addition to paying another 10 percent of their income to support their bloated state government bureaucracies?

Doonesbury makes fun of Ron Paul & Libertarians

The fact is, your philosophy is pure utopianism. No modern society could function under a Libertarian government, which is why none exists.

I suspect King George and all the other tyrants in the 18th century said that about the new dangled democracy brought on by the American revolution.

Give Libertarianism a little time. The Libertarian Party was only founded in the 1970's.

Doonesbury makes fun of Ron Paul & Libertarians

Is there a question in there?

No. What would be the point?

I suspect the point is that the author of Doonesbury wants you to write off Ron Paul and Libertarianism without analyzing the it.

Of course he doesn't want that to happen because it would cut into the status quo the Democratic and Republican Parties have.

More on the Doonesbury anti-Libertarian and anti Ron Paul cartoon here.

Mitt Romney is a Washington outsider who wants to cut government pork & fat

Swear to God Mitt Romney is a Washington outsider who is going to cut government pork and reduce the size of government. Just kidding, but I am sure the Republican party wants you to believe that lie.

If you really want to cut government fat and bureaucracy support Ron Paul. While talk is cheep and candidates routinely lie about their status of being Washington outsiders who want to cut government pork and waste, Ron Paul has a 20 year track record to prove he votes like he talks. Of course the insiders in the Republic Party hate Ron Paul for that very reason. That's why Dr. Paul earned the nickname of "Dr. No"


Close Ties to Goldman Enrich Romney’s Public and Private Lives


Published: January 27, 2012

When Bain Capital sought to raise money in 1989 for a fast-growing office-supply company named Staples, Mitt Romney, Bain’s founder, called upon a trusted business partner: Goldman Sachs, whose bankers led the company’s initial public offering.

When Mr. Romney became governor of Massachusetts, his blind trust gave Goldman much of his wealth to manage, a fortune now estimated to be as much as $250 million.

And as Mr. Romney mounts his second bid for the presidency, Goldman is coming through again: Its employees have contributed at least $367,000 to his campaign, making the firm Mr. Romney’s largest single source of campaign money through the end of September.

No other company is so closely intertwined with Mr. Romney’s public and private lives except Bain itself. And in recent days, Mr. Romney’s ties to Goldman Sachs have lashed another lightning rod to a campaign already fending off withering attacks on his career as a buyout specialist, thrusting the privileges of the Wall Street elite to the forefront of the Republican nominating battle.

Newt Gingrich, whose allies have spent millions of dollars on advertisements painting Mr. Romney as a heartless “vulture capitalist,” seized on Mr. Romney’s Goldman ties at Thursday’s Republican debate in Florida, suggesting that he had profited through Goldman on banks that had foreclosed on Floridians. And as the fight over regulation of financial firms spills onto the campaign trail, Mr. Romney’s support for the industry — he has called for repeal of the Dodd-Frank legislation tightening oversight of Wall Street — may draw more fire.

Mr. Romney’s positions and pedigree have helped draw to his side major donors in the financial world. The securities and investment industry has given more money to Mr. Romney than any other industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and some of its leading figures have donated millions of dollars to Restore Our Future, the “super PAC” bolstering Mr. Romney’s campaign. Goldman employees are also the biggest source of donations to Free & Strong America PAC, a group Mr. Romney founded but no longer controls.

But Mr. Romney’s personal finances are particularly entwined with Goldman.

His federal financial disclosure statements show Mr. Romney and his wife, their blind trusts and their family foundation to be prodigious consumers of the bank’s services. In 2011, Mr. Romney’s blind trust and the couple’s retirement accounts held as much as $36.7 million in at least two dozen Goldman investment vehicles, earning as much as $3 million a year in income. Mrs. Romney’s trust had at least $10.2 million in Goldman funds — possibly much more — earning as much as $6.2 million.

Tax returns released by the campaign this week also highlighted some of the privileges Mr. Romney enjoyed as a friend of Goldman: In May 1999, a few months after he left Bain to run the Salt Lake City Olympics, Goldman allowed Mr. Romney to buy at least 7,000 Goldman shares during the firm’s lucrative initial public offering — a generous allotment even among Goldman clients, according to people with knowledge of the deal. When Mr. Romney’s trusts sold the shares in December 2010, a few months before he formed his presidential exploratory committee for the 2012 race, they returned a profit of $750,000.

A spokeswoman for Goldman declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for Mr. Romney.

Investing with Goldman was not without risks: Like other Goldman clients, the Romneys invested money in a family of funds known as Whitehall, which placed highly leveraged bets on office buildings, casinos and hotels. Some Whitehall deals collapsed during the financial crisis, saddling Mr. Romney and its other investors with big losses.

And some of the attacks on Mr. Romney have overreached. While Mr. Gingrich charged on Thursday that his rival did business with a firm that “was explicitly foreclosing on Floridians,” that is not accurate: The family’s holdings include a Goldman fund that, like other investment funds, has invested partly in mortgage-backed securities. Goldman sold its mortgage servicing arm, Litton Loan Servicing, last year.

But other elements of Mr. Romney’s personal and business ties to Goldman may prove more controversial. Bain’s mid-1990s acquisition of Dade Behring, a medical device maker with factories in Florida, has become a totem of the economic upheaval that private equity can inflict. Goldman invested in the acquisition, which brought the bank $120 million and Bain $242 million — but led to the layoffs of hundreds of workers in Miami. Democrats hammered Mr. Romney over the deal this week.

When Mr. Romney was building Bain into one of the world’s premier private equity firms, Goldman’s bankers clamored for Bain business, and won assignments advising or financing an array of Bain deals, including Bain’s 1997 $800 million buyout of Sealy, the nation’s largest mattress company, which it later sold.

As Mr. Romney amassed his fortune, Goldman also offered up the services of an elite Boston-based team in the bank’s private wealth management unit. The relationship gave him access to Goldman’s exclusive investment funds, including private equity vehicles known as Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.

Mr. Romney is far from Goldman’s largest client — some investors have billions of dollars at the firm — but his political connections and founding role at Bain have elevated his importance there. His Goldman investments are handled by Jim Donovan, who has built one of the largest-producing businesses in Goldman’s private wealth management unit, managing several billion dollars for the firm’s individual clients.

Goldman gave Mr. Romney’s trusts access to the bank’s own exclusive investment funds and helped him execute an aggressive and complex tax-deferral strategy known as an “exchange fund” in 2002. (Since 2003, most of Mr. Romney’s money has been held in blind trusts, meaning that he no longer makes many of his own investment decisions.) According to tax returns released this week, the family’s three principal trusts earned more than $9 million from various Goldman Sachs investment vehicles in 2010.

Floyd Norris, Michael Barbaro and Kitty Bennett contributed reporting.

Republicans trip and liberals chuckle, but libertarians will laugh last


Republicans trip and liberals chuckle, but libertarians will laugh last

John Kass

January 29, 2012

The economy is in the tank. Americans are hurting, out of work and underemployed. The housing market hasn't recovered. And a weakened President Barack Obama hopes for good news.

So why are Democratic operatives and their media cheerleaders laughing? Because the Republican presidential candidates are so darn amusing in the slapstick of this campaign.

There's nothing like watching politicians stumbling and bumbling, tripping on all those abandoned and forgotten principles, to help you forget that it'll be your turn one day.

And as Democrats laugh at all the hilarious Republican pratfalls, can they see their own party stubbing its toes a few years from now on their own abandoned ideals, such as the civil liberties that were once so important to so many liberals?

Right now, Democrats have the White House and they aim to stay in power. And many liberals who are concerned about civil liberties are guzzling the Kool-Aid, perhaps as desperately as their conservative counterparts guzzled it when former President George W. Bush was pushing big-government conservatism with a straight face.

Now the Republicans are presenting a carny show. They've sent in the clowns.

Newt Gingrich is the one big-government Republican who can really slap down those big-government Democrats. And he offers a highly articulate, sweeping, passionate, almost lyrical conservatism. But Newt has a problem: Political Tourette Syndrome. He shouts out what America needs:

Manned colonies on the moon!

As Newt remains the stranger in his strange land, Mitt Romney sees weakness and is ascendant in Florida. But Mitt has his own problems. Let's call them "Mitt's Funds in the Grand Cayman Islands" and "Mitt's Swiss bank accounts."

If a President Gingrich puts the 51st state on the moon, then the least a President Romney could do is conquer the Cayman Islands. They're only about 480 miles from Miami, there's a lot more cash, there's some good fishing and they're a lot cheaper to occupy than the moon.

At least conservative Rick Santorum seems to believe about half of what he says, which is a marked improvement over the studied sincerity of the other two, but not enough.

And libertarian Ron Paul?

"Well, I don't think we should go to the moon. I think we maybe should send some politicians up there," Paul quipped.

Gingrich and Santorum have done their jobs as status quo blocking backs, so Paul will never get the one-on-one confrontation he needed to defeat the corporatist Romney. Still, I think Paul will have a victory, not this year, but long term. And not personally, but through his ideas.

You already see it, in the energy level of young. They're turned on by libertarian ideas, by smaller government, by less taxes, and they don't want to fight any more wars. Many young people are also quite intrigued by a strange document, one that prompts snickering among establishment big-government Democrats and big-government Republicans.

You may have heard about this weird booklet.

We call it the Constitution.

Things are already changing. Only a few weeks ago, Paul was ridiculed as an "isolationist" for not wanting America to fight wars. But recently, there has been a subtle but significant shift in establishment rhetoric.

The word "isolationist" has been replaced. The new, almost officially approved term is "noninterventionist."

That's far less pejorative. And you'll see it used more often, an acknowledgment by the elites that the young people who do most of the fighting and the dying in American wars aren't inherently evil simply because they want to live.

That youth vote once belonged to President Obama. Years ago, he was the hope and change agent from Chicago's City Hall. But that seems like eons ago, back in the days when he cared about civil liberties.

When Bush was in the White House, Democratic liberals like Obama shrieked at the loss of civil liberties. Conservatives saw it happening, saw the federal muscle being used on Americans, but they drank the Kool-Aid, convincing themselves that there was some greater good.

Now they see their party has lost its way. Back then, the Democrats were out of power. They were loud critics of Bush and anyone who'd deny Americans their rights. These days, Democrats guzzle the Kool-Aid and Obama uses civil liberties to clean his shoes.

Last month he signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which would allow the military to jail and detain Americans without charges if they're suspected of consorting with terrorists. Think of that. American armed forces arresting and jailing — without charges — fellow U.S. citizens. To keep his civil liberties cred, Obama insists it won't come to this, but a former law professor should understand that if you give the government power, it will use it.

"You go down a slippery slope," liberal Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., told The Hill last week. "To not give people a hearing, to not give an American citizen the right to have his case heard in a court — I think that's one of our basic rights. Once we're starting to get rid of our basic rights, we're in real trouble."

But with so many Democrats laughing at the Republican circus, and all those glasses of Kool-Aid being raised, who can hear him?

Freddie Mac hired Gingrich as it reshaped strategy


Freddie Mac hired Gingrich as it reshaped strategy

By Marilyn Thompson and Samuel P. Jacobs | Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Within months after taking over as chief lobbyist at mortgage lender Freddie Mac in 1999, Mitchell Delk hired a prominent Washington insider to advise him on how to build support among conservatives on Capitol Hill: Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives.

A key part of Delk's strategy, as outlined in Federal Election Commission records, was to build goodwill in Congress by holding fundraising events for influential members of House and Senate committees that had oversight of Freddie Mac.

Gingrich had experience in such matters as an architect of GOPAC, one of the Republican Party's most important political action committees.

Gingrich's activity at Freddie Mac has been under scrutiny during his run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, as rivals have accused him of lobbying for Freddie Mac.

The former speaker has rejected such allegations, and his first $300,000-a-year contract with Freddie Mac, released this week by his campaign, states that he would not "engage in lobbying services of any kind."

But the contract, together with the FEC records describing Delk's revamping of Freddie Mac's lobbying shop, sheds light on how Gingrich could avoid the lobbyist label and still be valuable to the mortgage lender as a strategist.

Gingrich's contract says the former House speaker would work with Delk and other Freddie Mac officials on "strategic planning and public policy."

And, it calls on Gingrich to contribute to the lender's "corporate planning and business goals."

"He was a consultant for us, and ... not a lobbyist," Freddie Mac spokesman Doug Duvall said, declining to comment further on the lender's arrangement with Gingrich.

Gingrich's campaign has offered few specifics about his work for Freddie Mac, for which he earned as much as $1.8 million during two contract periods. It said late last year that part of his job was to help Freddie Mac build bridges to conservatives.

He has called himself a "historian" who advised the mortgage lender on issues such as its lending policies.

Gingrich joined Delk's government affairs shop at a time when the former Freddie Mac senior vice president was hiring several former members of Congress and congressional aides for his lobbying team.

At the time, conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill were seeking regulations to rein in the profits of government-sponsored lenders such as Freddie Mac.

Delk, who did not respond to phone calls seeking comment, successfully fought back against such legislation by hiring dozens of outside consultants and spending as much on lobbying as many major corporations.


However, his lobbying team came under investigation by the FEC in 2003.

The FEC probe found that under Delk's guidance, Freddie Mac improperly used corporate resources to put on 85 fundraising events that raised about $1.7 million for federal candidates.

The majority of the events were for Republicans, the FEC found.

FEC investigators concluded that at least one major contribution to a Republican entity came directly from Freddie Mac funds and that some fundraisers were held in Freddie Mac's offices - both violations of FEC rules.

In 2006, Freddie Mac agreed to a $3.8 million settlement for violating federal election rules, the largest civil fine the FEC had ever levied.

Delk, who resigned from Freddie Mac in 2004, was not charged in the case. Delk's lawyer in the case, Ken Gross, said Gingrich's name "never came up in connection with (the FEC) case."

Vin Weber, a former Republican representative from Minnesota who also was hired as a Freddie Mac consultant, said he never worked directly with Gingrich on Freddie Mac matters.

He said the mortgage lender did not want congressional arm-twisting but hoped to "create a positive buzz for Freddie Mac."

Weber said someone like Gingrich could provide an important service without lobbying.

"I wouldn't ask him to pick up the phone (to call a member of Congress), because that is really not necessary. He is circulating all the time with members of Congress," said Weber, who is supporting Mitt Romney in this year's race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Former New York Representative Susan Molinari, another Romney supporter, also was hired by Freddie Mac during Delk's tenure. She did not return phone calls or emails.

Republican Michael Oxley, who was House Financial Services Committee chairman and attended at least 19 Delk fundraisers, said that at the time he did not know Gingrich worked for Freddie Mac.

Oxley "may have seen him from time to time at a social thing," said Peggy Peterson, a spokeswoman for Oxley.

Gingrich signed a second contract with Freddie Mac in 2006. The lender ended its relationship with outside consultants in 2008, when the U.S. Treasury placed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in conservatorship.

Republicans have blamed the government-sponsored lenders, which sustained $14.9 billion in losses when the U.S. housing market crashed, for a major role in the subprime lending crisis.

(Additional reporting by Margaret Chadbourne; editing by David Lindsey and Mohammad Zargham)

Newt Gingrich's thugs attack Ron Paul supporter

I suspect this isn't something unusual that accidentally happened. I have been jerked around many times by police thugs for thinking I have "Constitutional Rights", so I suspect the way Gingrich's thugs handled this guy was their normal run of the mill operating method.


‘Everyone step on his toes!’ Gingrich security harasses Ron Paul supporter: Scenes from the Florida primary

By Yahoo! News

SNIP I removed the first article

WINDERMERE, Fla.--Next time, Eddie Dillard won't wear flip-flops.

Dillard, a 29-year-old Ron Paul supporter from this suburb near Orlando, arrived to vote at his precinct at Winderemere Baptist Church early Tuesday morning. Pulling into the parking lot, Dillard noticed a man outside the polling place with a Gingrich sign. He decided to run home, slip into his "Ron Paul Rocks America" T-shirt, grab a "Ron Paul 2012" sign from his garage, and return to give his candidate some representation outside the precinct after he cast his vote.

Dillard found a quiet spot along a sidewalk lined with tiny American flags and held up his sign. Little did he know, Newt Gingrich had chosen that very spot to make his first Primary Day campaign stop.

When Gingrich's bus pulled up, Dillard stood silently holding his sign and watched the news-media horde swamp the candidate. Gingrich stepped down from the bus and made a beeline for Dillard. He stopped in front of Dillard and his sign and parked himself for a round of handshaking and pictures with voters. The placement couldn't have been worse. There was Gingrich, standing with his wife Callista at their first event of the day, and a giant Ron Paul sign floated inches from their crowns.

Noticing the awkward optics, Gingrich aides and security personnel swarmed Dillard, trying to intimidate him into moving. One of Gingrich's security agents stepped in front of him. When Dillard didn't budge, the agent lifted his heeled shoe over Dillard's bare foot and dug the back of it into his skin, twisting it side-to-side like he was stomping out a cigarette. Shocked, Dillard kept his ground and took a picture of the agent with his phone, which was quickly knocked out of his hand. Dillard slipped off his flip-flop to pick up the phone with his foot, and a Gingrich supporter kicked the sandal away.

"Don't kick me!" Dillard said to the man who knocked away his sandal. More members of Gingrich's security retinue approached, shoving their shoulders and chests in front of him.

"Just block him!" a Gingrich campaign aide said. "Everyone step on his toes!"

Gingrich supporters handed a "Newt 2012" yard sign up to the front to put in front of Dillard's Paul sign. The two signs, zipping back and forth inches from Gingrich's head, circled each other in the air like a fighter jets in a dogfight.

When the candidate finished taking pictures with voters, furious Gingrich aides grilled Dillard.

"If we did this to you, you guys would be furious," said an aide before stomping back toward the bus. "They have no class. No class."

As Gingrich pulled away, Dillard looked down at his foot. With the adrenaline pumping, he hadn't noticed the pain, but now it was starting to sink in. A bruise was forming, and there was a cut mark where the security agent had dug in his heel.

"That was really something," Dillard said afterwards. "My heart's racing. Not what I expected to happen today."

--Chris Moody, 12:01 p.m. ET

Mitt Romney will be a Republican clone of Emperor Obama?

Hmmm ... Obama is almost a carbon copy clone of war monger Bush. Now it sounds like Romney is almost a carbon copy clone of Obama.

First there is Romney Care which is the Massachusetts socialist health care plan which some people say was used as a clone for Obama Care. Now with his support of automatic hikes in the minimum wage Romney sounds like a socialist just like Obama.


Romney supports automatic hikes in minimum wage

Associated Press

2:55 p.m. CST, February 1, 2012

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney renewed his support Wednesday for automatic increases in the federal minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, a position sharply at odds with traditional GOP business allies, conservatives and the party's senior lawmakers.

“I haven't changed my thoughts on that,” the former Massachusetts governor told reporters aboard his chartered campaign plane, referring to a stand he has held for a decade.

He did not say if he would ask Congress to approve the change if he wins the White House this fall.

Congress first enacted federal minimum wage legislation in 1938 and has raised it sporadically in the years since. The last increase, approved in 2007, took effect in three installments and reached $7.25 an hour for covered workers effective July 24, 2009.

It has never been allowed to rise automatically, as Romney envisions.

Organized labor generally supports increases in the minimum wage, and Romney's position could give him cross-over appeal among blue-collar Democrats in a general election campaign.

Republicans have generally opposed attempts to raise it, although in 1996, the GOP-controlled Congress passed an election-year increase that included a package of tax cuts for business and a subminimum wage to apply to new, younger employees.

At the time lawmakers were considering the 2007 legislation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce registered its disapproval.

“Any minimum wage increase will significantly affect the bottom line of the nation's small business owners,” said Bruce Josten, the executive vice president for government affairs at the organization, which says it represents more than 3 million businesses and organizations across the country.

The National Federation of Independent Business says on its website that it “opposes any increase in the current federal minimum wage. Mandatory wage increases not only hurt small businesses, but their employees as well … It has not been proven to reduce poverty or narrow the income gap and puts a stranglehold on America's top job creators: small businesses.”

Aides to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Romney's statement.

As a candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney said he supported minimum wage increases in line with inflation.

Five years ago, he said he liked the “idea of getting the political debate out and I like the idea of not having the huge jumps as we do now.”

One of Romney's rivals in the presidential race, Newt Gingrich, said at a news conference last week that he would be cautious about raising the minimum wage for fear it would contribute to unemployment. He was speaker of the House at the time of the 1996 increase, which was passed under Democratic pressure.

Ron Paul's Vegas pitch: No taxes on tips


Ron Paul's Vegas pitch: No taxes on tips

By Maria L. La Ganga

February 1, 2012, 4:47 p.m.

Reporting from Las Vegas— At a news conference where supporters out-numbered reporters 10 to 1, Rep. Ron Paul reiterated his plan to stop federal taxation of tips, a proposal that brought loud cheers in this tourism-dependent state, where nearly 20% of all workers rely on such income.

Speaking from a podium in an opulent Four Seasons Hotel ballroom, Paul said that Las Vegas "is a city that could benefit rather quickly from one little proposal: Make sure that the United States government does not tax tips at all."

The result, he said, would be less paperwork for businessmen and service providers, many of whom are "working on the margin," especially if they are reliant on such jobs for full-time employment. But even tip-reliant part-timers would benefit, he said, in a lengthy explanation that connected many of the ills he sees in the economy today.

The tip-earner, he said, "might be a student. Here we are, we have students struggling, they want to pay their way through college, and we want to encourage them. So we tax their tips, and then they come up short, and then we say, 'Oh, what we need to do is give you a loan and put you further into debt.' It makes no sense!"

Paul was asked whether it might be more economically sound just to raise the minimum wage – an idea that he bristled at as reducing the liberty that Americans crave.

"I don't like that idea at all," he responded bluntly. "I don't like to use force, and that's what you're doing. You're forcing a contract. The government is supposed to protect contracts, not dictate the contract. If they can manipulate the minimum wage laws, they can manipulate the maximum wage laws."

Paul unveiled the cornerstone of his economic plan in Las Vegas last October, proposing a one-year, trillion-dollar cut in federal spending that he said would allow him to balance the budget in his first term as president.

He said he would permit workers to dip into their 401(K) retirement accounts without penalty to start or invest in new businesses. He would reduce corporate and capital gains taxes and repeal what Republicans refer to as "Obamacare."

On Wednesday, he highlighted the elements of his economic plan that would most directly affect residents of Nevada. The Silver State has the highest unemployment rate of any state in the country, and newspapers regularly blare dire pronouncements about the moribund real estate market, like the Reno Gazette-Journal's recent headline: "Nevada leads US in foreclosure rate for fifth straight year."

Paul largely ignored his opponents in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and actually defended former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

He was asked to comment on the uproar over Romney's comment to CNN that "I'm in this race because I care about Americans. I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it...." And he was also asked what the federal government's responsibility to the poor is.

What the government should do to those with the very least, he said, is "maximize freedom, because that's where you get maximum production."

And he said that he hadn't heard the full comment by Romney.

"Sometimes we as politicians get taken out of context," he said. "Quite frankly, he is my political opponent, and we don't agree on a whole lot. But I also think not too long ago he was taken out of context that he liked to fire people, which was completely out of context. So until I look at that, I give him the benefit of the doubt."

On Thursday, Paul travels to Elko and Reno.

Girls at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch are pimping for Ron Paul?


Ron Paul gets a boost from brothel bunnies in Nevada caucuses

By David Horsey

February 2, 2012, 5:30 a.m.

The Moonlite Bunny Ranch is providing a hotbed of support for Ron Paul in the Nevada caucuses, thus proving there’s a thin line between libertarian and libertine.

The working girls at the notorious brothel near Carson City are, in their words, “pimpin’ for Paul.” One of the women, 25-year-old Cami Parker, told Times reporter Maria La Ganga that she likes Paul’s positions on individual liberties and states’ rights and drops 10% of her weekly earnings into a Paul campaign donation box in the brothel’s parlor.

In a state that thrives on gambling and allows zones of legal prostitution, Paul’s libertarian philosophy has wide appeal, although it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine the grandfatherly and mildly eccentric Texas congressman as a stud muffin for a group of sex trade entrepreneurs. Then again, given the horny ranch hands, frat boys, obese bikers, errant husbands and sad lonely hearts these women pretend to be aroused by every day, the authenticity and cerebral charm of Paul could be vastly more appealing.

Paul has certainly added zest to the sanctimonious drone of the Republican campaign. Especially in recent debates, the 76-year-old Paul has provided most of the rare moments of unscripted honesty and wit amid the memorized cheap shots and calculated displays of righteous anger.

Paul, who this week is celebrating 55 years of marriage to the same woman, doesn’t seem like the kind of fellow who’d be a customer at the Bunny Ranch. Still, he ought to stop by and thank the girls for their support. Hanging with prostitutes doesn’t seem any more compromising than sharing a stage with Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. At least there’s no pretense or obfuscation about how the bunnies earn their money.

Ron Paul speaks to Las Vegas Hispanic group

"I just do not believe barbed wire fences and guns on our borders will solve any of our problems"

Ron Paul compared "how some people blame the illegal immigration problem for the nation's economic problems with how the Nazis used Jews as scapegoats"

"I don't want to live in a country where we have to have our papers" to conduct ordinary business, he said.


Paul speaks to Las Vegas Hispanic group

By Richard Lake


Posted: Feb. 1, 2012 | 9:38 a.m.

Republican presidential contender Ron Paul told an influential group of Hispanics on Wednesday that he favors an easier path for legal immigration to the United States.

"I just do not believe barbed wire fences and guns on our borders will solve any of our problems," the Texas congressman told a group of about 100 people Wednesday morning.

Paul, in town ahead of Saturday's Republican caucus, was the only Republican candidate to accept an invitation to speak before the Las Vegas group Hispanics in Politics. Paul, the candidate who has most actively reached out to Hispanic voters, finished second in Nevada to current Republican front-runner Mitt Romney in 2008. Romney is expected to finish first again, but Paul has made it clear he intends to do well here.

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, plans to reach out to several dozen invited Hispanic business leaders on Thursday at Mundo Restaurant in Las Vegas, his campaign confirmed.

Paul spoke in detail about immigration policy, saying he favored legal immigration, though he did not like a lot about so-called amnesty programs that would allow people who have been in this country illegally to gain citizenship. He said that would be rewarding lawbreakers.

He said there is too much emotion involved in the immigration issue, comparing how some people blame the illegal immigration problem for the nation's economic problems with how the Nazis used Jews as scapegoats in the buildup to World War II.

He also said the nation "overreacted" to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as far as immigration goes, and that there is too much red tape for immigrants and others to contend with. He does not favor issuing national identification cards, either, he said.

"I don't want to live in a country where we have to have our papers" to conduct ordinary business, he said.

Simply deporting immigrants who are not here legally is no solution, Paul said. He said he has seen families separated by such actions, and that it is not good policy to send someone to their country of origin if they have been here most of their lives. It would also be a logistical nightmare to deport all illegal immigrants, he said.

"That makes no sense at all to do that," Paul told the crowd.

He said the nation should instead make it easier for people to immigrate here legally. Most immigrants, he said, come here because they believe in the American dream.

He said everybody wants the same thing, no matter what group they belong to: freedom.

"That should bring us all together," he said.

Paul, who spoke for about a half hour Wednesday and answered a few questions afterward, has focused on gaining supporters among diverse groups: Hispanics, veterans, young voters and Mormons, who have previously backed their fellow church-goer Romney.

Michael G. McDonald, 53, said he was supporting Paul because he was the only candidate in either party who is honest about revamping the country's monetary policy.

"He's the only alternative we have," said McDonald, who attended Wednesday's event and plans to participate in Saturday's caucuses.

He said that if Paul does not gain the Republican nomination, he will vote the way he has been voting for a decade: For "none of these candidates," an option unique to Nevadans.

Edwin Aguilar, 22, attended the event, too. He said he is not yet a citizen, so he cannot vote. But he said he is here legally from El Salvador, and he wants to spread the word about Paul.

"I believe Ron Paul's message is universal," Aguilar said. "It appeals to anybody from any background. Peace, liberty, freedom."

Paul emphasizes returning the country's currency to the gold standard, dramatically reducing government spending and regulations, and emphasizing individual rights over government policy. He tends to appeal to libertarian-minded Nevadans.

Marlene Simpson, 50, said she would support Paul in Saturday's caucus. She likes that he wants to focus on domestic policy, rather than the goings on around the world.

Paul, as he often does, railed against the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, particularly the invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act.

He said that if elected, he would immediately bring the troops home.

"We've spent too much time meddling in the affairs of other nations," he said. "I think we ought to stop all that."

Review-Journal reporter Laura Myers contributed to this report. Contact reporter Richard Lake at or 702-383-0307.

Wearing Guns, and Support for Ron Paul, on Their Hips

“This country is becoming a police state,” he added. “If Ron Paul doesn’t get elected, we’re history.”


Wearing Guns, and Support for Ron Paul, on Their Hips

Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

PAHRUMP, Nev. — On rare occasions, when a brave — or foolish — local official here proposes banning firearms from government buildings or meetings, he is met with howls of protests by sidearm-wearing residents who pack public hearings. Shocked tourists on the way to Death Valley periodically call the local sheriff’s office to report someone wearing a pistol in plain view. That is their right, they are told.

This is a town — unincorporated, to be sure — where many folks have little need for much government, whether manifested by permits, stop signs, gun regulations or anything that would threaten Pahrump’s brothels. That goes for surrounding Nye County as well, which is more than twice the size of New Jersey but is home to only 44,000 residents, mostly in Pahrump.

This is the heart of Ron Paul country, the one county in Nevada that the 76-year-old congressman from Texas carried in the 2008 Republican caucuses, and a place that wears its libertarianism proudly.

It is also a place where many people come to be left alone. “There are a lot of people who hide in Pahrump,” said Carl England Jr., who, as pastor of a Baptist church here and also proprietor of a local septic business, knows a lot about his neighbors.

Many people here have owned guns — even some, like Jerry Neese, who are scared of them — not necessarily for concerns about safety but to make a statement about living in a free country. “People believe in the rights they have, and want to show they believe in them,” said Bonnie White, who owns Emmalee’s Guns and Emporium (named for her granddaughter) and sells 500 guns a year. “People will fight for their rights here.”

Mr. Neese and his wife, Mary, liked their two .357 Magnums but had to sell them when they lost their business. Ms. Neese once shot a burglar as he came after Mr. Neese with a large screwdriver, and she fears her husband might otherwise have been killed.

Nevertheless, Mr. Neese says the love of firearms can go too far, especially allowing people to wear them out in the open just about anywhere. “That makes people nervous,” he said. “If I see someone with a gun on their hip, and I had a gun, it would make me want to put my hands on my gun.”

Likewise, support for Mr. Paul is far from universal: he won 34 percent of the vote in Nye County the last time, barely edging out Mitt Romney, though there was some dispute over the final tally. But even among undecideds like Ms. White, Mr. Paul’s message about getting government out of people’s lives strikes a chord here as in few other places.

“There are many libertarians out there, and many of them came from urban areas and sought relative isolation. And they found it,” said Robert List, a former Nevada governor and the state’s Republican national committeeman, referring to Nye County. “They don’t come to Las Vegas unless they have to.”

Paul campaign officials hope to capitalize on that mistrust of government at Saturday’s caucuses, and they were planning a big rally in Pahrump on Friday as one of Mr. Paul’s last stops.

“It’s a mentality, ‘Leave me alone, let me do my thing, government, keep out of my business,’ ” said Carl Bunce, Mr. Paul’s Nevada campaign chairman. “They like as little government as possible in their lives, and Ron Paul is obviously the only candidate talking about reducing the size of federal government, so it’s an instant tie in their minds to support that candidate.”

Large blue Ron Paul signs with red borders are ubiquitous in Pahrump, mainly because of Sam Jones, one of Mr. Paul’s most fervent backers here. He says 83 of the signs have been put up around the town, with the materials paid for by about two dozen Paul supporters.

On this Thursday, Mr. Jones was keeping busy with two items: One was helping with preparations for Mr. Paul’s campaign stop the next day. The other was attending a court hearing to answer charges he faced stemming from a confrontation with sheriff’s deputies in which he was subdued with a Taser.

He said he had been reaching for a small copy of the Constitution that he keeps with him; the deputies said he appeared to be going for the other thing he carries on his person: his .45-caliber pistol, according to an account of his arrest in the local paper.

Mr. Jones has been one of the fiercest critics of efforts to ban firearms at public meetings. “The Constitution doesn’t say we have the right to bear arms everywhere, except the Pahrump, Nev., courthouse,” he said, sitting on a couch outside his home with his 1-year-old dog, Precious.

“This country is becoming a police state,” he added. “If Ron Paul doesn’t get elected, we’re history.”

Christians screwed by Atheists???

Gingrich vows to fight religious persecution

Yes, American is 90 percent atheist and the 10 percent Christian minority routinely gets screwed by these mean spirited atheists who get government to pass laws making it difficult for Christians to practice their religion.

I am just joking, but Christians seem to want you to believe that.

In reality it seems these Christians who are about 90 percent of the population are angry because the Federal and State Constitutions prevent them from mixing religion with government.

I suspect that like Hitler, Gingrich know that the bigger the lie is the easier it is to suck people into believing it.


On eve of caucuses, Gingrich vows to fight religious persecution

By Seema Mehta

7:59 a.m. CST, February 4, 2012

Reporting from Las Vegas— Speaking at a mega-church on the edge of Las Vegas, Newt Gingrich decried what he says is a decades-long war against religion in the United States and argued that other faiths are given tolerance while Christianity is persecuted, and said he is running because the nation’s very future is at stake.

"If I am president these children are not going to grow up in a secular country dominated by an elite who despise our history, dislike our culture and dislike our religion," Gingrich said, after calling all the children in the church to join him on stage. "These children are going to grow up in a country which is genuinely free and which worships God, which is the source of our rights."

In citing examples of religious persecution, Gingrich called out New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for disallowing churches from renting schools during the weekend to hold services.

"I guarantee you there are many groups that Mayor Bloomberg finds acceptable, including the building of a Muslim facility at the World Trade Center site," Gingrich said. "That was fine. After all, we have to be open unless of course it involves Christianity."

Gingrich made the remarks to hundreds of churchgoers at the International Church of Las Vegas, a mega-church with 5,000 members that was holding a prayer service for the United States just hours before Nevada Republicans head to the caucuses in the first voting contest in the West. Recent polls show Gingrich coming in second.

Gingrich said the nation was founded with God firmly in mind, pointing to the Declaration of Independence’s tenet that Americans’ rights are derived from their creator. If elected, Gingrich pledged to reinstitute the Mexico City policy, which forbids American funds being used to pay for abortions overseas, to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, and to seek the congressional impeachment of judges who are overly active.

Gingrich said he called the children to join him onstage to show why he decided to run.

"I wanted all of you to understand how we have made the very difficult decision to offer to serve as president and as first lady," he said. "... The reason we're here is we want to learn what kind of future are they going to have? Are they going to have a future of opportunity, of safety, of freedom?"

Ron Paul supporter who had foot broken by Gingrich thugs sues


Ron Paul supporter files lawsuit against Gingrich campaign for broken foot at Florida precinct

By Chris Moody | The Ticket

A Ron Paul supporter who left his polling precinct near Orlando with a broken foot Tuesday after an altercation with Newt Gingrich's private security officers has filed a lawsuit against the campaign and Patriot Group International, Gingrich's security firm.

The complaint, filed on Feb. 3 in a U.S. district court , seeks damages of more than $75,000, and alleges battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring on part of the campaign.

Dillard told Yahoo News that his attorney, Andrew Bennett Spark, was waiving attorney fees.

The incident occurred Tuesday at a polling station at First Baptist Church Windermere, where Gingrich was scheduled to make a quick morning stop to greet supporters. Dillard, a Ron Paul supporter who lives nearby, was present with a Paul sign when Gingrich arrived, and he says he did not know the candidate planned to stop there.

When Gingrich's campaign bus arrived, Gingrich walked toward Dillard, said hello, and turned to shake hands with voters. Dillard held the Paul sign behind Gingrich. Members of the candidate's private security warned Dillard that he should leave. When Dillard refused, they attempted to block him, and one stomped on his foot--on purpose, Dillard, who was wearing flip-flop sandals at the time, says.

After the incident, Dillard had a bruise on the top of his foot and later visited a doctor, who diagnosed him with a fracture.

A spokesman for Paul's presidential campaign called on Gingrich this week to apologize and to pay for Dillard's hospital bills.

Spark told Yahoo News that a phone call to the Gingrich campaign Friday had not yet been returned.

Santorum hates gays? Sounds like it.

Santorum hates gays? Sounds like it. If you ask me one purpose of the Constitution is to protect the rights of minorities within the context of the Constitution.

When 50 percent of the people vote to take away the right's of a minority the courts should usually step in and protect the right's of minorities like they did here.


Santorum decries 'judicial tyranny' in Prop. 8 ruling

By David G. Savage

February 12, 2012, 12:25 p.m.

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum described last week’s court ruling striking down California’s ban on same-sex marriage as “almost absurd” and an example of “judicial tyranny.”

“Judicial tyranny is a serious issue in this race and in this country,” he said Sunday. “We need judges who respect the people’s voice. Let the people decide with respect to what the Constitution says.”

Santorum's bid for the GOP presidential nomination surged last week after he swept Tuesday's nominating contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado.

David Gregory, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” cited last week’s ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down California’s Proposition 8, and asked Santorum what he would do as president if the Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians had a right to marry.

“I would do the same thing I’d do with Roe v. Wade, which [is] I would seek to try to overturn it,” said the former Pennsylvania senator.

He did not go as far as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said that as president he would “ignore” Supreme Court rulings that he strongly disagreed with.

Santorum said he was particularly troubled by the 9th Circuit ruling because the federal judges had overturned a state constitutional amendment approved by the voters. “Here, you have the 9th Circuit saying that a constitutional amendment is unconstitutional. I mean, that’s just, on its face, almost absurd,” he said. “The people of the state of California can decide what kind constitution they have.”

In a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit judges said that repealing gay marriage by a voter initiative violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Romney’s Arizona co-chair Sheriff Paul Babeu resigns in wake of explosive allegations

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and his lover Jose

Look I don't have any problem with gays, but aren't all the Republican canidatates expect Ron Paul bigots who hate gays????

If so why does gay bashing Rick Romney have gay Sheriff Paul Babeu as his campaign co-chair in Arizona???


Romney’s Arizona co-chair resigns in wake of explosive allegations

By Felicia Sonmez

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is stepping down as co-chairman of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s (R) Arizona campaign in the wake of allegations that he threatened to deport a former lover who declined to stay silent about their years-long relationship.

“Sheriff Babeu has stepped down from his volunteer position with the campaign so he can focus on the allegations against him,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement. “We support his decision.”

Babeu has denied any wrongdoing. And, on Saturday, he confirmed that he is gay, the Associated Press reported.

“I’m here to say that all the allegations. . .were untrue — except for the instance that refers to me as gay,” Babeu said in a news conference, according to the Associated Press. “That’s the truth — I am gay.”

News of Babeu’s move was first reported by the Arizona Republic.

Babeu, a national GOP rising star who is running against Rep. Paul Gosar (R) in Arizona’s newly created 4th District, is known for his hard-line position on illegal immigration. He endorsed Romney in October, saying in a statement that the presidential candidate “has shown that he is the most committed to securing the border.” Babeu has stumped for Romney in recent months.

The Phoenix New Times reported earlier this week that a man who claims to be Babeu’s former boyfriend says Babeu threatened him with deportation when he would not agree to stay silent about their relationship. Babeu has denied the allegations.

Are they running for President or the Pope???


Santorum defends remarks on Obama's faith

By Mitchell Landsberg and Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times

February 19, 2012, 10:25 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum denied Sunday that he had questioned President Obama's Christian faith, but said the president held an environmental belief "that elevates the Earth above man."

Santorum was quoted Saturday as telling an audience in Ohio that although he accepted the president's Christianity, he believed Obama adhered to "some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology." [As an atheist I know that any and all theologies are a bunch of baloney!!!]

Asked about that statement Sunday on CBS'"Face the Nation," Santorum framed the issue as a disagreement over global warming and how "radical environmentalists" care for the Earth.

"I accept the fact that the president's a Christian," he said. "I just said that when you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man, and says that, you know, we can't take those resources because we're going to harm the Earth by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, like for example that politicization of the whole global warming debate, this is just all an attempt to centralize power, to give more power to the government."

He added: "I'm talking about the belief that man should be in charge of the Earth and should have dominion over it and should be good stewards of it."

An Obama campaign advisor told ABC's "This Week"that the Republican candidate went "well over the line" in his comments about the president's theology. Robert Gibbs, a former White House spokesman, said it was time "to get rid of this mind-set in our politics that, if we disagree, we have to question character and faith."

A Santorum rival, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, also leveled criticism at the former Pennsylvania senator and said he doubted that Santorum could defeat Obama.

"His voting record is ... from my viewpoint, an atrocious voting record — how liberal he's been in all the things he's voted for over the many years he was in the Senate and in the House," Paul said onCNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley.

A third GOP candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, used his Sunday talk show appearance to defend casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who with his wife has contributed $11 million to an independent political committee backing Gingrich. Gingrich said Adelson helped his candidacy offset millions of dollars in attack ads from Mitt Romney and his allies.

"Sheldon Adelson is desperately worried about an Iranian nuclear weapon and he is desperately worried about the survival of Israel, and I am the strongest candidate on foreign policy and the strongest candidate on national security," Gingrich told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace.

Last month, Gingrich called on Santorum to drop out of the race so that voters could consolidate behind a Romney alternative. But he rebuffed Wallace's question about whether he should do the same, now that Santorum is leading him in the polls.

"I think you should have played Rick's answer, which I now agree with ... which was no," he told Wallace.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney had no public events Sunday. All four candidates will meet in a debate Wednesday in Arizona.

Times staff writer Maeve Reston contributed to this report.

Liars and hypocrites make great Presidents???

Who needs "principles" when you are running for President!!!!!

The real goal is to loot the government and give as much of the loot as possible to yourself and the special interest groups that helped you get elected!!!!

If being a hypocrite and a liar is a prerequisite for being a great politician, Gingrich will make a fantastic President!!!


Gingrich records show contradictory stances

Gingrich archives show his public praise, private criticism of Reagan

By Jerry Markon, Published: February 19

CARROLLTON, Ga. — In an unnoticed 1992 speech, Newt Gingrich in a single utterance took aim not only at a beloved conservative icon but also at a core tenet of the conservative movement: that government must be limited.

Ronald Reagan’s “weakness,” Gingrich told the National Academy of Public Administration in Atlanta, was that “he didn’t think government mattered. . . . The Reagan failure was to grossly undervalue the centrality of government as the organizing mechanism for reinforcing societal behavior.”

A review of thousands of documents detailing Gingrich’s career shows it wasn’t the first time he had criticized Reagan, whom he regularly invokes today in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. When Gingrich was in the House, his chief of staff noted at a 1983 staff meeting that his boss frequently derided Reagan, along with then-White House Chief of Staff James A. Baker III and Robert H. Michel, the House Republican leader.

Gingrich “assumed that he’s the whole Republican Party,” said the Gingrich aide, Frank Gregorsky, according to a transcript of the meeting. “He knows more than the president, the president’s people, Michel, Baker. He calls them stupid all the time, and I think that’s going to get him into big trouble someday.”

The speech and meeting transcripts are contained in a largely unexplored cache of documents compiled by a former Gingrich aide and archived at the University of West Georgia, where Gingrich was an assistant professor in the 1970s.

An examination of the papers collected over nearly three decades reveals a politician of moderate-to-liberal beginnings, a product of the civil rights era who moved to the right with an eye on political expediency — and privately savaged Republicans he was praising in public. Even as he gained a reputation as a conservative firebrand, the documents show Gingrich was viewed by his staff primarily as a tactician — the “tent evangelist” of the conservative movement, one staffer said — with little ideological core.

The files offer a candid glimpse of the former House speaker, a man who could be charming and self-effacing one moment, ambitious and grandiose the next, an admittedly disorganized manager who viewed his role as nothing less than saving the Western world.

“When I say save the West, I mean that,” Gingrich said in a 1979 address to his congressional staff, preserved in the files. “That is my job. . . . It is not my job to win reelection. It is not my job to take care of passport problems. It is not my job to get a bill through Congress. My job description as I have defined it is to save Western civilization.”

Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond, asked for comment on the material in the files, said Gingrich’s record is conservative, because he secured the “first GOP majorities in the U.S. House in 40 years, balanced budgets” and helped cut taxes, enact entitlement reforms and bolster intelligence spending as House speaker in the mid-1990s.

“Results matter,” Hammond said.

‘Progressive’ days

As Gingrich tries to revive his campaign for the 2012 presidential nomination, he has cast himself as the conservative alternative to rival Mitt Romney.

Yet in 1974, the 31-year-old Gingrich was seeking office with many avowedly liberal positions.

He had been deeply affected by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, which motivated him to work that year for presidential candidate Nelson A. Rockefeller, a left-leaning Republican often derided by conservatives.

His work for Rockefeller was “a good learning experience but was probably not very wise politically,” Gingrich later recalled to his congressional staff.

The documents include internal memos, handwritten notes and campaign fliers charting Gingrich’s political ascent, compiled by Mel Steely, a longtime aide, Gingrich supporter and retired professor who wrote a 2000 biography of the former House speaker.

“Newt was a rising, interesting person, and I’m a historian,” said Steely, explaining why he kept the files and donated them to the university. Steely had Gingrich’s cooperation in writing the biography.

Gingrich had described himself as a “progressive” in his 1970 application to teach at what was then West Georgia College. That self-description changed to a “common-sense conservative” by his 1974 race, when Gingrich skewered his opponent, incumbent Rep. John J. Flynt Jr. (D-Ga.), for voting against numerous government programs.

One campaign flier described Gingrich as a “family man” — picturing him in front of his Georgia home with his two daughters and his first wife, Jackie — and vowed he would improve Medicare benefits and reduce tax loopholes for the rich.

An internal campaign memo proposed a costly expansion of veterans’ benefits — and cited a similar bill offered by liberal Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.) as an example.

It is unclear whether Gingrich endorsed the proposal, but in later years he would call Democrats, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, “counterculture McGovernicks.”

And years before he would incur the wrath of conservatives by sitting on a couch with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to call for action on climate change — an appearance he has since repudiated — the 1974 Gingrich ran as an environmentalist. At the time, he was coordinator of environmental studies at West Georgia College, a new program he had proposed.

Facing a tough Republican year in the shadow of the Watergate scandal, Gingrich narrowly lost in 1974 and again in 1976. In that second race, according to the files, he opposed a constitutional amendment to limit abortions while supporting a Cabinet-level Education Department, an agency many conservatives have vowed to eliminate. He won election to Congress in 1978.

Seeing daylight on the right

On the day he took office in 1979, the newly elected congressman gathered his staff and described his vision for the future.

Balancing the federal budget, he predicted, “is an idea whose time will have come in about five years,” according to a 63-page transcript of the meeting. Since supporting a balanced budget was “politically . . . a desirable thing,” he vowed to make it a primary focus.

Even as he publicly spoke of the need to cut spending, in private he pushed for government funding, urging his staff in handwritten notes to pursue federal money in areas such as energy-efficient housing and education.

By the early 1980s, Gingrich was becoming a rising star among conservatives, known for his rhetorical bombs at Democrats. While he was praised by Jerry L. Falwell’s Moral Majority, Gingrich was taking some criticism inside his office. In a 1982 memo, Gregorsky told his boss that his position on abortion depended on “whatever side yelled at you last,” that Gingrich focused only on “where the country is” on abortion and that he treated the “morality” of the issue with “Olympian disdain.”

In other memos, Gregorsky praised Gingrich, and in a recent interview, he called the GOP candidate a “visionary.” But he added in the interview, “Newt is not any kind of an ideological conservative.”

While Gingrich differed sharply with the Reagan administration on issues such as defense spending and foreign policy, he effusively praised the president for national audiences.

“He is the most articulate, most charming, most aggressive conservative we’ve had, possibly since Theodore Roosevelt,” Gingrich was quoted as saying in a 1983 Associated Press story.

Yet behind closed doors, Gingrich raged at Reagan and other conservatives, especially after House Republicans lost seats in the 1982 elections. And back in Georgia, newspapers quoted him as saying something different. “Really, Reaganomics has failed,” Gingrich said.

‘Why do you think I peaked?’

In his presidential campaign, Gingrich has proudly admitted to being “grandiose,” a trait that runs through the archived files.

Some staff members found Gingrich’s call to save Western civilization inspiring and felt called to a higher purpose. Others rolled their eyes.

“When I heard it in the beginning, I thought he was a man from Mars,” congressional staffer Faye Williams said in a 1980 interview for an internal staff document. “It was just like somebody saying they wanted to be a moonman.” She added: “But Newt has a way of saying things that makes you think. . . . He’s really going to try to do that.”

Although Gingrich told his staff in 1979 that he had no interest in higher office, a handwritten note in the files shows that he discussed being House speaker with Steely in 1974.

As he advanced toward the leadership, he focused extensively on media coverage and chatting up influential columnists, the documents show. But when Mother Jones magazine ran a 1984 article titled “The Swinging Days of Newt Gingrich,” his staff dug up past issues and wrote an internal report blasting the magazine, while Gingrich wrote supporters excoriating the article as a “hatchet job.”

In 1996, the year after Gingrich became speaker, a note by Steely quoted him dismissing that year’s Republican vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp, a conservative icon whom Gingrich had lauded in public.

Gingrich said he wasn’t angry at Kemp, “but felt he owed him nothing else.” And it quoted him saying he would run for president in 2000 if Robert J. Dole, the 1996 Republican nominee, lost.

Gingrich “did not consider this (Speaker) the peak of his career” and asked: “Why do you think I peaked?” Steely’s note said.

Hard on himself — and others

The man who was so critical of others could also train his fire on himself.

Gingrich admitted to being a poor manager, heavily dependent on staff. “Every time I get involved in daily management, I goof it up,” he wrote in a 1983 memo. “I can’t do anything but give speeches, vote and make decisions.”

He urged his aides to serve his needs. “Somehow, the staff needs to function to think ahead, around and behind me — think ahead so that it says ‘I’m going with Newt next Tuesday. What will Newt need. . . ?’ ” Gingrich wrote.

He was a demanding boss — working into the night and churning out ideas while sometimes yelling and throwing papers, according to internal staff interviews in the files. But staffers also worried about his exhaustion and grumpy demeanor. “Newt . . . needs to develop a smile, or at least get a relaxed face,” an unnamed staff member wrote in 1984 after a meeting with a debate coach.

His staff noted that he could be sensitive about his weight. When a staff member referred to Gingrich as “the big man” in a 1984 memo, he scrawled at the top: “The big man? I am on Scarsdale,” an apparent reference to the then-popular Scarsdale diet.

Gingrich’s first two wives, Jackie and Marianne, appear in the papers as supportive spouses, heavily involved in his career. Yet there are suggestions of the twice-divorced candidate’s turbulent personal life. At a 1981 meeting, staff members worried about how to handle publicity about Gingrich’s impending second marriage, to Marianne.

And an undated handwritten note from Steely hints at the effect the divorce had on Jackie. “Jackie . . . pizza in face, poured the drink on him.”

Gingrich was often passionate, even emotional, in private. But he was also passionate about ideas, among them his longtime fascination with space.

In a 1983 staff meeting — three decades before he would propose a colony on the moon during his presidential campaign — he insisted on pursuing $60 million a year in federal funding aimed at building 12 space stations and a mine on the moon. According to a transcript, he said he wanted to “mandate” that NASA take the money. He proposed unionizing workers in space. And Republican leaders who were resisting additional funds for science, he said, were “idiots” and “so incredibly stupid.”

Research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.

Sorry Robb, the Americans are the terrorists, not the Arabs

"Paul needs to advocate his non-interventionism without sounding like he’s blaming the United States for the terrorists who attack us" - Sorry Robb, the American foreign policy of the last 70+ years IS the CAUSE of the terrorists attacks against America. And I should add they are not "terrorists", but "freedom fighters".


GOP debate: What the candidates need to do

The race for the Republican nomination for president has been framed by two questions and a dilemma.

The questions are:

* Which candidate would be the most efficacious conservative?

* Which candidate has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama in November?

The dilemma is this: Mitt Romney is not a natural fit to be leader of the Republican Party, but none of the other candidates, at this point, seem to be a natural fit to be president of the United States.

Now the questions and the dilemma have come to Arizona, for our Feb. 28 primary and the candidate debate to be held here on Feb. 22.

I may get stripped of my bola tie for saying this, but it would be better if the debate were being held in Michigan, which holds its primary the same day as Arizona.

In the first place, Michigan is where the candidates are playing more. Most of the other contenders are conceding Arizona, implicitly if not explicitly, to Romney. He’s been active in the state for some time, and has deep organization and support here. And Arizona is a winner-take-all primary. There are no delegates for a close second.

Michigan would also offer a better contrast between the two frontrunners on issues of a local dimension. Romney opposed the auto bailouts. Rick Santorum proposes an income tax rate of zero for manufacturers. Michigan would be an excellent place for a debate among the candidates about the extent to which the United States should have an industrial policy and what it should consist of.

The local issue that will inevitably come up in the Arizona debate is immigration, which is already well-trod ground for the candidates.

Still, Arizona is going to have a primary and host a debate. Here’s an admittedly idiosyncratic review of the candidates and what they need to do in the debate.

Mitt Romney

Romney’s claims to be a true-blue conservative are not believable regardless of how earnestly he makes them. For one thing, he equally as earnestly proclaimed himself not to be a conservative both times he ran for office in Massachusetts. (Earnestness seems to be a Romney character trait; if he read the phone book, he would do so earnestly.)

There is one notable attribute of Romney’s tenure as Massachusetts governor that hasn’t gotten enough attention in this race: he was tough on spending. He inherited large budget deficits and tackled them primarily through spending cuts and restraint.

Although he avoided broad-based tax increases, some conservative critics ding him for fee increases. But that’s misplaced. Using a budget squeeze to transfer funding responsibility from general tax sources to user fees is sound conservative fiscal policy.

What Romney needs to do in the debate: Romney is stuck. He is who he is, and for a large segment of Republican voters, that’s not good enough.

Romney’s authenticity is already on shaky grounds. The more passionate his proclamations of fidelity to conservative orthodoxy, the more hollow and phony he sounds.

Romney probably has no choice but to systematically dismantle Santorum the way he dismantled Newt Gingrich, and hope that if he gets the nomination he looks lovelier to the Republican faithful compared to Obama than he does on his own.

Rick Santorum

Santorum is the latest not-Romney to catch the fancy of the Republican faithful, and probably the last. If Romney can get past the Santorum challenge, he’s probably the nominee.

Santorum is a doctrinaire social conservative. Social conservatives come in two varieties: some regard economic conservatives as political coalition partners to find common ground with; others regard them as competitors whose influence needs to be checked and diminished.

Santorum has a troubling tendency to fall in the second camp.

He certainly hasn’t been a consistent economic conservative. He voted for No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescription drug benefit. As a senator, he was a porker extraordinaire. He favors using the tax code and federal spending to advance social conservative causes. On free trade, he’s shown some protectionist tendencies, including voting against NAFTA. When the tea party was rising, he spoke disparaging about it and worried about its influence.

In short, Santorum isn’t well positioned to enlist socially liberal but economically conservative independents to support Republican efforts to fix the finances of the federal government, which ought to be the issue of this campaign.

What Santorum needs to do in the debate: This will be the first debate in which Santorum is auditioning to be a president, rather than just a better alternative to Romney than the other guys. He needs to act presidential, while fending off Romney’s probable attacks.

He also needs to demonstrate that he understands the primacy of economic issues in this election and welcomes economic conservatives, regardless of their views on social issues, rather than fretting about their influence.

Newt Gingrich

Gingrich is already a historically important conservative for the way in which he forged a Republican majority in the House in 1994. His claim to the presidency is that he can do something equally historic in 2012. Believing that requires forgetting what Gingrich has done between 1994 and 2012.

Other than moon colonies, the revolutionary idea Gingrich is offering in this campaign is the opportunity to opt out of the liberal welfare state. Don’t like the progressive income tax? You can use a voluntary flat tax. Don’t like Medicare? You can choose a private sector alternative. Don’t like the deal with Social Security? If you are young enough, you can opt for a private retirement account instead.

The problem is that allowing people to opt out of the progressive income tax and Social Security will increase the federal debt. If the federal debt were 50 percent of GDP, that might be OK. At over 100 percent of GDP, it exacerbates the country’s primary problem.

What Gingrich needs to do in the debate: Show that he can be more than an idea factory and an Obama attack dog. And outshine Santorum so much that he gets a second shot at being the not-Romney.

Ron Paul

Paul seems to be running more to make a point than win the nomination. If his goal was to increase the market share of libertarian views in Republican politics, he has already accomplished a lot. Not many are dismissing him as an irrelevant crank anymore.

The question is: to what end? As a practical matter where can libertarians influence Republican orthodoxy?

What Paul needs to do in the debate: The bellicosity of Republican political leaders on foreign policy is out of sync with independent voters and I suspect a reasonably large swath of Republican voters as well. Paul needs to advocate his non-interventionism without sounding like he’s blaming the United States for the terrorists who attack us. [ Sorry Robb, the American government is the cause of the problem in this case. The last 70 years of American foreign policy which helped the Israelis steal the land from the people of Palestine are the cause of the problem! If the Americas and their European allies had not stole the land from the Palestine people and given it to the Jews the Middle East problem would not exist!!!! ]

Paul is the only Republican presidential candidate with a specific short-term plan to get the federal government out of debt. He should play that up, to shame and challenge the others

Ron Paul's 'groovy' new ad calls Santorum a fake conservative


By Michael A. Memoli

February 21, 2012, 12:25 p.m.

If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are best buds these days.

As Romney fights to stave off a potentially debilitating loss in Michigan's Feb. 28 primary, Paul is taking to the airwaves there with an ad that reinforces Romney's message that Rick Santorum betrayed conservative principles on spending when he served in Congress.

"Is this dude serious? Fiscal conservative? Really?" the edgy 30-second spot says.

It says Santorum voted to raise the debt ceiling, doubled the size of the Education Department, and "supported the biggest entitlement expansion since the '60s," referring to the Medicare prescription drug plan.

"Not groovy!"

The ad even seeks to undermine Santorum on social issues, saying he "even hooked Planned Parenthood up with a few million bucks."

"Once voters learn the truth about both Rick Santorum and Dr. Paul's records, they'll clearly see who the real fiscal conservative is and support our campaign," Paul's campaign manager writes in an email about the new spot.

Paul hasn't campaigned much in Michigan yet, as he continues to focus on caucus states voting in the run-up to Super Tuesday. So it may be Romney who stands to benefit most from the attack on Santorum there.

Nutty old uncle Ron Paul isn't so nutty!!!!

"He would balance the budget in three years by rolling back federal spending across the board to 2006 levels and start cutting from there ... The math of Paul's proposal works. The politics do not"


GOP not prepared to cut federal debt

by Robert Robb, columnist - Feb. 22, 2012 12:00 AM

The Republic

The Republican presidential candidates regularly rail against the debt President Obama has racked up and proposes for the future. So, are they leveling with the American people about the problem and making proposals to bring the national debt under control?

Except for Ron Paul, the answer is: Not really.

Mitt Romney says he would cap federal spending at 20 percent of GDP "immediately." Reducing Obama's proposed spending of 23 percent of GDP to 20 percent would require cuts of more than $500 billion a year. Romney doesn't advocate specific cuts that come close to adding up to that.

Romney says he would reduce non-security discretionary spending by 5 percent and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent. That would save about $40 billion.

Romney, as well as the other Republican candidates, would repeal "Obamacare." Estimates on what Obamacare will really cost are goosey, but repealing it would save big bucks. Let's assume somewhere in the range of $100 billion to $200 billion a year.

Romney has also excoriated Obama for his proposed defense budget and says he will keep defense spending at a minimum of 4 percent of GDP. That means, 10 years out, Romney proposes to spend $400 billion more on defense than Obama does. That significantly exceeds the total of any specific spending cuts Romney has advocated.

Rick Santorum proposes a balanced budget amendment at 18 percent of GDP, which would require cuts in what Obama proposes to spend in excess of $800 billion a year.

Santorum has embraced a broader array of spending restraints than has Romney. He would roll back non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels, impose a soft freeze on defense spending and freeze most social spending for five years. He would also cut the federal workforce and phase out agricultural and energy subsidies.

Coupled with repealing Obamacare, this would meaningfully reduce the deficit. But Santorum gives these savings away, and more, with his tax plan.

The Simpson-Bowles commission recommended lowering individual tax rates by broadening the base. Santorum proposes to lower rates but narrow the base by tripling the exemption for dependent children. Along with other tax proposals, the Tax Policy Center estimates that the Santorum plan would reduce federal revenues by $900 billion a year.

Newt Gingrich says that better management of the federal government could save $500 billion a year. Even if true, Gingrich also gives away more than that with his tax plan, which features an optional 15 percent flat tax. Those using the option will obviously be those who would pay more under the current system. The Tax Policy Center estimates the revenue loss at $850 billion a year.

Chances are these estimates of revenue loss are overstated. But even if off by a third or more, the bottom line is that neither Santorum nor Gingrich are, net, proposing much that would actually reduce the federal debt.

Ron Paul is. He would balance the budget in three years by rolling back federal spending across the board to 2006 levels and start cutting from there. He would completely eliminate five federal agencies -- Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Interior and Education.

The math of Paul's proposal works. The politics do not. The country might accept the kind of serious steps necessary to fix the federal government's finances over time. It's not ready to go cold turkey.

The Republican candidates are considerably better than Obama on entitlement reform. But entitlement reform relieves the longer-term debt problem. It doesn't get the country back on the path to fiscal rectitude in the intermediate term.

The bad news for the country is that President Obama isn't serious about getting federal debt under control. The really bad news is that, at this point, neither are the Republican candidates to replace him.

Reach Robb at or 602-444-8472.

They will promise anybody anything to get their vote

When in Arizona, make up lies for the Arizona voters

It sure looks like the candidates make up promises to get the votes of whatever state they are in. In this case Romney supports Arizona's racist SB1070 law. Just in time for the Arizona Presidential debate. Didn't Romney talk about "self deportation" in his other debates???


Romney calls Arizona immigration law a model for the nation

By Michael A. Memoli

February 22, 2012, 6:59 p.m.

Mitt Romney called the controversial Arizona illegal immigration law a model for the country, and blasted the Obama administration for challenging it in court.

"I will drop those lawsuits on Day One," Romney said in response to a question on illegal immigration during a GOP candidate debate in Mesa, Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill, was in the audience.

"I'll also complete the fence, I'll make sure we have enough Border Patrol agents to secure the fence, and I will make sure we have an E-Verify system and require employers to check the documents of workers," he added.

Rick Santorum praised Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a tough stance on illegal immigration, and said he would support local law enforcement efforts to tackle the challenges it posed.

Newt Gingrich defended his past support for a comprehensive approach to illegal immigration, and said if elected he would "go one step at a time" -- starting with securing the border.

Gingrich otherwise declined to respond directly to concerns by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and others that Republicans have risked harming the party among Latinos with their hard-line stances.

Ron Paul joked in his answer about the need to "forget about the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and deal with our border."

Presidential liars????

It's only a white lie if you make up a fib to get elected

The Washington Post has a column that they routinely run to keep track of the lies politicians tell. The best and biggest lies get 4 Pinocchios.


Fact checking the CNN debate in Arizona

Posted by Glenn Kessler at 01:05 AM ET, 02/23/2012

It’s hard to believe we’ve fact checked all of the GOP debates — and this may be the last one. But once again we heard a blizzard of dubious statements, including many oldies but goodies. Here is an examination of ten claims, in the order in which they were said.

As usual, we do not award Pinocchios for debate roundups but reserve the option to revisit some of these claims in more detail in the coming days.

“Obviously the first thing we need to do is repeal “Obamacare.” That’s one entitlement that we can get rid of. And that’s a couple trillion dollars in spending over the next 10 years.”

— Rick Santorum

Santorum is only counting one side of the ledger — and overcounting it at that. Because the health care law raises some taxes and cuts Medicare spending, the Congressional Budget Office calculated that it slightly reduced the deficit in the first 10 years, though much of the law was not fully implemented in the first four years. All bets are off in the next 10 years, however.

“During his [Santorum’s] term in the Senate, spending grew by some 80 percent of the federal government.”

— Mitt Romney

“The 12 years I was in the United States Senate, we went from — the debt-to-GDP ratio, which is now over a hundred percent — when I came to the Senate, it was 68 percent of GDP. When I left the Senate, it was 64 percent of GDP. So government as a size of the economy went down when I was in the United States Senate.”

— Santorum

Aren’t statistics fun? Romney pretends that Santorum — one of 100 senators in a bicameral legislature — was responsible for boosting all federal spending while in office.

But Santorum has spending going down as a percentage of the economy in the same period..

Santorum, by placing his statistics in context, has the better argument here. Romney, using raw figures, ignores the impact of inflation and population growth on federal spending.

So, yes, federal spending went up from $1.516 trillion in 1995, when Santorum entered the Senate, to $2.729 trillion in 2007, when he left office. That is a gain of 80 percent over 12 years, but when adjusted for inflation it turns into just an increase of 35 percent, according to the White House historical tables. (Table 1.3)

“Governor Romney raised $700 million in taxes and fees in Massachusetts.”

— Santorum

Santorum may be too conservative here with his figures. We’ve noted before that Romney as Massachusetts governor added hundreds of millions of dollars in fees and closed what he called tax loopholes worth $1.5 billion.

“When I was speaker, as I’m sure he remembers, we balanced the budget for four consecutive years, for the only time in his lifetime.”

— Newt Gingrich

Ugh, this old saw again. It’s simply not true, no matter how often Gingrich says it. There are three key problems with his claim.

First, he was only speaker for two of those years. He left in January 1999; the budget ran a surplus in the fiscal years of 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Second, Gingrich opposed two tax-raising budget deals in 1990 and 1993 that were mostly responsible for bringing the budget into balance. The budget was also balanced because, during the Gingrich years, the Democratic White House and Republican Congress were in absolute legislative stalemate, so neither side could implement grand plans to increase spending or cut taxes. (Look what happened with tax cuts — and the surplus — when a Republican president followed Clinton.)

Third, the gross debt kept rising because the surplus included money earmarked for Social Security. Thus, even during the surplus years, the gross debt (including bonds issued to Social Security and Medicare) rose by $400 billion. Gross debt is the figure that conservatives tend to use. During Gingrich’s time as speaker, the public debt was essentially flat, and the gross debt rose $700 billion.

“I wrote an op-ed in the paper and I said, absolutely not, don’t write a check for $50 billion. These [auto] companies need to go through a managed bankruptcy just like airlines have, just like other industries have. Go through a managed bankruptcy.”

— Romney

With the Michigan primary coming up, Romney is still paying a political price for the headline on that opinion article: “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” His argument was actually a little more nuanced, but as we have written, he has never explained how the auto companies could have survived a bankruptcy when the credit markets were frozen and there was literally no financing.

Interestingly, Romney ignored the observation made by moderator John King that Bush administration officials at the time believed “nobody would give the auto companies money — and that their choice, they say, at the time was to either give [them] government money or have them liquidate.”

Romney thus is being disingenuous when he claims that the Obama administration approved a bankruptcy plan when “they finally realized I was right.” (We gave him Two Pinocchios for the way he spins that opinion article.)

Romney is also wrong to claim that “the president gave the companies to the United Auto Workers.” Obama certainly allowed the UAW to end up with a better deal than they would have gotten in a traditional bankruptcy but the auto unions do not own the car companies.

“Not once in the 2008 campaign — not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide. OK? So let’s be clear here. If we’re going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is President Obama, who as a state senator voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion. It is not the Republicans.”

— Gingrich

Newt, we are wounded! Isn’t The Washington Post part of the elite media?

Michael Dobbs, our predecessor as The Fact Checker, examined this claim when GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin publicly raised it during the 2008 campaign. She ended up with Two Pinocchios, with Dobbs ruling that “it is unfair to accuse Obama of supporting the withdrawal of medical treatment from babies born as the result of a botched abortion.” He said Obama had never taken that position during debates in the Illinois state legislature.

More recently, our colleagues at PolitiFact reexamined the controversy when Santorum claimed that Obama, “in his own words,” said babies born prematurely could be killed. He earned a “Pants on Fire” ruling.

“The public health department was prepared to give a waiver to Catholic hospitals about a morning-after abortion pill, and that the governor’s office issued explicit instructions saying that they believed it was impossible under Massachusetts law to give them that waiver.”

— Gingrich

This is a gentler version of a claim that both Santorum and Gingrich have made on the campaign trail, earning them each Two Pinocchios. We examined this bit of Massachusetts political history earlier this month. Gingrich’s description here is fairly accurate, in contrast to the campaign rhetoric. Romney certainly shifted with the political winds at the time.

“Our bill [Romneycare] was 70 pages; his bill [Obamacare] is 2,700 pages.”

— Romney

As we have noted before, this is a specious claim that previously earned Romney a Pinocchio. He is double-counting pages and adding things that had little to do with health care. The correct comparison is about 145 pages (Romneycare) to 200 pages (Obamacare).

During the debate, Gingrich also referenced the health care law’s supposed page count, which really is a meaningless measurement of a law.

“This is a dictator [Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] who said he wants to eliminate Israel from the face of the Earth”

— Gingrich

This claim is often asserted but when we looked closely at what Ahmadinejad actually said, there’s surprisingly less evidence than one would expect for such a frequent refrain by American politicians. It’s a Pinocchio-worthy statement without the proper context.

Ron Paul doesn't want police state thug Sheriff Joe's endorsement!!!!

But all the other Presidential candidates do!

"All of the candidates (with the exception of Ron Paul, I believe) have contacted Arpaio seeking his endorsement"

I guess that is a good indication that Ron Paul is on the side of the people, not the government bureaucrats.


Santorum (and others) kiss up to Arpaio on CNN

Earlier today Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Twitter handler (Arpaio brags about still having a typewriter on his desk.) sent out a tweet reading, “It was nice to be recognized several times during last night's presidential debate re: my fight against illegal immigration.”

The CNN moderator, John King, mentioned Arpaio in a question about immigration enforcement and candidate Rick Santorum went out of his way to kiss up to the sheriff, saying in part, “I think what we need to do is to give law enforcement the opportunity to do what they're doing here in Arizona and what Sheriff Arpaio was doing before he ran into some issues with the federal government…”

All of the candidates (with the exception of Ron Paul, I believe) have contacted Arpaio seeking his endorsement.

Two questions:

Does an Arpaio endorsement mean anything in Arizona?

Does an Arpaio endorsement mean anything in the rest of the country?

I’m thinking:




(Ask Rick Perry about this. And J.D. Hayworth. And Mitt Romney – last time around – and…)

There probably was a time – it is difficult to remember if that is so – when the very LAST thing that a presidential candidate would do is seek the endorsement of a law enforcement official currently under the investigative thumb of the U.S. Justice Department.

Now, politicians get to claim that everyone with whom they are politically aligned is a martyr being persecuted by “politically motivated” hatchet men.

That is, unless their side is in charge, in which case completely righteous and courageous investigators would be going after a politically motivated and corrupt law enforcement official.

Which means that the side that is “right” isn’t necessarily the side that is “right,” but only the side that wins.

Debt would grow under most GOP candidates' plans

Let's face it there isn't a dimes difference between the Republicans and Democrats. If you vote Republican (other the Ron Paul) you are just as screwed if you vote Democratic!

Only Ron Paul's proposals begin to dramatically curve debt downward, according to a report Thursday from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.


Debt would grow under most GOP candidates' plans, report says

By Lisa Mascaro

February 23, 2012, 1:01 p.m.

President Obama is roundly criticized by Republicans for running up the nation's debt load, but tax and spending proposals from the GOP presidential contenders show debt would continue to rise under their watch -- sometimes to even more alarming levels.

Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have presented policies that would all push debt beyond current projections, largely because their proposed tax cuts would outweigh the benefits of slashing budgets on the spending side of the ledger. Only Ron Paul's proposals begin to dramatically curve debt downward, according to a report Thursday from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

The sober analysis shows how difficult it will be for any new inhabitant in the White House to shift the nation's debt trajectory, and the need for long-term and bipartisan efforts to gain revenues and curb spending -- particularly at a time of rising Medicare costs for the aging population, the budget watchdog group said.

"I don't think cutting revenues further is the responsible thing to do – and they all do it," said Alice Rivlin, the founding director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and now a director of the budget watchdog group that released Thursday's report.

"We're not going to be able to absorb this tsunami of seniors and their need for healthcare with the revenue we have," she said. "I would give them low marks."

The nation's debt problems have continued to concern the public. At a GOP debate earlier this week, the first question asked the contenders what they would do to "bring down the debt?"

Obama's proposals would also send debt rising above what budget experts say is a sustainable level. The nation's debt load is typically measured as a portion of the economy, or gross domestic product – with 60% being an internationally accepted level of debt. (Budget experts count so-called public debt, which excludes transfers among governmental accounts, such as Social Security, that are often tapped to balance the books.)

Under current assumed policies from Washington – including the continuation of the Bush-era tax cuts that are set to expire in December – public debt would hit 85% of GDP by 2021, according to the budget group.

Gingrich, the former GOP House speaker, noted during this week's debate the balanced budgets he achieved during the Clinton administration. But the budget experts said his policies, including his proposed spending on space exploration, would send debt to 114% of GDP. Santorum's policies would push it to 104%.

Romney's plans, including his proposed 20% reduction in tax rates released this week, would send public debt to between 85% and 96% of GDP, depending on the level of new revenue his proposals could generate through tax policies, the budget watchdogs group said.

Only the proposals from Paul, the libertarian Texan congressman who wants to dramatically limit the reach of government, brings the debt below current projections.

The Medicare changes sought by the Republican contenders did not figure into the budget group's assessments because the effects would largely be felt outside the standard 10-year budget window. The GOP candidates largely hew to versions of the Medicare changes from Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wisc.), which would provide seniors a stipend to buy private insurance.

The budget hawks also dismiss GOP assertions that tax cuts will pay for themselves by growing the economy – saying that while lower tax rates can stimulate growth, they are not expected to raise enough to make up for lost revenues.

The nation's total debt load, now $15 trillion from all accounts, doubled during the George W. Bush administration and then skyrocketed again under Obama. For the last several years, annual deficits, expected to reach $1.1 trillion this year under Obama, have been at record levels since World War II.

But the GOP candidates would continue to run deficits, said Bill Frenzel, a former GOP congressman from Minnesota who was the top Republican on the House Budget Committee and is now on the budget group's board of directors. In fact, none of the four leading GOP contenders would "get us to a balanced budget in 10 years."

Palin before resignation: I can't take it anymore

OK, I know, Sarah Palin isn't running in the 2012 election, but I still want to make fun of her one last time. If you can't take the heat of running for office and opening your life to the public you shouldn't be running for office!

If you want to work in the private sector and keep everything you do secret that isn't a problem. But as soon as you become a government employee, you should expect that everything you do at work will be a matter of public record.


Palin before resignation: I can't take it anymore

By BECKY BOHRER | Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — In the final months before she resigned as Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin displayed growing frustration over deteriorating relationships with state lawmakers and outrage over ethics complaints that she felt frivolously targeted her and prompted her to write: "I can't take it anymore."

The details are included in more than 17,000 records released Thursday by state officials — nearly 3 1/2 years after citizens and news organizations, including The Associated Press, first requested Palin's emails. The emails, most from Palin's final 10 months in office, illustrate what Palin has said all along: The intense scrutiny of her family and work was a financial and emotional drain that forced her to step down as governor.

In a March 19, 2009, email to spokeswoman Sharon Leighow and aide Kris Perry, she complained that more than 150 freedom of information requests had cost the state more than $1 million, adding: "and who knows what all the bogus ethics charges have cost the state." [Look Sarah, if you want to operate in secret, you should get a job in the private sector. Dealing with FOIA request is something you HAVE to do if you are a government ruler]

She expressed anger at having to pay for her own defense, with a bill that at that point totaled more than $500,000, saying her husband had to go back to work on the North Slope because of it. [Look Sarah, if you do a lot of dopey things which you get sued for you shouldn't expect the people of Alaska to pay your legal bills. You are a big boy or big girl and you should pay your own legal bills!]

"We've all had to pay for our OWN legal defense in this political bloodsport — it's horrendous — why do you think Todd is on the slope today?" Palin wrote. "I am paying to defend in my capacity as GOVERNOR — actions taken in my official position. This is unheard of anywhere else." [As I said before Sarah, if you do a bunch of dopey things that cause you to get sued, you should pay your own legal bills. Thinking that you are some sort of royalty and that you deserve to have the serfs you rule over pay your legal bills is insane! ]

She added that she had been the target of "many frivolous suits and charges since the DAY I became VP candidate. I can't afford this job." [Too bad Sarah, frivolous law suits come with the job]

Palin expressed frustration with the media in an April 11, 2009, email: "If there were any other way I could speak to Alaskans without going through some of these reporters, I sure would." Palin currently works as a commentator for Fox News. [Look Sarah, when you send press releases to the media to get free publicity for your government job you have to play by their silly rules. If you want publicity with no strings attached, buy a newspaper or TV ad with cold hard cash like people in the private sector do!]

By the spring of 2009, the emails show, Palin was regularly butting heads with lawmakers of both parties over her absences from the Capitol. She asked her aides to tally how many days she was out of Alaska in 2008. The staff came up with 94 days, but 10 less if you count travel days when she was in the state part of the day, The absences included all of October and most of September while she was on the campaign trail as the GOP vice presidential candidate. [Look Sarah, if I took 94 days off from my private sector job I would be fired! 94 days is almost 19 five day work weeks or 5 months off.]

"It's unacceptable, and there must be push back on their attempts to lame duck this administration," Palin wrote to her top aides on April 9.

Citizens and news organizations, including the AP, first requested Palin's emails in September 2008, as part of her vetting as the Republican vice presidential nominee. The state released a batch of the emails last June, a lag of nearly three years that was attributed to the sheer volume of the records and the flood of requests stemming from Palin's tenure. [I suspect that they were delayed intentionally by the rulers of Alaska, not by the volume of requests]

The 24,199 pages of emails that were released last year ended in September 2008, as she was campaigning with GOP presidential nominee John McCain. Thursday's release includes 17,736 records, or 34,820 pages, generally spanning from October 2008 until Palin's resignation as Alaska governor, in July 2009.

Tim Crawford, treasurer of Sarah Palin's political action committee, on Thursday encouraged everyone to read the emails. "They show a governor hard at work for her state," he said.

Several media organizations, including, said they were not informed of Thursday's release.

Leighow, now a spokeswoman for the current governor, Sean Parnell, said records in the governor's office indicated that did not request the second group of emails but she said a CD containing the documents was being sent to their offices because it contained emails inadvertently omitted from the first release.

Palin's frustration over a series of ethics complaints filed against her, one of the issues she cited when stepping down, emerges in an April 2009 email in which she commiserated over a story indicating another ethics complaint was to be filed: "Unflippinbelievable... I'm sending this because you can relate to the bullcrap continuation of the hell these people put the family through," she wrote to aides Ivy Frye and Frank Bailey.

Later that day, in an email to her husband and two top aides, on the issue, she said: "I can't take it anymore."

Earlier, after a Feb. 18, 2009, Washington Post story titled, "Back Home in Alaska, Palin finds cold comfort," was pointed out to her, she emailed her husband. "Would you pray for our strength. And for God to totally turn things around... Enough is enough. May we see victories and feel His hand of mercy and grace." He replies, "I did."

In a Sept. 26, 2007, email to Perry and her husband Todd, titled "Marital Problems," Palin writes: "So speaking of... If we, er, when we get a divorce, does that quell "conflict of interest" accusations about BP?" Her husband was a former BP employee on the North Slope.

Bend over the President wants your money!


Who Pays for Presidents to Raise Money for Re-election Campaigns? You Do!

By Jake Tapper, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham

Power Players – Fri, Feb 24, 2012

President Obama and Democrats have raised $250 million dollars so far this election cycle. But who actually pays for the president's travel costs so he can get to these multimillion dollar mansions to raise money? In part, you and I do.

So far this year, President Obama has taken four trips, including 18 fundraisers outside the greater Washington, D.C. area. But during each trip he also conducted official business. That means that the White House -- in other words, taxpayers -- splits the cost with the Obama campaign.

But how do they split it? Take Obama's recent trip out west, when he travelled to three states over three days. He attended eight fundraisers, and held just two official events - a factory tour in Wisconsin and a Boeing plant visit in Seattle.

The cost of operating Air Force One is $179,750 per hour, according to the U.S. Air Force. White House Pool reports show that the plane flew for nearly 12 hours for that trip, which means the plane ride alone cost more than $2 million. That doesn't even include the cost of flying advance workers and specialty vehicles ahead of time to the president's destination, not to mention the cost of setting up security.

So what was the total cost of that trip to taxpayers?

"We'll never know," said Brendan Doherty, who tracks presidential travel as a political scientist at the United States Naval Academy.

"Even on a trip that ends up designated as 100 percent political," he added, "taxpayers end up bearing most of the cost."

The campaign does not reimburse the government for the cost of flying Air Force One, but for the equivalent cost of flying the president and his staff first class on a commercial airline.

Indeed, Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, and on and on all used this same formula. Doherty says when it comes to presidents taking advantage of this billing technicality, each one exploits it more than his predecessor.

"If we were having this conversation 20 plus years ago, we'd be talking about George H.W. Bush's record-breaking funds. Four years after that we would be talking about Bill Clinton and how he shattered George H.W. Bush's records. Eight years later we'd be talking about George W. Bush eclipsing the fundraising pace that Bill Clinton set in his first term," said Doherty. "And now eight years later Barack Obama is breaking records that George W Bush set."

So far the Obama campaign has reimbursed the government $1.5 million.

Rick Santorum shows he’s the wrong man to be president


Rick Santorum shows he’s the wrong man to be president

By Editorial Board, Monday, February 27, 12:33 PM

IF RICK SANTORUM were right about what’s going on in America, his angry lectures and reproofs would be comprehensible.

“Rick understands that our freedom to practice our faith is not just under attack through the redefinition of marriage, but in nearly every facet of the popular culture,” his campaign Web site explains. Mr. Santorum “almost threw up” when he read President John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on the separation of church and state because, Mr. Santorum told ABC’s “This Week,” Kennedy was arguing that “faith is not allowed in the public square.” He sees in the country, as he told Fox News, “a war on people of faith — particularly the Catholic faith.”

But Mr. Kennedy wasn’t telling people of faith to stay out of public life. He was restating the constitutional principle that has helped make America a great and resilient country: No faith should be able to dictate government policy, and government shouldn’t dictate theology to any faith. From Martin Luther King Jr. to Jerry Falwell, public figures have drawn upon their religious beliefs while in the “public square,” and no one has ever kept them from doing so. Churches are thriving from coast to coast: Where is the freedom to practice religion under attack?

The “war” on Catholics that Mr. Santorum imagines stems most recently from President Obama’s proposal, since withdrawn, that Catholic hospitals and universities (though not churches) be required to include contraception in the health insurance plans they buy for their employees. We opposed Mr. Obama’s policy, arguing that the administration should give more leeway to religious-affiliated institutions, even ones that hire many non-Catholics and operate primarily in a secular sphere. But we also acknowledged the difficulty of balancing their religious liberty against the personal liberty of hundreds of thousands of female employees who might hold different religious views.

It’s that unending, challenging balancing process for which Mr. Santorum seems to have insufficient respect. He has said, for example, that contraception is “one of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about. . . . It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

If all he wanted to do was talk, we would say, Have at it — no matter how misguided we think he is on birth control and many other matters. But does Mr. Santorum really understand the difference between talking about a policy and imposing his views?

When he so misreads Mr. Kennedy, when he perceives a war that does not exist, he shows a lack of appreciation for the First Amendment. When he accuses President Obama of harboring a “phony theology” — “Not a theology based on Bible. A different theology” — it seems he does not understand the line between policy and religion. Mr. Santorum later explained that he was not questioning Mr. Obama’s faith, only his environmental policy. But theology means “the study of God and of the relations between God, humankind and the universe.”

That Mr. Santorum believes he has the standing to declaim on the rightness of Mr. Obama’s faith, and whether it is sufficiently Bible-based, is in itself disqualifying.

Rick Santorum's views on religion make him unfit to lead a free nation


Rick Santorum presses culture wars attack

By Nia-Malika Henderson, Published: February 26

Rick Santorum, particularly in his deliberate misinterpretation of Kennedy's words on the subject, so badly misunderstands our Founders' intentions in guaranteeing the free exercise of religion that he stands the entire philosophical concept completely on its head. He has it 180-degrees wrong.

Our Founders clearly intended religion to have no role in our government whatsoever. They made this crystal clear, repeatedly and with great emphasis, in their writings and speeches that survive. They understood that, when anyone mixes their religion into their public administration, they are trampling on the free exercise of any religion other than theirs. There was little about their intentions that they made as clear as they made this single point.

In addition to the threat to the free exercise of religion represented by those who would "hear the voice of God" in their governance, they also recognized that governmental decision making, when theocratically directed, is a threat to democracy itself. Medieval nations under the sway of the papal theocracy did not feature either liberty or democracy, and religious freedom was quite specifically out of bounds -- the exercise of it could cost the "infidel" his or her life (and often did).

Our Founders, for the most part classically educated men, were well aware of this, so they intended to separate our state from the church by an impregnable wall.

They would have railed against the addition of "In God We Trust" as a motto on our coins (first seen on the 2-cent coin of 1864 in the throes of the Civil War and its resulting rise in religious superstition and sentimentality), and they would have refused to speak any oath that referred to America as "one nation under God" (the words "under God" were only added the McCarthyists in 1954, with the initial push from the Catholic Church's Knight of Columbus).

Our Founders would have viewed Rick Santorum as a man whose views on religion and government render him absolutely unfit to lead a free nation.

Will Rick Santorum turn America into a police state theocracy???


Rick Santorum presses culture wars attack

By Nia-Malika Henderson, Published: February 26

DETROIT — Rick Santorum has opened up a new and provocative front in the political culture wars as he boldly tries to cast the race for the White House as a battle between the secular and the religious.

In back-to-back speeches over the weekend, the candidate described President Obama as “a snob” for focusing on the importance of a college education and disparaged the idea of a separation between church and state by attacking President John F. Kennedy, who made it a key point in his 1960 campaign.

Campaigning here Saturday, Santorum said Obama’s focus on higher education constitutes “indoctrination” into the president’s way of thinking.

“President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob,” said the former senator from Pennsylvania. “There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor to try to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image.”

Santorum’s main argument to conservative Republican voters is that he is the anti-Obama, a cultural warrior for the right who can draw a clear contrast and ignite passion and excitement for the conservative cause in a way that rival Mitt Romney cannot.

Santorum’s strident rhetoric comes as his advantages in the polls, both in Michigan and nationally, have shrunk and his argument that he is the only “full-spectrum conservative” in the race has been challenged by Romney and damaged by Santorum’s own admission that he backed No Child Left Behind, a George W. Bush administration school reform initiative, even though he didn’t believe in it.

Santorum pulled out a narrow, surprise win in Iowa by emphasizing his faith, and in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, social conservatives helped deliver a string of victories this month that propelled him to the top of the polls.

After trying to differentiate himself as a blue-collar conservative on economic issues, Santorum appears to be going back to his earlier playbook, mixing faith and politics, while Romney tries to focus the debate of on jobs and the economy.

Polls show that Romney continues to struggle with evangelicals, social conservatives and working-class Republicans and to have trouble connecting with ordinary voters.

The former Massachusetts governor’s offhand comment last week that his wife has a “couple of Cadillacs” underscored his inability to connect with the type of blue-collar workers that Santorum is aiming to reach.

Asked Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” how his faith fits in with his ideas about governing, Santorum said he disagreed with the “absolute separation” between church and state outlined by Kennedy in a 1960 speech.

Santorum said reading the speech made him want to “throw up.”

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” he said. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.”

As he did in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida, Santorum continues to campaign in churches, calling on people of faith to see this GOP race as a contest between the secular and the religious. He emphasizes that his worldview is grounded in faith and family.

His large family and the fact that his children are home-schooled have become a touchstone for his candidacy, confirming to social conservatives that he is one of them.

Santorum and his aides insist it is the media that focuses on social issues, but the candidate spent an hour Saturday lecturing to a group of about 1,000 people in a church auditorium in Hixon, Tenn., about the dangers of a feel-good culture.

“True happiness comes from doing God’s will,” he said as the audience at Central Baptist Church cheered and gave him a nearly minute-long standing ovation. “It comes from not doing what you want to do, but doing what you ought to do.”

At a rally Sunday evening in Davison, Mich., that opened with a prayer and gospel hymns, Santorum was introduced as a “man who knows a nation cannot rise without God’s aid.”

He defended his record as a conservative and said, “Governor Romney, why are you attacking me as not being conservative enough? How dare you say I’m not a fiscal conservative. Ladies and gentlemen, I know what team I’m on. I’m on the conservative team that stands up for the values that make this country great.”

Santorum’s rallies have consistently drawn protesters who object to his views on gay rights and faith. A protester in Hixon held up a sign saying that America is a democracy, not a theocracy.

On the ground in Michigan, where Romney has hammered Santorum as a big spender who voted five times to increase the debt ceiling and supported expensive, taxpayer-funded earmarks, polls show that support for Santorum among fiscal and social conservatives has been cut in half.

“What Romney’s strategy has done is to erase the lead that Santorum had with fiscal conservatives, but by doing that he also cut into the lead Santorum had with social conservatives because there is an overlay,” said Steve Mitchell, who is president of Mitchell Research and Communications and conducted four polls in February.

Mitchell said that roughly 50 to 55 percent of voters in the Michigan race identify themselves as evangelicals, and Santorum is working to boost his support among those voters even as his credentials as fiscal conservative have been assailed.

“His campaign in Michigan is made up in a large part of evangelicals,” Mitchell said. “That’s why he is taking that stand; he is really trying to bring home the social conservatives at the end of the race.”

While Romney has cast himself as the conservative businessman, Santorum has positioned himself as the candidate with the common touch, highlighting his blue-collar roots and his Catholic faith — he has often said that he comes from a place where people tote a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

And by slamming Obama for being a “snob,” Santorum, if only indirectly, also points a finger at Romney’s wealth and status as the establishment’s candidate.

“He is making an indirect appeal to those voters who might have looked oddly on Mitt Romney’s Cadillac comment,” said Ron Bonjean, a GOP strategist. “But there is not a cohesive overall national strategy. He is throwing mud on the wall to see if it will stick. And he wants to ratchet up the fiery rhetoric to activate the base and get them out.

“These are short plays because, in the long run, the game is going to be for independents.”

Ron Paul beats Obama head-to-head


Ron Paul poll shocker: He beats Obama head-to-head

By Peter Grier, Staff writer / February 28, 2012

How about this for a poll shocker: While everybody in US politics has been preoccupied with the Michigan primary, Ron Paul has sneaked up on President Obama and for the first time leads the incumbent in a head-to-head survey.

That’s right, leads – as in, ahead of, out front, winning, and so forth. According to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Tuesday, at the moment Representative Paul bests Mr. Obama in a head-to-head matchup by 43 to 41 percent.

The same poll has Mitt Romney tied with Obama, at 44 percent each. Rick Santorum is three points behind the president, according to Rasmussen, and Newt Gingrich is 10 points behind.

Wow. Paul is outperforming all the other GOP candidates, by this measure. His campaign is spinning this as evidence he’s the most electable of all.

“In order to win back the White House, Republicans must nominate a consistent candidate that offers something besides the status quo. Ron Paul is that candidate,” said national campaign chairman Jesse Benton in a statement on the Rasmussen results.

Well, we hate to be the bearer of cold water, but we’ve got a couple of comments to make on this.

First, one poll does not a white-haired Texas libertarian president make. As we said, this is the only head-to-head matchup to this point that shows Paul beating Obama. The RealClearPolitics rolling average of such polls still has Paul behind by a little over seven points.

Plus it’s, you know, hypothetical. Paul is not actually running against Obama at the moment. And the polls that have to do with him getting to that point aren’t so positive at the moment.

In the RealClearPolitics poll average of the four GOP contenders, Paul remains in fourth, as the choice of 12 percent of Republican voters. He’s not outperforming that figure in any big March 6 Super Tuesday states, either. In Ohio, he’s at 10.7 percent. In Georgia, he’s at 8.8 percent. He’s doing a bit better in Tennessee, at 15 percent in a recent Vanderbilt University poll, but that’s still good for only third place.

Of course, there is always the chance that Paul can take a few delegates in Tuesday’s Michigan primary. State rules allocate two delegates to the winner of each congressional district, and it’s possible that Paul could win in districts that include the University of Michigan and Michigan State. (He’s big with young people, in case you didn’t know.)

And the Washington caucuses are March 3. They’ll be another test of Paul’s strategy of focusing his energy, money, and organization on caucus states.

The roar of Ron Paul: Five of his unorthodox views on the economy


The roar of Ron Paul: Five of his unorthodox views on the economy

Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who is expected to announce an official "exploratory committee" for a presidential run Tuesday, is known for his passionate espousal of free markets and sound money. To supporters, Congressman Paul has stood as a lone voice of reason in Congress, wiser than Wall Street. Critics see his views on issues like reviving a gold standard or ending the Federal Reserve as simplistic and more dangerous than the ills he hopes to cure.

Here are his own words on key economic issues:

1. Federal budget deficits

From a statement released by Ron Paul on April 25, 2011:

"Last week the financial markets were roiled by Standard & Poor’s announcement that they will change their outlook on the fiscal health of the United States over the next two years from 'stable' to 'negative'....

"Even the most conservative budget that has been proposed by Republican leadership requires raising the debt ceiling by an additional $9 trillion by 2021. This demonstrates absolutely that no one in power right now has any real intention of addressing our spending problems or paying down the debt. They simply expect to continue to borrow and run up more debt forever, without limit.

"Yet they always imagine our dollar will have value no matter how many we print. This expectation is foolish and naïve. I guarantee that those buying our debt are not foolish and naïve enough to go along with this charade forever."

2. Taxes and the size government

From an interview with Cenk Uygur on MSNBC, March 2, 2011:

Uygur: What do you think should be the proper income tax rate?

Paul: Well, the best would be zero. I mean, we lived most of our history with zero income tax. But you would have to have the proper sized government. You would have to have the proper role for government.

You can't be the policeman of the world and not have an income tax. So I would not have all my troops around the world. I would be bringing the troops home.

And I wouldn't have a military industrial complex that demands so much, but I wouldn't have a welfare state either.

And under those conditions, you don't need an income tax. And I think that's the way it should be....

I think when people take money from you and give it to somebody else, that's the equivalent of stealing from you. I don't want to take any of your money. I want you to invest it and create jobs.

3. The gold standard

From a congressional hearing, Sept. 17, 2000:

"A characteristic of paper money, of fiat money, is that some benefit and others lose. And a good example of this of how Wall Street benefits, certainly Wall Street is doing very well, but just the other day I had one of my shrimpers in my district call me. He says he's tying up his boat. His oil prices have more than doubled, and he can't afford it, so for now he will have to close down shop.

"So he suffers more than a person on Wall Street. So it is an unfair system. And this is not unusual; this is a characteristic well-known, that when you destroy and debase a currency, some people will suffer more than others....

"If you increase the supply of money, you have inflation."

4. Federal Reserve

From a congressional hearing, July 16, 2008:

"Our government tells us, well, there is no recession so things must be all right. A lot of people are very angry....

"From my viewpoint, what we need is a world-class dollar, you know, a dollar that is sound, not a dollar that continues to depreciate and not a system where we perpetually just resort to inflation and deficit-financing to bail out everybody. And this is what we've been doing.... The handwriting on the wall is, there's a limit to how many times we can bail the dollar out, because conditions are so much worse today than they have ever been.

"You know, we talk a lot about predatory lending, but I see the predatory lending coming from the Federal Reserve – interest at 1 percent, overnight rates, loaning to the banks, encouraging the banks and investors to do the wrong things, causing all the malinvestment."

5. Free markets

From a congressional hearing, March 24, 2009:

Paul: The question really comes out, who should allocate capital? Is it the free market, or should it be government? And I think that we had a system where the free market wasn't working, and we didn't have capitalism. The allocation of capital came from the direction of the Federal Reserve and a lot of rules and regulations by the Congress.

We had essentially no savings, and capital's supposed to come from savings; and we had artificially low interest rates. So look at all that, and this means we'd have to look differently at what our solutions should be. Everybody loves the boom. That was great. Nobody questions all this. But when the bust comes, everybody hates it.....

So where do you put the blame, on the market or on crony capitalism that we've been living with probably for three decades?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke: Congressman, I certainly do not reject capitalism. I don't think this was a failure of capitalism per se.... It is nevertheless the case that we've seen over the decades and the centuries that financial systems can be prone to panics, runs, booms, busts. And for better or worse, we have developed mechanisms like deposit insurance and lender of last resort to try to avert those things. Those protections, in turn, require some oversight to avoid the build-up of risk....

Paul: Isn't that what creates the moral hazard, though? Isn't that the problem, rather than the solution?

Sheriff Joe says President Obama is an illegal???

Is Sheriff Joe shoveling the BS to distract people from his problems? Sometimes shoveling the BS higher and deeper is the best defense!

Personally I don't like Emperor Obama any more then I liked Emperor Bush, but I find it hard to believe the Emperor Obama is an illegal alien from Kenya!


Arpaio unveils Obama birth-certificate probe

Mar. 1, 2012 03:36 PM

Associated Press

America's self-proclaimed toughest sheriff finds himself entangled these days in his own thorny legal troubles: a federal grand jury probe over alleged abuse of power, Justice Department accusations of racial profiling and revelations that his department didn't adequately investigate hundreds of Arizona sex-crime cases.

Rather than seek cover, though, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is seeking to grab the spotlight in the same unorthodox fashion that has helped boost his career as a nationally known lawman.

Arpaio on Thursday unveiled preliminary results of an investigation, conducted by members of his volunteer cold-case posse, into the authenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate, a controversy that has been widely debunked but which remains alive in the eyes of some conservatives.

At a news conference, Arpaio said the probe revealed that there was probable cause to believe Obama's long-form birth certificate released by the White House in April is a computer-generated forgery. He also said the selective service card completed by Obama in 1980 in Hawaii also was most likely a forgery.

"We don't know who the perpetrators are of these documents," Arpaio said, although he said he doesn't think the president forged the documents.

Earlier, the 79-year-old Republican sheriff defended his need to spearhead such an investigation after nearly 250 people connected to an Arizona tea party group requested one last summer.

"I'm not going after Obama," said Arpaio, who has criticized the president's administration for cutting off his federal immigration powers and conducting a civil rights investigation of his office. "I'm just doing my job."

Some critics suggest Arpaio's aim is to divert attention from his own legal troubles while raising his political profile as he seeks a sixth term this year. The sheriff vehemently denies such strategies are in play.

"You say I need this to get elected? Are you kidding me? I've been elected five times. I don't need this," he said in a recent interview.

Democratic state Sen. Steve Gallardo said Arpaio is pandering to relentless critics of the president.

"It doesn't matter what President Obama does, they'll never support him," Gallardo said. "It's those folks who will continue to write checks to Sheriff Joe because of this stuff."

Arpaio's probe comes amid a federal grand jury investigation into the sheriff's office on criminal abuse-of-power allegations since at least December 2009, focusing on the sheriff's anti-public corruption squad. Separately, the U.S. Justice Department has accused Arpaio's office of racially profiling Latinos, basing immigration enforcement on racially charged citizen complaints and punishing Hispanic jail inmates for speaking Spanish. Arpaio denies the allegations and said the investigation is politically motivated.

Critics also have sought Arpaio's resignation for more than 400 sex-crimes cases over a three-year period ending in 2007 that were either inadequately investigated or weren't investigated at all by the sheriff's office after the crimes were reported. The sheriff's office said the backlog was cleared up after the problem was brought to Arpaio's attention.

Speculation about Obama's birthplace has swirled among conservatives for years. "Birthers" maintain that Obama is ineligible to hold the country's highest elected office because, they contend, he was born in Kenya, his father's homeland. Some contend Obama's birth certificate must be a fake.

Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's citizenship, and Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate in April in an attempt to quell citizenship questions. Courts also have rebuffed lawsuits over the issue. Of late, the president's re-election campaign has poked fun at it, selling coffee cups with a picture of the president's birth record.

On Thursday, Obama's campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt offered a light-hearted dismissal of Arpaio's probe -- he tweeted what he referred to as a "live link" to the sheriff's news conference, but instead provided a link to a snippet of the old conspiracy-theory based TV series, "The X-Files."

Arpaio has said he took deliberate steps to avoid the appearance that his investigation is politically motivated. Instead of using taxpayer money, the sheriff farmed it out to lawyers and retired police officers who are volunteers in a posse that examines cold cases. Other posses assist deputies in duties that include providing free police protection at malls during the holiday season or transporting people to jail.

Even as he is under fire by the federal government, the sheriff remains popular among Republicans.

GOP presidential candidates have courted him for his endorsement throughout the primary season. At last week's GOP presidential debate in Arizona, Arpaio won loud cheers. During a question about Arizona's border woes, Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said the government ought to give local police agencies the chance to enforce immigration law as Arpaio has.

Bruce Merrill, a longtime pollster and senior research fellow at Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy, said the subject of the investigation plays to the sheriff's base of supporters. And, he said, it highlights Arpaio's gift for publicity.

"It's something that the press will cover," Merrill said. "He'll get a lot of exposure from it."

Rick Santorum hates Gays!!!!!!

Santorum wants to bring the Bible based hate of Gays to the White House.


Santorum backs nullifying existing gay marriages

Bob Egelko

Saturday, March 3, 2012

There are 18,000 married gay and lesbian couples in California and at least 131,000 nationwide according to the 2010 census, conducted before New York state legalized same-sex marriage in July.

Rick Santorum says he'll try to unmarry all of them if he's elected president.

Once the U.S. Constitution is amended to prohibit same-gender marriages, "their marriage would be invalid," the former Pennsylvania senator said Dec. 30 in an NBC News interview.

"We can't have 50 different marriage laws in this country," he said. "You have to have one marriage law."

The comments didn't attract nearly as much attention as Santorum's recent invocation of his Catholic faith to denounce government support for birth control, prenatal testing and resource conservation - which, in the last case, he attributed to President Obama's "phony theology."

But his declared intention to nullify past as well as future same-sex marriages has reinforced his position to the right of the other Republican contenders, even though each of them has also voiced fervent support for traditional unions.

Mitt Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts when the state's high court became the first in the nation to declare a right to same-sex marriage in 2003, backs a constitutional amendment to outlaw such marriages in the future, but says he'd leave currently wedded couples alone. Newt Gingrich also wants an amendment but hasn't said whether it would be retroactive.

Ron Paul opposes same-sex marriage but wants the federal government to stay out of it - no federal benefits for gay and lesbian couples, no federal court authority to overturn state laws like California's Proposition 8 and no constitutional amendments overriding a state's prerogative to decide which of its residents can marry. 'Bigoted, shameful'

Santorum's proposal for constitutionally mandated divorces would affect couples like Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis of San Francisco, longtime partners who wed in June 2008, five months before Prop. 8 banned same-sex marriage. The couple later helped to found an organization called Marriage Equality USA.

"It's with profound sadness that I contemplate somebody running for the highest office in the land on a platform of taking away anyone's marriage," Gaffney said Friday.

Fred Karger, a longtime Republican political consultant and gay-rights activist who is also running for president and will be on the Republican primary ballot in California, said Santorum's comments on marriage were "the most destructive of any Republican candidate by far, bigoted, shameful."

Santorum's stance was endorsed by the Family Research Council, which was involved in an unsuccessful attempt to win passage of a constitutional amendment during George W. Bush's presidency.

"Same-sex marriage is an oxymoron" because marriage can only be a male-female relationship, said the council's Peter Sprigg. If the Constitution is amended to include that definition, he said, states that had recognized same-sex marriages would have to convert those relationships to civil unions.

Future conduct

Santorum's position is noteworthy because laws revoking individual rights are usually drafted, or interpreted by the courts, to apply only to future conduct.

The issue arose in California when the state Supreme Court upheld Prop. 8, which amended the state Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. The measure declared that only marriage between a man and a woman would be ''valid or recognized" in California. Its sponsors argued that the language barred the state from "recognizing" 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples who had wed in the months before Prop. 8 passed in November 2008.

But the court said Prop. 8 did not clearly inform voters that it would invalidate existing marriages. Therefore, the justices said, the 18,000 couples were entitled to rely on the rights they had gained in the court's May 2008 ruling, which briefly legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

Spelling it out

That doesn't rule out the possibility of a U.S. constitutional amendment like the one Santorum favors, which would nullify existing same-sex marriages.

"You'd have to word it so it was perfectly clear," said Jesse Choper, a UC Berkeley law professor who submitted arguments to the state's high court against the retroactive application of Prop. 8. The amendment would have to declare that "marriages that were once valid are no longer valid," he said.

Santorum, who once practiced law, hasn't said how he would draft a constitutional amendment - or how he could get one passed even while opinion polls suggest increasing public acceptance of same-sex marriage.

"Just because public opinion says something doesn't mean it's right," he said in the NBC interview. "I'm sure there were times in areas of this country when people said blacks were less than human."

A constitutional amendment requires approval by two-thirds of each house of Congress and three-fourths of the states. Even when Republicans controlled both houses in 2004, the Bush-endorsed marriage amendment failed to pass either chamber, with a handful of states'-rights Republicans joining Democratic opponents.

But Sprigg, of the Family Research Council, said the political climate could change - and the prospects of a constitutional amendment increase - if the courts spoke first.

"If you were to have some sort of sweeping decision ... which would essentially impose same-sex marriage on every state in the country," he said, "I think that would perhaps create a huge backlash."

Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.

A preemptive strike against Iran violates the U.S. and international law

Since the Senate overwhelmingly ratified the United Nations Charter as a treaty in 1945, the president is constitutionally required to abide by Article 51 of the charter. This provision allows states to use military force in self-defense only when responding to an "armed attack."


The legal case against attacking Iran

A preemptive strike against Iran would violate both U.S. and international law.

By Bruce Ackerman

March 5, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington has provoked a broad debate over the military and political wisdom of an attack on Iran. But so far, there has been little attention to the legal issues involved, which are crucial. American support for a preemptive strike would be a violation of both international law and the U.S. Constitution.

Article II of the Constitution requires the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and Article VI says that treaties are part of the "supreme law of the land." [Which means treaties override over normal laws passed by Congress] Since the Senate overwhelmingly ratified the United Nations Charter as a treaty in 1945, the president is constitutionally required to abide by Article 51 of the charter. This provision allows states to use military force in self-defense only when responding to an "armed attack." Preemptive attacks are another matter. [And of course both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are violations of Article 51, along with the war in Vietnam]

In 1981, the United States joined in the U.N. Security Council's unanimous condemnation of Israel's preemptive assault on an Iraqi nuclear reactor. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher put it bluntly: "Armed attack in such circumstances cannot be justified. It represents a grave breach of international law."

In standing with the Security Council to condemn the Israeli raid, the Reagan administration was embracing a tradition of U.S. statesmanship that began with Secretary of State Daniel Webster. In 1837, the British were trying to suppress a revolt in eastern Canada. Because U.S. militias were assisting the uprising, the British launched a night raid into New York state, burning a U.S. ship, the SS Caroline, and sending it over Niagara Falls.

After lengthy negotiations, Webster gained British consent to a treaty that prohibited such preemptive strikes. The two sides agreed in 1842 that a cross-border strike was legitimate only if there was a "necessity of self-defense, instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation." This Anglo-American formula remains a part of international law today.

The United States was also the central player at the decisive moment for self-defense in the 20th century: the judgment at Nuremberg. We remember these trials for their condemnation of genocide. But this was not their central focus. The main charge was that the Nazis had waged aggressive war — and this required the Allies to endorse the limited doctrine of self-defense enshrined in traditional law.

Even when the United States felt itself to be directly threatened during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy did not invoke the right of preemptive self-defense. Although the risk of mass destruction was high, the president's legal arguments were carefully constrained: When intercepting Soviet missiles on the high seas, Kennedy relied on the regional peacekeeping provisions of the U.N. Charter.

A departure from this restrictive approach came only recently, during the run-up to the war in Iraq, when the George W. Bush administration pointed to Saddam Hussein's purported looming nuclear threat to American cities as justification for the U.S.-led invasion. The tragic outcome of this adventure only emphasizes the wisdom of Webster's insistence that the "necessity of self-defense" be "instant" and "overwhelming."

Today, we are at a crucial legal turning point. If President Obama supports Netanyahu's preemptive strike, he will transform Bush's Iraq aberration into the founding precedent of a new era of international law. He should instead reaffirm Reagan's position in 1981 and return the presidency to its traditional commitments to international law abroad and constitutional fidelity at home.

The wrong choice would have profound consequences. We are moving into a multipolar world, where the United States and its allies will have diminished power to secure the peace. This is not the time to unleash an open-ended doctrine of preemptive self-defense that will permit other nations to avoid Security Council approval for the aggressive use of military force.

This moment of decision comes at an awkward time, given election-year politics. But it is the president's job to govern according to law while pursuing the long-run interests of the United States.

Bruce Ackerman is a professor of law and political science at Yale and the author, most recently, of "The Decline and Fall of the American Republic."

Eric Holder: U.S. can murder American citizens in terror fight

I wonder when the American Empire will start using drones to murder suspected criminals on US soil??? I suspect the first murder will be a person suspected of a victimless drug war crime!


Eric Holder: U.S. can target citizens overseas in terror fight

By Richard A. Serrano and Andrew R. Grimm

March 5, 2012, 1:44 p.m.

Reporting from Chicago— Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. defended the U.S. right to target and kill American citizens overseas in the war on terror, telling an audience at the Northwestern University law school that when those individuals pose a real threat to this country and cannot be captured unharmed, "we must take steps to stop them."

But according to the text of his remarks released by the Justice Department, he stressed that it can only be done "in full accordance with the Constitution," [I bet he had his fingers crossed!] and asserted that a targeted slaying, like that of American-born Anwar Awlaki in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen last year, can be ordered only after an "imminent threat" was posed to this country and their capture was "not feasible."

"In this hour of danger, we simply cannot afford to wait until deadly plans are carried out," Holder said. "And we will not."

He said the legal right to kill U.S. citizens overseas without benefit of a trial was based in Congress’ authorization to use all necessary and appropriate force against the perpetrators of 9/11 or those who helped them and the president’s power "to protect the nation from any imminent threat of violent attack." [Hmmm so Congress can vote to suspend the Constitution and let the President murder anybody he feels like????]

That authority is "not limited to the battlefields in Afghanistan," Holder said, adding that, "We are at war with a stateless enemy, prone to shifting operations from country to country."

His speech, in a carefully orchestrated address Monday at the law school’s Chicago campus, came after sharp questions over the Obama administration’s slaying of Awlaki, born in New Mexico, and how his killing comports with the oft-repeated stance from Holder and the White House that terrorists should be brought to justice in U.S. federal courts in this country.

The attorney general has been at the center of the controversy over trying to defend the administration’s policy toward handling terrorists.

Obama in the 2008 campaign pledged to close the military prison for terrorists at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and he and Holder have repeatedly insisted that terrorists should be tried in federal civilian courts rather than military tribunals. But after intense pressure from Republicans and some Democrats, they have had to back off on shutting Guantanamo Bay, as well as their plan to try five top Sept. 11 plotters in federal court in New York.

Since the drone attack last fall that killed Awlaki and a second American citizen, Samir Khan, conservatives began casting the administration as two-faced in its policy for terrorists, and liberals questioned how Obama and Holder could justify killing Americans.

Holder did not mention the September slayings of Awlaki or Khan, or the reported slaying of Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, in a drone attack two weeks later. Nor did he discuss the Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy document giving the administration legal justification for the use of force. Indeed, he did not even acknowledge that such a document exists, although several organizations have filed suit to make it public.

Holder did not take questions from reporters after his remarks, and while he originally was going to answer questions from the law school audience, on Monday morning he abruptly canceled that plan.

Evidence has shown the 40-year-old Awlaki, a radical cleric, was a major propagandist for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He also was linked to Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is being court-martialed for the 2009 rampage that killed 13 at Ft. Hood, Texas, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian sentenced in federal court in Detroit last month to life in prison with no parole for trying to ignite a bomb on a jetliner on Christmas Day 2009.

The government has alleged Awlaki encouraged Hasan and Abdulmutallab in their plots to kill Americans, with Holder on Monday strongly suggesting that someone like him meets three criteria for an attack with lethal force – he poses an imminent threat against the U.S, his capture is not feasible, and his slaying "would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles."

Holder argued that the Supreme Court has applied a "balancing approach" to the 5th Amendment’s Due Process Clause, which guarantees a citizen his right to due process of law that also "takes into account the realities of combat."

"Here," he said, "the interests of both sides of the scale are extraordinarily weighty."

But, the attorney general added, "it is imperative for the government to counter threats posed by senior operational leaders of al Qaeda, and to protect the innocent people whose lives could be lost in their attacks."

Serrano reported from Washington.

John McCain - Bomb Syria

I suspect Senator John McCain wants to start another American war so that the special interest groups in the military industrial complex that give him campaign contributions will make lots of money off of this tragedy in Syria. And of course to create a jobs program for his general and admiral buddies in the military.

Yes our government masters love war, because it gives them lots of excuses to spend money on the special interest groups that helped them get elected.


McCain seeks airstrikes on Syria; U.S. presses Putin

Mar. 5, 2012 03:30 PM

Assocaited Press

WASHINGTON -- Frustrated by a diplomatic logjam and a bloody Syrian offensive, Republican Sen. John McCain on Monday urged the United States to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad's regime to force him out of power -- a call for dramatic military intervention that wasn't supported by the Obama administration or its European or Arab partners.

McCain's statement on the Senate floor came as the U.S. and European governments pleaded for Russia's Vladimir Putin to rethink his anti-interventionist stance on Syria, in what appeared to be an increasingly desperate effort for consensus among world powers to stop a crackdown that has killed more than 7,500 people. Hundreds fled to neighboring Lebanon on Monday fearing they'd be massacred in their homes.

But the trans-Atlantic calls for Russia to abandon its opposition to strong U.N. action were delivered at a curious time: a day after Putin showed his strength by resoundingly winning re-election as president, a position he held from 2000 to 2008. Even the modest aim of gaining Russian support for a humanitarian strategy in Syria faced renewed resistance Monday -- showing just how limited the diplomatic options were despite the ongoing violence.

McCain's strategy would be far more direct, though it's unclear how popular it would be. His statement was as much a critique of President Barack Obama as a rallying call for an international military campaign, accusing the president of being too soft on Assad.

McCain, the GOP's presidential nominee in 2008 and his party's senior member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should change policy by arming Syria's rebels and spearheading a military effort to support them.

"The only realistic way to do so is with foreign airpower," McCain concluded. "The United States should lead an international effort to protect key population centers in Syria, especially in the north, through airstrikes on Assad's forces."

McCain's proposal will likely divide American lawmakers, many of whom opposed a similar operation in Libya last year. Even if it were championed by the Obama administration and its NATO allies, the plan would divide other countries hostile to the Assad regime but unwilling to support another Western military intervention in the Muslim world. And it would be anathema to Russia, which sees Syria as its primary ally in the Middle East.

Unlike the international Libya campaign that ousted Moammar Gadhafi in Libya last year, military action against Syria would not have the backing of the U.N. Security Council and would be difficult to justify under international law. In many ways, it would also be a rejection of Obama's doctrine stressing international collaboration on applying military force.

Obama's strategy has been to use sanctions and international diplomatic isolation to pressure Assad into handing over power as part of a political transition. At the minimum, Western countries want aid guaranteed for civilians caught between Assad's forces and the increasingly militarized opposition, but are struggling even to convince Damascus and its Russian and Iranian backers of that.

Russia, alongside fellow veto-wielding Security Council member China, has stood by Assad even while his forces have killed thousands over the past year, rejecting two U.N. resolutions critical of the Syrian government. Negotiations on a narrower, third resolution are ongoing in New York, and the Kremlin again seems to be standing in the way.

"I hope that Russia now, after the elections and with a clear view, will see that it stands on the wrong side of history," said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. "The people in Syria who are standing up for democracy and their freedom need solidarity from the international community."

Speaking in Prague, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said an Arab League meeting this weekend would offer Putin a chance to work with the rest of the world on getting humanitarian assistance into besieged cities such as Homs, and recognizing "that there needs to be a new leadership in Syria."

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington planned to immediately take up the Syrian issue with Moscow. She said the U.S. is open to compromise on U.N. action as long as Russia stopped trying to equate the Assad regime's violent repression of protesters with rebels trying only to defend their communities.

"We hope that their sense of humanity and compassion will encourage them to join us in pressing the Assad regime to silence its guns," she said.

The entreaties failed to make an immediate impression on Moscow. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov instead drew attention to a months-old Russian resolution demanding that Syria's government and the opposition hold talks on reforms. The Russian approach would keep the levers of power in Assad's hands, while requiring his opponents to end their rebellion.

"I don't think there is a need for any new initiatives," Lavrov said Monday. He said other countries "shouldn't expect one another to take any action, but sit down together and decide what steps need to be taken so that the Syrians stop shooting at each other."

Syria is Russia's primary ally in the Middle East, having maintained close ties with Damascus since the Cold War, when the Arab country was led by the current leader's father, Hafez Assad. Putin, Russia's prime minister for the past four years, called last week for government and opposition forces to pull out of besieged cities, accusing the West of encouraging the rebels to fight by refusing to make that demand.

Western countries, meanwhile, added to the pressure and isolation against Assad on Monday.

The Obama administration added Syria's state television and radio to a U.S. sanctions list for its role in supporting the crackdown, while Canada joined the list of governments that have closed their embassies in Damascus to protest the violence.

McCain's call for airstrikes was a marked change from his remarks last month, when he said the U.S. should find ways to help the Syrian people without putting American "boots on the ground." Then, he said the options included providing medical care and technical assistance to safe havens for refugees of the violence.

He had since called for arming Syria's rebels, another step the Obama administration is hesitant to take. It fears a further militarization of Syria, and says the government's superior firepower in the form of tanks and artillery means funneling weapons to Assad's opponents may neither save lives nor accelerate the end of the regime.

Obama is a war monger just like the Republicans

I have said that Emperor Obama is just a clone of Emperor Bush. Or for that matter Emperor Obama is just a clone of his competitor John McCain in the 2008 election. This article seems to agree with that. Obama is a war monger just like the Republican candidates are. Of course the only exception is Ron Paul who wants get get America out of all it's current wars.


Candidates Hammer Obama Over Iran, but Approaches Differ Little


Published: March 5, 2012

WASHINGTON — To rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, Mitt Romney says he would conduct naval exercises in the Persian Gulf to remind Iran of American military might. He would try to ratchet up Security Council sanctions on Iran, targeting its Revolutionary Guards, and the country’s central bank and other financial institutions. And if Russia and China do not go along, he says, the United States should team up with other willing governments to put such punitive measures in place.

As it turns out, that amounts to what President Obama is doing.

As their tone on Iran escalates in advance of appearances via satellite Tuesday morning before the country’s most influential pro-Israel lobbying group, the Republican candidates for president have tried to draw stark contrasts between themselves and Mr. Obama when it comes to stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Mr. Obama’s Iran strategy, Rick Santorum said recently on “Meet the Press” on NBC, risked turning the United States into a “paper tiger.” Newt Gingrich said that on Iran, “we’re being played for fools.”

On Sunday, Mr. Romney, appearing in Atlanta, offered this: “If Barack Obama gets re-elected, Iran will have a nuclear weapon.” And on Monday, he wrote an op-ed article in The Washington Post comparing Mr. Obama to President Jimmy Carter, who he said “fretted in the White House” as Iran held American hostages for 444 days.

Mr. Obama and his backers have cried foul, saying the Republican candidates, in the quest to appear tough, are playing a dangerous game that could end up driving Iran closer to a nuclear weapon, as Mr. Obama implied in his own address Sunday to a pro-Israel group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, echoed that in an interview on Monday.

“To be making a blanket statement that if he’s president they’ll have one, and if Romney’s president they won’t have one, is the most craven political thing to say,” he said. “To make up differences is to play in Iranian hands.” Mr. Kerry said it could further drive up the price of oil, which helps Iran, as traders on world markets build in expectations of a military strike.

Though advisers to Mr. Romney say they see significant differences between his Iran policy and Mr. Obama’s, other Iran experts and former officials in Republican and Democratic administrations say they do not see how the Iran policies being espoused on the Republican presidential campaign trail would do much more to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon. In the case of Mr. Romney, they said, his Iran policy is essentially Mr. Obama’s Iran policy.

“They seem to talk more in the realm of their imagination, and what they think will pass as good policy in an election campaign, as opposed to taking into account the realities on the ground,” said Abbas Milani, an Iran expert at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University who has advised the administrations of both Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush on Iran.

R. Nicholas Burns, the State Department’s top Iran negotiator under President Bush, said: “The attacks on Obama basically say, ‘He’s weak and we’re strong.’ But when you look at the specifics, you don’t see any difference.”

For instance, Mr. Romney’s Iran issues statement, available on his Web site, argues that to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, he would “repair relations with Israel, increase military coordination and assistance, and enhance intelligence sharing to ensure that our allied capabilities are robust and ready to deal with Iran.” In addition, Mr. Romney calls for restoring the “regular presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region simultaneously.”

But in recent years, the United States has always had one or two aircraft carrier strike groups deployed in the Persian Gulf region at a time, although there has generally not been one in the Mediterranean since 2003. However, American carriers do routinely transit the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal on passages to and from the United States and the Persian Gulf. There are also a number of American destroyers and cruisers regularly deployed to the Mediterranean.

As for assistance to Israel, while Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel have had a rocky personal relationship, the United States remains Israel’s most dependable ally. Last year, Mr. Obama drew global criticism when he opposed a Palestinian bid for statehood through the Security Council, and his administration boycotted a racism conference in Durban in 2009 on the grounds that it allowed anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denial views. Mr. Obama has also increased military aid to Israel and promoted sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, with Europe agreeing to impose an oil embargo on Iran, a step unthinkable four years ago.

Mr. Romney’s backers insisted Monday that the two men were far apart on Iran.

“President Obama for three years refused to build on previous administrations’ work to penalize Iran for its enrichment programs with the hopes that the regime would come around to his reset policies and softer world view,” said Richard Grenell, who was the spokesman for the American mission to the United Nations under Mr. Bush. Mr. Obama, he said, “is now scrambling to talk tough just in time for the U.S. elections.”

Eric S. Edelman, a Pentagon under secretary in the Bush administration and a senior adviser to Mr. Romney, said a key difference between the president and Mr. Romney was that Mr. Obama had spent too much time minimizing the military option.

Although Mr. Obama has repeatedly said that using military force remains on the table, “he didn’t say, ‘I’m ready to use force to stop Iran from getting a bomb,’ ” Mr. Edelman said. “He has made the credibility of the U.S. military option very low. If you talk to the Saudis and the Emiratis, they don’t think the president is really ready to pull the trigger.”

Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting.

Ron Paul against attacking Iran!!!

I think the title on this article is misleading because President Obama has said he will support a military attack on Iran to prevent it from building a nuclear bomb.


Ron Paul says he's 'closer' to Obama than GOP rivals on Iran

By Robin Abcarian

7:55 p.m. CST, March 6, 2012

Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, the only Republican candidate for president who did not appear today before an annual gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, revealed on CNN this evening what he might have told the group.

And it’s clear from his position -- that Iran is most definitely not a looming nuclear threat -- that his view not only would have been deeply unpopular among the pro-Israel lobbying group, but it also sets him far apart from his rivals, all of whom have embraced the idea that Iran is a top-tier threat to Israel and by extension, U.S. national security.

Paul, whose isolationist philosophy has made him popular among a relatively small but intense group of supporters, said he agreed with President Obama’s statement during a news conference today that the other three Republican candidates have been talking far too casually about the possibility of a military conflict with Iran. In a speech the other day, Obama chastised them for their “loose talk” of war.

“He certainly is closer to my position than the other candidates,” Paul said, “because what the other Republicans are saying is very reckless.”

Paul has yet to win a primary contest. No matter what happens tonight, he said he has no plans to drop out of the race and will stay in the hunt for delegates. To that end, he spent the day in Idaho and North Dakota, away from the bigger, delegate-rich states that are being fought over by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Paul also slammed Arizona Sen. John McCain for urging the president to consider airstrikes against the regime in Syria, and used the buildup to the Iraq war as an example of how the nation needs to pay closer attention.

“They're so anxious to go to war,” said Paul, who served in the U.S. Air Force as a young man. “It reminds me so much of our efforts before we went into Iraq.… Iraq was not a threat. They didn't have weapons of mass destruction. There was no Al Qaeda. I think the same thing is going on here. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Iranians have or are on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon, according to our own military people, our own CIA, according to the U.N. So I think it's blown way out of proportion.”

A war with Iran, he said, would be financially reckless as well. “The last thing this country needs -- and our military agrees -- is another war, because ultimately, though, yes, we can beat anybody, you know, militarily. But the military operation around the world is bankrupting this country. So the greatest threat to us is a financial crisis.”

Last summer, during a presidential debate, Paul turned off many conservatives when he said he didn’t think the U.S. should try to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Tonight, he said, “I don’t want them to have a weapon, but I also lived through the 1960s.… The Soviets, a ruthless, terrible nation, we dealt with them. They had 30,000 nuclear weapons. So I think the war drums are being much louder than they need to be. We need to defend our country, but we don’t need to be the aggressor nation.”

Sarah Palin backs Gingrich

If Sarah Palin was really a "freedom fighter" she would be backing Ron Paul.

But the bottom line is Sarah Palin is just a socialist who supports the existing system, which is why she is backing Gingrich who is also a double talking socialist who will say anything to get elected.


Palin backs Gingrich, leaves door open for herself

AFP By Jason Lamb

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin threw her weight behind Newt Gingrich as Republican presidential nominee on Tuesday -- but coyly left open the door for her own White House run if need be.

The controversial former 2008 vice-presidential nominee said she voted for Gingrich in Alaska's poll to choose a Republican candidate, one of 10 states to cast ballots on so-called "Super Tuesday."

"I will tell you who I voted for tonight... the cheerful one, it's Newt Gingrich," she told Fox News, referring to the one-word description the former House Speaker gave of himself at a debate last week.

"I have appreciated what he has stood for, stood boldly for," she said. "He has been the underdog in many of these primary races and these caucuses and I've respected what he has stood for."

She was speaking as long-time frontrunner Mitt Romney edged out rival Rick Santorum as he tightened his grip on the 2012 Republican presidential nomination with a string of six Super Tuesday wins, including in Alaska, where CNN projected Romney winning with 33 percent of the vote.

But Gingrich won resoundingly in his home state of Georgia, giving him an outside chance of rebooting his bid if he can gain some momentum in a clutch of upcoming battles in the conservative Deep South.

Palin conceded that the race between Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and libertarian Ron Paul lacks excitement, but predicted it would heat up once Republicans choose a nominee -- and launched a swipe at Romney in that regard.

"There will be that zip-a-dee-doo-dah after the nominee is chosen. I guarantee there will be that enthusiasm," she said.

"But to be brutally honest -- and I say this with all due respect to governor Romney, who is obviously the frontrunner .. he's not garnering a lot of that enthusiasm right now."

Palin, a darling of the ultraconservative Tea Party movement but lampooned and vilified by the left, flirted for months last year with running for the Republican ticket, eventually deciding against it in October.

But with the Republican race showing no sign of being wrapped up anytime soon -- unusually for a party which traditionally chooses its candidate rapidly -- Palin admitted that there could still be a role for her.

Although it would be an unlikely scenario, Palin said she might consider throwing her hat into the ring if pressed.

She was asked specifically what she would do if the Republican party faced an open convention this August -- meaning none of the current candidates would have sewn up the nomination by then -- and someone asked her to stand.

"Anything is possible. I don't close any doors that perhaps would be open out there, so no, I wouldn't close that door. My plan is to be at that convention," she told CNN in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.

The Republican party's 2008 presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, picked Palin as his running mate before losing to Democrat Barack Obama.

She was ridiculed abroad, notably for foreign policy gaffes, but became a Tea Party leading light and media pundit, lashing out at big government and the "lamestream" media as she and her family basked in the celebrity spotlight.

In Anchorage on Tuesday night there seemed little enthusiasm for any of the frontrunners -- a trend noticed throughout the race, which has seen a succession of rivals leapfrogging into the lead over Romney, before fading.

Voter Andy Kriner said that he had switched allegiance in recent months: "I started with Herman Cain, then I went to Newt Gingrich, and now Romney is probably the guy who will get the nomination.

"He seems like a good guy. I'm not passionate about him, but I'm more passionate about him than I am (about) Obama."

Asked if any of the Republican candidates could win against the incumbent president, he said: "If I had to bet on it, I'd say it would be hard for anybody to beat Obama."

Running for President

Spending millions to get a job that pays a lousy $400,000 a year???

Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get a job that pays a lousy $400,000 a year???


Obama Mines for Voters With High-Tech Tools


Published: March 8, 2012

CHICAGO — With a “chief scientist” specializing in consumer behavior, an “analytics department” monitoring voter trends, and a squad of dozens huddled at computer screens editing video or writing code, the sprawling office complex inside One Prudential Plaza looks like a corporate research and development lab — Ping-Pong table and all.

There may always be a role for campaign buttons, but inside the Prudential Plaza building, the Obama re-election team is taking a much more high-tech approach.

But it is home to the largely secret engine of President Obama’s re-election campaign, where scores of political strategists, data analysts, corporate marketers and Web producers are sifting through information gleaned from Facebook, voter logs and hundreds of thousands of telephone or in-person conversations to reassemble and re-energize the scattered coalition of supporters who swept Mr. Obama into the White House four years ago.

Mr. Obama has already begun reprising his election-style appearances of 2008, attacking Republicans and defending his record as he did in a White House press briefing on Tuesday. And his team is ready to begin a major election-year advertising blitz at a moment’s notice once the Republican nominating contest appears to be drawing to a close.

But a huge part of the effort here is dedicated to less flashy yet potentially vital behind-the-scenes work to address some of Mr. Obama’s more hidden political challenges.

Many of the small donors who gave early and often in 2008 have failed to rematerialize, (though officials say that with new donors and increasing enthusiasm they have no doubt that they will at least raise the $750 million they did then). Some of the volunteers who went to work enlisting friends and neighbors have been turned off by unmet expectations and the hard realities of partisan Washington, though the Republican attacks on Mr. Obama this year have helped bring some back into the fray.

And, campaign officials say, they have literally lost track of many reliable Democratic voters, particularly lower-income people who have lost their homes or their jobs or both, and can no longer be reached at the addresses or phone numbers the campaign has on file.

So Mr. Obama’s re-election team is sifting through reams of data available through the Internet or fed to it by its hundreds of staff members on the ground in all 50 states, identifying past or potential supporters and donors and testing e-mail and Web-based messages that can entice them back into the fold.

Campaign officials said the Republican fight for the nomination had bought them critical time to develop their campaign machinery. They have been carefully tracking the comments of Mitt Romney and his rivals, holding a news conference Wednesday, for instance, where they sought to portray Mr. Romney’s performance in the Super Tuesday nominating contests in the most negative light possible.

But for now, “that is a side show,” Jim Messina, the campaign manager, said in an interview.

The president’s re-election base here looks more like a company than a campaign. For the last year, an office that appears nearly as long and as wide as a football field has steadily grown, with more than 300 workers now sitting bunched together. The campaign declines to say how many additional employees are posted in offices across the county, but a payroll of $3 million in January suggests the staff is larger than any ever assembled for a presidential race.

Having spent $48 million already, the campaign invested heavily in its effort to find and reconnect with past donors and volunteers, as well as identify potential supporters, and to entice them all to engage, through small donations, say, or by volunteering for one of the thousands of neighborhood “teams” the campaign is seeking to build across the nation.

For instance, with the help of Web developers recruited from the private sector, it has dedicated considerable hours creating technology that can make its Web site,, fit perfectly onto any screen, be it an iPhone, Blackberry or Droid — a seemingly small detail that campaign officials say can make a huge difference when it comes to enticing donors or volunteers to stay connected or click a “donate” button.

It has tested various messages sent to different profiles of Internet users to see which get the best responses in terms of commitments of money or time — a single color change, advisers say, can keep an online user on site for longer. That effort has been helped along by the chief scientist, Rayid Ghani, who joined the campaign last year from Accenture Technology Labs in Chicago.

Political strategists, data analysts and others spend a lot of time sifting through information from places like Facebook and voter logs as they try to reassemble the old winning team.

A review of Mr. Ghani’s academic papers during his time at Accenture shows that he specializes in gleaning consumers’ personal interests from available data online, and then developing messages to entice them to buy certain products based on predictive models of human behavior.

“Given the large amounts of data being captured by retailers and the emergence of personal devices that consumers will have access to while shopping in retail stores, the challenge is to create applications and techniques that can learn patterns of behaviors for individual customers and then enable interactions that are highly personalized,” read a paper he helped write, “Data Mining for Individual Consumer Models and Personalized Retail Promotions.”

Obama campaign officials declined to describe Mr. Ghani’s work in detail. But, in interviews, they said they were intensely studying ways to reach their supporters and to figure out what sorts of messages are most likely to get the best responses.

Officials said they were not indiscriminately scooping up personal data on potential supporters. All of the people they are seeking to contact or tailor messages to, they said, had either provided their e-mail addresses to the campaign or connected with it via its Web site or social network sites like Facebook.

With 13 million e-mail subscribers as of 2009, more than 12 million Twitter subscribers and some 25 million followers of its Facebook page (compared with, for instance, 1.5 million following Mr. Romney), the campaign has instantaneous access to a huge universe of people, a considerable percentage of the more than 69 million people who voted Obama in 2008, though the campaign refuses to divulge specific numbers.

On top of that, its staff and volunteers around the country are regularly feeding back information from personal contacts they make by phone, e-mail and in person as they seek to understand the voting preferences of people in virtually every neighborhood in the top electoral battlegrounds.

The Obama campaign does not claim to be reinventing the wheel; as in 2008, it is in many ways emulating the 2004 Bush campaign, which had a similar focus on building a volunteer army and highly focused and individualized messages for potential volunteers, donors and voters using personal data. And the Republican Party and its 2012 nominee are certain to employ the same techniques to the degree they have the time and money to catch up.

But the Obama team does claim to be building perhaps the biggest such wheel ever made, with a scale officials called “unprecedented.”

Veterans of President George W. Bush’s re-election effort said they did not doubt it, saying there was no comparing the amount of online data and communication available now compared with just eight years ago.

“What is new is the power of the Web, the sophistication of what you can do to target people on the Internet, which is 100 percent new and continues to evolve,” said Sara Taylor Fagen, a senior strategist in the 2004 Bush campaign who is now a specialist in online advertising and analytics.

Both supporters and critics of the Obama campaign’s approach say it may in the end change the outcome by only a few percentage points. But that, campaign officials said, is enough.

“We’re under no illusions that this is going to be anything but a close race,” Mr. Messina, the campaign manager, said. “We are preparing for a very close race, as we always have been.”

Obama's going to save you $8,000 a year in gas costs????

How can Emperor Obama save you $8,000 a year on gas costs, when the average family only spends $3,000 or less a year on gas. The only other surprise is the Washington Post gave this big lie one Pinocchio instead of the maximum 4 Pinocchios.


Obama’s $8,000 in gas savings a year — oops, over a car’s life

Posted by Glenn Kessler at 06:02 AM ET, 03/09/2012

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Now, because of these new standards for cars and trucks, they’re going to — all going to be able to go further and use less fuel every year. And that means pretty soon you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week — and, over time, that saves you, a typical family, about $8,000 a year.”

AUDIENCE MEMBER: “We like that.”

OBAMA: “You like that, don't you?”


OBAMA: “Eight thousand dollars — that's no joke. … It looks like somebody might have fainted up here.”

— Exchange during President Obama’s speech in Mount Holly, N.C., March 7, 2012

It is certainly possible to get carried away at a rally with adoring supporters. And every politician misspeaks from time to time. But these remarks stand out because the president engaged in conversation with the audience about his figure – savings of $8,000 a year in gasoline costs – and declared “that’s no joke.”

Oops. No wonder folks were fainting. The average annual cost for gasoline is less than $3,000, according to the Consumer Federation of America.

Let’s take a closer look at this figure.

The Facts

To be fair to the president, he has gotten this $8,000 figure correct on a number of occasions — at least four times in the past two weeks.

As he put it in a weekly radio address this month:

“Thanks to new fuel efficiency standards we put in place, they’re building cars that will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade. That’s almost double what they get today. That means folks will be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week, saving the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time.”

“Over time” means the life of a “typical car.” In other words, the savings is not over a year — an impossibility unless gasoline prices really soar — but over many, many years.

In fact, according to a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration calculation (page 624), the typical maximum age for a passenger car is calculated as 26 years, or nearly 162,000 miles. NHTSA does not add much fuel savings for any driving of a car past age 20 but, still, you will need to drive a long time to get every drop of fuel savings.

As we said, everyone misspeaks and we do not like to play gotcha. But people should admit mistakes. After waiting a day, we are disappointed to note that the White House has not tried to correct the transcript with some sort of explanatory note. At least one news organization reported “$8,000 a year” as fact. And Politico also highlighted the presidential error.

When Obama does say this talking point correctly, note the careful wording — “$8,000 at the pump over time.” He’s talking about the savings on gasoline, the happy part of the story. But he has left out part of the total picture — the costs of compliance with the new rules.

The standards are coming in two phases. The first, which affects cars in model years 2012-2016, will increase the average cost of model 2016 car about $950, while saving $4,000 in fuel, according to government estimates. So the net savings is about $3,000. The second set of standards, which affects cars in model years 2017-2025, will add $2,200 to the cost of a model 2025 car, while reducing fuel costs by $6,600, for a net lifetime savings of $4,400. (Gasoline is presumed to cost about $3.42 before taxes.)

For complicated reasons, the predicted fuel savings from the two rules appears to amount to a maximum of $8,000, while the cost of the rules amounts to about $3,000, for a total savings of $5,000 over the life of the car. The proposed rule for the 2017-2025 standard suggests it will take about four years for the car owner to recoup the higher vehicle cost through gasoline savings.

For perspective, one study calculates (page 24) that more than $4,700 of the cost of a 2009 car already stems from added safety and emission equipment. So these rules would add about $3,000 on top of that.

The administration makes these trade-offs clear in the proposed rule and in its news releases, but as far as we can tell, Obama himself has never spelled it out directly.

The Pinocchio Test

Increasing fuel economy as a way to reduce greenhouse emissions and reliance on oil imports is a laudable goal, but the president should do a better job of making clear the costs and benefits of his approach.

Meanwhile, the White House should also make a habit of correcting presidential mistakes in the official transcripts, which after all are part of the historical record.

These are both one-Pinocchio errors.

One Pinocchio

You can bribe Obama with as little as $50,000


The Influence Industry: Obama gives administration jobs to some big fundraisers

By T.W. Farnam, Published: March 7

Big donors considering whether to work the phones raising money for President Obama’s reelection campaign might consider the fate of his 2008 bundlers. Many of them, it turns out, won plum jobs in his administration.

Obama campaigned on what he called “the most sweeping ethics reform in history” and has frequently criticized the role of money in politics. That hasn’t stopped him from offering government jobs to some of his biggest bundlers, volunteer fundraisers who gather political contributions from other rich donors.

More than half of Obama’s 47 biggest fundraisers, those who collected at least $500,000 for his campaign, have been given administration jobs. Nine more have been appointed to presidential boards and committees.

At least 24 Obama bundlers were given posts as foreign ambassadors, including in Finland, Australia, Portugal and Luxembourg. Among them is Don Beyer, a former Virginia lieutenant governor who serves as ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

“In filling these posts, the administration looks for the most qualified candidates who represent Americans from all walks of life,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz. “Being a donor does not get you a job in this administration, nor does it preclude you from getting one.”

It is a time-honored tradition to reward political supporters with administration jobs, ambassadorships in particular. And Obama’s administration falls in line with the previous one in terms of the share of ambassadors who are political appointees rather than career Foreign Service officers.

The Foreign Service Act of 1980, however, states that “contributions to political campaigns should not be a factor in the appointment of an individual as a chief of mission.”

Obama has appointed 59 ambassadors who were not career Foreign Service officers, and of those, 40 percent were bundlers.

“We think that the pendulum has swung a bit too far toward the patronage side of things,” said Susan Johnson, president of the American Foreign Service Association, which represents career officers.

Not all political appointees have been bad ambassadors, Johnson said, but some have been less qualified, making them “costly in terms of advancing and protecting our interests and costly for the taxpayers.”

Obama has appointed campaign bundlers to a range of other jobs as well. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was a bundler, raising at least $50,000, as was Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, who raised at least half a million dollars.

Obama hired bundler Steve Spinner as a liaison in the Energy Department. According to internal e-mails turned over in a congressional investigation, Spinner pressed for staff members to finalize a government loan for Solyndra, the now-shuttered solar company in which another campaign bundler was a major investor. Spinner, according to the Obama administration, did not make any decisions affecting Solyndra.

At least two of Obama’s bundler-ambassadors have had rocky tenures, according to reports from the State Department inspector general.

Nicole Avant, a music industry executive who raised at least $500,000, served as ambassador to the Bahamas until November.

The inspector general wrote that her tenure was part of “an extended period of dysfunctional leadership and mismanagement, which has caused problems throughout the embassy.” The report said Avant spent roughly 40 percent of her time out of the country over a two-year period.

In an interview, Avant said that she inherited an embassy with management problems and that her travel was not out of line.

“Part of my job as a U.S. ambassador was to travel,” she said.

Avant is now helping the Obama campaign raise money from donors in Hollywood.

Luxembourg Ambassador Cynthia Stroum, a Seattle venture capitalist who raised $500,000 for Obama, was also criticized in an inspector general’s report, which said she sent her staff on a house-hunting mission, billed the government for bedding after being told she couldn’t and was “keenly interested” in the materials used for remodeling two bathrooms in her residence.

“Most employees describe the ambassador as aggressive, bullying, hostile, and intimidating,” inspectors wrote of Stroum.

Stroum did not return messages seeking comment.

She was replaced by another bundler, Robert Mandell, a Florida real estate developer who raised between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama’s campaign.

Statistics kept by the American Foreign Service Association show that certain posts are favored for political appointees. In recent decades, many European capitals, for example, have been staffed by political appointees more than 70 percent of the time. A representative of the association called those the “well-known sumptuous posts.”

Staff writer Carol Leonnig contributed to this report.

Presidential campaign inevitably boosts war with Iran

If you happen to be antiwar, your only option is Ron Paul. Paul wants to stay out of other people’s business and cut the military.


Presidential campaign inevitably boosts war with Iran

By David Horsey

March 9, 2012, 5:00 a.m.

Who’s ready to go to war with Iran?

Oh, I forgot. Since we now have an army of professionals, none of the rest of us is actually required to go to war. And, since we now allow commanders-in-chief to unilaterally send that army into battle whenever they please, members of Congress don’t have to bother voting for a declaration of war.

War has become a matter of presidential choice. That’s why we should take seriously what the candidates for president have to say about attacking Iran. They can promise to cut the deficit or bring down gas prices or scuttle Obamacare, but, if they promise war, it’s the one promise we know they can keep.

If you happen to be antiwar, your only option is Ron Paul. He has made it clear he does not really care if Iran builds nuclear weapons. Paul wants to stay out of other people’s business and cut the military. In stark contrast, the other Republican candidates are trying to outdo one another in their bellicosity.

I suspect, as on most issues in this primary season, Mitt Romney does not actually mean what he is saying and is not quite as eager to rush to battle as his rivals, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. If Romney were president, in fact, his policy would probably be similar to that of the man he criticizes as too soft on Iran, President Obama.

Obama has pushed tough sanctions on Iran. His hard-edged diplomacy has gotten Europeans to line up with him to demand that Iran refrain from building nukes. The president, showing his grimmest face, insists he is not bluffing when he says that military action is a real and ready option if Iran does not comply with the demands of the international community (at least the international community that does not include Russia and China, which, for obvious self-interested reasons, do not approve of military intervention in countries where the governments are corrupt and authoritarian).

Obama’s rhetoric may be more nuanced than the campaign speeches of Santorum and Gingrich – that is why the Republicans attack him for "apologizing" to America’s adversaries -- but the president’s foreign policy is very much in line with the philosophy that has guided U.S. actions in the world since 1945: engagement everywhere on the globe where there is a perceived national interest, backed by military power that is second-to-none and quick to be employed.

To the rest of the world, it may seem absurd for Republicans to throw charges of weakness at a president who has doubled down on the war in Afghanistan, carried out relentless drone attacks against terrorist targets in Pakistan and sent Navy SEALs to kill Osama bin Laden and fight Somali pirates. But this merely illustrates how Americans measure a president by the way he wields the big stick of military power. And, no matter what Teddy Roosevelt counseled, political reality dictates that it is better to speak loudly when you carry a big stick. Speaking softly is for wimps.

The truth is, Americans are not a peace-loving people. We pretend otherwise because it seems wrong to admit that the United States is a nation that has mostly benefited from war. We were not like the contented Canadians, who patiently waited for the Mother Country to bestow self-government. We went to war and tossed the British out. Through one war with Mexico and relentless wars with Indian tribes, we became a country that spanned a continent. The Spanish-American War and the First World War marked our arrival on the world stage. And the Second World War left us as one of the two preeminent powers on the planet.

Wars in Korea and Vietnam were not popular, but, by the time of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans had become used to fighting wars with ambiguous results. War is now simply what we do. It is part of our national identity; facing any foe, bearing any burden in the twilight struggle to defend freedom.

Put in less idealistic terms, our country is a national security state built on the vast military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about. Our government and our economy are permanently geared up for war, and very few Americans can remember a time when this was not so. It’s hard to imagine any president resisting the temptation to use this awesome force and even harder to imagine that a majority of Americans would ever elect a man who would.

Watch out, Iran, here we come.

Romney used private email accounts to conduct some state business as Massachusetts governor

How hard is it to at least pretend that you are going to abide by public record laws. Did Romney really have to use private email accounts to conduct government business???


Romney used private email accounts to conduct some state business as Massachusetts governor

By Associated Press, Published: March 9

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and some of his top aides used private email accounts to conduct state business at times when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The communications were legal, even though Romney’s own administration warned state agencies against the practice due to cyber security concerns. The state archives in Massachusetts — which learned about Romney’s emails from the AP — now says the private emails should have invoked rules about preserving copies of state records.

Private email accounts used by public officials to perform their public jobs are effectively off limits to review by citizens, watchdog groups, political opponents and news organizations because they’re often used secretly. Free accounts from commercial providers also are more vulnerable to hackers who exploit easy-to-use features to reset email passwords.

Romney’s use of a free Microsoft Hotmail account and a private email address linked to his 2008 presidential campaign was revealed in documents the AP obtained under the Massachusetts Public Records Law. The Romney files, which span four months in mid-2006, represent the first substantive emails written by him to surface since he left public office in 2007. When the AP examined dozens of boxes of archived materials last summer in Boston from Romney’s former administration, it found no emails or memos written by or to Romney himself.

Some of the emails obtained by AP describe Romney’s internal deliberations on his health care policy and the state’s 2006 budget crisis: “I hate appearing as if I am just playing national politics,” Romney wrote in November 2006 during sensitive negotiations on state budget cuts, when he was preparing his 2008 presidential campaign. Romney chose to use his full name as his Hotmail username.

The emails can be viewed here

The private email accounts raise questions about why Romney and his aides sometimes bypassed Massachusetts’ official communications system — and how many of those emails remain and whether they could be disclosed to the public. Late last year, Romney acknowledged that near the end of his governor’s term in 2007 he approved a sweeping purge of executive emails from the state government’s computer servers, and the removal of top aides’ hard drives and computers. Romney justified the purge as legal, prompted by privacy worries.

Romney’s presidential campaign declined to explain why Romney and his aides used the private accounts or explain how long and how extensively they used them.

“Gov. Romney and his staff complied with the law and followed precedent in the handling of documents in the executive office,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.

Using private email accounts to conduct government business has embroiled leading political figures, including Karl Rove and Sarah Palin, and has become a growing legal flashpoint nationwide. While 26 states view the use of private emails for government business as public records, the rest have no clear rules or prevailing case law — a source for continuing turmoil in state courts.

“Any time public business is being done electronically, whether its public or private email, the public should have a record,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, which tracks how states deal with electronic data and other records. “When you use private devices to do public business you remove public accountability.”

Last year, former Alaska Gov. Palin — the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate — was forced to release more than 24,000 pages of emails from her official and private Yahoo email accounts, including more than 400 emails from her Yahoo account.

Separately, a college student in Tennessee, David Kernell, was convicted in April 2010 on federal charges of hacking into Palin’s private emails weeks before the 2008 presidential election. Palin and her daughter Bristol testified about harassment and disruption they suffered. Kernell had correctly guessed answers to security questions guarding Palin’s account, giving him access.

In recent months, governors in Florida and South Carolina have fought to block disclosure of state communications on their private email accounts. In 2011, news organizations pursued a lawsuit to see the emails of former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, a Democrat, who used a private email account for state business. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled last year that Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter was not required to disclose his private cellphone records even though the calls were mostly for state business.

In Washington, even though the Presidential Records Act requires White House documents to be preserved, a congressional investigation disclosed in 2007 that millions of Bush administration emails on a private server could not be accounted for — including emails from former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. President Barack Obama negotiated a compromise at the start of his term allowing him to use a private BlackBerry for personal and official business — provided that some messages would go to the National Archives at the end of his term.

Romney campaign officials said that Massachusetts governor’s records are not subject to the state’s public records law and that their preservation is voluntary. Mark Nielsen, Romney’s former chief legal counsel and now a presidential campaign fundraiser, said that a 1997 Massachusetts high court ruling exempts the governor’s office from any public records requirements. He said prior governor’s administrations were not required to preserve emails.

“I don’t think there has ever been an expectation that all electronic records or emails would be preserved,” said Nielsen, who corresponded with Romney using private emails.

But Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, which oversees handling of government records, said his office considers private emails used for state business to be government records and subject to preservation rules. “This office would contend they are public records and that retention rules apply,” McNifff said.

Laurie Flynn, the department’s chief legal counsel said last year that the governor’s electronic files were subject to preservation rules. “There may be exemptions from producing them but they are still public records,” she said, adding: “Even if they don’t transfer records to the archives, they remain records of the office.”

State rules in effect in 2006 required that internal, executive, “decision-making” correspondence had to be reviewed by state archives officials before destruction. A separate 2006 rule required executive emails to be preserved permanently. Current rules allow that correspondence about internal decisions and policies can be discarded after five years but only with permission from the state’s records conservation board. New guidelines also warn that destruction of electronic records can proceed only in accordance with applicable laws and the board’s approval.

When Romney stepped down as governor in early 2007, his administration turned over more than 630 boxes of documents to the state archives — a move that Romney campaign officials said exceeded previous administrations. But several former aides said those files included only limited materials from Romney’s executive office. After the AP examined boxes of state archives last summer, it requested Romney-era email files from nearly two dozen Massachusetts agencies. The state turned over nearly 400 emails this week that included 10 emails written to or from Romney.

The newly released emails do not indicate how regularly Romney used private accounts for state business, but he used them during the work week and after hours and weekends. The emails also show that Romney used his official state email account at times, mostly for routine messages or mass mailings.

Massachusetts does not forbid conducting state business over private email accounts, but Romney’s own administration warned one month after his inauguration in 2003 that using such accounts can be vulnerable to hacker break-ins and computer viruses.

The former chief information officer under Romney, Peter Quinn, said there were no known virus outbreaks linked to Romney or his staff but several viruses were traced to the state Legislature.

Romney used both a Hotmail account and a political email account linked to his presidential campaign website for at least four months in 2006, his last year as governor. In August 2006, Romney told a group of recipients who included at least one state official that all future emails were to be directed to the campaign account.

Romney wrote that, effective immediately, the new account would be his new email address. “Please keep it confidential as its use is for family and close friends,” Romney wrote. “I will no longer be using my Hotmail account.”

One month later, Romney again used the Hotmail address to revise an editorial he was writing. “Hi team,” he wrote to then-press aide Eric Fehrnstrom, now a campaign strategist, along with several other top staffers. “Here’s another crack at the op ed. Thanks to Eric for the draft from which I stole much. And apologies to Eric for rewriting so much. You know how I am. Best, Mitt.”

The emails show that Fehrnstrom also communicated on state business at times from a private email account. So did former Romney chief of staff Beth Myers, now a senior campaign aide, as well as former aide Cindy Gillespie, now a Romney campaign fundraiser.

Many of the newly-released emails were written to and from Thomas Trimarco, a former state administration and finance chief whose electronic files were among the few accounts not deleted during the records purge under Romney. Alex Zaroulis, a spokeswoman for the state administration and finance office, said her department has so far identified 3,500 Trimarco emails and was searching for more.

Trimarco told the AP that he left his email and other electronic documents in his state computer because, “I considered them state records and they belonged to the state.” He said he was not told about the erasure of files authorized by Romney “probably because I wasn’t part of his inner circle. He was my boss, but I wasn’t part of his executive staff.”

The AP sent emails to each of Romney’s private accounts and those of his former aides. Both Romney’s accounts appeared to be operative, but he did not reply. A Microsoft spokeswoman said Hotmail accounts are closed after 270 days of inactivity and incoming emails sent afterward are rejected as undeliverable. Neither of Romney’s accounts bounced messages back to the AP.

Messages to Nielsen and Gillespie bounced, and there were no replies from Fehrnstrom and Myers. Trimarco acknowledged he occasionally used a now-defunct private account for state business but stuck to his official computer “almost exclusively.”

In one instance, an email sent to Romney’s official governor’s email account was returned from his private address. In August 2006, Trimarco told Romney that he and other state officials had pressed members of an influential health care “Connector” board to approve higher rates for poor patients but ended up compromising on lower rates. The next morning, Romney replied from his campaign account, praising Trimarco for cutting the deal.

“Tom, congrats on moving the ball forward,” Romney wrote.

A heightening battle with the Massachusetts Legislature over the state budget was a consuming issue. After the Democratic-dominated legislature used a state “rainy day” surplus account for $425 million in spending, Romney told Fehrnstrom in a June email from his Hotmail account that “I’d like to get the message out that what they are doing is a huge departure from fiscal discipline and that if we go down that road, big problems — like deep cuts to local aid, education and higher taxes — are sure to follow.”

Romney vetoed the surplus spending that month, but the Legislature overrode his veto.

By November, intent on finding an offsetting $425 million in appropriations cuts, Romney wrote Fehrnstrom from his campaign email account that he was considering negotiations but inclined toward a budget battle that would “let the fur fly.” Romney wrote that “this is about getting spending under control for the state and a new administration.”

Romney ordered $425 million in cuts that month, slashing medical, social service, education and public works programs. But he backtracked on some reductions because of public concerns.

Deval Patrick, the incoming governor, restored most of the cuts.



Read the Romney emails:

Picking Sarah Palin was a dumb game change


Picking Sarah Palin was a dumb game change

By David Horsey

March 12, 2012, 5:00 a.m.

The HBO movie “Game Change” may not be the whole story, but it is a true story about Sarah Palin and the power of ineptitude in American politics.

Palin and her partisans have trashed the movie for one very good reason: no matter how sympathetic to Palin’s personal predicament the film may be, the central plot point is that John McCain and his campaign team picked a shockingly unprepared person to be his running mate.

Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior political advisor, and other top campaign operatives were primary sources for the book on which “Game Change” was based. They have attested to the accuracy of the details in the film and I have little doubt that what shows up on the screen reflects what really happened. Still, perception of reality being a very individual thing, I’m also sure Sarah Palin may have experienced the same events in a different way.

For example, at the end of the movie, Schmidt, played by Woody Harrelson, and Palin, entirely inhabited by Julianne Moore, have a confrontation over Palin’s demand to deliver an election night concession speech. The script gives Schmidt the kind of heroic lines that we all wish we could come up with at dramatic moments and the effect is to make Palin’s speech idea seem insane. Obviously, Palin, then and now, would not agree.

Still, having observed the 2008 presidential race with obsessive fascination, I found “Game Change” entirely on target and the complaints of the Palinistas quite obviously self-serving. Palin may never accept that her notoriously bad interview with Katie Couric went awry because of her answers, not because of Couric’s “gotcha questions,” but her perception does not alter the truth of what everyone witnessed: a candidate for vice president who was ignorant about very elementary facts of foreign policy and government.

Almost any man-on-the-street interview will reveal a similarly huge gap in the knowledge of average Americans. Like candidate Palin, average citizens may not know what the Fed is or who runs the British government. They might find it hard to name the news magazines or newspapers they have read lately because, like her, they don’t actually read them. This is both disturbing and understandable. Most people aren’t paid to pay attention, unlike professional pundits and politicians. The political game goes on above their heads and they feel estranged from the process.

In 2008, Sarah Palin’s life experience was far closer to that of the people than to the professionals. While the pros were appalled that she had no command of the facts, the folks out on the rope lines recognized someone who had come from among them. They saw an attractive mother of five, beset by insiders and media elites, who was battling back and expressing gut feelings that were the same as theirs.

That appeal was what made Palin an overnight political phenomenon. As the movie shows, Palin understood the power of her persona and came to believe she could save McCain’s campaign by ignoring Schmidt and the political experts. She may well have believed herself to be a Ronald Reagan-like figure for whom destiny had greatness in store.

Perhaps she could have become a female Reagan, but Reagan did not become Reagan overnight. He honed his stagecraft for decades; Palin had a short stint as a local TV sports reporter. Reagan served eight years as the governor of the nation’s most populous state; Palin had worked less than two years as governor of big, empty Alaska. Even when he was president, there were still unsettling moments in press conferences when Reagan seemed as baffled and inarticulate as Palin was with Couric. But, by then, Reagan had years of experience on the big stage and could finesse his way through. Palin had just a few days of frantic coaching on the basics before she was thrown into the media maelstrom.

Sarah Palin had political smarts but no knowledge. She did not know how much she didn’t know. When asked to join the Republican ticket, she immediately said yes with the utter confidence of the clueless. And who can blame her? The blame for this reckless choice lies with the smart guys, like Steve Schmidt, who thought they were clever enough to transform the presidential campaign. The biggest lesson of “Game Change” is not that Sarah Palin is dumb, it is that all the wise guys who manipulate the chutes and ladders of the American political system only flatter themselves when they think they are so much smarter than everyone else.

Santorum to Puerto Rico: Make English your 'principal language'

Santorum probably doesn't know that the American government invaded and conquered Puerto Rico during the Spanish American war. We also invaded an conquered Cuba and the Philippines in the same Spanish American War. And of course that is why Spanish is one of their languages. English is also a common language in Puerto Rico, but I don't know if it is an "official" language.


Santorum to Puerto Rico: Make English your 'principal language'

Santorum Doesn't Seem to Mind Offending Puerto Rico

The Atlantic Wire

By Eric Randall

Santorum Doesn't Seem to Mind Offending Puerto Rico

You'd think Santorum would want to butter up Puerto Ricans a bit more deftly, given the fact that Mitt Romney's victories in American Samoa and Hawaii last night actually won him more delegates than Santorum grabbed with his Alabama and Mississippi wins. Yet according to Reuters, Santorum told El Vocero, a local newspaper, "Like any other state, there has to be compliance with this and any other federal law ... And that is that English has to be the principal language. There are other states with more than one language such as Hawaii but to be a state of the United States, English has to be the principal language."

As Reuters helpfully points out, there actually isn't a federal law mandating English as the national language, though some states have chosen to pass one themselves. Putting aside the fact that Santorum made a mistake, he also seems rather unstrategic in a territory in which both English and Spanish are listed as official languages and where people are pretty attached to their Spanish-speaking heritage. Meanwhile, Romney, who's probably very aware the the territory has 20 delegates he can use for his growing lead, had a line we think Puerto Ricans will like a bit more, saying simply that he'd help them if they chose to pursue statehood. Santorum's "English as the national language" issue probably wasn't intended for Puerto Rican newspaper readers though, as it tends to play well among the more culturally conservative voters he's reaching for these days. It may have seemed like a gaffe, but maybe it was a strategic one -- or maybe he's already thinking ahead to the general election.

Who says politics ain't about money???


Top Obama fundraisers among state dinner guests

Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House extended state dinner invitations to more than 30 of President Barack Obama's top fundraisers, including a handful of donors to an independent political group backing his re-election effort, an Associated Press review has found.

Such coveted seats for Wednesday's event honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife went to about two dozen supporters who each raised $200,000 or more for Obama's campaign. Those included film producer Harvey Weinstein, New York financier Orin Kramer and Miami public-policy consultant Joseph Falk.

Indeed, it is not uncommon for presidents to reward major supporters with access to dignitary dinners: President George W. Bush invited dozens of his "pioneer" supporters to state dinners, and President Bill Clinton did the same. But Obama previously has criticized Washington's pay-for-access privileges, and even donors themselves complained early in his presidency that they were kept at arm's length.

The AP's review also found some of those same donors, including Kramer and Falk, have written big checks to Priorities USA Action, a "super" political action committee run by former White House aides. Both donors contributed more than $10,000 to the group, which has struggled to raise the kind of big cash that Republican-leaning super PACs have banked on.

The nearly three dozen top donors who mingled with the dinner's 360 total guests are also known as "bundlers" — the high-profile fundraisers who collect campaign checks from friends and business associates. Since federal campaign rules cap individual contribution limits — $2,500 each for the primary and general elections — bundlers have become significant figures for Obama's campaign.

All told, bundlers at Wednesday's event raised more than $8 million for his re-election efforts, records show.

"I'm so thrilled he's running for re-election," said Weinstein, who raised more than $500,000 this campaign. "He's done a fantastic job, and he's the most underestimated president I've seen. He's too humble, and his accomplishments far outweigh his esteem, but people will learn that in time."

Obama and the Democratic Party have cashed more than $250 million in contributions as of late January, surpassing all of his potential Republican challengers, including frontrunner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. But Democratic strategists have warned that the president faces the potential of being out-raised by major sources of cash supporting the eventual GOP nominee come this summer.

In turn, Obama encouraged his supporters last month to donate to Priorities USA Action, a decision that drew criticism from campaign-finance watchdogs and Republicans who said Obama flip-flopped on his earlier stance assailing super PAC money. For their part, Democratic aides said they were playing by the same rules as everyone else, but also conceded they would not be left at a disadvantage in November.

An Obama campaign spokesman declined to comment for this story.

While Obama's campaign has released its list of bundlers, Romney has yet to disclose the identities of his major fundraisers.


Follow Jack Gillum at

Romney firm supports the Chinese police state?


Firm Romney Founded Is Tied to Chinese Surveillance

Keith Bedford for The New York Times

BEIJING — As the Chinese government forges ahead on a multibillion-dollar effort to blanket the country with surveillance cameras, one American company stands to profit: Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney.

In December, a Bain-run fund in which a Romney family blind trust has holdings purchased the video surveillance division of a Chinese company that claims to be the largest supplier to the government’s Safe Cities program, a highly advanced monitoring system that allows the authorities to watch over university campuses, hospitals, mosques and movie theaters from centralized command posts.

The Bain-owned company, Uniview Technologies, produces what it calls “infrared antiriot” cameras and software that enable police officials in different jurisdictions to share images in real time through the Internet. Previous projects have included an emergency command center in Tibet that “provides a solid foundation for the maintenance of social stability and the protection of people’s peaceful life,” according to Uniview’s Web site.

Such surveillance systems are often used to combat crime and the manufacturer has no control over whether they are used for other purposes. But human rights advocates say in China they are also used to intimidate and monitor political and religious dissidents. “There are video cameras all over our monastery, and their only purpose is to make us feel fear,” said Loksag, a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Gansu Province. He said the cameras helped the authorities identify and detain nearly 200 monks who participated in a protest at his monastery in 2008.

Mr. Romney has had no role in Bain’s operations since 1999 and had no say over the investment in China. But the fortunes of Bain and Mr. Romney are still closely tied.

The financial disclosure forms Mr. Romney filed last August show that a blind trust in the name of his wife, Ann Romney, held a relatively small stake of between $100,000 and $250,000 in the Bain Capital Asia fund that purchased Uniview.

In a statement, R. Bradford Malt, who manages the Romneys’ trusts, noted that he had put trust assets into the fund before it bought Uniview. He said that the Romneys had no role in guiding their investments. He also said he had no control over the Asian fund’s choice of investments.

Mr. Romney reported on his August disclosure forms that he and his wife earned a minimum of $5.6 million from Bain assets held in their blind trusts and retirement accounts. Bain employees and executives are also among the largest donors to his campaign, and their contributions accounted for 10 percent of the money received over the past year by Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney “super PAC.” Bain employees have also made substantial contributions to Democratic candidates, including President Obama.

Bain’s decision to enter China’s fast-growing surveillance industry raises questions about the direct role that American corporations play in outfitting authoritarian governments with technology that can be used to repress their own citizens.

It also comes at a delicate time for Mr. Romney, who has frequently called for a hard line against the Chinese government’s suppression of religious freedom and political dissent.

As with previous deals involving other American companies, critics argue that Bain’s acquisition of Uniview violates the spirit — if not necessarily the letter — of American sanctions imposed on Beijing after the deadly crackdown on protests in Tiananmen Square. Those rules, written two decades ago, bar American corporations from exporting to China “crime-control” products like those that process fingerprints, make photo identification cards or use night vision technology.

Most video surveillance equipment is not covered by the sanctions, even though a Canadian human rights group found in 2001 that Chinese security forces used Western-made video cameras to help identify and apprehend Tiananmen Square protesters.

Representative Frank R. Wolf, Republican of Virginia, who frequently assails companies that do business with Chinese security agencies, said calls by some members of Congress to pass stricter regulations on American businesses have gone nowhere. “These companies are busy making a profit and don’t want to face realities, but what they’re doing is wrong,” said Mr. Wolf, who is co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

In public comments and in a statement posted on his campaign Web site, Mr. Romney has accused the Obama administration of placing economic concerns above human rights in managing relations with China. He has called on the White House to offer more vigorous support of those who criticize the Chinese Communist Party.

“Any serious U.S. policy toward China must confront the fact that China’s regime continues to deny its people basic political freedoms and human rights,” according to the statement on his Web site. “The United States has an important role to play in encouraging the evolution of China toward a more politically open and democratic order.”

In recent years, a number of Western companies, including Honeywell, General Electric, I.B.M. and United Technologies, have been criticized for selling sophisticated surveillance-related technology to the Chinese government.

Other companies have been accused of directly helping China quash perceived opponents. In 2007, Yahoo settled a lawsuit asserting that it had provided the authorities with e-mails of a journalist who was later sentenced to 10 years in prison for sending an e-mail that prosecutors charged contained state secrets.

Cisco Systems is fighting a lawsuit in the United States filed by a human rights group over Internet networking equipment it sold to the Chinese government. The lawsuit asserts that the system, tailored to government demands, allowed the authorities to track down and torture members of the religious group Falun Gong.

Bain defended its purchase of Uniview, stressing that the Chinese company’s products were advertised as instruments for crime control, not political repression. “China’s increasingly urban population will face growing needs around personal safety and property protection,” the company said in a statement. “Video surveillance is part of the solution to that, as it is anywhere in the world.” The company also said that only one-third of Uniview’s sales were to public security bureaus.

William A. Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council in Washington, said it was up to the American government, not individual companies, to set the guidelines for such business ventures. “A lot of the stuff we’re talking about is truly dual use,” said Mr. Reinsch, a former Commerce Department official in the Clinton administration. “You can sell it to a local police force that will use it to track down speeders, but you can also sell it to a ministry of state security that will use it to monitor dissidents.”

But Adam Segal, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on the intersection of technology and domestic security in China, said American companies could not shirk responsibility for the way their technology is used, especially in the wake of recent controversies over the sales of Western Internet filtering systems to autocratic rulers in the Arab world. “Technology companies have to begin to think about the ethics and political implications of selling these technologies,” he said.

Uniview is proud of its close association with China’s security establishment and boasts about the scores of surveillance systems it has created for local security agencies in the six years since the Safe Cities program was started.

“Social management and society building pose new demands for surveillance and control systems,” Uniview says in its promotional materials, which include an interview with Zhang Pengguo, the company’s chief executive. “A harmonious society is the essential nature of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” Mr. Zhang says.

Until now, Bain’s takeover of Uniview has drawn little attention outside China. The company was formerly the surveillance division of H3C, a joint venture between 3Com and Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant whose expansion plans in the United States have faced resistance from Congress over questions about its ties to the Chinese military.

In 2010, 3Com, along with H3C, became a subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard in a $2.7 billion buyout deal.

H3C also sells technology unrelated to video surveillance, including Internet firewall products, but it was the video surveillance division alone that drew Bain Capital’s interest.

In December, H3C announced that Bain had bought out the surveillance division and formed Uniview, although under terms of the buyout, H3C provides Uniview with products, technical support and, for a period of time, the use of its brand name. Bain controls Uniview but says it has no role in its day-to-day operations.

Bain is, however, well positioned to profit. According to the British firm IMS Research, the Chinese market for security camera networks was $2.5 billion last year, a figure that is expected to double by 2015, with more than two-thirds of that demand coming from the government. Uniview currently has just 1 percent of the market, the firm said.

Chinese cities are rushing to construct their own surveillance systems. Chongqing, in Sichuan Province, is spending $4.2 billion on a network of 500,000 cameras, according to the state news media. Guangdong Province, the manufacturing powerhouse adjacent to Hong Kong, is mounting one million cameras. In Beijing, the municipal government is seeking to place cameras in all entertainment venues, adding to the skein of 300,000 cameras that were installed here for the 2008 Olympics.

By marrying Internet, cellphone and video surveillance, the government is seeking to create an omniscient monitoring system, said Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong. “When it comes to surveillance, China is pretty upfront about its totalitarian ambitions,” he said.

For the legion of Chinese intellectuals, democracy advocates and religious figures who have tangled with the government, surveillance cameras have become inescapable.

Yang Weidong, a politically active filmmaker, said a phalanx of 13 cameras were installed in and around his apartment building last year after he submitted an interview request to President Hu Jintao, drawing the ire of domestic security agents. In January, Ai Weiwei, the artist and public critic, was questioned by the police after he threw stones at cameras trained on his front gate.

Li Tiantian, 45, a human rights lawyer in Shanghai, said the police used footage recorded outside a hotel in an effort to manipulate her during the three months she was illegally detained last year. The video, she said, showed her entering the hotel in the company of men other than her boyfriend.

During interrogations, Ms. Li said, the police taunted her about her sex life and threatened to show the video to her boyfriend. The boyfriend, however, refused to watch, she said.

“The scale of intrusion into people’s private lives is unprecedented,” she said in a phone interview. “Now when I walk on the street, I feel so vulnerable, like the police are watching me all the time.”

They will say anything to get your vote!!!!

No ‘Afghanistan’ in new Obama campaign video

They will say anything to get your vote!!!! This article picks on Emperor Obama, but President Obama is just as guilty of lying to the American public as the other politicians are.


No ‘Afghanistan’ in new Obama campaign video

By Olivier Knox | The Ticket

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign late Thursday released a Hollywood-caliber campaign film, 16 minutes and 56 seconds of Tom Hanks-narrated footage that trumpets Obama's achievements since taking office three years ago, highlights the challenges still ahead—and never once mentions America's longest war, the conflict in Afghanistan, by name.

The movie, directed by Oscar-winner Davis Guggenheim, defends Obama's handling of the economic collapse of 2007-2008, highlights the auto industry bailout, puts the May 2011 raid in Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden at the center of his argument for another four years in the White House, lays out the immediate benefits of his landmark health care overhaul, and notes he fulfilled his promise to withdraw from Iraq.

But Obama's controversial decision to "surge" troops into Afghanistan, and his plan to withdraw American forces by the end of 2014, never appear in the film, which was released in full just days after an American soldier allegedly slaughtered 16 Afghan civilians and plunged already frayed relations into a new crisis.

The only Republican critic cited by name is Mitt Romney, whose November 2008 op-ed entitled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" appears at 5 minutes and 13 seconds into the film.

Former president Bill Clinton—who appears several times—defends the bailout, while former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel sticks the shiv a little further into Romney, describing his approach as a callous "let it (the auto industry) go … can't be saved …"

Republicans quickly assailed the film, with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus saying: "We don't need a Hollywood movie to know what the president accomplished over the past three years."

"Unfortunately Americans live Obama's accomplishments every day from higher gas prices, food prices, health care costs, unemployment and record debt. Hollywood may not be able to find anything wrong with Obama's first term but Americans literally can't afford to find out what another four years looks like under Obama," Priebus said.

Obama himself does not speak directly to the camera until 8 minutes and 49 seconds into the film, and does so to defend in poignant, personal terms the Affordable Care Act that Republicans scornfully dubbed "Obamacare."

"When my mom got cancer, she wasn't a wealthy woman, and it pretty much drained all her resources," the president says.

He later gives voice to uniquely presidential worries about the May 2011 raid to kill Osama bin Laden at his fortified compound in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad.

"A lot of people have asked, 'How did you feel when you first heard that it was bin Laden and he had been killed?' And the truth is I didn't have time for a lot of feelings at that point, because our guys were still in that compound, and it wasn't until I knew that they were across the border, they were safe, everybody was accounted for—including the dog—that I allowed some satisfaction," he says.

Vice President Joe Biden casts the go-ahead decision as far from the obvious choice. He relates the tense atmosphere in the White House's Situation Room as Obama asks his top advisers what he should do.

"And they say 'well, 49 percent chance he's there, 51. It's a close call, Mister President,'" says Biden. "If he was wrong, his presidency was done. Over."

"It was the ultimate test of leadership," says Hanks, who calls the raid "a victory for our nation."

The video also highlights Obama's kept promise to pull U.S. forces out of Iraq, showing him meeting with General David Petraeus in the Oval Office, before cutting to soldiers on patrol, and then the president telling returning troops, "Welcome home."

With the fragile U.S. economy—and stubbornly high unemployment still over 8 percent—weighing heavily on Obama's re-election efforts, the film casts the situation he inherited as a "horror movie" scenario that shocked the new president and his top aides at a meeting shortly after the 2008 election.

"All I was thinking at that moment was 'could we get a recount?'" quips senior campaign strategist David Axelrod.

The film revives the famous "bikini graph" that the president's supporters use to illustrate the turnaround in job creation since Obama took office.

At 13 minutes in, the film turns into something of a laundry list: It describes the benefits of Obama's health care law in some detail; highlights his commitment to improved fuel efficiency and renewable energy; cites achievements in education standards, student loan reform, and the Dodd-Frank rewrite of Wall Street rules; and trumpets his recess appointment of Richard Cordray—over stiff Republican objections—to head the consumer protection bureau created by the health care law.

It shows Obama meeting with the Dalai Lama, celebrating the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act aimed at erasing some gender-based disparities in pay. It lingers over the swearing-in ceremonies for Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

And it notes that the U.S. auto industry has recovered.

The final words are from Hanks, who urges voters to "look forward to the work still to be done."

Obama’s whopper about Rutherford B. Hayes and the telephone


Obama’s whopper about Rutherford B. Hayes and the telephone

Posted by Glenn Kessler at 06:02 AM ET, 03/16/2012

“Of course, we’ve heard this kind of thinking before. If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society. … There always have been folks who are the naysayers and don't believe in the future, and don't believe in trying to do things differently. One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, ‘It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?’ That's why he's not on Mt. Rushmore because he’s looking backwards. He’s not looking forwards. He’s explaining why we can't do something, instead of why we can do something.”

--President Obama, remarks on energy, Largo, Maryland, March 15, 2012

In a speech on energy Thursday, the president took aim at the “cynics and naysayers” who dismiss potential new sources of energy, such as wind and solar. Leave aside the canard about most Europeans believing the earth was flat before Columbus—that’s an elementary-school tale with little basis in fact.

What about President Hayes? Was he really so dismissive about the invention of the telephone?

The Facts

Hayes, the nation’s 19th president, served only one term, 1877-1981, after a very close and disputed election that needed to be settled by a electoral commission. (He went to bed thinking he had lost to Democrat Samuel Tilden.) He was a master politician who banned liquor from the White House for political purposes (and to curb boorish behavior by members of Congress).

The quote cited by Obama does exist on the Internet, but we would expect the White House staff to do better research than that. (This line was in the president’s prepared text, so it was not ad-libbed.) But the trouble is, historians say that there is no evidence Hayes ever said this. Not only that, contrary to Obama’s jab, Hayes was interested in new technology.

According to Ari Hoogenboom, who wrote the definite biography, “Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior and President,” Hayes entertained Thomas A. Edison at the White House. Edison demonstrated the phonograph for the president. “He was hardly hostile to new inventions,” Higgenboom said.

Hayes, in fact, was such a technology buff that he installed the first telephone in the White House. A list of telephone subscribers published in the article “The Telephones Comes to Washington,” by Richard T. Loomis, shows that the White House was given the number “1.”

The White House phone initially was connected to the Treasury Department. Hoogenboom, in his book, writes that Hayes’ wife Lucy requested that a Quartet sing on October 26, 1877 to inaugurate the service, but the concert abruptedly ended because the powerful bass voice of one singer smashed “to atoms” the “sounding board of the telephone.”

Nan Card, curator of manuscripts at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, in Fremont, Ohio, can pinpoint when Hayes first tried out the phone: June of 1877. Hayes, it turns out, kept 126 scrapbooks of newspaper articles that featured him, and on page 82 of the 111th scrapbook there was the following account from the June 29 edition of the Providence Journal.

The version of events certainly is different than Obama’s telling. We reprint the whole report below because it gives a real flavor of the moment.

The President at the Telephone

About 3 o’clock the President enjoyed a new sensation. Under the direction of Mr. Fred A. Gower, managing agent of Prof. [Alexander Graham] Bell, a telephone wire was connected with the Western Union Telegraph wire, tendered for the purpose of manager Bradford, and telephone communication established with Prof. Bell at the City Hotel in this city.

The President was then invited to place one of the telephones, which by the way resembled a rather large-sized bobbin, against one ear, which he did, when Mr. Gower spoke in the other in a moderate tone of voice, saying, “Prof. Bell, I have the honor to present to you the President of the United States, who is listening at the other telephone; do you understand?”

The President listened carefully while a gradually increasing smile wreathed his lips, and wonder shone in his eyes more and more, until he took the little instrument from his ear, looked at it a moment in surprise, and remarked, “That is wonderful.”

During this time Prof. Bell said, according to Mr. Gower, who was listening at the telephone: “Mr. President, I am duly sensible of the great honor conferred upon me in this for the first time presenting the speaking telephone to the attention of the President of the United States. I am located in one of the parlors of the City Hotel, in Providence. I am speaking to you through thirteen miles of wire, without the use of any galvanic current on the line. I hope that you understand distinctly what I say, and I shall be very glad to hear something from you in reply, if you please.”

At the suggestion to him from Mr. Gower, that he should speak to Prof. Bell, the President said, “Please speak a little more slowly.” A few more messages passed, when the President again remarked, “That is wonderful,” saying he could understand some words very well, but could not catch sentences.

[Pennsylvania] Gov. [John] Hartranft also tried the wonderful little instrument, with much the same experience as the President, saying in answer to a query from Prof. Bell, “I understand you very well.”

Note that Hayes first tried the “wonderful” telephone at the end of June, and then had it installed in the White House just four months later. So, rather than “not looking forwards,” as Obama put it, Hayes quickly embraced the new technology.

In fact, he was a little too ahead of his time, because there were so few telephones installed elsewhere in the county. (The telephone list mentioned above shows only 190 subscribers in Washington two years after the telephone first came to Washington.) According to Hoogenboom, most communications from the White House continued to be done by telegraph during the rest of Hayes’ presidency.

Hoogenboom, who is an Obama supporter, added that contrary to many Republicans today, Hayes was an advocate of federal action, particularly spending on education. He even wanted to use the federal budget surplus to direct more money to poor districts.

Besides historians, Obama’s staff also could have checked with the White House Historical Association, which recounts Hayes’ interest in the telephone in a classroom lesson for children in grades 4-8.

Card said that the Hayes presidential library has never been able to find evidence of the alleged Hayes quote. “It seems to be out there, as people say it all the time,” she sighed. (Run a Nexis search and you’ll see many examples.)

White House spokesman Jay Carney pointed to those “multiple media references,” as well as an Encyclopaedia Britannica reference and even a previous comment by President Ronald Reagan as evidence that Obama was not out of line in citing this tall tale about Hayes.

“I’m not arguing that this is not in dispute but the quote is widely cited,” Carney said. He added that Obama was using the anecedote in service of a broader point.

Reagan did once made a similar observation, according to Feb. 23, 1985 report by UPI reporter Helen Thomas. In this case, Reagan poked fun at his age, clearly making a joke:

Reagan recalled that President Rutherford B. Hayes once was “shown a recently invented device.”

“That's an amazing invention,” he said. “But who would ever want to use one of them?” He was talking about a telephone. I thought at the time that he might be mistaken.”

Of course, Reagan--“80 percent of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation”-- was widely mocked for getting his facts wrong. So we are not sure he is the best source for presidential history.

We contacted Encyclopaedia Britannica senior technology editor Rob Curley about its use of the Hayes reference, in a book titled “100 Most Influential Investors of All Time,” and he said he would recheck its sources.

The Pinocchio Test

It’s bad enough for one president to knock another one for not being on Mt. Rushmore, but it’s particularly egregious to do so based on incorrect information.

We went back and forth over whether this error was worth three or four Pinocchios. We nearly decided on three Pinocchios because Obama used the phrase “reportedly” and because others have said this before him. The Encyclopeadia Brittanica reference especially gave us pause. That’s a legitimate, but not infallible, source. But then we remembered it took only a phone call to a real historian to find out the truth.

Our final ruling was swayed in the end by this: The president in particular has a responsiblity to get historical facts correct, and in this case he got them completely backwards. Obama mocked Hayes for “looking backwards...not looking forwards.” In reality, Hayes embraced the new technology. He should be an Obama hero, not a skunk.

Hayes is dead and buried, but he deserves an apology.

Four Pinocchios

Articles on Ron Paul


Check out this URL for a bunch of articles on Libertarian leaning Presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Look I would never vote for a Republican or a Democrat, but I will make one exception for Ron Paul.

Rick Santorum wants to put you in jail for looking at dirty pictures????


Rick Santorum: Obama administration is soft on pornography

By Matt DeLong

Former Pennsylvania senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Sunday stood firm on his position that the Justice Department under President Obama “seems to favor pornographers over children and families.”

Asked to defend the statement, which appears on his campaign Web site, Santorum said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the proof “is in the prosecution.”

“Under the Bush administration, pornographers were prosecuted much more rigorously than they are under existing law, than they under the Obama administration,” Santorum said. “So you draw your conclusion.”

Santorum added that the Obama administration has “not put a priority on prosecuting these cases. And in doing so they are exposing children to a tremendous amount of harm.”

Pressed on the issue during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Santorum said hardcore pornography is “very damaging” to young people and his campaign posted the statement in response to someone who inquired about Santorum’s position on prosecuting pornographers. Santorum pledged to enforce obscenity laws.

“There are laws against purveying hardcore pornography,” Santorum said. “And that — we have attorney generals in the country, at least under the Bush administration, who did prosecute that. And this administration isn't. And I simply said I would follow the law, which I know in the case of Barack Obama can be somewhat of a hefty challenge for him, but we're going to do it as president.”

Politico reported in 2009 that the Obama administration appeared to be taking a softer approach to prosecuting obscenity cases than its predecessor when it quietly moved the venue of a case involving the interstate shipment of pornography from the conservative state of Montana to the more liberal New Jersey.

In 2005, the Bush administration created an Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, headed by then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that “focused on prosecuting fetish, bestiality and so-called fringe porn,” according to Politico.

Obama shovels the BS on his energy policies

First of all the U.S. Constitution doesn't give the President, or even Congress the power to set the price of oil or gasoline. But our politicians often pretend that it does and make up lies to either get themselves elected or prevent the competition from getting elected.

In this article Charles Krauthammer points out that Emperor Obama seems to be slinging the BS about his energy policy to get himself reelected in 2012.


Seaweed in your gas tank?

Charles Krauthammer

March 19, 2012

WASHINGTON — Yes, of course, presidents have no direct control over gas prices. But the American people know something about this president and his disdain for oil. The "fuel of the past," he contemptuously calls it. To the American worker who doesn't commute by government motorcade and is getting fleeced every week at the pump, oil seems very much a fuel of the present — and of the foreseeable future.

President Barack Obama incessantly claims energy open-mindedness, insisting that his policy is "all of the above." Except, of course, for drilling

• off the Mid-Atlantic coast (as Virginia, for example, wants),

• off the Florida Gulf Coast (instead, the Castro brothers will drill near there),

• in the broader Gulf of Mexico (where drilling in 2012 is expected to drop 30 percent below pre-moratorium forecasts),

• in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (more than half the size of England, the drilling footprint being the size of Dulles Airport),

• on federal lands in the Rockies (where leases are down 70 percent since Obama took office).

But the event that drove home the extent of Obama's antipathy to nearby, abundant, available oil was his veto of the Keystone pipeline. It gave the game away because the case for Keystone is so obvious and overwhelming. Vetoing it gratuitously prolongs our dependence on outside powers, kills thousands of shovel-ready jobs, forfeits a major strategic resource to China, damages relations with our closest ally, and sends billions of oil dollars to Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin and already obscenely wealthy sheiks.

Obama boasts that on his watch production is up and imports down. True, but truly deceptive. These increases have occurred in spite of his restrictive policies. They are the result of Clinton- and Bush-era permitting. This has been accompanied by a gold rush of natural gas production resulting from new fracking technology that has nothing at all to do with Obama.

"The American people aren't stupid," said Obama (Feb. 23), mocking "Drill, baby, drill." The "only solution," he averred in yet another major energy speech last week, is that "we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down." Yet five paragraphs later he claimed that regardless of "how much oil we produce at home … that's not going to set the price of gas worldwide."

So: Decreasing U.S. demand will lower oil prices, but increasing U.S. supply will not? This is ridiculous. Either both do or neither does. Does Obama read his own speeches?

Obama says of drilling: "That's not a plan." Of course it's a plan. We import nearly half of our oil, thereby exporting enormous amounts of U.S. wealth. Almost 60 percent of our trade deficit — $332 billion out of $560 billion — is shipped overseas to buy crude.

Drill here and you stanch the hemorrhage. You keep those dollars within the U.S. economy, repatriating not just wealth but jobs, and denying them to foreign unfriendlies. Drilling is the single most important thing we can do to spur growth at home while strengthening our hand abroad.

Instead, Obama offers what he fancies to be the fuels of the future. You would think that he'd be a tad more modest today about his powers of divination after the Solyndra bankruptcy, the collapse of government-subsidized Ener1 (past makers of the batteries of the future) and GM's suspension of production — for lack of demand — of another federally dictated confection, the flammable Chevy Volt.

Deterred? Hardly. Our undaunted seer of the energy future has come up with his own miracle fuel: algae. Yes, green slime, upon whichSteven Chu'sEnergy Department will be sprinkling yet another $14 million of taxpayer money.

This is the very same Chu who famously said in 2008 that he wanted U.S. gas prices to rise to European levels of $8-$10 a gallon — and who Tuesday, eight months before Election Day, publicly recanted before Congress, Galileo-style.

Whom do they think they're fooling? An oil crisis looms, prices are spiking — and our president is extolling algae. After Solyndra, Keystone and promises of seaweed in their gas tanks, Americans sense a president so ideologically antipathetic to fossil fuels — which we possess in staggering abundance — that he is utterly unserious about the real world of oil in which the rest of us live.

High gasoline prices are a major political problem for Obama. They are not just a pain at the pump, however. They are a constant reminder of three years of a rigid, fatuous, fantasy-driven energy policy that has rendered us scandalously dependent and excessively vulnerable.

Washington Post Writers Group

Charles Krauthammer is a syndicated columnist based in Washington.

Flip Flop etch a sketch

Portrait of a Politician

Flip, flop etch a sketch

Eric Fehrnstrom, source of Etch A Sketch gaffe


Eric Fehrnstrom, source of Etch A Sketch gaffe, is a trusted and loyal Romney adviser

By Philip Rucker, Published: March 22

When a politician messes up, there is often a political guru standing ready to clean things up. But what happens when the guru makes a mess of his own?

That is the question for Eric Fehrnstrom, one of the most senior advisers to Mitt Romney. Part enforcer, part alter ego and often grim, Fehrnstrom is usually the one who is vigilant about staying on message.

At a rally in Mandeville, La., Rick Santorum shook an Etch-a-Sketch to mock Mitt Romney's campaign. Romney's Communication Director Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney would shake off the tough primary and hit the "reset button" for the general election. "It's almost like an Etch-a-sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again," Fehrnstrom said.

At a rally in Mandeville, La., Rick Santorum shook an Etch-a-Sketch to mock Mitt Romney's campaign. Romney's Communication Director Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney would shake off the tough primary and hit the "reset button" for the general election. "It's almost like an Etch-a-sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again," Fehrnstrom said.

But the morning after Romney’s big win in the Illinois primary, Fehrnstrom blunted the Republican presidential front-runner’s momentum by saying on CNN that Romney would “hit a reset button” in the general election.

“It’s almost like an Etch a Sketch,” Fehrnstrom said Wednesday. “You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.”

Romney’s political opponents pounced. Etch a Sketch went viral. Suddenly the image of a children’s toy erasing drawings with a simple shake reignited concerns about the certainty of Romney’s conservatism.

The message didn’t help Romney, nor did the messenger. Although Fehrnstrom is one of Romney’s longest-serving aides, he, like his boss, has no roots in the conservative movement. Fehrnstrom started out as a reporter covering alderman meetings in Boston and lives in liberal Brookline, Mass. His work as a GOP operative has been confined to New England — a region, as he often notes, that’s “pretty rocky terrain for Republicans.”

To some influential conservatives, Fehrnstrom is an enigma. It’s not that conservatives don’t trust him. It’s that some don’t even know him.

“I’ve never heard of him. I’ve been going to conservative meetings since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and I’ve never seen him anywhere,” said Craig Shirley, an adviser to conservative organizations who has worked for Newt Gingrich, one of Romney’s opponents.

Despite the gaffe, it appears unlikely that Fehrnstrom will be demoted or will lose his job. He is one of Romney’s most trusted advisers — if he worked for President Obama, he would be a cross between David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs — and Romney is fiercely protective of his loyalists.

“Eric is the first guy to jump out there and defend Mitt,” said Romney’s communications director, Gail Gitcho. She added that Fehrnstrom, who runs senior staff briefing calls with Romney every morning, provides “very careful counsel.”

Inside Romney’s Boston headquarters, Fehrnstrom is regarded for his determination and steadiness — “he just moves through the water,” senior adviser Beth Myers said — as well as his encyclopedic memory about all things Romney.

This week, when Axelrod told CBS News that he admires the Romney campaign because it has been “doggedly tenacious,” Romney aides believed he was referring to Fehrnstrom.

“He’s also got a great intuition for seeing around the corners,” Myers said. “He has a good understanding of human nature and good intuition. And he’s also just whip-smart, which people may not know about him because he’s not braggy.”

Fehrnstrom, 50, entered politics in 1994 when Joe Malone, then the state treasurer, plucked him from the Boston Herald, where he had been covering the State House, to be his communications director.

“He is unwavering in terms of his mental toughness,” Malone said. “He’s got, in the best sense of the word, a warrior’s mentality.”

In 2002, while Fehrnstrom was working at an ad agency, Romney confidant Bob White sought him out to run communications on Romney’s gubernatorial campaign. After four years with Romney at the State House, Fehrnstrom became his spokesman and senior traveling aide on the 2008 presidential campaign.

At a rally in Mandeville, La., Rick Santorum shook an Etch-a-Sketch to mock Mitt Romney's campaign. Romney's Communication Director Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney would shake off the tough primary and hit the "reset button" for the general election. "It's almost like an Etch-a-sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again," Fehrnstrom said.

At a rally in Mandeville, La., Rick Santorum shook an Etch-a-Sketch to mock Mitt Romney's campaign. Romney's Communication Director Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney would shake off the tough primary and hit the "reset button" for the general election. "It's almost like an Etch-a-sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again," Fehrnstrom said.

“It’s unusual for him to be that sloppy and that undisciplined,” Jeffrey Berry, a professor of political science at Tufts University, said of the Etch a Sketch comment. “I’ve known nothing similar in his history in Massachusetts.”

After the 2008 campaign, Fehrnstrom, Myers and a third Romney adviser, Peter Flaherty, started a consulting firm, Shawmut Group. They were the architects of Scott Brown’s 2010 campaign for Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate seat.

This year, Fehrnstrom is juggling work for Brown and Romney, helping both candidates craft often divergent messages. The former is embracing the Massachusetts-moderate label; the latter is running away from it.

For instance, after Rush Limbaugh recently used a slur to describe a Georgetown University law student who had testified in support of birth control, Brown tweeted that his comments were “reprehensible” and called on the radio talker to apologize. Romney, meanwhile, said only that Limbaugh’s was “not the language I would have used.”

Fehrnstrom’s work for Brown got him in some hot water in the summer, as he used a fake Twitter identity, @CrazyKhazei, to fire off snarky quips about one of Brown’s Democratic opponents, Alan Khazei. His hand was exposed when he accidentally sent one of his nastygrams under his own Twitter handle, @EricFehrn.

On Wednesday, when Fehrnstrom spoke with Romney about his Etch a Sketch comment, Romney is said to have taken it in stride. Campaign officials circled the wagons and insisted Fehrnstrom had not erred. Privately, some expressed shock at the media attention Fehrnstrom’s remark drew.

On Thursday, Fehrnstrom brushed off his gaffe with humor. After Ohio Art Co., the maker of Etch a Sketch, reported that shares soared, Fehrnstrom tweeted: “Etch A Sketch stock is up? Psst, I’ll mention Mr. Potato Head next. Buy Hasbro.”

In an interview, Fehrnstrom brought up Vice President Biden’s frequent slips of the tongue.

“I thought it was pretty clear with that Etch a Sketch comment I was referring to the race, and not the candidate, but such is politics,” he said. “I’m expecting a call from Joe Biden thanking me for taking the heat off him for a couple of days.”

Secret Service thugs investigage woman for saying "Pretend it's Obama"

Don't these Secret Service thugs have any "real" criminals to hunt down????

On the other hand if you are creating a jobs program for overpaid Secret Service thugs, I guess you want to arrest people for any trivial thing you can find.


Obama comment made during Santorum visit probed

by Sarah Eddington - Mar. 23, 2012 04:59 PM

MONROE, La. -- A comment made by a spectator during Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum's visit to West Monroe has led to a Secret Service investigation.

Santorum was at the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office Rifle Range on Friday morning as part of his campaign through Louisiana before Saturday's Republican presidential primary.

While Santorum was firing off some rounds from a gun at a paper target before delivering his campaign speech , an unidentified woman in the crowd shouted: "Pretend it's Obama."

Santorum, who was wearing protective shooting ear muffs at the time, later told reporters he didn't hear the woman's "absurd" remark.

"It's a very terrible and horrible remark, and I'm glad I didn't hear it," he said.

A representative from the Secret Service confirmed the incident and the fact that the agency is looking into the matter, but couldn't provide further details.

"We are conducting the appropriate investigative steps," said George Ogilvie, public affairs officer for the Secret Service.

Rick Santorum, cafeteria Catholic?


Rick Santorum, cafeteria Catholic?

By Lisa Miller, Published: March 22

He has seven children, attends a Latin Mass and has driven issues of reproductive rights back into the center of American politics. In 2002, he traveled to Rome to express his support for the founder of the ultra-conservative Catholic lay movement called Opus Dei.

With these boxes on his religious resume checked, Rick Santorum has convinced Americans, even those who disagree with him, that he’s the Republican candidate who most stands for orthodox religious faith. He has been called “devout,” “traditionalist,” and even — by the Catholic historian Garry Wills — “a papist.”

 With nearly one in four Americans in its fold, a powerful lobby and extensive charity work, the Catholic Church is one of the most influential institutions in America.

So it is worth pointing out here that Santorum is not, in fact, all that Catholic.

Let me put that another way. Obviously, Rick Santorum is a Catholic. I have no doubt that his relationship with his church is genuine, profound and sustaining on a personal level.

But just like every religious believer through the millennia, Santorum observes the teachings of his church selectively. In this political primary race, he has advertised (or implicated) his Catholic bona fides when talking about abortion and contraception, and he has invoked his faith more broadly on issues such as pornography and family values. But on the following issues, Santorum’s position diverges — sometimes a lot — from that of his church.

1. The death penalty: “Ending the death penalty would be one important step away from a culture of death and toward building a culture of life,” wrote the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2005. Both Benedict XVI and John Paul II opposed the death penalty and praised foreign leaders who abolished it.

Santorum supports it. In the 1990s, he voted against replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment and for a motion that would limit inmates’ appeals in death-penalty cases. Recently, though, the former senator seems be suffering pricks of conscience. “If there is not certainty, under the law, the death penalty should not be used,” he told Piers Morgan this year.

2. Torture: The catechism of the Catholic Church clearly opposes it: “Torture, which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.”

Santorum endorses it. He doesn’t call it torture, though. He calls it “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

3. Nuclear Iran: On what is perhaps the most pressing foreign policy issue of the day, the Catholic Church urges restraint. “In Catholic teaching, use of force must always be a last resort,” wrote Bishop Richard E. Pates in a recent letter from the bishops’ conference. “Discussing or promoting military options at this time is unwise and may be counterproductive.”

Santorum believes that America should threaten Iran with bombs. “I would be saying to the Iranians, you either open up those facilities . . . or we will degrade those facilities through airstrikes,” he said on “Meet the Press.”

4. Immigration: Only on this issue has Santorum explicitly distanced himself from the church he loves so much. The Catholic bishops support immigration reform that includes a way for illegal aliens to earn citizenship. Santorum wants to build a fence between the United States and Mexico. On his Web site, he conflates immigrants with “drug cartels, violent criminals and terrorists.” Following the bishops’ recommendations, said Santorum in December, “would be creating a huge magnet for people to come in and break the law some more.”

At issue here is not Santorum’s inconsistency. He is running for president, not for pope, and in any case, the best religious teaching sets high standards for behavior and action in the world; it does not demand blind obeisance. At issue is the myth, perpetuated by religionists on the right (including Santorum himself), that the selective and self-serving observance of religious rules and doctrines is a sin committed exclusively by the left. The practice is known as “cherry picking.” Both sides do it.

“We do well among people who take their faith seriously,” Santorum told Fox News last week. That’s true only if what Santorum means by “faith” is a set of politically motivated conservative beliefs, which don’t have very much to do with religion at all.

Afghans: U.S. paid $50,000 per shooting spree victim

I guess Obama is running for re-election in Afghanistan too - "They were told that the money came from U.S. President Barack Obama"


Afghans: U.S. paid $50,000 per shooting spree victim

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) – The United States has paid $50,000 in compensation for each Afghan killed in the shooting spree attributed to a U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official and a community elder said Sunday.

The families of the dead received the money Saturday at the governor's office, said Kandahar provincial council member Agha Lalai. Each wounded person received $11,000 Lalai said. Community elder Jan Agha confirmed the same figures.

They were told that the money came from U.S. President Barack Obama, Lalai said.

A U.S. official confirmed that compensation had been paid but declined to discuss exact amounts, saying only that it reflected the devastating nature of the incident. The official spoke anonymously because of the sensitive nature of the subject.

A spokesman for NATO and U.S. forces declined to confirm or deny the payments, saying that while coalition members often make compensation payments, they are usually kept private.

"As the settlement of claims is in most cases a sensitive topic for those who have suffered loss, it is usually a matter of agreement that the terms of the settlement remain confidential," Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings said.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is accused of sneaking out of his base before dawn on March 11 then creeping into the houses of two nearby villages and opening fire on sleeping families within.

It was not immediately clear how much money had been paid out in all. Afghan officials and villagers have counted 16 dead — 12 in the village of Balandi and four in neighboring Alkozai — and six wounded. The U.S. military has charged Bales with 17 murders without explaining the discrepancy.

The 38-year-old soldier is accused of using his 9mm pistol and M-4 rifle, which was outfitted with a grenade launcher, to kill four men, four women, two boys and seven girls, then burning some of the bodies. The ages of the children were not disclosed in the charge sheet.

The families had previously received smaller compensation payments from Afghan officials.

Also Sunday, officials said that a bomb exploded in the south of the country as a foot patrol of Afghan and NATO forces was passing by the previous day, killing nine Afghans and one international service member.

The group was patrolling through Arghandab district in Kandahar province late Saturday when it was caught in the blast, said Shah Mohammad, the district administrator. Arghandab is a farming region just outside Kandahar city that has long been a bed-down area for Taliban insurgents. It was one of a number of communities around Kandahar city that were targeted in a 2010 sweep to oust the insurgency from the area.

The Afghan dead included one soldier, three police officers, four members of the Afghan "local police" — a government-sponsored militia force — and one translator, Mohammad said.

NATO reported earlier Sunday that one of its service members was killed in a bomb attack in southern Afghanistan on Saturday but did not provide additional details. It was not clear if this referred to the same incident, as NATO usually waits for individual coalition nations to confirm the details of deaths of their troops.

Obama - 'After My Election I Have More Flexibility'

So I guess Obama doesn't want to tell Americans his true feelings, because he is he may get run out of office if he tells the truth???

Hey, politicians have to lie to us to get elected. Why else would we have the joke that says you can always tell a politician is lying when his lips are moving.


President Obama Asks Medvedev for 'Space' on Missile Defense - 'After My Election I Have More Flexibility'

ABC NewsBy Jake Tapper | ABC News – 5 hrs ago

SEOUL, South Korea - At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have "more flexibility" to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him "space."

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.

The exchange:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

When asked to explain what President Obama meant, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes told ABC News that there is room for the U.S. and Russia to reach an accommodation, but "there is a lot of rhetoric around this issue - there always is - in both countries.

A senior administration official tells ABC News: "this is a political year in which the Russians just had an election, we're about to have a presidential and congressional elections - this is not the kind of year in which we're going to resolve incredibly complicated issue like this. So there's an advantage to pulling back and letting the technical experts work on this as the president has been saying."

-Jake Tapper

Is that Obamacare or Romneycare? Or both???

I don't know and I don't care, but the point is these professional politicians will lie and say anything to get your vote.

And oddly it sure seems like Obamacare was based on Romneycare, which many say was invented by Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.


Review of ‘Obamacare’ puts GOP spotlight on Romney’s Massachusetts health care law

By Philip Rucker and Dan Balz, Published: March 26

SAN DIEGO — Health care was supposed to be Mitt Romney’s Achilles’ heel: The state overhaul he championed as governor of Massachusetts is so similar to the sweeping federal law conservatives deride as “Obamacare” that it was once widely regarded as a big enough liability to doom his presidential chances.

But Romney remains the overwhelming favorite in a topsy-turvy campaign in which health care has rarely been the driving issue, and he is picking up the support of prominent conservatives as he moves toward securing his party’s nomination.

This week, as the Supreme Court reviews the Obama administration’s health-care law, Romney’s remaining opponents for the Republican presidential nomination are trying to capi­tal­ize on what may be one of their last opportunities to deny him the prize.

Rick Santorum is urgently attacking “Romneycare,” arguing that Romney would effectively forfeit one of the biggest issues Republicans have to run against Obama.

Santorum pounces

His campaign has fired off daily e-mails and videos highlighting the Massachusetts law, while the former senator from Pennsylvania has been particularly animated in talking about the issue; he uttered an expletive Sunday night at a New York Times reporter who asked him to clarify his line of attack on Romney.

“It’s the best opportunity for us to make the case about big government, to make the case about individual liberty, to make the case about budget deficits being blown wide open, to make the case about people not getting quality health care and have rationing of health care and government mandating you and making you do something against your economic interests, against your religious interests,” Santorum told reporters Monday over breakfast in Washington.

Calling health care “the mega issue,” he argued that Romney is “the one guy who can’t make the case.”

To emphasize his differences with Romney on health care, Santorum held a campaign event Monday on the steps of the ­Supreme Court as the justices were concluding the first of three days of oral arguments.

He told reporters that the Massachusetts law is “one of the reasons the jury’s still very much out” on Romney’s candidacy.

GOP voters cite economy

But it is difficult to measure how much it has hurt Romney in the nominating contest. Just 6 percent of Republicans nationally rated health care as the top issue, well behind the economy and general dissatisfaction with government, in a March Gallup poll. In January, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 27 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents said Romney’s health-care record was a major reason to oppose him. But 21 percent saw it as a reason to support him.

Romney’s biggest problem may be that his overhaul in Massachusetts places him ideologically to the left of much of the GOP base. In three big states whose primaries Romney won — Florida, Illinois and Ohio — about four in 10 Republican voters called Romney “not conservative enough” in exit polls.

“It’s clearly a vulnerability for Governor Romney, but by coming out so strongly for repealing and replacing Obamacare, while he may not have completely neutralized the issue, he’s taken a good deal of the sting out of it,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres said.

Romney has been trying to neutralize his problems with the conservative opponents of the Obama law by recommitting to repealing it.

“There are a lot of reasons not to like Obamacare,” he said Monday during a campaign stop in San Diego. “My colleagues the other day listed a whole series of them — and there are about 30 things — and I chuckled as I looked down, just shaking my head at the things Obamacare is doing.”

But Romney is picking up more conservative support as impediments to his nomination appear to be diminishing. On Monday, he trumpeted the endorsements of a handful of prominent conservative leaders — House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas and tea party star Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) — who called on Republicans to unite behind Romney.

Repackaging issue

Looking toward a campaign against the president this fall, Romney has begun to frame the health-care law as just one part of a broader overreach by the administration, which he says represents “an attack on economic freedom unlike anything we have ever seen before.”

Yet as Romney visited a medical-device company here that makes artificial spines, delivering a speech in front of a banner that read “Repeal and Replace Obamacare,” he did not directly call for its repeal. Nor did he refer to the week’s activity at the Supreme Court.

And although Romney stands by the Massachusetts program and has at times detailed the differences between it and the federal overhaul, he made no mention of it on Monday.

Instead, he spoke broadly about what he considers a culture of government regulation and taxation brought on by the Obama administration.

“I just don’t think the president and his people understand that as they burden enterprise with taxation and with regulation, they hurt all of us,” Romney said. “This is not just about the business itself being attacked, bad enough as that is, and the employees who work there being attacked, bad enough as that is, but the entire economy, all of America, slows down.”

Romney repeatedly referred to NuVasive, the company that hosted him Monday, and noted that its chief executive, Alexis V. Lukianov, emigrated from Russia to start the business.

“These dreams that people like Alex have had, these dreams are crushed — tax by tax, regulator by regulator, regulation by regulation,” Romney said. “Washington is crushing the dreams and crushing the dreamers. We can’t let it happen.”

Balz reported from Washington. Polling analyst Scott Clement in Washington contributed to this report.

Think tank founded by Gingrich files for bankruptcy

Remember government nannies always claim to be able to run your life better then you can! Of course in reality they are just thieves who want to steal your money and spend it on themselves and their special interest groups.


Think tank founded by Gingrich files for bankruptcy

By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

A health care think tank founded by Newt Gingrich has filed for bankruptcy, according to a report by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The Center for Health Transformation plans to liquidate its assets under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code, according to its court filing in Atlanta.

The think tank estimated liabilities of $1 million to $10 million and 50 to 90 creditors, the Atlanta Business Chronicle story says.

The former House speaker founded the Center for Health Transformation in 2003 and it was a focus of his post-congressional activities, as well as a lucrative source of income, for years.

The Washington Post reported last year the think tank brought in at least $37 million "from major health-care companies and industry groups, offering special access" to Gingrich and "other perks."

A story in The New York Times said companies and trade groups paid annual membership fees of $20,000 to $200,000 "with higher-paying members gaining more direct access" to Gingrich.

Stefan Passantino, national counsel for the Gingrich presidential campaign, is quoted in the Atlanta story as saying the bankruptcy occurred after Gingrich "divested himself of any of the think tank's operations last May."

Obama is lying about increasing the supply of oil???

Obama shoveling the BS bragging his administration is increasing the supply of oil???


Blaming Obama for gas prices unfair, but just

It’s unfair to blame President Barack Obama for high gas prices. But there’s some poetic justice in him getting blamed for them.

Obama is running around the country saying he’s an “all-of-the-above” energy guy. It’s pretty pathetic to watch.

Obama didn’t run for president as an all-of-the-above energy guy. He hasn’t governed as an all-of-the-above energy guy.

Obama ran for office, and has attempted to govern, as an anti-fossil fuels guy.

Remember his claim when he cinched the Democratic nomination, that this would be remembered as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”? That wasn’t because universal health care would be passed. It was because Obama was going to cut down on the use of fossil fuels.

And he was going to do that, in part, by increasing the cost of fossil fuels. The whole purpose of the cap-and-trade regimen Obama tried to get Congress to pass is to put a price on carbon emissions and increase the cost of the fuels that produce them. Higher gas prices, as well as higher prices for electricity produced from fossil fuels, were part of the Obama policy.

Obama also proposed to reduce the use of fossil fuels by massively subsidizing alternatives, such as solar, wind and biofuels. This was not only his environmental policy. It was his economic policy, as well. The Obama economy was going to be built on green energy jobs that weren’t subject to foreign competition or being exported.

The massive subsidization of alternative energy sources part of the Obama agenda has been implemented. But the early returns aren’t encouraging.

Large solar-concentrating plants are having a hard time getting off the ground despite the massive subsidies. Wind requires huge investments in transmission that don’t pencil out for an intermittent source of power.

As it turns out, green energy manufacturing is as subject to global competition as any other kind of manufacturing. This is most clearly evident in solar panels. The Obama administration has slapped tariffs on Chinese imports. Domestic producers, despite the subsidies, are struggling and several have gone bankrupt.

And now that gas prices are sky-high, at least in the minds of voters, Obama is running around the country bragging about all the drilling for fossil fuels that has happened on his watch. I guess slowing the rise of the oceans and healing the planet can wait until the second term.

Obama is being more than a little disingenuous. The increase in drilling has occurred on private lands. On federal lands, it has gone down – just as you would expect from Obama the anti-fossil fuels guy.

But those who blame Obama for high gas prices are also being disingenuous. There are no alternative federal energy policies that could have been pursued over the last three years that would have made a material difference in today’s price of gas.

And those who maintain that all that stands between the American people and low gas prices are Obama and other greenies blocking domestic production are selling their own acre of sunshine.

Obama is wrong to pooh-pooh the potential of expanded production of domestic traditional energy sources. But even if a true all-of-the-above strategy were pursued and barriers to domestic production substantially lowered, it is unclear how much additional production would actually take place. It would depend on how the cost of production in the United States compared to the cost of production elsewhere.

Here’s the only thing we can know for sure: we don’t need for politicians to figure this out. Americans buy more than $1 trillion of energy a year to make things run or go. If politicians would stop trying to tip the balance, markets would figure out the most cost-effective way to meet those needs.

Military persecutes Marine for selling Nobama stickers

Military persecutes Marine for selling Nobama stickers

F*ck the First Amendment, you don't have any free speech rights in the military.


Marine sold 'Nobama' stickers, prosecutors say

Apr. 5, 2012 02:25 PM

Associated Press

CAMP PENDLETON, California -- A Marine is facing dismissal from the military for posting Facebook images of President Barack Obama's face superimposed on a jackass and for selling "Nobama" bumper stickers online, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Sgt. Gary Stein, 26, acted irresponsibly and disregarded repeated warnings that his anti-administration postings violated Pentagon policy involving members of the military, Marine Corps Capt. John Torresala said during a hearing at Camp Pendleton.

Comments that were prejudicial to good order and discipline were posted on the Facebook page used by military meteorologists and could have influenced junior Marines, the prosecutor said.

Stein's security clearance was taken away and he has no future in the Marine Corps because he can't do his job, Torresala said.

Backed by a team of lawyers and congressmen, Stein is fighting to stay in the military and test its longtime policy of limiting the free speech of members.

His lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union contend his views are protected by the First Amendment.

Stein has rallied support since he was notified last month that the military was moving to discharge him after determining he was in violation of the Pentagon policy barring service members from engaging in political activities.

"The military may be different from the civilian world, but it's not exempt from the First Amendment," said David Loy, legal director for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial counties. "Sgt. Stein didn't say anything for which the Marine Corps has any right to punish him."

The Marine Corps has said it decided to take administrative action after Stein declared on Facebook that he would not follow unlawful orders from Obama.

In addition to being discharged, Stein said, he would have his rank reduced to lance corporal if he is proven to be in violation.

He said he was removed from his job at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego on Wednesday and given a desk job with no access to computers.

Loy said Stein did not threaten order or discipline or take positions that anyone would attribute to the Corps. Instead, the Corps is threatening loyalty and morale in its ranks by persecuting a Marine for exercising his free speech rights, Loy said.

Stein, a nine-year member of the Marine Corps, has said he started a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party to encourage fellow service members to exercise their rights.

Defense lawyers began the hearing Thursday by asking board members about their understanding of military policy limiting members from engaging in political activities and the guidelines on expressing their personal opinions.

California federal Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, a former Marine, wrote a letter to Stein's commanding officer stating the sergeant should not face dismissal for an opinion shared by a majority of Marines. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, also has expressed support for Stein.

Stein said his statement about Obama was part of an online debate about NATO allowing U.S. troops to be tried for the Quran burnings in Afghanistan. In that context, he said, he was stating that he would not follow orders from the president if it involved detaining U.S. citizens, disarming them or doing anything else that he believes would violate their constitutional rights.

The military has had a policy since the Civil War limiting the free speech of service members, including criticizing the commander in chief. Military law experts have said Stein may have crossed the line.

Pentagon directives say military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement.

Commissioned officers also may not use contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the president.

Democrats give special interests a role at convention


Democrats give special interests a role at convention

By Matea Gold, Washington Bureau

April 5, 2012, 9:04 p.m.

WASHINGTON — As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama vowed to squelch the role of special interests in financing the party conventions — so he barred corporations and lobbyists from contributing money to this year's national convention in Charlotte, N.C.

But even as Democrats tout the three-day event in September as a populist gathering, organizers have found ways to skirt the rules and give corporations and lobbyists a presence at the nominating convention. That suggests they can't raise the $37 million for the political extravaganza without at least some help from moneyed interests.

Despite the ban on corporate money, for example, convention officials have encouraged corporate executives to write personal checks, according to sources familiar with the fundraising. And they have suggested that corporations can participate by donating goods and services to the convention, and by giving up to $100,000 through a corporate foundation.

They have also quietly explained to lobbyists that while they can't make contributions, they can help raise money from their clients — by soliciting personal checks from executives or in-kind contributions from corporations. Lobbyists who bundle high sums will get perks like premium credentials and hotel rooms.

Labor unions, meanwhile, are not specifically prohibited from giving. They provided millions of dollars for the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver.

The role of special interests at the convention reflects Obama's broader struggle to fulfill his 2008 vow to limit the influence of money in politics.

"What they're doing sounds like the old forms of raising money that they claimed they were not going to do," said Fred Wertheimer, president of the campaign finance reform group Democracy 21. "They may not be violating the letter of their own rules, but they certainly are not complying with the spirit of their own rules."

Obama's defenders say he has gone further than others in trying to reduce the clout of special-interest money. Unlike his GOP challengers, he doesn't accept campaign contributions from lobbyists or political action committees, and he discloses the names of bundlers who solicit major donations. And while the Democrats have set rules for who can finance their convention, the Republicans have not adopted similar restrictions for their convention in Tampa, Fla.

"We've done more to promote reform than any convention in history," said Democratic convention spokeswoman Kristie Greco. "Republicans are still operating under the status quo, playing by the same old rules that cater to the highest bidders."

But in his 2008 campaign and statements as president, Obama promised more than just to do better than his opponents. He cast himself as a reformer — leaving himself open to criticism from both the left and the right when he strays from the ethical high ground.

The Republican National Committee pounced last month when Vice President Joe Biden hired a former lobbyist, Steve Ricchetti, despite a White House ban on hiring people who have worked as lobbyists in the last two years. (Ricchetti de-registered as a lobbyist in 2008, though he still was running a lobbying shop.)

Earlier this year, Obama reversed his long-standing opposition to outside political groups and gave his blessing to an independent "super PAC" backing his reelection. He was responding to unfettered spending in the GOP presidential primaries, made possible by a series of court rulings in 2010 that allowed massive donations by billionaires and corporations to super PACS.

"You've got a campaign and a candidate who showed his ideals and intentions in the 2008 campaign, but the political reality of how the Republicans changed that landscape have forced them to become more pragmatic," said Democratic strategist Joe Trippi.

The latest example involves the party conventions, which the Federal Election Commission decided in 1977 could be produced in part through unlimited donations to a local host committee charged with promoting the host city.

Four years ago, organizations such as corporations and unions gave 86% of the $61 million Democrats raised for their convention in Denver. Nearly three-quarters of the donations were in amounts of $250,000 and up, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics and the Campaign Finance Institute.

"If you want to go rub shoulders with elected officials and give them your 30-second elevator speech, the convention is the place to go. It's like shooting fish in a barrel," said former Democratic lobbyist LeeAnn Petersen, whose consulting firm Conventions 2012 arranges logistics for corporate clients seeking a presence at the events.

This year, "the rules are making it a little harder, but we've still got tons of interest," she said.

Under terms set by the Democratic National Committee, individuals are limited to giving $100,000 to the host committee, the organization raising money for the convention. Donations from for-profit corporations, political action committees and lobbyists are prohibited. Corporations that have not repaid money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program or other bailout programs cannot make in-kind contributions.

The host committee is emphasizing its efforts to attract small contributions; a promotion that launched Wednesday will plaster the names of $5 donors on a NASCAR stock car.

But lobbyists can still bundle large donations and qualify for special perks, such as platinum credentials, concierge services and VIP tickets to special events for those who raise $1 million.

"They have a policy of encouraging ineligible people to help them raise money," said Tony Podesta, a top Democratic lobbyist who is soliciting contributions from interested clients. "I don't take it personally."

Corporations that provide in-kind services can also receive the goodies donors crave: hotel rooms and convention passes.

In addition, the Charlotte host committee set up a separate fund that is accepting unlimited sums from corporations. That committee, called New American City, is covering administrative costs and welcome parties for the media and delegates. Although donors won't get convention passes, they could still get prominent exposure.

Convention Chief Executive Steve Kerrigan and Jim Rogers, chief executive of Duke Energy and co-chairman of the host committee, met with Democratic fundraisers and lobbyists on Dec. 15 at Washington's posh Jefferson Hotel to lay out the ways corporations and lobbyists could help raise money, according to sources familiar with the briefing. The meeting was first reported by Bloomberg News.

The approach irritated some who attended, who said that the organizers still want the help of lobbyists even while claiming they are not involved.

Convention officials said the meeting was an effort to educate people about the new rules, not to recruit lobbyists as bundlers.

It is unclear how the restrictions are affecting fundraising. Charlotte officials refuse to reveal how much they have brought in, saying only that they are on track.

But several Democrats involved in helping the effort said the rules had made it hard for organizers, particularly because executives of publicly traded companies aren't eager to personally give $100,000.

Some party strategists said it might have been unrealistic to try to finance the convention through small donors.

"There is no history of these conventions not being dependent on money from all kinds of corporate entities," said Democratic consultant Bill Carrick. "They've always been involved — there's no other donor base for it."

Ron Paul draws crowd at UC Berkeley

Medical marijuana, he said to cheers, would be fair game if he [Ron Paul] had the White House.


Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul draws crowd at UC Berkeley

By Doug Oakley

Contra Costa Times

Posted: 04/06/2012 07:28:36 AM PDT

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul spoke outside at UC Berkeley on Thursday night, telling a chilly crowd of about 1,000 that they need less government in their lives and more leeway to make their own decisions.

Paul said he is different from the other candidates because he is outside the liberal and conservative paradigm.

Medical marijuana, he said to cheers, would be fair game if he had the White House.

"It's a great issue if you want to bring left and right together," he said. "People from the right talk about states' rights. Just think about it. If you had states' rights in California you wouldn't have the feds coming in and invading and telling you what you do with your own body.

Prescription drugs are deadly, too, and there are probably more deaths from prescription drugs. The war on drugs is a total failure.

"I want a free society where you could actually have the freedom to drink raw milk if you want to."

Paul spoke in front of the Doe Library after organizers moved the talk from Zellerbach Hall, saying that venue, with a capacity of about 2,000, was sold out. But the crowd did not appear to be more than about 1,200.

Paul is vowing to push on with his campaign even though he has just 51 delegates of the 1,144 needed to get the Republican nomination. Mitt Romney has 655, Rick Santorum 278 and Newt Gingrich 135. The next votes in the Republican race are set for April 24 in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

The UC Berkeley student organization, Students for Liberty and Youth, hosted the 76-year-old congressman from Surfside, Texas.

Paul, who calls himself "the leading spokesman in Washington" for limited government, low taxes and free markets, visited Chico State on Tuesday and UCLA on Wednesday.

Paul had an enthusiastic reception in Berkeley, but at least one of his supporters who spoke before he arrived acknowledged his run for the presidency is a long, long shot.

"We don't have millions and millions of dollars like other candidates do," said Johnny Lee, who introduced himself to the crowd as Paul's San Jose campaign manager. "But we have each other. We can't even get our supporters to register Republican. That's why we're losing. We have no solidarity as a group. If we want to have any impact, we have to show some solidarity."

Paul sounded more upbeat, and the crowd went right along with him.

"What I suggest we do is cut the budget by a trillion dollars in one year," Paul said. "We'll start by stopping the wars and bringing our troops home and having them spend their money here at home. Why should we subsidize the defense of the Middle East and Korea and Japan?"

Paul also spoke about having fewer laws that get in the way of individual freedoms.

"On Jan. 1, they laid 40,000 new laws on us," Paul said. "I would like to be the first president who got rid of 40,000 laws."

Nearing the end of his talk, Paul let the crowd have a hint of optimism.

"Good ideas are starting to prevail once again," Paul said. "There's a growing sentiment in this country about changing our foreign policy. About 70 percent of people are now saying we have to get out of the Middle East and out of Afghanistan, and this is encouraging."

Paul called his style of libertarianism the kind in which someone can have a "heart and a brain at the same time. That's what freedom is all about. We don't want the government telling us what to do with our lives and our money."

Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at

Gingrich Defends Utah Bounced Check


Gingrich Defends Utah Bounced Check

By Elicia Dover | ABC OTUS News

NEWARK, Del. - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich today defended the $500 bounced check his campaign submitted to the Utah elections office as payment for the fee to appear on the primary ballot.

"This is one of those goofy things," Gingrich said after a campaign stop in Delaware. "That check was drawn in December. The account actually was closed by the time they processed it. It wasn't a question of money. That particular bank account was closed."

Utah elections director Mark Thomas attempted multiple times to contact the campaign about the bad check and said that if the matter isn't resolved by April 20, Gingrich will be disqualified from the ballot, ABC News reported Tuesday.

"I went back and checked and it was entirely a technical question of the bank being closed," Gingrich said. "It wasn't that we didn't have the money in the bank but that particular account had been closed as they made a transition to a different bank on January 1," Gingrich said.

The campaign had recently changed finance and accounting staff, although the designated agent who submitted the check, Wallace Woodruff "Woody" Hales, is still employed by the campaign, a source close to the campaign said.

This isn't the first time Gingrich has been connected to a bounced check. An attack ad from the height of the House banking scandal surfaced on the Internet from BuzzFeed in which Gingrich's opponent in the 1992 election, Herman Clark, made Gingrich's 22 bounced checks written to the House bank when he was the House minority whip a central issue of the campaign.

Gingrich won that election by only 980 votes.

The ad is set to the tune of "Old McDonald Had a Farm":

"With a bounced check here and a pay raise there, here a check, there a check, everywhere a bounced check. Newt Gingrich wrote a rubber check to the IRS," the ad stated.

The ad claims that a Gingrich check to the IRS bounced for more than $9,000, and that Gingrich bounced 22 checks for more than $26,000.

As for the bounced check given to the Utah elections office, Gingrich told ABC News, "They apparently have it all worked out."

He confirmed that the campaign will post a little less than $4.5 million debt because of exponential spending in the Florida primary.

Secret Service agents like high class hookers????

If you ask me all victimless crimes, including prostitution should be legalized.

My problem is when government hypocrites enforce these laws against us serfs, but think that they are above the laws and break them as these Secret Service agents are accused of doing.


Misconduct alleged against Secret Service agents

Apr. 13, 2012 09:55 PM

Associated Press

CARTAGENA, Colombia -- A dozen Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty because of allegations of misconduct.

A caller who said he had knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, site of the Summit of the Americas. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute that.

A U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and requested anonymity, put the number of agents at 12. The agency was not releasing the number of personnel involved.

The Washington Post reported that Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said the accusations related to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena. The association represents federal law enforcement officers, including the Secret Service. Adler later told the AP that he had heard that there were allegations of prostitution, but he had no specific knowledge of any wrongdoing.

Ronald Kessler, a former Post reporter and the author of a book about the Secret Service, told the Post that he had learned that 12 agents were involved, several of them married.

The incident threatened to overshadow Obama's economic and trade agenda at the summit and embarrass the U.S. The White House had no comment.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan would not confirm that prostitution was involved, saying only that there had been "allegations of misconduct" made against Secret Service personnel in the Colombian port city hosting Obama and more than 30 world leaders.

Donovan said the allegations of misconduct were related to activity before the president's arrival Friday night.

Obama was attending a leaders' dinner Friday night at Cartagena's historic Spanish fortress. He was due to attend summit meetings with regional leaders Saturday and Sunday.

Those involved had been sent back to their permanent place of duty and were being replaced by other agency personnel, Donovan said. The matter was turned over to the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility, which handles the agency's internal affairs.

"These personnel changes will not affect the comprehensive security plan that has been prepared in advance of the president's trip," Donovan said.

U.S. Secret Service agents leave Colombia over prostitution inquiry


U.S. Secret Service agents leave Colombia over prostitution inquiry

By David Nakamura and Joe Davidson, Published: April 13

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating allegations of misconduct by agents who had been sent to Cartagena, Colombia, to provide security for President Obama’s trip to a summit that began there Friday.

Edwin Donovan, an agency spokesman, said that an unspecified number of agents have been recalled and replaced with others, stressing that Obama’s security has not been compromised because of the change. Obama arrived in Cartagena on Friday afternoon for this weekend’s Summit of the Americas, a gathering of 33 of the hemisphere’s 35 leaders to discuss economic policy and trade.

Donovan declined to disclose details about the nature of the alleged misconduct. But Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said the accusations relate to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena.

In a statement, Donovan said the matter has been turned over to the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which serves as the agency’s internal affairs unit.

“The Secret Service takes all allegations of misconduct seriously,” Donovan said. “These personnel changes will not affect the comprehensive security plan that has been prepared in advance of the President’s trip.”

Adler said the entire unit was recalled for purposes of the investigation. The Secret Service “responded appropriately” and is “looking at a very serious allegation,” he said, adding that the agency “needs to properly investigate and fairly ascertain the merits of the allegations.”

The Washington Post was alerted to the investigation by Ronald Kessler, a former Post reporter and author of several nonfiction books, including the book “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect.”

Kessler said he was told that a dozen agents had been removed from the trip. He added that soliciting prostitution is considered inappropriate by the Secret Service, even though it is legal in Colombia when conducted in designated “tolerance zones.” However, Kessler added, several of the agents involved are married.

There have been other incidents involving Obama’s security detail over the past year.

In November, Christopher W. Deedy, a federal agent with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, was charged with second-degree murder after shooting a man during a dispute outside a McDonald’s in Hono­lulu. Though Deedy was off-duty at the time, he was on the island to provide advance security arrangements for Obama’s trip to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

In August, Daniel L. Valencia, a Secret Service agent, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Decorah, Iowa, where he was helping arrange security for Obama’s bus trip through three Midwestern states. Valencia, who was off-duty at the time of the arrest, was recently sentenced to two days in jail with credit for time served, and a fine of $1,250.

President Obama pretends we are winning the drug war!!!

South American governments want to end drug war!!!

South American governments want to end drug war!!!

Of course the American government is going to stick it's head in the sand and pretend we are winning the insane, unconstitutional drug war.


At Latin America summit, Obama to face push for drug legalization

By Christi Parsons and Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times

April 13, 2012, 4:45 p.m.

CARTAGENA, Colombia — President Obama will highlight trade and business opportunities in Latin America at a regional summit in Colombia this weekend, but other leaders may upstage him by pushing to legalize marijuana and other illicit drugs in a bid to stem rampant trafficking.

Obama, who opposes decriminalization, is expected to face a rocky reception in this Caribbean resort city, which otherwise forms a friendly backdrop for a U.S. president courting Latino voters in an election year. But the American demand for illegal drugs has caused fierce bloodshed, plus political and economic turmoil, across much of the region.

Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, wants the 33 leaders at the Summit of the Americas to consider whether the solution should include regulating marijuana, and perhaps cocaine, the way alcohol and tobacco are. Other member states also are calling for that dialogue despite the political discomfort it may cause Obama back home.

"You haven't had this pressure from the region before," said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank in Washington. "I think the [Obama] administration is willing to entertain the discussion, but hoping it doesn't turn into a critique of the U.S. and put the U.S. on the defensive."

Obama also is expected to take flak from leaders frustrated by the lack of U.S. movement on two other troublesome issues, immigration reform and the long-standing embargo of Cuba. Cuban leaders are not participating in the summit, but many regional governments oppose the U.S. policy of embargo.

In internal debates, White House officials have weighed the risk of talking about decriminalization, which is still taboo for many U.S. voters, against concern about alienating leaders who bear the brunt of the battle against the heavily armed cartels that supply most marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines to U.S. markets.

White House officials say Obama will not change his drug policy. They hope to keep talk of legalization behind closed doors while he focuses publicly on other tactics, including improving security forces, reforming governance and enhancing economic opportunities.

The call for change comes from front-line veterans of the drug wars, including Colombia. Santos says he has the moral authority to seek new solutions because his country's citizens and security forces have spilled so much blood fighting drug traffickers.

Also leading the charge isGuatemala'spresident, Otto Perez Molina. After a pre-summit meeting with leaders of Costa Rica and Panama, he called for a "realistic and responsible" discussion of decriminalization in Cartagena.

"We cannot eradicate global drug markets, but we can certainly regulate them as we have done with alcohol and tobacco markets," he wrote in the British newspaper the Observer on April 7.

White House officials plan to argue that no evidence indicates legalization would slow the flow of narcotics or reduce drug-related killings. Vice President Joe Biden offered a preview in Miami Beach last month.

"We should have this debate, and the reason is to dispel some of the myths that exist about legalization," Biden told reporters. "There are those people who say, 'If you legalize, you are not going to expand the number of consumers significantly.' Not true."

U.S. officials also will emphasize administration efforts to reduce illicit drug use in the United States, the world's largest consumer of cocaine and other illegal drugs.

The Justice Department, for example, has added special courts that can sentence drug abusers to treatment programs instead of prison. And the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, assuming it survives Supreme Court review, requires the medical industry to treat substance abuse as a chronic disease.

Marijuana use in America has increased by 15% since 2006, but cocaine use has dropped by 40% in that time, according to theU.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Experts say the global market for cocaine is unchanged because use in Europe more than doubled in the last decade.

The idea of regulating and taxing the production and sale of illegal drugs isn't new. A panel led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and past presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia concluded in a report in June that the drug war had "failed" and recommended easing penalties for farmers and low-level drug users.

That doesn't make the issue any easier for Obama.

"I don't think anybody thinks the current policy works right now, but public opinion hasn't gotten to the point of accepting the idea of legalization," said David Damore, a political scientist at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas who writes about U.S. and Latino politics. "There's nothing to be gained from it politically, and it opens you up to an attack."

Parsons reported from Cartagena and Bennett from Washington.

Obama gives students free money in exchange for votes????

Vote for me and you will get a bigger student loan???


Obama woos students, pushes low-rate student loans

by Ben Feller - Apr. 24, 2012 11:17 PM

Associated Press

MORRISVILLE, N.C. -- President Barack Obama went after the college vote Tuesday, pitching cheaper student loans as he courted the one age group where he has a decided advantage over Republican rival Mitt Romney. The twist? Romney, too, has endorsed the idea, though it's unclear whether deficit-leery Republicans in Congress will go along.

In the race for the White House, both the Obama and Romney campaigns see huge opportunities to court younger voters. This week, their efforts are focused on the millions of students -- and their parents -- who are grappling with college costs at a time when such debt has grown so staggering it exceeds the totals for credit cards or auto loans.

Obama crossed the nation, visiting North Carolina and Colorado, to sell his message to college students. Both stops, as well as the one he will make today in Iowa, came in states vital to his re-election bid.

Trying to make it personal, Obama told students at the University of North Carolina that he and first lady Michelle Obama had "been in your shoes" and didn't pay off their student loans until eight years ago.

"I didn't just read about this. I didn't just get some talking points about this. I didn't just get a policy briefing on this," Obama said. "We didn't come from wealthy families. When we graduated from college and law school, we had a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poor together."

Obama's emphasis on his personal experience set up a contrast with Romney, whose father was a wealthy auto executive. It's a point the president is sure to return to during this summer's campaigning.

Late Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., introduced legislation that would keep the interest rate for subsidized loans for poorer and middle-class students at their current level for another year at a cost of $5.9 billion.

The timing is important because the rate will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1 without intervention by Congress, an expiration date chosen in 2007 when a Democratic Congress voted to chop the rate in half.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has estimated that about 15 percent of Americans, or 37 million people, have outstanding student-loan debt. The bank puts the total at $870 billion, though other estimates have reached $1 trillion. About two-thirds of student-loan debt is held by people younger than 30.

Members of both parties are assessing ways to cover the costs and then gain the votes in the House and Senate. Both parties have a political incentive to keep the rates as they are.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday: "I don't think anybody believes this interest rate ought to be allowed to rise." He added, "The question is how do you pay for it, how long do you do the extension."

Under the Democratic plan, the measure would be paid for by closing a loophole that lets owners of privately owned companies called S corporations avoid paying the Social Security and Medicare payroll tax on part of their earnings. It would apply to such companies with incomes over $250,000. The higher payroll taxes would also be required for some law firms, doctors practices and other professional-services partnerships.

Congressional Republicans, however, were panning the idea of paying for the student-loan plan with higher payroll taxes on those companies' owners.

"I don't think the temporary interest-rate cut should expire this year," McConnell said. "But the way to prevent that is not by raiding Social Security and Medicare while making it more difficult for small businesses to hire college students already struggling in the Obama economy."

Romney said this week that he agrees the loan rates shouldn't be raised, coupling that stance with criticism of Obama's economic leadership.

"Given the bleak job prospects that young Americans coming out of college face today, I encourage Congress to temporarily extend the low rate," Romney said in a statement.

Some conservative activists have denounced Romney's decision to match Obama's position on student-loan rates.

"Mitt Romney is going to sell out conservatives in his party" to improve his chances in the November election, Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote in a blog carried by sites including Free Republic.

By taking on student debt, Obama spoke to middle-class America and also targeted a growing economic burden that could hamper the national recovery.

While leaning on Republicans in Congress to act, he also sought to energize the young people essential to his campaign -- those who voted for him last time and the many more who have turned voting age since. Obama urged students to go to social-media sites such as Twitter to pressure their lawmakers to prevent the interest rates on the loans "from shooting up and shaking you down."

Romney's supporters said Tuesday that Obama's policies had hurt younger voters and questioned whether the president could garner the same amount of support as in 2008.

"Young people are sitting here 3 1/2 years later, and they're not better off," said Alex Schriver, chairman of the College Republican National Committee.

Obama carried voters ages 18-29 by a ratio of about 2-to-1 in 2008, but many recent college graduates have had difficulty finding jobs. That raises concerns for the president about whether they will vote and volunteer for him in such large numbers again.

What the Secret Service could learn from drunken sailors


What the Secret Service could learn from drunken sailors

By Roberto Loiederman, Published: April 26

Roberto Loiederman, a merchant seaman from 1966 to 1974, is a writer in California. He co-authored “The Eagle Mutiny,” an account of the 1970 mutiny on a U.S. vessel.

What happened in Cartagena, Colombia, with the Secret Service seems unsavory to me, but not for the reasons you might think.

I make no judgments about men spending a night with escorts. As far as I’m concerned, those who take a holier-than-thou attitude about this are like Inspector Renault in “Casablanca” when he says he’s “shocked, shocked” to discover there is gambling at Rick’s Cafe . . . just before someone hands him his winnings.

No, what the Secret Service agents apparently did seems unsavory because of my own experiences.

More than 40 years ago, I was a merchant seaman. Whenever our ship would get to port — any port — we’d hurry to an area near the docks filled with bars and women. Valparaiso or Santos, Pusan or Saigon, Djibouti or Cartagena — the only changes, from port to port, were the local women’s ethnicity and language.

As a seaman, what other options do you have? You’re in a strange city for a few days. You’re with other hardworking, hard-playing guys. And you’ve got cash in your pocket. So you go to a bar, drink more than you should, smile at the women buzzing around, maybe dance with one and then — for a pre-arranged fee — take her to a hotel room.

I imagine the Secret Service agents in the scandal du jour went through similar steps. Of course, the current situation is different from what I remember. The women involved in the Secret Service scandal are “escorts,” not the type of ladies who hang out with seamen, as a Colombian woman in question made clear to the New York Times. The bar where the U.S. personnel met these women is an upscale discotheque, not some mosquito-ridden dive. Like us, the Secret Service men drank far too much, but it was expensive vodka, not cheap whiskey.

There’s another major difference: One of the Secret Service agents did something no self-respecting seaman would have done.

When I worked on ships, seamen were a superstitious lot. When there was a bad storm, while the ship pitched and rolled, the crew, unable to eat or sleep, would gather in the messroom and grumble. Anyone who remembers Coleridge’s ancient mariner knows that seamen don’t blame the wind and tides for bad weather and rough seas. Rather, they blame a fellow member of the crew — someone who has, say, killed an albatross. During storms, they’d mumble darkly that a crew member had “Jonah’d” the ship — done something wicked, while ashore, that caused the seas to rise up and take revenge.

Inevitably, someone would point out that the likely cause of the foul weather was that one of our crew had committed the worst sin of all: not paying a whore. All would nod gravely. In my day, seamen were convinced that this was such a serious infraction it could threaten a ship’s survival. More than once I saw fellow crew members, who’d come back to the ship so drunk they couldn’t remember where they’d been, make superhuman efforts to send money to a woman ashore in a desperate attempt to avoid the curse of the unpaid prostitute.

I thought about this while reading about the scandal in Cartagena. It appears that getting drunk and going back to the hotel with the women wasn’t, in itself, what got the Secret Service personnel into trouble. What got them busted was that someone in their group refused to pay an escort the pre-arranged price. One of the escorts wanted $800. She said that a Secret Service agent offered her $30. (To put that figure in perspective, it’s more or less what seamen used to pay in Cartagena 45 years ago for all-night companionship.)

The stereotype of “spending like a drunken sailor” is true. We prided ourselves on spending our money foolishly. Working on a ship headed to Latin America was known as a “romance run” because it would often end up costing us more than we made. But we didn’t care. We’d give a woman whatever she asked for. If the requested price was steep — like, say, $800 — we’d keep enough for the taxi back to the ship and give her whatever we had.

I don’t want to romanticize the seedy life of merchant seamen, but if the Secret Service personnel involved in this scandal had played by the same rules and followed the same ethical standards as the drunken sailors I used to work with, there would have been no confrontation, and they might still have their jobs

Obama - I'm a bigger war monger then Mitt Romney???

Obama - I'm a bigger war monger then Mitt Romney???

Of course in the last election many people supported Obama because he seemed to be less of a war monger then Bush and McCain. Sadly Obama seems to be just as much of a war monter as both Bush and McCain are!!!!

The video is at:

Romney would not have killed bin Laden, implies new Obama campaign ad

By Olivier Knox | The Ticket

Would Mitt Romney have ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden? President Barack Obama's re-election campaign released a new video on Friday that strongly implies that he would not have, using the presumptive Republican nominee's own words against him.

Ever since Vice President Joe Biden boiled down Obama's 2012 slogan to "bin Laden is dead, GM is alive," it has been clear that the embattled incumbent would not hesitate to use the May 2, 2011, Navy SEAL strike as a political weapon.

Fighting over the political use of bin Laden is hardly new—as Obama's 2008 presidential campaign could tell you, since they complained about then-rival Hillary Clinton doing just that. Clinton's camp ran an ad that used Osama bin Laden and implied that Obama (the ad didn't use his name) didn't have the foreign policy chops to be president.

The video, taken from footage shot for Obama's 17-minute campaign commercial "The Road We've Traveled," opens with the message "The Commander-in-Chief gets one chance to make the right decision" and turns to former President Bill Clinton for validation. "That's one thing George Bush said that was right: The president is the decider in chief. Nobody can make that decision for you."

"Look, he knew what would happen," says Clinton. "Suppose the Navy SEALs had gone in there and it hadn't been bin Laden. Suppose they had been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for him, but he reasoned 'I cannot in good conscience do nothing.' He took the harder and the more honorable path and the one that produced in my opinion the best result," he says, amid images including a photograph of New York City firefighters cheering the news of bin Laden's death.

"Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?" asks the on-screen text. The video recalls Romney's contention, in an April 2007 interview with the Associated Press, that Americans will not be markedly safer if bin Laden were killed and that "it's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." (Days later, in a May 3, 2007, debate, Romney was asked about his words and responded, "We'll move everything to get him. ... This is a global effort we're going to have to lead to overcome this jihadist effort. It's more than Osama bin Laden. But he is going to pay, and he will die.") It also cites a Reuters report referring to an August 2007 Republican candidates debate: "Mitt Romney criticized Barack Obama for vowing to strike al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary." (That's probably safer than directing viewers to the transcript of the debate: Romney criticized Obama for openly discussing the possibility of striking inside Pakistan, not for entertaining the idea. When moderator George Stephanopoulos asks whether it's fair to summarize his position as "keep this option on the table, but it is foolish to talk about it in public," Romney doesn't disagree.)

The Obama campaign video wraps up with Clinton saying: "He had to decide and that's what you hire a president to do. You hire the president to make the calls when no one else can do it."

Romney has taken pains to praise Obama for the raid. On Friday, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul bristled at the video.

"It's now sad to see the Obama campaign seek to use an event that unified our country to once again divide us, in order to try to distract voters' attention from the failures of his administration. With 23 million Americans struggling for work, our national debt soaring, and household budgets being squeezed like never before, Mitt Romney is focused on strengthening America at home and abroad," she said.

The Obama video came one day after Vice President Biden, in a speech assailing Romney on foreign policy, declared: "On this gut issue, we know what President Obama did. We can't say for certain what Gov. Romney would have done."

Elect me President - I murdered bin Laden!!!!

For Obama, bin Laden killing becomes campaign tool

This is interesting because President Obama's murder of bin Laden was a violation of both American law and of international law, but he is using it as a campaign tool to get reelected.

Remember American was not at war with Pakistan, where President Obama sent the American military on a mission to kill bin Laden! Nor the did the American government have the permission of the Pakistan government to enter that country and murder bin Laden.

Last bin Laden was never convicted in any court, American or otherwise of doing anything wrong, but President Obama still ordered his execution.


For Obama, bin Laden killing becomes campaign tool


Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The killing of Osama bin Laden has become a campaign weapon for President Barack Obama.

Obama's re-election campaign is portraying his risky decision to go after America's top enemy as a defining difference between him and his Republican presidential opponent. His team is suggesting Mitt Romney may not have had the guts to order a mission that put lives and perhaps a presidency at stake.

Obama himself is opening up anew— and opening the secretive Situation Room as an interview stage — to hail the one-year anniversary of the raid.

Romney's campaign says it is "sad" for Obama to use a unifying event to divide the nation.

Romney screwed the gays just like Obama did!!!

Romeny like Obama promised to support gay rights, but screwed over the gays after he got their votes

Remember in this Presidential Election both Romeny and Obama will be promising to support gays. They are both liars. If you want change vote for the Libertarian guy!


As governor, Romney faced challenge on gay marriage

By Matea Gold and Melanie Mason, Washington Bureau

April 29, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Ten months into his term as Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney was abruptly confronted with an emotionally charged issue: The state's highest court ruled that gays had the legal right to marry, thrusting the state into the forefront of the same-sex marriage debate.

Romney, now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, faced one of the biggest challenges of his four years in office. His response would alienate constituencies on both sides and contribute to criticisms that he shifted positions for political gain, a charge renewed in his two bids for the White House. At minimum, Romney's handling of the gay marriage ruling — laid out in interviews with key players and state documents — provides a window into his decision-making style and political tactics.

Romney had vowed while running in Massachusetts to defend and expand the rights of gays and lesbians, although he opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions. When the court ruled, he initially promised to follow its decision, while also seeking a state constitutional amendment to overturn it.

But soon he devoted his attention to trying to block the ruling. Among his moves: resurrecting a 90-year-old state law, aimed in part at preventing interracial marriage, to keep same-sex couples from flocking to Massachusetts for weddings.

The battle served to boost his national profile and conservative credentials in the years leading to his first presidential run in 2008.

To supporters, he emerged as a steadfast defender of traditional marriage. But critics and some onetime allies believe that Romney's national ambitions — and a resulting need to tack to the right — eventually drove the way he dealt with Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health.

"He needed issues that would help him pivot," said Rich Tafel, who founded the national gay rights group Log Cabin Republicans and advised Romney how to secure the state chapter's endorsement in his unsuccessful 1994 Senate bid.

Tafel watched with dismay as Romney used his opposition to the Goodridge ruling to appeal to conservative groups around the country. "I think he truly does oppose gay marriage, but the speed with which he jumped on and rode that issue struck me as political," he said.

Aides to Romney reject that judgment, saying that as governor he was motivated solely by his belief that marriage should remain between a man and a woman, and that the court was overstepping its bounds.

"His position remained constant from the very day that the decision was issued," said senior advisor Peter Flaherty, who was Romney's deputy chief of staff and helped craft the administration's response. "To say that it had to do with anything other than his performing his duties as governor of Massachusetts in compliance with the law and consistent with his executive role is baseless."

When it comes to gay marriage, Flaherty added, "I have never seen a change in tone, a change in approach, a change in purpose."

Romney sought office twice in Massachusetts — challenging Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in 1994 and running for governor in 2002. Both times, he paired his opposition to gay marriage and civil unions with strong support for other gay rights. During the race against Kennedy, he told the Log Cabin Republicans that he would "provide more effective leadership than my opponent." He promised to co-sponsor a federal nondiscrimination act and support efforts to allow gays and lesbians to serve "openly and honestly" in the military.

"If we are to achieve the goals we share, we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern," he wrote in an October 1994 letter. "My opponent cannot do this. I can and will."

In his 2002 campaign for governor, Romney declined to back a proposed state constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage because, he said, it would also have outlawed domestic partnership benefits. At one point, after his Democratic opponent said she would sign a bill legalizing gay marriage, Romney promised to make domestic partner benefits a "hallmark of my leadership as governor," the Boston Globe reported at the time.

Then came the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling in November 2003 that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry. In its 4-3 decision, the court gave the Legislature 180 days "to take such action as it may deem appropriate."

Opponents of same-sex marriage — citing a quirk in the state's colonial-era Constitution that gave the governor authority over matters related to marriage — argued that the court's decision was not binding and urged Romney to ignore it.

But Romney did not want to trigger a constitutional crisis — seeking, his advisor Flaherty said, to be "respectful of the law and respectful of people at the same time." Initially, he struck a balanced tone with his two-track move to find a legislative solution that would satisfy the court while corralling support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

"We certainly have to follow the law, and the Supreme Court has laid down what we must do," he said on NBC's"Today" show the day after the ruling. "But in my view, the right action is to follow two courses at the same time."

But the governor quickly dropped all talk about complying with the ruling. Behind the scenes, Romney advisors worked to come up with ways to head it off, according to those involved. They consulted conservative constitutional experts such as historian Matthew Spalding, who works closely with former Reagan Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III at the Heritage Foundation.

It was soon clear that Romney could not push a gay marriage ban through the state's liberal-leaning Legislature. So he helped persuade Republicans to support a compromise amendment that barred same-sex marriage but legalized civil unions.

It was a purely tactical move: The Supreme Judicial Court had already said that civil unions would not satisfy its ruling. But the Romney administration hoped to use the amendment — which required additional approval by the Legislature in 2005 and voters in 2006 — to persuade the court to postpone the start of gay marriages.

The maneuver failed when then-Atty. Gen. Thomas Reilly, a Democrat, declined to ask the court for a stay. Romney ultimately abandoned his support for the compromise measure, calling it "muddied," and endorsed a separate citizens' petition for an amendment to ban gay marriage. Still, some conservative activists criticized Romney for opening the door to civil unions.

"He was everywhere on this issue," said C.J. Doyle, executive director of Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, a group that worked to pass the marriage ban.

As the court's deadline neared, Romney tried another tactic: he seized upon a 1913 law that barred out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts if the marriage would not be recognized in their home state.

The measure was originally drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws — a state-backed group of judges, lawyers and scholars who write model legislation — amid national anxiety about interracial marriage, then illegal in about half the country. The African American heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson had recently made headlines by marrying a white socialite from Brooklyn. Soon afterward, a federal amendment to ban miscegenation was introduced in Congress.

That same year, Massachusetts — which had legalized interracial marriage in 1843 — passed the conference's Uniform Marriage Evasion Act, a law crafted in part to keep people from skirting their home state bans on interracial marriage, said Joanna Grossman, a professor at Hofstra Law School who studies marriage regulations.

In 2003, the statute was still on the books, but had been largely forgotten until it was mentioned in a footnote in the Goodridge decision. Romney aides said there was little debate internally about the merits of using it to blunt the ruling's effects.

"We didn't think we were stretching the bounds of legal reasoning to apply it in this case — it was stated in the very decision that legalized gay marriage," Flaherty said.

In late April 2004, less than a month before gay marriages were set to begin, Romney announced that the state would begin checking the residency of all couples seeking marriage licenses.

"Massachusetts should not become the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage," he told the New York Times, a line he has repeated frequently on the campaign trail this year as he touts his efforts to stop gay marriage. "We do not intend to export our marriage confusion to the entire nation."

The administration sent town clerks a thick document detailing the marriage laws in 55 states and territories. Romney warned that those who accepted marriage applications that violated other states' laws would be subject to "appropriate enforcement action," which under Massachusetts law could include fines or jail time. (Some town clerks defied Romney, but none were punished.)

David J. Rushford, the Worcester town clerk, continued to grant licenses to out-of-state couples. He said Romney used "the power of an executive office to twist the spirit of the law and to intimidate those people whose job it is to carry out the law."

Four years later, Romney's Democratic successor, Gov. Deval Patrick, signed a bill repealing the 1913 statute, which he called discriminatory.

Allies believe Romney's ultimately unsuccessful efforts to stop gay marriages in Massachusetts were driven in part by a personal conviction shaped by his faith as a devout Mormon.

"It's not just a political issue — he stands for something he believes in, his wife believes in," said Kris Mineau, head of the conservative Massachusetts Family Institute, a group that worked closely with Romney on the citizens' amendment to ban gay marriage. (The measure failed in the Legislature after Romney left office.)

But the issue also gave Romney a national perch. For the first time, he began calling for a federal marriage amendment and testified before the Senate about the need to "protect our societal definition of marriage." His staff started conferring regularly with advisors in the White House and Romney became one ofPresident George W. Bush's main surrogates against his 2004 Democratic opponent, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.

A year later, as he prepared for his first White House bid, Romney touted his opposition to gay marriage when he addressed conservative audiences.

"From Day One, I've opposed the move for same-sex marriage and its equivalent, civil unions," he told South Carolina Republicans in 2005. Calling the ruling "a blow against the family," he said that some gay couples "are actually having children born to them."

Romney backed up his rhetoric with money, donating $10,000 from his political action committee to a 2006 campaign to outlaw same-sex marriage in South Carolina. The same year, he directed tens of thousands of dollars from his personal family foundation to several conservative groups, including $10,000 to the Massachusetts Family Institute. Mineau said the funds helped defray the $500,000 the group spent on its petition drive for the constitutional amendment.

Romney did not return to his campaign promises of expanding protections for gays and lesbians.

"He didn't care about his constituents and their rights," said Julie Goodridge, one of the lead plaintiffs in the original court case, who sued after her partner was barred from her hospital room while she underwent emergency surgery. "He cared about his future as a presidential candidate."

CIA Interrogator say Obama is more brutal then Bush????

CIA Interrogator say Obama is more brutal then Bush????

I never supported Emperor Obama, but I was hoping things under him would be better then under Bush or war monger John McCain. But sadly Democrat Obama seems to be as much of a sadistic brutal war monger as Republicans Bush and John McCain.


Ex-CIA Interrogator: Obama's War on Terror Is Less Ethical Than Bush's

By John Hudson

The Atlantic Wire

Ex-CIA Interrogator: Obama's War on Terror Is Less Ethical Than Bush's

The former head of the CIA's Clandestine Service Jose Rodriguez says President Obama is waging the nation's war against radical Islam in a far more brutal manner than his predecessor President George W. Bush.

"We don't capture anybody any more," Rodriguez told 60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl on Sunday. "Their default option of this Administration has been to ... take no prisoners ... How could it be more ethical to kill people rather than capture them? I never understood that one."

Those remarks by Rodriguez have been largely overshadowed by his more controversial defense of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which is laid out in his new book out today called Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives. But what was interesting to observe last night was the overlap in views by advocates of enhanced interrogation (a.k.a. torture) such as Rodriguez and opponents of such tactics, like your Glenn Greenwalds and Ron Pauls, who essentially agree on one important point: It's better to capture suspected terrorists and draw out information from them than assassinate them without due process.

The latest high-profile case to raise this issue was the assassination of American-born YouTube preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by Hellfire missiles fired from a drone in September. There wasn't a move to attempt to interview al-Awlaki, he was just blown to smithereens. And to many civil libertarians, that exercise of power against an American citizen is far more threatening than what we saw from the Bush administration. "How can anyone who vocally decried Bush’s mere eavesdropping and detention powers without judicial review possibly justify Obama’s executions without judicial review?" Greenwald wrote at the time. "How can the former (far more mild powers) have been such an assault on Everything We Stand For while the latter is a tolerable and acceptable assertion of war powers?"

It's a valid point and will likely continue to gain traction as Rodriguez launches his book tour. Clearly, however, it's not the focus of Rodriguez's spiel, which is a larger defense of enhanced interrogation. On that front, he's got more of an uphill battle. As Reuters reported Friday, Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats are about to end their almost three-year-long investigation of "enhanced interrogation" and will report that it had little success in eliciting intelligence. "One official said investigators found 'no evidence' such enhanced interrogations played 'any significant role' in the years-long intelligence operations which led to the discovery and killing of Osama bin Laden last May by U.S. Navy SEALs," reported Mark Hosenball. While that report doesn't bode well for Rodriguez's case, neither did his vague pronouncement that the enhanced interrogation "saved lives." With the lack of specifics in his 60 Minutes interview, supporters of torture had probably better hope there's more in his book to make the case. See the interview that aired last night below:

Obama is using his war mongering skills to get reelected in 2012!!!

Sounds like Obama is using his war mongering skills to get reelected in 2012!!!

Since the US Constitution says that treaties have a higher priority then other laws Congress makes I suspect with Emperor Obama signing this treaty it will guarantee that the American Empire be in Afghanistan for many years to come.


Obama in Afghanistan to sign security pact

by Ben Feller - May. 1, 2012 01:35 PM

Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan -- President Barack Obama slipped into Afghanistan Tuesday night on the anniversary of the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and signed an agreement cementing U.S. commitment to the nation after American combat troops leave.

Alongside Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Obama declared, "Together, we're now committed to replacing war with peace."

The partnership spells out the U.S. relationship with Afghanistan beyond 2014, covering security, economics and governance. The deal is limited in scope and essentially gives both sides political cover: Afghanistan is guaranteed its sovereignty and promised it won't be abandoned, while the U.S. gets to end its combat mission in the long and unpopular war but keep a foothold in the country.

The deal does not commit the United States to any specific troop presence or spending. But it does allow the U.S. to potentially keep troops in Afghanistan after the war ends for two specific purposes: continued training of Afghan forces and targeted operations against al-Qaida. The terror group is present in neighboring Pakistan but has only a nominal presence inside Afghanistan.

Obama was also to give a speech designed to reach Americans in the U.S. dinnertime hour of 7:30 p.m. EDT. It will be 4 a.m. here when Obama speaks.

He flew to the site of America's longest war not only as commander in chief but also as an incumbent president in the early stages of a tough re-election campaign. Nor were the two roles completely distinct.

His presence was a reminder that since taking office in 2009, Obama has ended the war in Iraq and moved to create an orderly end for the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan.

In the political realm, he and Vice President Joe Biden have marked the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death by questioning whether Republican challenger Mitt Romney would have ordered the daring raid that penetrated the terrorist leader's Pakistan hide-out. Republicans are accusing the president of politicizing the event, and Romney is insisting that he would indeed have ordered U.S. forces into action.

At a signing ceremony in Kabul with Afghan President Karzai, Obama said the agreement paves the way for "'a future of peace" while allowing the United States to "wind down this war."

Karzai said his countrymen "will never forget" the help of U.S. forces over the past decade. He said the partnership agreement shows the United States and Afghanistan will continue to fight terrorism together.

Obama was greeted upon arrival at Bagram Air Field by Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. Obama then flew by helicopter to the presidential palace in Kabul, where he was to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and sign the strategic partnership.

Officials have previously said as many as 20,000 U.S. troops may remain after the combat mission ends, but that still must still be negotiated.

The United States does promise to seek money from Congress every year to support Afghanistan.

Obama was to be on the ground for about seven hours in Afghanistan, where the United States has been engaged in war for more than a decade following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The trip carries major symbolic significance for a president seeking a second term and allows him to showcase what the White House considers the fruit of Obama's refocused war effort: the demise of bin Laden.

Air Force One touched down late at night local time at Bagram Air Field, the main U.S. base here.

Media traveling with Obama on the 13-plus-hour flight had to agree to keep it secret until Obama had safely finished a helicopter flight to the nation's capital, Kabul, where Taliban insurgents still launch lethal attacks.

Obama is joining Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign the agreement that will broadly govern the U.S. role in Afghanistan after the American combat mission stops at the end of 2014 -- 13 years after it began.

The president's Tuesday night address was coming exactly one year after special forces, on his order, began the raid that led to the killing of bin Laden in Pakistan.

Since then, ties between the United States and Afghanistan have been tested anew by the burning of Muslim holy books at a U.S. base and the massacre of 17 civilians, including children, allegedly by an American soldier.

Obama's overarching message will be that the war is ending on his watch but the U.S. commitment to its ally is not.

Politics, too, set the tone for what the White House hoped would be a positive message and image for Obama: the commander in chief setting a framework to end the war while reassuring Afghanistan, on its soil, it will not be abandoned.

Aides said the anniversary of bin Laden's killing was not a focus of the trip. But they do not mind that Obama's mission will serve as a reminder, six months before Election Day.

More than 1,800 U.S. forces have been killed and 15,700 more have been wounded in Afghanistan.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined have cost almost $1.3 trillion. And public support for keeping troops in Afghanistan seems lower than ever.

Obama has gone twice before to Afghanistan as president, most recently in December 2010, and once to Iraq in 2009. All such trips, no matter how carefully planned, carry the weight and the risks of considerable security challenges. Just last month, the Taliban began near-simultaneous assaults on embassies, government buildings and NATO bases in Kabul.

Still, it would have been unusual for Obama to sign the "strategic partnership" agreement without Karzai at his side.

The deal is essential for locking in America's commitment and Afghan's sovereignty when the post-war period comes. Negotiations have dragged as Afghan officials have demanded specific assurances, financial and otherwise.

Both sides have scrambled to get a deal before the NATO conference in Chicago later this month. Negotiators seemed to clear the way for Obama and Karzai by finding agreement over the conduct of night raids and authority over detainees.

The president was to travel back from Kabul to the Bagram base to spend some time with troops.

He was then to give his speech in a straight-to-camera delivery reminiscent of an Oval Office address, before flying back to the U.S. He is expected back in Washington on Wednesday afternoon.

The United States has 88,000 troops in Afghanistan. An additional 40,000 in coalition forces remain from other nations.

Obama has already declared that NATO forces will hand over the lead combat role to Afghanistan in 2013 as the U.S. and its allies work to get out by the end of 2014.

One important unsettled issue, however, is how many U.S. troops may remain after that.

U.S. officials are eying a residual force of perhaps 20,000, many in support roles for the Afghan armed forces, and some U.S. special forces for counterterror missions. The size and scope of that U.S. force -- if one can be agreed upon on at all, given the public moods and political factors in both nations -- will probably have to be worked out later in a separate agreement.

Support for keeping American troops in Afghanistan is dropping all along the political spectrum, a new Pew Research poll says. And just 38 percent of people say the military effort is going well, down from 51 percent only a month ago.

Overall, polling shows, Obama gets favorable marks compared to Romney in handling terrorism, and the president's public approval for his handling of the Afghan war has hovered around 50 percent of late.

The trip allows Obama to hold forth as commander in chief in the same week he plans to launch his official campaign travel with rallies in Virginia and Ohio.

"We've spent the last three-and-a-half years cleaning up after other folks' messes," Obama said at a fundraiser last weekend. "The war in Iraq is over. We're transitioning in Afghanistan. Al-Qaida is on the ropes. We've done what we said we'd do."

Gun grabber Obama wants to export more weapons???

Gun grabber Obama wants to export more weapons???

I suspect this is just a phony political ploy to make the gun crowd think Obama is pro-gun. I suspect Obama will flip flop on this and continue his anti-gun presidency.


Obama plan would ease weapons export rules

By Sari Horwitz, Published: May 2

The Obama administration is crafting a proposal that could make it easier to export firearms and other weapons to certain countries in an effort to boost sales for U.S. companies, increase trade and improve national security, according to senior government officials.

The plan, which is part of President Obama’s overhaul of U.S. export rules, is being debated by several agencies and it could be months before a final rule is proposed, according to officials.

At least two federal agencies — the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department — have expressed concerns that the changes in the export rules could make it easier for drug cartels and terrorists to obtain weapons and make it harder to stop firearms trafficking.

Homeland Security raised its objections in an internal memo, saying that the proposed changes could hurt the ability of its agents “to prevent or deter the illegal export/transfer of lethal items such as advanced firearms to criminal groups, terrorist organizations or enemy combatants.”

But a senior official described the president’s Export Control Reform Initiative as “a work in progress” and said the concerns raised by Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies were being addressed.

“We are confident that the final outcome will represent the consensus of all agencies involved,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process is ongoing.

A Homeland Security official Wednesday played down the agency’s memo, saying it was written months ago and “the portion of the draft rule over which DHS had expressed concerns has changed significantly.” He would not elaborate.

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Justice Department, declined to comment on the export rule proposal or his department’s concerns.

The proposed changes, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, would affect a range of items, including firearms and drones.

The president’s export control efforts are an attempt to reform a system that operates under 1970s-era rules and was designed to address the challenges of the Cold War period, according to an official familiar with the overhaul plans. The official also said that the proposal is an effort to improve national security by imposing controls on some exports but at the same time helping the nation’s allies.

Currently, two export control lists are administered by two departments, Commerce and State, under different statutory authorities with different requirements.

The State Department runs the U.S. Munitions List, which imposes tight restrictions on certain weapons, sales of which must be licensed. Under the proposed rules, some high-powered weapons, not including automatic or military weapons, could be moved from the Munitions List to a Commerce list, where they would be governed by fewer restrictions.

An official said it was not clear whether sales of weapons on the Commerce list also would need to be licensed.

“We’re still working through that,” said an administration official, who was not authorized to speak publicly. “Some items will require a license and some won’t.”

Several members of Congress said they are concerned about the changes in the export rules, which could relax the restrictions on high-powered firearms.

“These are serious issues that have been raised, and the White House will have to address them,” said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents firearms manufacturers, said the current export control system is “broken and antiquated.”

“Our industry supports the White House Export Control Reform Initiative,” said Keane, who is a member of a committee that advises the State Department on export control issues. “We hope to see our products move from the U.S. Munitions List to the Commerce Department list.”

In new figures released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. manufacturers exported 242,000 firearms in 2010. Firearms exports were at their highest in 1993, when the figure was over 431,000. Imports of firearms climbed to 3.2 million last year, according to the ATF.

Obama playing the hawk and the dove to get reelected in 2012!!

Hypocrite Obama playing the hawk and the dove to get reelected in 2012!!!

Of course Obama isn't any more of a hypocrite and liar then other politicians. They will all lie and say anything they think will get them elected.


A Delicate New Balance on National Security


Published: May 2, 2012

WASHINGTON — One moment he boasts about taking out America’s No. 1 enemy, and the next he vows to bring home troops from an unpopular war. For President Obama, the days leading up to his re-election kickoff have been spent straddling the precarious line between hawk and dove, and possibly redefining his party for years to come.

For four decades, Democrats have been confounded by a deeply ingrained soft-on-security image that has hurt them at the ballot box. But in a country now tired of war yet still seeking to project strength, Mr. Obama is trying to reposition his party on national security, much as Bill Clinton did on economic and domestic policy in the 1990s, triangulating between two poles.

The blend, captured by an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Tuesday that ended in a nationally televised address, has frustrated critics on both left and right. Many in his party’s liberal base have grown disenchanted with Mr. Obama for tripling troop levels in Afghanistan, carrying over many of President George W. Bush’s counterterrorism policies and in some ways even expanding them. Many conservatives, on the other hand, argue that behind the raid that killed Osama bin Laden lies a fundamentally weak approach to rivals and rogue states like Iran, North Korea and Russia.

If it seems to some like the doctrine of having it both ways, it has scored well with a broad cross-section of the country, as measured by polls and focus groups. And Mr. Obama’s advisers have made clear in recent days that they believe he can play offense on national security as no other Democratic presidential candidate has since the Vietnam War.

“The post-9/11 paradigm that existed for several years, where you were either all in with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or you were not sufficiently hawkish, I think no longer applies,” said Benjamin Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to the president. “He’s demonstrated that you can end those wars while actually more effectively targeting our enemy.”

Republicans see it as more calculation than conviction, more about winning an election than making America safe. “He’s in an odd position, sort of betwixt and between, and he can’t really figure out which way he wants to go,” said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, a Republican member of the Armed Services Committee and chairman of his party’s Senate campaign committee.

Of course, the innovations of drone warfare make it easier for a president to be tough at little cost to Americans, or to his political standing. Mr. Cornyn said that Mr. Obama denounced harsh interrogation techniques but evinced no hesitation about killing suspected terrorists — even an American citizen — from the skies. “It looks kind of superficial to me,” he said, “and looks expedient.”

Mr. Obama has long expressed a complicated view of national security that did not neatly fit into old boxes, but it was initially obscured by his strong opposition to the Iraq war. As a candidate in 2007 and 2008, he cited that stance as his central argument against his rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Less widely noticed was his attempt to balance that with vows to send more troops to Afghanistan and unilaterally strike inside Pakistan if necessary to capture or kill Bin Laden. At the time, many analysts thought those positions were more about avoiding the historical trap that past antiwar Democrats had fallen into. But four years later, Mr. Obama has presided over a national security policy that has married elements of both parties.

“What you’re seeing is carrying out a very well thought-out and very effective foreign policy — more than anything it’s pragmatic and practical,” said Representative Adam Smith of Washington, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. “He has done exactly what he said he was going to do.”

A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last month showed that Mr. Obama had neutralized the traditional Republican advantage on national security. Fifty-nine percent expressed confidence in Mr. Obama’s ability to be an effective commander in chief, slightly more than the 56 percent who had confidence in that area in Mitt Romney, the putative Republican nominee.

“I think it has worked politically, but it is the type of thing that stops working the day after the election,” said Peter D. Feaver, a Duke University professor who worked on Mr. Bush’s national security staff. “If the policies are unwise, and I think they are at least fraught if not unwise, then those chickens come home to roost eventually.”

Politically, at least, Republicans in recent days struggled to come up with an effective counterpunch. They complained that Mr. Obama was politicizing national security when his campaign released a video last week hailing the Bin Laden raid. But if the video struck some as unseemly, including some in the White House who worried it was undignified, it kept the conversation focused for days on what the Obama team wanted to focus on.

As late as Tuesday night, former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Fox News that Mr. Obama’s order launching the raid was not “a tough decision,” and that it “would just be dumbfounding” to decide otherwise. Democrats on Wednesday gleefully circulated a newspaper article reporting that Mr. Rumsfeld once pulled the plug on a raid to capture top Qaeda figures because it was too risky.

After initially saying that Mr. Obama was exploiting the raid, Mr. Romney and other Republicans pivoted by Wednesday to a more measured reaction to the president’s trip to Afghanistan. Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, told a home-state radio station that “the only qualms I have about anything the president said is emphasizing to our enemies exactly what our next military move is, or the lack of a military move.” Mr. Obama, he said, is “misleading the American people” if he leaves the impression that the war on terrorism is over.

Mr. Obama, who campaigned on Sunday with Mr. Clinton, seems to be following his Democratic predecessor’s playbook. After a generation of Democrats alienating voters with liberal domestic positions, Mr. Clinton moved the party toward the center on issues like trade, welfare and deficit spending.

Recent focus groups conducted by Third Way, a Democratic-leaning group dedicated to that shift, found some success for Mr. Obama in doing the same for national security. “His brand on security has been very, very strong, and there’s no doubt that has been a radical shift in the way people think about Democratic presidents,” said Matt Bennett, the group’s senior vice president.

But it was limited to Mr. Obama. When it came to Democrats generally, Mr. Bennett said: “We heard the same thing we heard in ‘08: they’re weak, indecisive, afraid to use force. It just isn’t enough to completely change the brand. I think he’s done everything he can possibly do. It’s not his fault. It’s just it can’t be fixed in one term.”

Michelle Obama's Expensive Fashion Rivals That Of Ann Romney

Personally I don't have anything against rich people, like many of the socialists and lefties that are members of the Democratic party. Nor do I have anything against rich government rulers. Although I do have a problem with government tyrants who are rich or poor.

But I thought Emperor Obama was trying to portray himself as a member of the 99 percent rather then a member of the rich 1 percent?

And of course this article seems to says that Emperor Obama and his wife Michelle Obama are members of the rich top 1 percent!


Michelle Obama's Expensive Fashion Rivals That Of Ann Romney

By Mary Bruce | ABC OTUS News – 2 hrs 19 mins ago

While the political fashionistas had a field day this week with Ann Romney's nearly $1,000 blouse, she is not the only presidential candidate's wife with expensive taste. Despite her penchant for more affordable clothing, First Lady Michelle Obama also has a pricey wardrobe.

From Balenciaga and Helmut Lang to Michael Kors and Marchesa, the first lady has been known to wear some big name, and expensive, designer fashions. Last week alone, Mrs. Obama was spotted in two different L'Wren Scott cardigans, priced between $2,000 and $3,000.

Last Thursday, Mrs. Obama wore the designer's peach embroidered cardigan to a Take Your Child to Work Day event at the White House. The very next day she wore another, similar version in white with red embellishment to greet troops at Fort Stewart, in Georgia, with the president.

It should be noted, however, that Mrs. Obama is also well-known for boosting sales at the more affordable J. Crew and has been seen shopping at the discount store Target.

Mrs. Romney's decision to wear Reed Krakoff's silk bird-printed design on morning television raised eyebrows earlier this week. The blouse retails for $990. With the state of the economy a key campaign theme for their husbands, both women's fashion choices will likely be heavily scrutinized in the run-up to election day.

Mrs. Obama is familiar with the public tweaking for her pricey choices. During her Hawaiian vacation last December, the first lady was spotted wearing an almost $2,000 sundress by designer Sophie Theallet to church on Christmas day. Later, she allegedly donned a $950 Comme des Garcons skirt for a visit with troops and their families.

Obama - Vote for me and I will give you lots of free stuff!!!!


Obama - Vote for me and I will give you lots of free stuff!!!!

From Obama's reelection web site which is titled

"The Life of Julia"
and is at this URL:
Of course Obama forgot to say that he stole his socialist Obamacare welfare system from Mitt Romney's Massachusetts welfare plan. Romney doesn't like the plan either because it makes him look like the same socialist Obama is.

And Obama forgot to say that he also has a corporate welfare program for multimillion dollar defense corporations just like Mitt Romney does. If you are a defense contractor Obama will give you millions and perhaps even billions to help the American Empire murder women and children in Afghanistan, Iraq and other third world countries we invade.

And probably most important Obama forget to say that President's don't make up the laws like this web site claims. Presidents only sign or veto laws that CONGRESS passes. So President Obama is lying when he says he is going to give us all these socialistic programs if he gets elected.

Here is the stuff from Obama's "The Life of Julia" reelection web page, minus all the cute drawings.

Take a look at how President Obama's policies help one woman over her lifetime—and how Mitt Romney would change her story.

Under President Obama: Julia is enrolled in a Head Start program to help get her ready for school. Because of steps President Obama has taken to improve programs like this one, Julia joins thousands of students across the country who will start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.

Under Mitt Romney: The Romney/Ryan budget could cut programs like Head Start by 20%, meaning the program would offer 200,000 fewer slots per year.

Under President Obama: Julia takes the SAT and is on track to start her college applications. Her high school is part of the Race to the Top program, implemented by President Obama. Their new college- and career-ready standards mean Julia can take the classes she needs to do well.

Under Mitt Romney: The Romney/Ryan budget would cut funding for public education to pay for tax cuts for millionaires.

Under President Obama: As she prepares for her first semester of college, Julia and her family qualify for President Obama's American Opportunity Tax Credit—worth up to $10,000 over four years. Julia is also one of millions of students who receive a Pell Grant to help put a college education within reach.

Under Mitt Romney: The American Opportunity Tax Credit would be allowed to expire, and Pell Grant funding would be slashed for 10 million students.

Under President Obama: During college, Julia undergoes surgery. It is thankfully covered by her insurance due to a provision in health care reform that lets her stay on her parents' coverage until she turns 26.

Under Mitt Romney: Health care reform would be repealed—Romney says he'd "kill it dead."

Under President Obama: Because of steps like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Julia is one of millions of women across the country who knows she'll always be able to stand up for her right to equal pay. She starts her career as a web designer.

Under Mitt Romney: He has refused to say whether he would have vetoed or signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Under President Obama: After graduation, Julia's federal student loans are more manageable since President Obama capped income-based federal student loan payments and kept interest rates low. She makes her payments on time every month, keeping her on track to repay her student loans.

Under Mitt Romney: Under the Romney/Ryan budget, interest rates on federal student loans would be allowed to double, affecting Julia and 7.4 million other students.

Under President Obama: For the past four years, Julia has worked full-time as a web designer. Thanks to Obamacare, her health insurance is required to cover birth control and preventive care, letting Julia focus on her work rather than worry about her health.

Under Mitt Romney: Romney supports the Blunt Amendment—which would place Julia's health care decisions in the hands of her employer—and repealing health care reform so insurance companies could go back to charging women 50% more than men.

Under President Obama: Julia decides to have a child. Throughout her pregnancy, she benefits from maternal checkups, prenatal care, and free screenings under health care reform.

Under Mitt Romney: Health care reform would be repealed.

Under President Obama: Julia's son Zachary starts kindergarten. The public schools in their neighborhood have better facilities and great teachers because of President Obama's investments in education and programs like Race to the Top.

Under Mitt Romney: The Romney/Ryan budget could force steep cuts in federal funding for schools in all 50 states.

Under President Obama: Julia starts her own web business. She qualifies for a Small Business Administration loan, giving her the money she needs to invest in her business. President Obama's tax cuts for small businesses like Julia's help her to get started. She's able to hire employees, creating new jobs in her town and helping to grow the local economy.

Under Mitt Romney: The Romney/Ryan budget could cut programs like the Small Business Administration by 20%.

Under President Obama: Julia enrolls in Medicare, helping her to afford preventive care and the prescription drugs she needs.

Under Mitt Romney: Medicare could end as we know it, leaving Julia with nothing but a voucher to buy insurance coverage, which means $6,350 extra per year for a similar plan.

Under President Obama: Julia retires. After years of contributing to Social Security, she receives monthly benefits that help her retire comfortably, without worrying that she'll run out of savings. This allows her to volunteer at a community garden.

Under Mitt Romney: Julia's benefits could be cut by 40%.

Vote for us, we [love/hate] gays

Sounds like the old "good cop, bad cop" trick the cops use to get people to confess to crimes.

Only this time it's being used by Obama to get your vote. I suspect the Obama team hopes to get the anti-gay vote with Obama's position against gay marriage and the Obama team hopes to get the pro-gay vote with Biden's position for gay marriage.


Biden 'comfortable' with equal rights for married gay couples

by Julie Pace - May. 6, 2012 11:20 PM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Vice President Joe Biden says he's "absolutely comfortable" with gay couples who marry getting the same civil rights and liberties as heterosexual couples, a stand that gay-rights advocates interpreted as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.

But the White House and President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, eager to avoid a debate on a hot-button social issue in an election year, insisted that Biden was not breaking ranks with Obama, who does not publicly support gay marriage.

Biden told NBC television's "Meet the Press" that marriage should be about being loyal to someone you love, whether that marriage is between a man and a woman, two men or two women. "I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties," Biden said in the interview broadcast Sunday.

Gay-rights advocates said Biden's comments signaled unmistakable support for gay marriage, which they said made him the highest-ranking member in the Obama administration to take that position.

"I'm grateful that the vice president of the United States is now publicly supporting marriage equality and I hope very soon the president and the rest of our leaders ... will fall in line with the vice president," said Chad Griffin, a member of the Obama campaign's national finance committee.

Ron Paul wins in Maine

Even if Mitt Romney allegedly has the GOP nomination it's nice to see Ron Paul win his first state.

The question is what will Ron Paul do next? Will he run as a third party candidate? I hope he does? Will he throw a monkey wrench into the GOP convention?


Ron Paul wins majority of delegates from Maine GOP

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – With Mitt Romney's GOP presidential nomination all but decided, Ron Paul supporters took control of the Maine Republican Convention and elected a majority slate supporting the Texas congressman to the GOP national convention, party officials said. The results gave the Texas congressman a late state victory.

In votes leading to the close of the two-day Maine convention, Paul supporters were elected to 21 of the 24 delegate spots from Maine to the GOP national convention in Tampa, Fla. The 24th delegate's seat goes to party Chairman Charles Webster, who has remained uncommitted throughout the process.

Making the Paul takeover complete was the election of Paul supporters to a majority of the state committee seats.

"It's certainly a significant victory," said Jim Azzola of South Portland, Cumberland County coordinator for Paul.

Paul, the last challenger to remain in the contest, finished a close second behind Romney in Maine's GOP caucuses in February, but those results were nonbinding. Not everyone had a chance to cast a ballot before the results were announced, and a snowstorm forced the cancellation of some caucuses, including one in a Paul stronghold. Romney won the February straw poll with 39% of the vote to Paul's 36%. Rick Santorum trailed with 18% and Newt Gingrich got 6%.

Romney's aides say they do not view Paul as a threat to winning the nomination. But Romney and his team have also been mindful not to do or say anything that might anger Paul's loyal supporters.

"I think he's being very careful because he knows how important the Ron Paul voters are — they obviously represent a very different dynamic," said Mike Dennehy, a former top aide to Republican John McCain's 2008 campaign. "They are the most passionate and the most frustrated of any voters heading to the polls. And many of them are independents."

The weekend's turn of events — in a state neighboring one where Romney served as governor — would indicate the GOP has not yet united behind the presumptive nominee, and there are indications the infighting may last all the way to the national convention.

Paul supporters accused the Romney crowd Saturday of dirty tricks to garner more delegates. "We came here to see democracy in action. We are floored by what happened, absolutely floored to see the cheating," said Elizabeth Shardlow of Auburn, a Paul activist.

Charles Cragin, a Romney supporter who lost Saturday's bid to chair the convention, called the turn of events at the Maine convention "bizarre." Cragin said the Paul-led delegation may not be recognized at the national convention because of violations of rules of procedure this weekend in Augusta.

"They have so phenomenally screwed this up that they will go to Tampa and not be seated," Cragin said.

Another Romney supporter, delegate John Carson of Kittery, acknowledged "this is a split convention."

"The Paul supporters have had a successful process and should be congratulated on that," said Carson, a veteran of numerous state conventions. "I think it's important that the Romney camp and Paul camp come together and support a single candidate," Carson said, adding that candidate should be Romney.

Ron Paul wins in Nevada


Ron Paul nabs Nevada delegates from Romney

Published: Monday, May 7, 2012 2:37 AM MDT

SPARKS, Nev. (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul trumped presumptive nominee Mitt Romney in Nevada’s national delegate count Sunday, but he will only be able to parlay those supporters into votes for his longshot bid at the national GOP convention if Romney fails to win the nomination in the first round.

Of Nevada’s 25 delegates elected Sunday to go to the national convention, 22 openly support Paul and three back Romney. The state’s three other delegates are state party officials.

The results were certified as the state Republican Convention that was supposed to wrap up by 7 p.m. Saturday slogged into a second day. Paul supporters were successful not only in winning the lion’s share of national delegates but in outing the state’s national committeeman and committeewoman and replacing them with supporters of the Texas congressman.

Romney won Nevada’s caucus in February with half of the vote. Under party rules adopted last fall, Romney was to get 20 of Nevada’s 28 delegates for the national convention, and Paul was to get eight. Besides the 25 elected at the state convention, the other three Nevada delegates are state GOP Chairman Michael McDonald; National Committeeman Bob List; and National Committeewoman Heidi Smith.

List and Smith are Romney backers and their terms will end after the national convention.

Paul loyalists and state convention officials said Nevada’s national delegates will abide by that allocation in the first round of balloting in August at the national convention in Tampa, Fla. Delegates would be free to vote their preference in subsequent ballots in the unlikely event Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, fails to clinch the GOP nomination in the first round.

“If there’s a second ballot, shame on the Mitt Romney campaign for allowing that to happen,” said James Smack, a Paul supporter who will replace List on the Republican National Committee.

Neither the RNC nor the Romney campaign were expected to challenge the makeup of Nevada’s delegation, despite an implied earlier threat from a national party lawyer that Nevada’s delegation might not be seated in Tampa if it was packed with Paul backers.

Four years ago, party officials shut down the state convention when it appeared Paul would take most of Nevada’s delegates to the national convention. Paul backers have been building a grassroots network since then, and in 2012 took control of the Republican Party in Clark County, the state’s largest, and claimed a large share of seats on the state GOP central committee.

Carl Bunce, chairman of Paul’s campaign in Nevada, sought to assure convention goers that they are committed to rebuilding the party and defeating President Barack Obama in November.

“We’re working to grow this party,” he said. “There’s going to be growing pains in this party.”

“I do not want this party to fall apart,” he said, urging Republicans to unite.

But he also urged the Paul contingent within the party to show constraint and cooperation.

“Just because you have the power doesn’t mean you have to wield it,” he said. “Just because you have the sword doesn’t mean you have to strike.”

Why Ron Paul's big wins in Maine and Nevada matter


Why Ron Paul's big wins in Maine and Nevada matter

When Ron Paul delegates show up at the Republican National Convention in August, they may be strong enough to throw the event into disarray – just at the moment Mitt Romney needs to show the GOP united behind him.

Ron Paul scored big victories at the Maine and Nevada Republican Party conventions on Sunday. In both states his forces won the majority of delegates to this summer's national GOP convention in Tampa, Fla.

As we noted Sunday, this means Mr. Paul’s strategy of organizing the grass roots and working arcane delegate selection rules is paying off. And that could mean big trouble for Mitt Romney and his plans to smoothly pivot to a campaign aimed solely at incumbent President Obama.

Yes, Mr. Romney is still the presumptive nominee. It’s highly unlikely Paul will be able to deny the former Massachusetts governor the prize he’s sought for so long. But Paul’s forces aren’t lining up and saluting a Romney victory. When they show up in Tampa in August they may be strong enough, and prepared enough, to throw the convention floor into embarrassing disarray.

“All of this means the GOP can no longer ignore its libertarian ‘fringe.’ On the contrary, it will have to reach out to a new generation of activists who don’t regard religious piety or continual warfare as sacred tenets of conservatism,” wrote Oxford University historian Timothy Stanley in a CNN opinion column last week.

Let’s back up a bit and recap, shall we? On Sunday in Augusta, Maine, Paul supporter Brent Tweed narrowly won the election to chair the state’s GOP convention. From there, he presided over a meeting that ended up with Paul winning 18 of the state’s 24 delegates to Tampa.

Romney narrowly won Maine’s caucus straw poll earlier this year. But that was a nonbinding beauty contest. Sunday’s vote was what really counted.

In Sparks, Nev., the result was even more one-sided. Paul supporters won 22 of 25 delegates up for selection. But Nevada’s caucuses, unlike Maine’s, were binding on delegates. Some delegates were also awarded on an at-large basis. The bottom line: In the first round of voting in Tampa, 20 Nevada delegates are bound to Romney, and eight are free to vote for Paul, no matter their personal preference.

But that may not be the full story. Paul’s forces are not bound to make it easy for Romney to coast to victory, as delegate selection expert Josh Putnam, a Davidson College political scientist, writes on his Frontloading HQ blog.

Paul’s highly organized campaign continues to amass what Mr. Putnam labels “stealth delegates” – delegates pledged to Romney, or one of the withdrawn GOP candidates – who are personally in favor of the libertarian congressman from Texas. It’s hard to determine how many such folks Paul has, or what they’ll do in Tampa.

For instance, what if Paul supporters who are bound to vote for Romney in the first round by state rules simply abstain from casting their ballots? That might keep Romney under the 1,144 votes he needs to win the nomination – even if he actually (sort of) has those votes in hand!

“This is a tricky maneuver, but not one that is prohibited by the Republican Party delegate selection rules,” writes Putnam in a lengthy post devoted to the ways Paul could make trouble for Romney.

Again, this would be unlikely to prevent Romney from actually winning the nomination eventually. But it would prompt an embarrassing floor fight and expose rifts in the party at the very moment the Romney forces would most want to show a united front to the world.

Another unknown here is whether Paul wants to push things this far. Does he just want a good convention speaking slot, or influence on the party platform? Or does he want to win?

“Is Paul after the nomination? I don’t know. But his supporters sure are,” writes Putnam.

In any case, Paul’s weekend victories have left Romney supporters in Maine and Nevada fuming.

In Maine, Romney backer Craig Cragin called the turn of events at the state convention “bizarre,” according to the Bangor Daily News.

Mr. Cragin also predicted that the Paul people had violated rules in Augusta and thus would not even make it to the national convention in late summer.

“They have so phenomenally screwed this up that they will go to Tampa and not be seated,” Cragin said.

Gary Johnson wins Libertarian nomination for President

I don't know much about Gary Johnson, other then he wants to legalize marijuana. I won't support him unless he wants to legalize ALL drugs.

I suspect Gary Johnson is just a Republican who wants to get publicity for himself by running for President on the Libertarian ticket. But that is based on my limited knowledge of him. Let's hope I am wrong and Gary Johnson is a real Libertarian.


Libertarians nominate ex-Governor Gary Johnson for president

By Timothy Pratt

LAS VEGAS | Sat May 5, 2012 11:20pm EDT

(Reuters) - The U.S. Libertarian Party on Saturday chose former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who was once a Republican White House hopeful, as its presidential candidate in the November 6 election.

Johnson, who announced in December he would run for president as a Libertarian after mounting a long-shot candidacy for the Republican nomination, won 70 percent of the votes cast by 632 delegates at the party's convention in Las Vegas, Libertarian Party spokesman Stephen Gordon said.

Johnson, who became the front-runner after winning straw polls at 12 previous state debates, beat Air Force veteran R. Lee Wrights, after the field narrowed to two candidates from six at the start of the convention on Thursday.

"I am very humbled. This is just the start," Johnson told Reuters after securing the nomination of the Libertarian Party, whose philosophy is "minimum government, maximum freedom."

Third parties have traditionally fared poorly in the two-party U.S. political system long dominated by Republicans and Democrats.

The Libertarians' best presidential showing came in 1980 when nominee Ed Clark won 921,128 votes or 1.1 percent. In the 2008 election, party nominee Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman, got 523,686 votes or 0.4 percent.

Johnson, 59, is running on a platform that includes slashing government spending to balance the federal budget by 2013, as well as ending the war on drugs, beginning with the legalization of marijuana.

Delegates said their preference for Johnson stemmed from his experience as Republican New Mexico governor from 1995 to 2003, which they said gave him a greater chance of success in a national election. Wrights had no prior political experience.

Democratic President Barack Obama is seeking re-election in the November election. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee.


Party officials hope they can count on supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul for votes in the general election. Paul's campaign has focused on issues favored by Libertarians like small government and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

Paul, who ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988, is the last remaining Republican challenger to Romney. The Texas congressman is far behind in the polls and has not won a single nominating contest.

As New Mexico governor, Johnson vetoed so many bills - some 750 - that he was later nicknamed "Governor Veto" - a record he referred to in a debate on Friday as evidence of his strong character.

Wrights, 53, avoided complex policy proposals. Asked about gun control, he said, "I don't know about the rest of y'all, but you don't want to be crawling into my window after midnight." On foreign policy, he said, "Stop being a nosy neighbor and start being a good neighbor."

Both spoke of abolishing multiple federal agencies. The crowd's favorite target was the Internal Revenue Service, but proposals to curb the Departments of Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and Education were also greeted by applause.


Comparing Gary Johnson to Past Libertarian Party Nominees

By Conor Friedersdorf

May 7 2012, 8:30 AM ET 5

He has the most executive experience and the potential to win votes from conservatives and liberals.

Over the weekend the Libertarian Party decided that Gary Johnson would be its presidential nominee. He's likely to appear on the ballot in all 50 states. And he's arguably the strongest candidate they've ever run.

A quick history:

The Libertarian Party first ran a presidential candidate in 1972. John Hospers, a philosophy professor, appeared on the ballot in only two states, but managed to win one electoral vote thanks to a Republican delegate who parted ways with Richard Nixon and backed the Libertarian ticket. In so doing, Roger McBride became a Libertarian Party hero -- and its presidential candidate in 1976. A Harvard trained lawyer, he made the ballot in 32 states, but won no electoral votes.

Ed Clark was the Libertarian Party nominee in 1980. With his running mate, billionaire Charles Koch, he won 1 percent of the popular vote nationwide -- the best a candidate from that party has ever done. Four years later, David Bergland received just .3 percent of the popular vote. And in 1988, Ron Paul was the Libertarian nominee for president. With 9 years in the U.S. House of Representatives on his resume, he was easily the most experienced candidate the Libertarian Party had run. Around the same time, the racist newsletters most recently raised during the present campaign were going out under Paul's name.

In 1992, Paul endorsed Republican Pat Buchanan for president, while the Libertarian Party ran Andre Marrou, who'd served one term in the Alaska House of Representatives, and won just .28 percent of the popular vote.

Harry Browne headed up the Libertarian Party ticket in 1996 and 2000. An advertising executive turned entrepreneur and politician, he authored the 1970 book How You Can Profit From The Coming Devaluation. "Who will bail out the United States of America when it collapses, as it must, because of the deficit spending that keeps increasing?" the promotional copy asked. "The Collapse MUST come. It is inevitable. Our fondest hope has to be that it does not come during our lifetimes, so that only our children and grandchildren will suffer because of it."

Browne died in 2006. Well played, sir.

In 2004, Michael J. Badnarik, a software engineer and politician, won a close race for the Libertarian Party nomination only to earn even fewer votes in the general election than Ralph Nader, who had declined in popularity after the 2000 election debacle.

In 2008, the Libertarian Party nominated former congressman Bob Barr despite certain heresies: a former drug warrior, he voted for the USA Patriot Act, backed the invasion of Iraq, and authored the Defense of Marriage Act. In a December 2003 profile, Jesse Walker traced the beginning of his conversion. "In his eight years in Congress, Barr was one of Washington's loudest critics of the federal government's abuses of power, taking the lead in investigating the raid on Waco and in opposing Bill Clinton's efforts to undermine due process in terrorism cases," he wrote in Reason magazine. "Since leaving Congress, Barr has taken an advisory post with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and started writing a column for Atlanta's alternative weekly Creative Loafing -- neither ordinarily a haven for Republicans. While many on the right have fallen behind the Bush administration even as it betrays their purported principles, Barr represents another set of conservatives' growing discomfort with the administration's erosion of individual liberty." Barr won .4 percent of the vote in his presidential run.

And that brings us back to Gary Johnson.

A former governor of New Mexico, he was re-elected by that state's voters, left office popular after two terms, and therefore has the most executive experience of any Libertarian Party presidential nominee. He can also cite the state he ran as evidence that nothing radical happens when he's put in charge. An economic conservative and social liberal, he represents a new direction for a party that has long wrestled with its paleo-libertarian wing. And yet he too is certain to lose on Election Day, as third-party candidates in American presidential elections do. The question is whether he can match his party's 1980 high-water mark and win 1 percent or more of the vote, and whether he might win even more in the key swing state of New Mexico, where voters already know and have cast ballots for him.

Obama ad strikes ‘don’t blame me’ tone on economy

Obama - If it's good I want credit, if it's bad, don't blame me!!!!

Obama is a typical lying politician.

Anything good that happens is a result of his administration, while anything bad that happens is because of the previous administration.

Of course Obama forgot to mention that his administration's trillion dollar bailout, or better said trillion dollar corporate welfare program for Wall Street and the auto industry was a dismal failure at fixing the economy.


New Obama ad strikes ‘don’t blame me’ tone on economy

By Olivier Knox

The Ticket

President Barack Obama's campaign released a new ad on Monday that takes aim squarely at his greatest vulnerability: the sour economy. The ad emphasizes that the president inherited the financial disaster when he took office and insists that, thanks to his policies, "we're coming back."

The minute-long message, dubbed "Go," will air in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida and Colorado—all seen as battleground states in the November election.

The ad opens with "2008: An economic meltdown" and highlights spiking unemployment rates, foreclosures, plummeting stocks and then emphasizes that they came "all before this president took the oath." The video goes on to talk about Obama's decision to champion the automobile industry bailout opposed by Mitt Romney. It then takes viewers on a foreign policy detour, showcasing the raid that killed Osama bin Laden with what appears to be night-vision footage of a military operation, as the narrator boasts of "our greatest enemy brought to justice by our greatest heroes." It also touches on the troop withdrawal from Iraq, then pivots back to the economy.

"Instead of losing jobs, we're creating them. Over 4.2 million so far," it says, before acknowledging that "we're not there yet … it's still too hard for too many." But "we're coming back."

The ad is notable in part for what it doesn't show: Romney never appears, and opposition to Obama is reduced to a few images of tea party rallies, including one shot of a demonstrator in colonial garb with a "Shut 'Er Down" sign. Obama's two signature domestic policy achievements, his health care overhaul and the Dodd-Frank rewrite of Wall Street rules, are missing, as is the $800 billion stimulus package he championed as necessary to revive the economy.

The ad drew a quick response from the Romney campaign, with spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg charging that Obama's policies "have wreaked havoc on the middle class."

"After a doubling of gas prices, declining incomes, millions of foreclosures, and record levels of unemployment, Americans know they're not better off than they were four years ago," Henneberg said in an emailed statement. "Mitt Romney's pro-growth agenda will get America back on track and stop the middle-class squeeze of the Obama economy."

And the Republican National Committee seized on Obama's strategic insistence that he inherited this troubled economy. "President Obama spends a lot of time looking backward and blaming others for the state of the American economy," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who charged that "Obama may want you to forget he's been president for the past three and a half years."

Recent polls have shown that many Americans think the economy is still in recession, and that more people have confidence in Romney than in Obama when it comes to spurring growth. The economy tops the list of issues most on voters' minds. At his first major rallies of the 2012 campaign, the president explicitly sought to steer the debate over the weekend away from the classic political question "are you better off than you were four years ago?" and asked Americans to "keep believing in me."

President Obama hates gays????

Obama hates gays like Bush and Mitt Romney??? But he doesn't want to admit it cuz it will cost him a few vote???


Obama is drawing scrutiny for vague gay-nuptial stand

by Julie Pace - May. 7, 2012 11:12 PM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's election-year vagueness on gay marriage is coming under fresh scrutiny.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan broke ranks with the White House on Monday, stating his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage one day after Vice President Joe Biden suggested that he supported gay marriage, as well.

Obama aides worked to manage any political fallout. They said the back-to-back remarks by two top administration officials represented personal viewpoints and were not part of a coordinated effort to lay groundwork for a shift in the president's position.

The aides also tried to use the latest flare-up in the gay-marriage debate to shine a light on GOP rival Mitt Romney's history of equivocating on some gay-rights issues, an attempt to turn a potential political problem into an opportunity.

Obama, who supports most gay rights, has stopped short of backing gay marriage. Without clarification, he has said for the past year and a half that his personal views on the matter are "evolving."

The White House held firm on Monday to that position, which polls indicate puts the president increasingly at odds with his party and the majority of Americans on gay marriage. But with Biden's and Duncan's comments reinvigorating the debate, Obama is likely to face renewed pressure to clarify his views ahead of the November election.

Throughout his first term, he has sought to walk a fine line on same-sex marriage. He is trying to satisfy rank-and-file Democrats by supporting a range of gay-rights issues without alienating crucial independent voters who could be turned off by the emotional social issue.

The president's aides acknowledge that his position can be confusing.

In states where gay marriage already is legal, the president says married gay couples should have the same rights as married straight couples. But he does not publicly support the right of gay couples to marry in the first place.

Duncan, a longtime friend of the president as well as a member of his Cabinet, made clear Monday that his position on gay marriage is not in lockstep with the White House. Asked in a television interview whether he believes gay couples should legally be allowed to marry, Duncan said simply, "Yes, I do."

His comments followed Biden's assertion Sunday that he was "absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties."

Obama aides said Duncan was speaking about his personal views on the issue and was not under orders from the White House or the campaign to take the president's position.

As for Biden, White House and campaign officials said the vice president's remarks were no different from what he and Obama have said in the past.

"They were entirely consistent with the president's position, which is that couples who are married, whether they are gay or heterosexual, couples are entitled to the very same rights and very same liberties," said David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign.

The latest political dustup over gay marriage came just before North Carolina voters were to weigh in on a ballot initiative that would ban gay marriage in that state.

Obama opposes the ban, as does former President Bill Clinton, who has recorded automated phone calls ahead of the vote. Obama was heading on Tuesday for Albany, N.Y., where lawmakers voted last year to approve gay marriage in that state.

Romney favors a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Obama - I love gay marriages!!!

Obama will say anything to get your vote!!!!

Haven't we heard this before. Obama said he supported gay during his run for President in 2008. And after Obama got elected in 2008 he sold the gay folks out.

Obama also sold out the the anti-war folks that he claimed to support in 2008.

And Obama sold out the people who want to legalize marijuana whom he claimed to support in 2008.

Let's fact it Obama will say anything to get re-elected.


President Obama: Gay marriage 'should be legal'

by Julie Pace - May. 9, 2012 02:34 AM

Associated Press

Equivocal no longer, President Barack Obama declared his support for gay marriage on Wednesday in a historic announcement that instantly elevated a polarizing social issue to a more prominent role in the 2012 race for the White House.

The announcement was the first by a sitting president, and Obama's Republican rival, Mitt Romney, swiftly disagreed with it. "I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman," Romney said from Oklahoma.

Gay rights advocates cheered Obama's declaration, which they had long urged him to make. Joe Solomonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said it "extends that message of hope" to gays and lesbians.

Obama announced his shift -- he had said for years that his views on gay marriage were "evolving" -- in an interview with ABC in which he cited a blend of the personal and the presidential. [Yea, sure - evolving is political double talk for I will say anything to get elected!!!]

He said "it wouldn't dawn" on his daughters, Sasha and Malia, that some of their friends' parents would be treated differently than others, and added that he had thought of aides "who are in incredibly committed monogamous same-sex relationships who are raising kids together."

He added he had also thought about "those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf, and yet feel constrained even though now that 'don't ask, don't tell' is gone because they're not able to commit themselves in a marriage."

The president's decision to address the issue came on the heels of a pair of events that underscored the sensitivity of the issue.

Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview on Sunday that he is completely comfortable with gays marrying, a pronouncement that instantly raised the profile of the issue. White House aides insisted the vice president hadn't said anything particularly newsworthy, but gay rights groups cited Biden's comments in urging the president to announce his support. [I suspect Biden's comments were a timed political ploy, and planned to be said before Obama's change of heart, all for political purposes]

On Tuesday, voters in North Carolina -- a potential battleground in the fall election -- approved an amendment to the state constitution affirming that marriage may only be a union of a man and a woman.

While the nation appears roughly divided on the issue, the political cross-currents are tricky.

Some top aides argued that gay marriage is toxic at the ballot box in competitive states like North Carolina and Virginia because, as Tuesday's vote demonstrated, the issue remains a reliable way to fire up rank-and-file Republicans. It also could open Obama up to Republican criticism that he is taking his eye off the economy, voters' No. 1 issue.

Other Democratic supporters claim Obama's decision could energize huge swaths of the party, including young people. He also could appeal to independent voters, many of whom back gay marriage, and he could create an area of clear contrast between himself and his Republican rival as he argues that he's delivered on the change he promised four years ago.

Obama touched on that in the interview.

He said he sometimes talks with college Republicans on his visits to campuses, and while they oppose his policies on the economy and foreign policy, "when it comes to same sex equality, or, you know, sexual orientation, that they believe in equality. They are more comfortable with it."

On Tuesday, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, told Obama to "man up" and take a position on gay marriage. The president had already supported a number of initiatives backed by gays, including an end to "don't ask, don't tell," and decided not to defend in court a federal law that was designed as an alternative to gay marriage.

Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage and a leading supporter of the constitutional amendment approved in North Carolina on Tuesday, said she welcomed Obama's announcement at the same time she disagreed with it.

"Politically, we welcome this," she said. "We think it's a huge mistake. President Obama is choosing the money over the voters the day after 61 percent of North Carolinians in a key swing state demonstrated they oppose gay marriage."

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi instantly sought political gain from the president's announcement. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued an email in her name that asked recipients to "stand with President Obama." Such requests are often followed by future requests for campaign donations.

In the interview, Obama said, "I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient." He added, "I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word 'marriage' was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth." [Translation - I want it both ways! I want to support civil unions because it will get me the vote of people that support gays. I also am against gay marriage because it will get me the vote of the folks that hate gays!]

Now, he said, "it is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married."

Obama said first lady Michelle Obama also was involved in his decision and joins him in supporting gay marriage.

"In the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people," he said. [Well, not really. He just wants to get re-elected in 2012!]

Acknowledging that his support for same-sex marriage may rankle religious conservatives, Obama said he thinks about his faith in part through the prism of the Golden Rule -- treating others the way you would want to be treated.

"That's what we try to impart to our kids and that's what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I'll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I'll be as president," Obama said.

Romney has not generally raised the issue in his campaign. He said earlier Wednesday that "I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name. My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not."

Public opinion on gay marriage has shifted in recent years, with most polls now finding the public evenly split, rather than opposed.

A Gallup poll released this week found 50 percent of all adults in favor of legal recognition of same-sex marriages, marking the second time that poll has found support for legal gay marriage at 50 percent or higher. Majorities of Democrats (65 percent) and independents (57 percent) supported such recognition, while most Republicans (74 percent) said same sex marriages should not be legal.

Six states -- all in the Northeast except Iowa -- and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages. In addition, two other states have laws that are not yet in effect and may be subject to referendums.

Swear to God I won't beat up any gays if I am elected President!!!

[Romney] led a group of boys who pinned down [gay] John Lauber while Romney himself cut the boy's "bleached blonde hair"


Romney apologizes for 'dumb' high school pranks

By Sue Ogrocki, AP

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney apologized today for an incident in which he allegedly bullied a boy who was believed to be gay.

"I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended ... obviously I apologize," Romney said on Kilmeade & Friends, a radio show.

Romney said he doesn't remember an incident from 1965 described in The Washington Post. The story quotes five of Romney's classmates from Cranbook School in a Detroit suburb as saying he led a group of boys who pinned down John Lauber while Romney himself cut the boy''s "bleached blonde hair that draped over one eye."

Lauber was described in the article as being "teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality."

The Post story comes a day after President Obama said same-sex marriage should be legal, and the topic of gay marriage has taken center stage in the presidential campaign. The Democratic National Committee's rapid response team circulated the story in an e-mail.

Romney told radio host Brian Kilmeade that he wasn't "going to be too concerned" about the article.

"I don't remember that incident and I'll tell you I certainly don't believe that I ... thought the fellow was homosexual," Romney said. "That was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s, so that was not the case."

Poll on Obama's flip flop on gay marriage

Here is an interesting poll I took on Obama's flip flop on gay marriage. When I took the poll it was about 2 days old and about 20,000 people had responded to it.
Do you think President Obama's position on same-sex marriage is based on campaign politics or personal conviction?
Campaign politics 71%
President Barak Obama is against gay marriage - sounds like it!!!
President Barak Obama is against gay marriage - sounds like it!!!
Personal conviction 29%

Around world, Obama's first term discouraging

In the Arizona Republic this article was titled "Around world, Obama's first term discouraging"


Disappointment aside, Europe's backing Obama

He didn't deliver on his potential, but the bad memories of the Bush years linger abroad.

May 13, 2012

By Don Melvin and Rod McGuirk

Associated Press

In Europe, where more than 200,000 people thronged a Berlin rally in 2008 to hear Barack Obama speak, there's disappointment that he hasn't kept his promise to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, and perceptions that he's shunting blame for the financial crisis across the Atlantic.

In Mogadishu, a former teacher wishes the president had sent more economic assistance and fewer armed drones to fix Somalia's problems. And many in the Middle East wonder what became of Obama's vow, in a landmark 2009 speech at the University of Cairo, to forge a closer relationship with the Muslim world. Story continues below.

In a world weary of war and economic crises, and concerned about global climate change, the consensus is that Obama has not lived up to the lofty expectations that surrounded his 2008 election and Nobel Peace Prize a year later. Many in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America were also taken aback by his support for gay marriage, a taboo subject among religious conservatives.

But the Democrat still enjoys broad international support. In large part, it's because of unfavorable memories of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, and many people would still prefer Obama over his presumptive Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

"We all had high hopes for him," said Filomena Cunha, an office worker in Lisbon, Portugal, who said she was struggling to make ends meet. "But then things got bad, and there's not much he can do for us over here."

Obama's rock-star-like reception at Berlin's Victory Column in summer 2008 was a high point of a wildly successful European campaign tour. The thawing of harsh anti-Americanism that had thrived in Europe was as much a reaction to the Bush years as it was an embracing of the presidential hopeful.

Those high European expectations have turned into disappointment, largely because of the continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Obama's failure to close Guantanamo Bay in the face of congressional opposition.

Foreign policy expert Josef Braml, who analyzes the United States for the German Council on Foreign Relations, said many Germans give Obama too much of the blame because they don't understand the limits of his powers.

"There's a lack of understanding both of how the system of checks and balances works - or doesn't work any longer - and a lack of understanding of how big the socioeconomic problems in the United States are which cause the gridlock," Braml said in a telephone call.

Mehmet Yegin, a specialist in Turkish-American relations at USAK, the International Strategic Research Organization in Ankara, said Europe still saw Obama as superior to Romney, "because they primarily evaluate Romney as a Republican and their memories about George W. Bush linger."

Many in the Mideast also would like to see Obama win a second term, though they feel he has not lived up to his Cairo speech, in which he extended a hand to the Islamic world by calling for an end to the cycle of suspicion and discord.

Obama has been the U.S. president "least involved in the Palestinian issue," said Mohammed Ishtayeh, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Ron Paul drops out of Presidential race???


Ron Paul: 'We will no longer spend resources'

May. 14, 2012 01:50 PM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Ron Paul, the congressman from Texas and a favorite of tea partyers, effectively ended his presidential campaign Monday but urged his fervent supporters to continue working at the state party level to cause havoc for presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

In an email to supporters, Paul urged his libertarian-leaning backers to remain involved in politics and champion his causes despite the apparent end of his presidential aspirations. Paul has found success in wrecking the selection process for delegates to the party's late-summer nominating convention in Tampa, Fla., and trumpeted that he has delayed Romney's expected nomination.

"Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted," Paul said in his statement. "Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have. I encourage all supporters of liberty to make sure you get to the polls and make your voices heard, particularly in the local, state and congressional elections, where so many defenders of freedom are fighting and need your support."

Paul's supporters have proved successful in winning state GOP conventions in places such as Maine and Nevada. His supporters in Iowa and Nevada were chosen to lead the state central parties.

Paul's flock is likely to make similar inroads this weekend in Minnesota, which Paul was slated to address. Paul has already dominated the state's congressional district conventions, winning at least 18 of the 24 national delegates selected, even though he finished a distant second to Rick Santorum in local caucuses in February.

"Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that liberty is the way of the future," Paul vowed.

Primaries have not been Paul's strong suit -- he hasn't won a single primary or caucus. But Paul's supporters have successfully navigated the convention process in a number of states, adding to Paul's delegate total while gaining influence over state parties.

Romney, however, is on pace to capture the nomination this month. He has 973 of the 1,144 delegates required to formally become the GOP's nominee, according to an Associated Press tally. Vanquished foe Santorum has 264 and Newt Gingrich has 130. Paul badly trails with 104 delegates.

Romney already is campaigning against Obama, and Paul's announcement does little to change the head-to-head campaign in November.

Paul is unlikely to endorse Romney as the party's nominee. The pair strongly clashed during the debates over foreign policy, and in interviews Paul has refused to say he would champion Romney's campaign.

Many of Paul's libertarian views dovetail nicely with mainstream Republican ideas on limited government and low taxes. But Paul breaks with much of his party when he rails against American intervention abroad and government efforts to fight terrorism at home -- positions that earned him a loyal following.

Paul, a longtime congressman, is not running for another term to represent his Texas district.

Edwards mistress was given $9K a month, records show

OK, this news is a little too late for the 2008 Presidential campaign, so we will mix it with the news of the 2012 Presidential campaign.

Look as a Libertarian I think prostitution and all other victim-less crimes should be legalized, so I don't have a problem with John Edwards paying his mistress who is effectively a prostitute $9K a month for her sexual services.

But if John Edwards was one of those political nut jobs who wants to jail other people who use prostitutes I find his actions to be a bit hypocritical.


Edwards mistress was given $9K a month, records show

May. 15, 2012 10:36 AM

Associated Press

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Records introduced Tuesday at John Edwards' corruption trial show his campaign finance chairman paid the former U.S. presidential candidate's mistress a $9,000 monthly cash allowance, on top of living and travel expenses.

Wealthy Texas lawyer Fred Baron is one of two political supporters who, combined, gave nearly $1 million to help hide Edwards' pregnant mistress Rielle Hunter as the politician sought the White House in 2008. Evidence introduced at the trial showed Baron, who died that year, was making regular deposits into Hunter's checking account, the sum totaling $74,000.

Money from the donors was also used for private jets, stays at luxury resorts and a $20,000-a-month California rental mansion.

Edwards has pleaded not guilty to campaign finance violations related to the money used to support his mistress. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Edwards' oldest daughter, Cate, could take the stand as early as Tuesday afternoon. Two weeks ago, she ran out of the courtroom in tears during testimony about her cancer-stricken mother confronting her father about his affair.

His attorneys have said Edwards did not know about the money from Baron and Mellon -- and that even if he did, the cash was not a campaign contribution because it was intended to hide Hunter from Edwards' wife, not the public.

On Monday, Edwards' attorneys began his defense by attempting to shift the focus away from the sex scandal to the technical issue of whether Edwards' alleged behavior violated campaign finance laws.

Defense attorneys have not yet indicated if they will call Hunter or Edwards to testify.

Before winning a U.S. Senate seat in 1998, Edwards made a fortune as a personal injury lawyer renowned for his ability to sway jurors. But his testimony would expose himself to a likely withering cross-examination.

More on President Obama's pot smoking days

More on Emperor Obama's pot smoking days

I wonder how many kilos of weed the White House goes thru each week, while Emperor Obama has his jackbooted DEA thugs jail medical marijuana patients?


The Choom Gang: President Obama’s pot-smoking high school days detailed in Maraniss book

Posted by Natalie Jennings at 03:20 PM ET, 05/25/2012

Political blogs went to pot on Friday.

The Internet is buzzing after the Washingtonian published a review of Washington Post associate editor David Maraniss’s forthcoming book “Barack Obama: The Story,” including an excerpt about President Obama’s high school clique and their favorite pastime.

Let’s just say jobs weren’t the president’s first green initiative. The group of friends smoked marijuana frequently enough to nickname themselves the “Choom Gang.”

But enough of my bad weed puns. Here’s what other blogs are writing about the excerpts.

Yahoo: Bill Clinton he was not. (article)

BuzzFeed has a handy “User’s Guide To Smoking Pot With Barack Obama” compiled from excerpts in Maraniss’s book. (article)

Time’s post is titled the “Audacity of Dope.” (article)

And NPR has “Inhale to the chief” (article)

ABC’s Jonathan Karl reminds us Obama has previously written about his drug use:

In his 1995 memoir “Dreams of My Father,” Obama writes about smoking pot almost like Dr. Seuss wrote about eating green eggs and ham. As a high school kid, Obama wrote, he would smoke “in a white classmate’s sparkling new van,” he would smoke “in the dorm room of some brother” and he would smoke “on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids.”

He would smoke it here and there. He would smoke it anywhere.

Conservative outlets are especially having fun with the new fodder.

Hot Air writes, “Apparently, we elected Pauly Shore.” And Reason’s headline is Obama Still Bogarting Nation’s Joints, Man.”

Since you stuck around this long, here are a few of the high-interest excerpts from Maraniss’s book:

Maraniss notes that Obama spent a lot of time at the Punahou School in Hawaii with a “self-selected group of boys who loved basketball and good times and called themselves the Choom Gang. Choom is a verb, meaning “to smoke marijuana.”

“As a member of the Choom Gang,” Maraniss writes, “Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends.”

One of those was: “Total Absorption” or “TA”.

“TA was the opposite of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” explains Maraniss. If you exhaled prematurely when you were with the Choom Gang, “you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around.”

One of Obama’s old friends at the school, Tom Topolinski, told Maraniss: “Wasting good bud smoke was not tolerated.”

Obama helped popularized the concept of “roof hits,” as well, writes Maraniss.

“When they were chooming in a car all the windows had to be rolled up so no smoke blew out and went to waste; when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling.”

Maraniss also says Obama was known for his “Interceptions”: “When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted ‘Intercepted!,’ and took an extra hit.”

Maraniss notes that Obama, looking back later in life on those days, made it sound as though he was hanging out with a group of misbegotten n’er-do-wells, what he called “the club of disaffection.”

“In fact,” Maraniss writes, “most members of the Choom Gang were decent students and athletes who went on to successful and productive lawyers, writers and businessmen,” Maraniss writes. One notable exception was Ray, the group’s pot dealer who, known for his ability “to score quality bud,” would years later be killed by a scorned gay lover armed with a ball-peen hammer.

Maraniss notes that Obama, in a high school yearbook, acknowledged the hippie drug dealer, Ray, who sold the Choom Gang pot, but didn’t acknowledge his own mother.

“Thanks Tut, Gramps, Choom Gang, and Ray,” Obama wrote, “for all the good times.”

Obama using White House web site to get reelected

Obama using White House web site to get reelected


Reagan: White House website gone wild

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012 8:14 am

Guest Commentary by Michael Reagan

We’ll never know what Ronald Reagan would have done with, the official website of the White House. But I know my father wouldn’t be abusing it the way Barack Obama is. is owned and operated by the federal government, but the incumbent gets to run it and design it to his own political tastes.

Like nearly anything the federal government touches, the White House website is a decent idea gone bad.

It should be a handy place where the average over-taxed citizen or liberal newsman can find the latest news and information about the outrageous doings of the current president and his administration. But it’s become just another political tool — a permanent campaign ad for the incumbent.

You know how newly elected mayors rush out and get their names painted on all the city benches and trash cans? is the same principle on a federal level, done virtually.

The Obama regime’s contains all the basic stuff — the president’s schedule, recent photo ops, proclamations, executive orders, his latest appearance on “The View,” plus his detailed positions on dozens of domestic and international issues.

Give it credit. The site is a slick, partisan and effective propaganda weapon. President Obama’s name and photo are plastered on every page.

And it’s riddled with Obama-aggrandizing whoppers like “The President overcame furious lobbying by big banks to pass the most far reaching reform of Wall Street in history, which will prevent the excessive risk-taking that led to the financial crisis....”

Though it’s all politics and spin, is impressively comprehensive. The only thing missing, besides the transcripts of what the president whispers to his donors on Wall Street, is his list of favorite golf courses. It must be somewhere. Maybe under “Lavish Vacations.”

But let’s get serious. Presidents have had their own White House websites to puff themselves up since 1994. But under the stewardship of the Narcissist in Chief, has reached a new low.

It has stooped to misrepresenting history to make it look like some previous presidents, including Ronald Reagan, would support President Obama’s big-government ideas or policies.

On the website, under “The White House” menu, are brief, non-partisan biographies of every president. Tagged on to the end of almost every bio since Coolidge is a little feature called “Did you know?”

For instance, the tag for FDR reads, “Did you know? On August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Today the Obama Administration continues to protect seniors and ensure Social Security will be there for future generations.”

Fair enough, considering Obama’s New New Deal policies.

But here’s part of the “Did you know?” at the end of my father’s bio: “In a June 28, 1985 speech Reagan called for a fairer tax code, one where a multi-millionaire did not have a lower tax rate than his secretary. Today, President Obama is calling for the same with the Buffet Rule.”

Is Obama kidding? The Buffet Rule is an act of class warfare designed to punish successful people with higher taxes in the name of fairness.

My father’s tax policy — which simplified the tax code and lowered top marginal rates from 70 percent to 28 percent — had nothing in common with the Buffet Rule. It was about lowering everyone’s taxes and providing incentives for all, not punishing the already successful few.

Ronald Reagan wouldn’t agree with any part of Obamanomics. The Obama regime has already proved it can’t be trusted with the economy. By trying to make it seem that my father was the founding father of the Buffet Rule, it proves it can’t even be trusted with history.

Mr. Obama, if you would like to debate this I am available 24/7.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Rev0olution” (St. Martin’s Press, 2011). Visit his website at, or e-mail comments to Copyright 2012 Mike Reagan. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate.

Ken Bennett refuses to check Mitt Romney's birth certificate!!!

It ain't about Emperor Obama's birth certificate, it's about politics and keeping him off the ballot. Let's face it government is corrupt to the core. They are not "public servants", they are royal rulers.

Of course I don't want Emperor Obama any more then I want an Emperor Mitt Romney, Emperor George W. Bush, or Emperor John McCain.


AZ sec. of state not ready to check Romney’s birth status

Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2012 3:33 pm | Updated: 4:59 pm, Thu May 31, 2012.

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

Secretary of State Ken Bennett will not verify the birth records of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, at least not now — and possibly not ever — despite an earlier public commitment to do so.

Bennett acknowledged Thursday he has received requests from Arizona residents to perform the same kind of verification through Michigan about Romney’s birth certificate as he did through Hawaii for Barack Obama. And he said that he had, in fact, agreed to make such a check if he got a request.

But Bennett is now saying he needs something else: An allegation by an Arizona law enforcement agency that there is a question about the veracity of a candidate’s claimed birth certificate.

He said that was always a precondition of looking into Romney or anyone else. He just never disclosed that.

There has been only one such allegation, the one questioning Obama’s birth certificate by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department. And Bennett said since there are no others, he feels no need to dig any further into any of Romney’s documents.

Last month, Bennett said he had received many requests to verify that Obama is a “natural born citizen” and constitutionally qualified to hold the nation’s highest office. He said he would not demand that Hawaii produce the actual birth certificate but instead would rely on a provision in that state’s law which allows an official in any other state to seek certification that a specific document does, in fact, exist.

Bennett, the state’s chief election official, said at the time he was not singling out the Democratic president for special treatment but simply responding to a constituent request. And he specifically said he would do the same thing “if somebody asked me to verify the Libertarian candidate or Mitt Romney or whoever it might end up being.”

On Thursday, Bennett said nothing has changed. He said that requirement for a law enforcement investigation to raise the issue was always a condition — albeit unstated — along with constituent requests, for seeking more information.

“They were asking because a law enforcement agency in the largest county in the state had some findings saying that they had probable cause that the birth certificate was a forgery,” he said.

And Bennett, who supports Romney’s bid to oust Obama, also said he sees the requests to check the Republican’s birth records as nothing more than politics.

“I think the only reason that people are asking about Romney’s (birth certificate) is because they’re mad that I asked about the president’s,” he said.

In March, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio charged that the birth certificate the White House posted on its web site is a fraud. He said a forensic examination of the electronic document proves that it was not simply scanned into a file but actually put together in several pieces.

Romney released a copy of his own birth certificate on Wednesday.

But Arpaio told Capitol Media Services he has had no requests to do a similar examination. And the sheriff said even if such requests were to materialize, he doubts he would take a closer look at what Romney produced.

“Am I supposed to check everybody’s birth certificate running for office?” he said.

“The reason we did this one is it’s been a controversial situation for a long, long time,” Arpaio explained, saying there were reasons to believe, even before the investigation, that Obama’s birth certificate was “suspect.”

“I’m not suspect over this one,” he said of Romney’s released document.

Bennett’s request that Hawaii verify it has Obama’s birth certificate has gained national attention, to the point where a liberal group started a tongue-in-cheeck campaign to get people to ask the secretary of state to determine if Romney is a unicorn.

“There has never been a conclusive DNA test proving that Mitt Romney is not a unicorn,” the LeftAction web site proclaims. “We have never seen him without his hair — hair that could be covering up a horn.”

Organization spokesman John Hlinko claimed there have been more than 20,000 people who have signed an online request. He said these were not forwarded to Bennett because LeftAction did not want to crash his web site.

Emperor Obama is a war monger, just like the Republicans

Obama ordered cyberattacks on Iran!!!!

Obama ordered cyberattacks on Iran!!!!

Screw that little part of the Constitution that says only Congress can declare war. Emperor Obama thinks he has the power to initiate force against any government he feels like without the approval of Congress.


Obama stepped up cyberattacks on Iran: report


WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama accelerated cyberattacks on Iran's nuclear program and expanded the assault even after the Stuxnet virus accidentally escaped in 2010, the New York Times reported Friday.

The operation, begun under president George W. Bush and codenamed "Olympic Games," is the first known sustained US cyberattack ever launched on another country, and used malicious code developed with Israel, the Times said.

The Times said the article was based on 18 months of interviews with current and former US, European and Israeli officials, and was adapted from the book "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power," by David Sanger, set to be published next week.

The cyberattack, aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and keeping Israel from launching a preventive military strike, sowed widespread confusion in Iran's Natanz nuclear plant, the Times said.

However, top administration officials considered suspending it after Stuxnet -- a complex virus developed jointly with Israel -- "escaped" the facility and began appearing in computer systems in several countries, the Times said.

Obama eventually ordered the attacks to continue, and within a week of Stuxnet's escape a newer version of the bug temporarily brought down 1,000 of Iran's 5,000 nuclear centrifuges spinning at the time, the Times said.

Experts have long suspected that Stuxnet, which targeted computer control systems made by German industrial giant Siemens, was of US and Israeli origin, but neither country has admitted to having a hand in it.

A Pentagon spokesman, Captain John Kirby, declined to comment in detail on the article but said that Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have put a priority on the cyber realm.

"As we've said many times and the president and secretary made clear, cyber domain is a domain that we need to constantly evaluate and constantly assess and try to improve the range of capabilities that we have in cyberspace," Kirby told reporters.

The United States and Israel have long accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons in the guise of a civilian program, charges denied by Tehran, which insists its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes.

The Times article comes days after experts at Russia's Kaspersky Lab, a top anti-virus software firm, discovered "Flame," a sophisticated virus several times larger than Stuxnet that also seems to have been aimed at Iran.


Obama Ordered Computer Virus Attacks Against Iran

Decided Program Would Continue After Stuxnet Disaster

by Jason Ditz, June 01, 2012

Adding fuel to the speculation that the Flame Virus is a government-created weapon, new reports reveal that President Obama ordered the launch of “cyberattacks” using computer malware as one of his first acts as president.

US dalliances into this sort of attack are of course well established, with the 2010 leak of the Stuxnet worm causing worldwide havoc. The worm, a joint creation of the US and Israel, was meant to target Iran’s uranium enrichment facility and was developed to attack Siemens computers. After its escape, it was altered by other groups and attacked Siemens computers worldwide, including in the United States.

Apparently even getting caught out on the Stuxnet disaster didn’t phase Obama, who ordered the program to continue even after this. The US is also said to have used viruses to attack Iran’s Russian built Bushehr power plant, bizarre since the president has insisted that the US doesn’t object to the energy program.

After initial confirmation from unnamed officials in the media, the US has denied any role in the Flame Virus, which is spreading across the Middle East. The virus, one of the most advanced ever seen, allows the attacker to capture keystrokes and screenshots, and even to turn on the microphones of affected systems to record conversations happening nearby.


Obama Ordered Stuxnet Virus, Part of Organized Cyberattacks Against Iran

By Colin Lecher Posted 06.01.2012 at 1:01 pm 23 Comments

Cyberattacks Escalated Obama's cyberattack order significantly expands the historical use of cyberweapons in the United States. Wikimedia Commons

According to a report today in the New York Times, President Obama secretly ordered accelerated cyberattacks against the computers running Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities.

Started by the Bush administration in 2006, the stealth operation went under the handle "Olympic Games" and a major part of the project, a worm planted by spies meant to knock out enrichment facilities, went public in the summer of 2010 when the worm escaped Iran's Natanz plant because of a programming error and made it into the Internet. The president and other members of the administration then considered shutting it down, but ultimately let it continue. Two new versions of the worm hit the plant in the coming weeks and at one point shut down 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran was using to purify uranium. After that, the worm was discovered -- though its source was unknown -- and named Stuxnet. Observers marveled at how advanced the malware was.

According to the report, it's since been shut down, but Olympic Games as a whole is marching on.

Politicians are liars who will says anything to get elected

Sadly most politicians are lying hypocrites who will says anything to get you to vote for them.

Mitt Romney correctly says Obamacare is a socialist government program that is bad for the USA. But Romneys own Massachusetts health plan seems to be a clone that Obamacare was invented from.


Romney pushed for individual mandate in Massachusetts health care law, emails show

By Holly Bailey | The Ticket

Mitt Romney has distanced himself from the health care reform bill he signed as governor of Massachusetts amid criticism that the law bears more than a passing resemblance to Obamacare, which he's repeatedly pledged to repeal if elected in November.

But a series of emails obtained by the Wall Street Journal reveals Romney was actively engaged in negotiating the specifics of the 2006 Massachusetts bill and that he and his top aides championed a provision identical to one in President Barack Obama's law requiring individuals to have or buy health insurance.

The so-called individual mandate is at the heart of most conservative criticism of Obama's health care law, with many Republicans calling the provision unconstitutional. But in 2006, emails obtained by the Journal under a public records request show, Romney and his top aides pressed for an individual mandate even when Massachusetts Democrats weren't yet embracing such a proposal.

According to the emails, Romney personally drafted a Wall Street Journal op-ed that defended the individual mandate. Romney's draft, slightly different from the final version that was published, insisted taxpayers ultimately foot the bill when the uninsured seek health care—an argument that has been echoed by the White House in defending Obama's bill.

"Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian," the published op-ed said.

But according to a draft obtained by the Journal, Romney went one step further, arguing, "An uninsured libertarian might counter that he could refuse the free care, but under law, that is impossible—and inhumane."

Romney has defended the Massachusetts law by arguing that he did the right thing for his state. In campaigning for a repeal of Obama's law, Romney has rejected the "one size fits all" approach and argued that it should be up to individual states to determine how to handle health care coverage.

But Romney has said very little about the individual mandate. A Wall Street Journal op-ed published in March 2011 called him "compromised and not credible" because of his support of the mandate in Massachusetts and described him as "Obama's running mate." In a subsequent letter to the editor, Romney defended the bill, but did not specifically respond to the paper's argument that his support of the mandate was a violation of conservative principals.

Romney's campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the emails.

Voters are not buying Obama's BS???


Voters not buying Obama's positive spin on economy

Democratic strategists say voters unconvinced on economy's progress

By Christi Parsons

June 12, 2012, 7:55 a.m.

President Obama is hitting hard this week on the idea that the economy is making progress under his stewardship.

A series of interviews with local news outlets already this week makes his point clear, featuring the word “progress” several times in relation to the economy.

Advisers to the president say the argument is based on fact, and it clearly forms the heart of their message this summer.

“We have made some substantial progress,” White House press secretary Jay Carney says. “We have seen the economy grow. We have seen it produce almost 4.3 million private sector jobs.”

But the approach is coming under some critical review -- not just from Republicans, and not just as a result of the flap over Obama’s choice of words in describing the job creation on his watch. (It was clear from the context that he didn't mean the economy was "doing fine," but that unfortunate choice of words has come back to haunt him nonetheless.)

A new paper from Democracy Corps, founded by Democratic strategist James Carville and Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, argues that key voters don’t believe the economy is on the mend. Democrats will face “an impossible headwind” this fall if they don’t move to a new narrative, they contend in the paper, "Shifting the Economic Narrative."

The report is based on findings from four focus groups, convened in late May and made up of targeted voters – independents, weak Democrats and weak Republicans in Columbus, Ohio,and Bala Cynwyd, Penn.

“These voters are not convinced that we are headed in the right direction,” the report concludes. “They are living in a new economy – and there is no conceivable recovery in the year ahead that will change the view of the new state of the country.”

“They actually have a very realistic view of the long road back and the struggles of the middle class,” the authors write, “and the current narrative about progress just misses the opportunity to connect and point forward.”

Supreme Court didn't agree with Obama


Column: Supreme Court didn't agree with Obama

By Jonah Goldberg

Last Thursday, President Obama walked before the cameras and said, "Good afternoon. Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act— the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago. In doing so, they've reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America — in the wealthiest nation on earth — no illness or accident should lead to any family's financial ruin."

A bit later, Obama added, "Today, the Supreme Court also upheld the principle that people who can afford health insurance should take the responsibility to buy health insurance."

The casual listener might take Obama to be saying that the Supreme Court agrees with him and that the ruling was a ringing endorsement of what Obama takes to be the core "principles" of ObamaCare.

But that's not the case, at all.

The dissenting opinion written by four justices found the whole thing to be an affront to the Constitution. And the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, held that the law is constitutional for reasons the president — a famous teacher of the Constitution — passionately rejected.

"You reject that it's a tax increase?" George Stephanopoulos asked the president in a now legendary interview in 2009. "I absolutely reject that notion," replied Obama.

In Roberts' words

Obama might respond that regardless of how they got there, the justices did affirm the principles of ObamaCare. Nope. "We do not consider whether the act embodies sound policies," Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority. "That judgment is entrusted to the nation's elected leaders." And again, Roberts writes of ObamaCare: "It is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness."

This was Justice Roberts' diplomatic way of paraphrasing Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous defense of judicial restraint: "If my fellow citizens want to go to hell, I will help them. It's my job."

No doubt, Obama is delighted with the court's decision. The court might have repudiated the president's own opinions, but as a political matter there's little doubt Obama welcomes such repudiation.

Still, it's telling that Obama's fraudulent claim that the Supreme Court agrees with him is not so unusual. The president has a well-known habit of insisting that not only is he right, but also that all smart people agree with him.

For instance, in a 2009 discussion of the economic stimulus, Obama toldTheWashington Post's Fred Hiatt, "Whatever arguments may be made by the critics at this point, there was no economist out there who thought we didn't need to do (it)." Or, in a speech about energy last March: "What I just said about energy, by the way, is not disputed by any energy expert. Everybody agrees with this."

Let the record show that there are, in fact, economists and energy experts who disagree with Barack Obama. Really.

Beyond what this tendency says about the president's own character, it certainly reveals the arrogance of liberalism itself. There is something about the nature of liberalism that causes its adherents to argue as if it is the one true faith. But rather than speak the language of faith, they instead speak the vocabulary of expertise. They claim "sound science" and the support of "all experts" as if their opponents are devoid of facts and reason.

Contempt for democracy

There's a troubling contempt for democracy in this approach to politics because it assumes that your opponents have nothing of substance to contribute to the discussion. Moreover, this assumption inexorably leads liberals to think that if we could just let the experts run things, then everything would be great.

This was the faith of the original progressives who pushed, in the words of legendary news commentator Walter Lippmann, the "mastery" of scientific governance over the "drift" of messy markets and disorganized democracy. The New Deal and the Great Society were grounded in the same vision of infinitely capable technocrats.

Even John F. Kennedy argued that the problems facing the country "deal with questions which are now beyond the comprehension of most men" and should therefore be left to the experts to settle without subjecting them to divisive democratic debate.

Just last year, Peter Orszag, former Obama Office of Management and Budget director, was making the same argument. "We need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions," Orszag argued, "by making them a bit less democratic." The answer to our problems, Orszag proclaimed: "Automatic policies and depoliticized commissions."

It's no wonder that this mindset led to the creation of ObamaCare. Indeed, this is the real principle at the core of the act: the idea that if we can just give the experts, the commissions, the panels and boards enough power to do "what all experts" believe, then everything will be great, particularly if we can force citizens and businesses alike to heel.

In fairness, the court didn't affirm that principle either, but it did say that if the voters want to go to that corner of hell, we can.

Jonah Goldberg, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, is the author of The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.

Oops! 'Romneycare' also has penalties/taxes

You mean Mitt Romney is a lying politician just like Obama???


Oops! 'Romneycare' also has penalties/taxes

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has joined the chorus of partisan critics calling the Affordable Care Act a tax increase, based on the Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld the law.

At the same time, Romney touts his time as Massachusetts governor, when a similar law was passed. And he contends that he never raised taxes.

The health care law in Massachusetts, however, like the Affordable Care Act, does charge “penalties” for those who can afford to participate but choose not to.

Are those taxes?

The Wall Street Journal reports (see it here) that the state has collected over $20 million in “penalties” just this year. And millions for every previous year.

So how does this political spin work?

Is it “penalties” when it comes to Romney's plan but “taxes” when it comes to Obama’s?

Emperor Obama wants 6 more years of "drug wars" in Mexico!!!!

And sadly the American taxpayers wills spend billions financing Obama's drug war in Mexico, which has caused the murder of 50,000 to 60,000 Mexicans depending on which numbers you think are correct.


U.S. must boost drug-war aid to stop the cartels

by Robert Weiner and George Clingan - Jul. 3, 2012 12:00 AM

Our Turn

With the Mexican presidential election concluded Sunday and the ruling party's candidate coming in third, the country finds itself at a crossroads against the drug cartels. New President Enrique Peña Nieto will choose whether to continue the fight or make the more popular decision to strike a deal.

Peña Nieto's decision will bear significant consequences for the United States. The Mexican drug cartels are not just gangs that can be easily sacked; they are sophisticated, transnational criminal organizations that threaten Mexican sovereignty and U.S. security.

The cartels control 980 local governments in Mexico and have distribution networks in 230 U.S. cities, according to the Department of Justice National Intelligence Center. There are seven Mexican supercartels that dominate supply, trafficking and distribution of most illicit drugs in the United States

Arizona in particular is increasingly threatened. Phoenix and Tucson are major distribution centers for the United States. Half of all marijuana seized at the border goes through Arizona. Last November, in one bust, Arizona and federal border agents cracked the Sinaloa cartel's Arizona arm, which had moved nearly $2 billion of marijuana, cocaine and heroin into the United States over a five-year span.

A White House report of President Barack Obama's call to Peña Nieto on Monday cites a discussion of "common goals, including democracy, economic prosperity and security," but does not mention fighting drugs.

It is critical that we reaffirm our commitment to weaken the supercartels by sending a strong message to the new Mexican president, whose position on the drug war has been vague. Peña Nieto wants "better regulation of the military" and stated that Mexico "should not subordinate to the strategies of other countries."

Mexico receives too little credit for fighting this war. The drug kingpins have caused 55,000 deaths in Mexico since 2006. "Mexico has eradicated more drugs than any nation on Earth," former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey says.

Calderon reformed government institutions that had been unreliable and corrupted by the cartels. After indicting over 20 percent of federal police (their FBI) for corruption, Calderon disbanded the force in favor of a new 35,000-officer force with anti-corruption training and standards.

The United States would do well by doubling anti-drug aid to Mexico, but contingent on Peña Nieto's continued efforts to win the drug war. However, we don't even give them what we promise. Of $1.4 billion authorized since 2008 under the Merida Initiative, we shorted Mexico by a third in real dollars. The least we should do is "fully fund" our cooperation. Mexican officials assailed our "slow deliveries while the bodies kept building up in Mexico."

Mexico itself has spent $35 billion on the drug war while we've given them less than $2 billion to solve our main crime and social problem. More than two-thirds of U.S. arrestees test positive for illegal drugs.

Still, President Felipe Calderon made remarkable inroads by intercepting cartel communications, disrupting distribution networks and targeting leadership. Mexico killed or incarcerated 40 cartel leaders in the past three years.

However, Mexico's top cop, Genaro Garcia Luna, estimated that the cartels invest $100 million to bribe state and municipal police officers each month -- $1.2 billion every year. The Mexican army will need to remain on the streets until the government is actually in control.

Since 9/11, the U.S., understandably at first, has dropped the ball. We have given Mexico drones as requested by the government for drug surveillance and intelligence. But, unlike Afghanistan and Pakistan, where we target al-Qaida for kills, the drones are not taking out the mass-murdering cartel leaders.

The U.S. should give a far more realistic dollar support level to Mexico's anti-drug efforts and far more focus to the effort. It will take the combined efforts of Mexico and the United States to deal a fatal blow to these too-big-to-fail cartels who threaten us daily.

Robert Weiner was the spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Policy and the U.S. House Committee on Narcotics. George Clingan is Latin American policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates.

Mitt Romney flip flops & says Obamacare is a tax


Mitt Romney says healthcare plan's individual mandate is a tax

By Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times

July 4, 2012, 5:39 p.m.

WOLFEBORO, N.H. — Contradicting one of his senior advisors, Mitt Romney said Wednesday that the individual mandate in President Obama's healthcare plan is a tax, and stands as evidence that Obama has broken a promise not to raise taxes on the middle class.

On a holiday otherwise light on political skirmishing, Romney effectively overruled remarks from his campaign spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom. It was the second time in recent months that he has undertaken damage control after controversial remarks by Fehrnstrom.

The first of those involved Fehrnstrom's instantly infamous Etch-A-Sketch statement, in which he said that Romney's rightward tilt during the primary campaign would be wiped clean once he secured the Republican nomination.

Then, on Monday, Fehrnstrom gave conservatives more cause for consternation when he said that Romney agreed with Obama that the individual mandate was a penalty, not a tax — despite the Supreme Court ruling that it was constitutional precisely because it was a tax.

That left Romney with an unpleasant choice: Give up a potentially golden opportunity to attack Obama for raising taxes or contradict his own campaign spokesman. As with the Etch-A-Sketch remark, he chose the latter.

Asked by CBS correspondent Jan Crawford why he thought the mandate was not a tax, Romney replied: "Well, the Supreme Court has the final word, and their final word is that Obamacare is a tax. So it's a tax."

He added: "They decided it was constitutional. So it is a tax and it's constitutional. That's the final word — that's what it is. Now, I agreed with the dissent. I would have taken a different course, but the dissent wasn't the majority. The majority has rule and their rule is final. It is a tax."

The high court upheld the Obama healthcare law by a 5-4 margin last week, with Justice Antonin Scalia expressing the losing position — that the law was unconstitutional — in a scathing dissent.

That prompted Fehrnstrom's comment that Romney "agreed with the dissent, which was written by Justice Scalia, and the dissent clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax."

In his remarks Wednesday, Romney drew a distinction between a similar provision that he put in place in Massachusetts and the Obama mandate. Both laws require people who don't have health insurance to buy it or face a penalty.

States, he said, "have the power to put in place mandates. They don't need to require them to be called taxes in order for them to be constitutional."

Romney also took the opportunity to go on the offensive against Obama, saying that, in light of the Supreme Court ruling, "the American people know that President Obama has broken the pledge he made. He said he wouldn't raise taxes on middle-income Americans."

The Obama campaign shot back, ridiculing Romney for what it portrayed as a hopelessly muddled series of statements.

"Romney contradicted his own campaign, and himself," a campaign statement said. "First, he threw his top aide Eric Fehrnstrom under the bus.... Second, he contradicted himself by saying his own Massachusetts mandate wasn't a tax — but, Romney has called the individual mandate he implemented in Massachusetts a tax many times before. Glad we cleared all that up."

The back-and-forth came on a day when both candidates were observing Independence Day and largely taking a break from the political fray.

Obama led a naturalization ceremony for active-duty military troops at the White House, where he also attended a picnic. Romney took part in holiday festivities near his New Hampshire vacation home.

The naturalization ceremony was the third such event led by Obama.

"This is one of my favorite things to do," the president said in a speech to the new citizens. "It brings me great joy and inspiration because it reminds us we are a country that is bound together not simply by ethnicity and bloodlines, but by fidelity to a set of ideas."

Obama also took the opportunity to urge Congress to pass immigration reform, after the failure of the Dream Act in the Senate and his administration's recent declaration that it would no longer deport young illegal immigrants who crossed the border as children, provided they meet certain criteria.

"The lesson of these 236 years is clear — immigration makes America stronger. It positions America to lead in the 21st century. These young men and women are testaments to that," he said of the 25 families gathered for the proceedings.

Romney marched in a parade through the lakeside town of Wolfeboro, where he is spending the week with about 30 members of his immediate family — "a bevy of Romneys," as he put it. He was joined by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).

After the parade, he delivered a speech that set aside, for the moment, the bruising rhetoric of the presidential campaign.

Talking about patriotism and shared values, Romney went so far as to celebrate the presence of Obama supporters in the parade, and quickly silenced his own backers who booed at their mention.

"You know what?" Romney said from the back of a pickup truck overlooking a blue-green vista of Lake Winnipesaukee and distant mountains. "They were courteous and respectful, and said, 'Good luck to you,' and 'Happy Fourth of July.'"

Morgan Little in the Washington bureau contributed to this report.

They are both liars!!!!


FACT CHECK: Romney, Obama both misstate facts about new law

by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar - Jul. 4, 2012 08:02 PM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama promises nothing will change for people who like their health coverage, except that it will become more affordable. But the facts don't back him up.

Mitt Romney groundlessly calls the health-care law a slayer of jobs certain to deepen the national debt.

Welcome to the health-care debate 2.0. As the claims fly, buyer beware.

After the Supreme Court upheld the law last week, Obama stepped forward to tell Americans what good will come from it. Romney was quick to lay out the harm. But some of the evidence they gave to the court of public opinion was suspect.

A look at their claims and how they compare with the facts:

Check 1: The insured

Obama: "If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance. This law will only make it more secure and more affordable."

Romney: "Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep."

The facts: Nothing in the law ensures that people happy with their policies now can keep them. Employers will continue to have the right to modify coverage or even drop it, and some are expected to do so as more insurance alternatives become available to the population under the law. Nor is there any guarantee that coverage will become cheaper, despite the subsidies many people will get.

Americans may well end up feeling more secure about their ability to obtain and keep coverage once insurance companies can no longer deny, terminate or charge more for coverage for those in poor health. But particular health-insurance plans will have no guarantee of ironclad security. Much can change, including the cost.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the number of workers getting employer-based coverage could drop by several million, as some workers choose new plans in the marketplace or as employers drop coverage altogether. Companies with more than 50 workers would have to pay a fine for terminating insurance, but in some cases that would be cost-effective for them.

Obama's soothing words for those who are content with their current coverage have been heard before, rendered with different degrees of accuracy. He's said nothing in the law requires people to change their plans, true enough. But the law does not guarantee the status quo for anyone, either.

So where does Romney come up with 20 million at risk of losing their current plans?

He does so by going with the worst-case scenario in the budget office's analysis. Researchers thought it most likely that employer coverage would decline by 3 million to 5 million, but the range of possibilities was broad: It could go up by as much as 3 million or down by as much as 20 million.

Check 2: Implications for the national debt

Romney: After saying the new law cuts Medicare by $500 billion and raises taxes by a like amount, he adds: "And even with those cuts and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt and pushes those obligations onto coming generations."

The facts: In its most recent complete estimate, in March 2011, the Congressional Budget Office said the new health-care law would actually reduce the federal budget deficit by $210 billion over the next 10 years. In the following decade, the law would continue to reduce deficits by about one-half of 1 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, the office said.

The congressional budget scorekeepers acknowledged their projections are "quite uncertain" because of the complexity of the issue and the assumptions involved, which include the assumption that all aspects of the law are implemented as written. But the CBO assessment offers no backup for Romney's claim that the law "adds trillions to our deficits."

Check 3: Insurance rebates

Obama: "And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses and not enough on your health care."

The facts: Rebates are coming, but not nearly that many Americans are likely to get those checks, and for many of those who do, the amount will be decidedly modest.

The government acknowledges it does not know how many households will see rebates in August from a provision of the law that makes insurance companies give back excess money spent on overhead instead of health-care delivery. Altogether, the rebates that go out will benefit nearly 13 million people. But most of the benefit will be indirect, going to employers, because they cover most of the cost of insurance provided in the workplace.

Employers can plow all the rebate money, including the workers' share, back into the company's health plan or pass along part of it.

The government says about 4 million people who are due rebates live in households that purchased coverage directly from an insurance company, not through an employer, and experts say those households are the most likely to get a rebate check directly.

The government says the rebates have an average value of $151 per household. But employers, who typically pay 70 to 80 percent of premiums, are likely to get most of that.

Check 4: Tax increases and penalties

Romney: "Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion."

The facts: The tax increases fall heavily on upper-income people, health-insurance companies, drugmakers and medical-device manufacturers.

People who fail to obtain health insurance as required by the law will face a tax penalty, although that's expected to hit relatively few because the vast majority of Americans have insurance, and many who don't will end up getting it. Also, a 10 percent tax has been imposed on tanning-bed use as part of the health-care law. There are no other across-the-board tax increases in the law, although some tax benefits such as flexible savings accounts are scaled back. Of course, higher taxes on businesses can be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

Individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000 will pay 0.9 percent more in Medicare payroll tax and a 3.8 percent tax on investments. As well, a tax on high-value insurance plans starts in 2018.

Check 5: Adults younger than 26

Obama: "Because of the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parents' health-care plans, a provision that's already helped 6 million young Americans."

The facts: Obama is overstating this benefit of his health law, and his own administration knows better. The Department of Health and Human Services, in a June 19 news release, said 3.1 million young adults would be uninsured were it not for the new law. Obama's number comes from a June 8 survey by the Commonwealth Fund, a health-policy foundation. It said 6.6 million young adults joined or stayed on their parents' health plans who wouldn't have been able to, absent the law. But that number includes some who switched to their parents' plans from other coverage, Commonwealth Fund officials told the Los Angeles Times.

Check 6: A job killer?

Romney: "Obamacare is a job-killer."

The facts: The CBO estimated in 2010 that the law would reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by roughly half a percent.

But that's mostly because the law will give many the opportunity to retire, stay at home with family or switch to part-time work, since they can get health insurance more easily outside of their jobs. That voluntary retreat from the workforce, made possible by the law's benefits, is not the same as employers slashing jobs because of the law's costs, as Romney implies.

The law's penalties on employers who don't provide health insurance might cause some companies to hire fewer low-wage workers or to hire more part-timers instead of full-time employees, the budget office said. But the main consequence would still be from more people choosing not to work.

Apart from the budget office and other disinterested parties that study the law, each side uses research sponsored by interest groups, often slanted, to buttress its case. Romney cites a Chamber of Commerce online survey in which nearly three-quarters of respondents said the law would dampen their hiring.

The chamber strongly opposes the law, having run ads against it. Its poll was conducted unscientifically and is not a valid measure of business opinion.

More on the health-care debate, D 2-3

The state of care in Massachusetts Path murky for 30 million uninsured A tax, or penalty, or what? Q&A with ASU health-care expert

Obama admits he hasn't solved our problems!!!

Well as least Emperor Obama admits he hasn't solved any of Americas problems. But of course he wants you to vote for him again, because only HE can solve Americas problems in the next 4 years. Something which neither him nor Romney will do after one of them is elected.

Sadly the only thing folks in government can guarantee you is that they will steal your money and micromanage your life. But don't count on them to solve any of your problems.


Obama: 'Washington feels as broken as it did four years ago'

By Richard A. Serrano

July 15, 2012, 11:19 a.m.

WASHINGTON – As senior aides for President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney stepped up their political attacks, the president said he was frustrated that he had failed to change the toxic political atmosphere in Washington after he was elected in 2008.

“Washington feels as broken as it did four years ago,” Obama said Sunday in a taped interview on the “CBS This Morning” show.

“And if you asked me what is the one thing that has frustrated me most over the last four years, it’s not the hard work. It’s not the enormity of the decisions. It’s not the pace. It is that I haven’t been able to change the atmosphere here in Washington to reflect the decency and common sense of ordinary people – Democrats, Republicans and independents – who I think just want to see their leadership solve problems.”

He added, “There’s enough blame to go around for that.”

Yet on other Sunday talk shows his top supporters, along with those for former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, continued to argue whether the presumptive Republican nominee had a role in shipping jobs offshore when he was a businessman, and used lucrative tax loopholes unavailable to most Americans.

David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political strategist, said that when Romney ran Bain Capital, a Boston-based private equity firm, he was “involved in outsourcing” jobs and that he has shielded investments in offshore tax havens and kept a now-closed Swiss bank account.

“I’m not suggesting that based on what we know, he’s done anything illegal,” Axelrod said. “But what I am suggesting is that he's taken advantage of every single conceivable tax shelter and loophole that we can see.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) alleged that Romney is trying to distance himself from his record running Bain Capital because of mounting questions about whether the firm advised some companies to lay off U.S. employees and replace them with workers overseas.

“Why is Mitt running away from his company, Bain Capital, like a scalded cat?” the Senate majority whip asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Although Securities and Exchange Commission documents list Romney as CEO of Bain through 2002, Romney insisted in TV interviews last week that he had no active management role at the company after February 1999, when he left to run the Salt Lake City Olympics. Bain’s known involvement with companies that moved jobs overseas came after 1999.

Ed Gillespie, Romney’s campaign adviser, said on “Meet the Press” that outsourcing continues in the current U.S. economy partly because the Obama administration has imposed “excessive regulations” and has insisted on a high corporate tax rate.

He added that the political attacks against Romney’s business record were a “distraction” from more burning issues, like improving the U.S. economy.

“This president will say or do anything to keep the highest office in the land, even if it means demeaning the highest office in the land,” Gillespie said.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) echoed that charge. “This is not the 2008 Barack Obama we thought we were getting,” said Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and a potential Republican candidate for vice president. “This is not the candidate of hope and change.”

Rather, he said, “This is a candidate who is hoping to change the subject by attacking his opponent with attacks that have already been labeled by independent fact checkers as deceitful and untrue.”

As the campaign aides continued to spar, Obama said that if reelected, he hopes to shore up jobs, end the economic downturn, and give new hope for the middle class.

“The question right now for the American people is which vision, mine or Mr. Romney’s, is most likely to deliver for those folks, because that is where the majority of American people live,” he said.

Both candidates otherwise took the day off. Obama went golfing at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, while Romney attended church in Wolfeboro, N.H., with his wife Ann, his sons Josh and Matt and their children. He spent the day at his family retreat on nearby Lake Winnipesaukee.

Egyptians pelt Clinton motorcade with tomatoes

Hillary Clinton gets the welcome she deserves in Egypt!!


Egyptians pelt Clinton motorcade with tomatoes


By Arshad Mohammed and Marwa Awad

CAIRO (Reuters) - Protesters threw tomatoes and shoes at U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's motorcade on Sunday during her first visit to Egypt since the election of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

A tomato struck an Egyptian official in the face, and shoes and a water bottle landed near the armoured cars carrying Clinton's delegation in the port city of Alexandria.

A senior state department official said that neither Clinton nor her vehicle, which were around the corner from the incident, were struck by any of the projectiles.

Protesters chanted: "Monica, Monica", a reference to Former President Bill Clinton's extra-marital affair. Some chanted: "leave, Clinton", Egyptian security officials said.

It was not clear who the protesters were or what political affiliations they had. Protesters outside Clinton's hotel on Saturday night chanted anti-Islamist slogans, accusing the United States of backing the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power.

The assault on her motorcade came on a day Clinton spoke at the newly re-opened U.S. consulate in Alexandria, addressing accusations the United States, which had long supported former President Hosni Mubarak, of backing one faction or another in Egypt following his ouster last year.

"I want to be clear that the United States is not in the business, in Egypt, of choosing winners and losers, even if we could, which of course we cannot," Clinton said.

Clinton also met the country's top general, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, on Sunday to discuss Egypt's turbulent democratic transition as the military wrestles for influence with the new president.


The meeting came a day after she met Mursi, whose powers were clipped by the military days before he took office.

Mursi fired back by reinstating the Islamist-dominated parliament that the army leadership had disbanded after a court declared it void, deepening the stand-off before the new leader even had time to form a government.

The result has been acute political uncertainty as the various power centres try to find a way to get along in a country that still has no permanent constitution, parliament or government more than a year after Mubarak's downfall.

In their hour-long meeting, Clinton and Tantawi discussed Egypt's political transition and the military's "ongoing dialogue with President Mursi," a U.S. official travelling with Clinton said in an email brief.

"Tantawi stressed that this is what Egyptians need most now - help getting the economy back on track," the official said.

Clinton "stressed the importance of protecting the rights of all Egyptians, including women and minorities".

The talks also touched on the increasingly lawless Sinai region and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Speaking after the meeting, Tantawi said the army respected the presidency but would not be deterred from its role of "protecting" Egypt.

"The armed forces and the army council respects legislative and executive authorities," he said in a speech to troops in the city of Ismailia. "The armed forces would not allow anyone to discourage it from its role in protecting Egypt and its people."


Ties with the United States, which provides Egypt with an annual $1.3 billion in military aid, were strained this year when Egyptian judicial police raided the offices of several U.S.-backed non-governmental organisations on suspicion of illegal foreign funding and put several Americans on trial.

The spat ended when Egyptian authorities allowed the U.S. citizens and other foreign workers to leave the country.

During her speech, Clinton said: "When we talk about supporting democracy, we mean real democracy."

"To us real democracy means that every citizen has the right to live, work and worship as they choose, whether they are man or woman, Christian or Muslim."

"Real democracy means that no group or faction or leader can impose their will, their ideology, their religion, their desires on anyone else."

That was a message she is likely to have repeated in meetings on Sunday with women and Christians, both groups that fear their rights may be curtailed under a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government.

"She wanted, in very, very clear terms, particularly with the Christian group this morning, to dispel that notion and to make clear that only Egyptians can choose their leaders, that we have not supported any candidate, any party, and we will not," a senior U.S. official told reporters.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

No medical pot for PTSD, White House says

Emperor Obama is a drug war tyrant!!!


No medical pot for PTSD, White House says

by Patricia Kime - Jul. 18, 2012 10:31 AM

Military Times

WASHINGTON -- An effort to persuade the Obama administration to legalize marijuana for sufferers of post-traumatic stress has met with a sound rejection from the White House.

Responding to a petition signed by 8,258 people on the White House website, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske wrote last month that marijuana is not a "benign drug" and does not meet standards of safe or effective medicine.

"When the President took office, he directed all his policymakers to develop policies on science and research, not ideology or politics," Kerlikowske wrote.

The White House usually requires 25,000 signatures before it will respond to such petitions.

The "Allow United States Disabled Military Veterans Access To Medical Marijuana To Treat Their PTSD" petition was launched last year by former Air Force Sgt. Mike Krawitz, executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access.

Krawitz said he launched the drive partially out of concern that veterans sometimes risk losing their Veterans Affairs Department medical coverage if they are found to smoke pot.

"For many, cannabis not only treats PTSD, it's a lifesaver," Krawitz told Military Times in October.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes, but it remains illegal under federal law.

The Obama administration has held steadfast in enforcing federal laws applicable to medical marijuana production, sales and distribution. Kerlikowske said the administration maintains that marijuana use is associated with cognitive impairment, respiratory illnesses and addiction.

"We know from an array of treatment admission information and federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms," he wrote.

He added that the administration supports research on the phytochemicals in marijuana that might have medicinal value.

Politics - It's all hot air and BS!!!!

Most politicians will lie and says anything to get your vote.

Of course once elected they will keep all the promises they made to the special interest groups that helped them get elected and break all the promises they made to the voters that get in the way of helping the special interest groups that helped get them into power.


A vacuous squabble over outsourcing

Perhaps I’m just getting old and grumpy, but this presidential campaign seems particularly vacuous.

Take the squabble over outsourcing that has taken over the debate.

This sorry saga actually begins with Mitt Romney claiming that, under President Barack Obama, China has cleaned the United State’s clock in trade and he would get tough with it if elected.

Every presidential challenger since Bill Clinton has vowed to get tough with China if elected. And when elected, every one has turned into a pussycat.

If Romney is elected, it is to be expected, and hoped, that he would do the same. If Romney actual did what he says he would do regarding China, the U.S. manufacturing and retail sectors would openly revolt.

The reason tough-talking presidential candidates wilt when taking office is because there are too many large unintended consequences to the kind of aggressive action candidates without actual governing responsibilities can casually threaten on the campaign circuit. And because, more than any other country in the post-World War II era, China doesn’t care what the U.S. thinks. It’s not a country over which the U.S. has much influence or leverage.

Lately, Obama has been trying to make a very big deal of Bain Capital, which Romney founded and led, investing in companies that allegedly outsourced American jobs to foreign countries, including China.

There has been a lot of unproductive back and forth about whether Romney was calling the shots at Bain when these investments were made. But in a sane world, this would be a huge yawner.

Bain is an investment company. I can’t imagine there is a single U.S. investment firm that hasn’t made big bets in emerging markets. The growth in emerging markets was, and is, the economic trend of our time.

Nevertheless, the Obama campaign calls Romney the outsourcer-in-chief. Romney’s campaign responds that it’s really Obama, because of all the stimulus money that went to foreign firms and operations.

Now Obama is clutching a silly study that purportedly says that Romney’s corporate income tax reform would produce 800,000 jobs in foreign countries and none in the United States. That’s supposedly because Romney would eliminate U.S. taxes on foreign earnings for U.S. companies.

That happens to be the norm among developed countries. The United States stand virtually alone in taxing money not earned domestically. However, the U.S. defers the taxes as long as the money remains deployed in other countries, creating a disincentive for repatriating the earnings.

Romney’s proposal to eliminate taxation on foreign earnings is hardly unusual or extreme. In fact, Obama’s own debt commission recommended the same thing.

Instead, Obama proposes that a minimum tax be imposed on the foreign earnings of U.S. corporations irrespective of whether they are repatriated. In other words, he wants to put U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage in foreign markets. How that would create jobs in the United States is unclear, to put it generously. The evidence suggests that the success of U.S. firms in foreign markets creates domestic jobs.

The loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States has been a dislocating experience. One of the major bridges to the middle class for those without a college education has been eroded.

But blaming trade or those who invest in emerging markets is neither accurate nor productive.

The United States continues to make and export more stuff. Manufacturing exports have steadily grown at a healthy pace. Technology innovations simply allow us to do it with far fewer people. And our imports have grown even more rapidly than our exports.

That’s not surprising, since the U.S. has the most robust consumer market in the world. Nor is it likely to change, unless there is a significant restoration of a savings ethic in this country. Neither candidate is talking about that, however, since it temporarily would create slower (but more sustainable) GDP and job growth.

The emergence of a large, state-directed economy such as China in international trade and the dislocating effect of the loss of American manufacturing jobs are big issues.

The discussion of them in the presidential campaign is small.

Why gun lovers still fear President Obama


Why gun lovers still fear President Obama

by Darrem Samuelsohn - Jul. 19, 2012 06:51 AM


President Barack Obama hasn't done much of anything to curb Americans' gun rights.

Despite his 2008 campaign pledges, he hasn't pushed to reinstate the assault weapons ban. And he hasn't tried to force background checks on people who buy firearms from unlicensed dealers at gun shows.

In fact, he's barely said a word about guns during his presidency, other than urging "the beginning of a new discussion" on the issue after then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot.

But the National Rifle Association and many gun enthusiasts still deeply distrust and fear him.

The powerful gun rights group -- which is setting aside at least $40 million to defeat Obama in November -- claims he would gut the Second Amendment in his second term through a series of domestic or international moves that he's been hesitant to advance over the past three-plus years.

Gun and ammunition sales, which rocketed when Obama took office, are again on the rise as owners stockpile weaponry in part because they're afraid those won't be available if he wins reelection, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade group.

"He's his own stimulus plan for the gun industry," Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said.

"I get the [NRA] magazine. I think he's on the cover nine out of 10 times," added Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska).

There is no more dramatic illustration of gun owners' disdain for Obama than the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.

The NRA and its political allies have used the botched operation to rile up their base, claiming the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives purposefully allowed guns to land in the hands of Mexican drug cartels as a way for Obama to push new gun restrictions, including the assault weapons ban. The NRA scored the contempt vote in the House last month against Attorney General Eric Holder.

In 2008, the NRA went after Obama with a $15 million ad campaign aimed at gun enthusiasts in a dozen swing states, plus $25 million more for member communications about the election. A similar plan for the next four months is expected to revive Obama's four-year-old comment that Americans in rural and poor parts of the country "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion."

"A lot of people are still angry about that statement," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said.

The NRA has its 2008 campaign website and is ready for round two with a widely circulated flier listing "Ten Reasons Why Obama Is Bad News For The Second Amendment."

In an election likely to be decided by which candidate has a more energized base, conservatives say gun issues could have an outsized impact in critical swing states such as Colorado, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where the NRA has a large membership base.

"It's not the money. It's the message. Educated, pissed-off, angry gun owners vote. And that's what they do. Educate. Get them to the polls," said Richard Feldman, a former NRA lobbyist and president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association.

Gun rights enthusiasts are especially worried about the possibility of Supreme Court vacancies, saying that any additional Obama appointees could potentially overturn the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller ruling that affirmed an individual's rights to have gun in the home.

Obama's opponents also are on alert over U.N. negotiations scheduled to conclude at the end of July over a new treaty that could tighten controls on the international import, export and transfer of conventional arms.

Administration officials insist the accord would not undercut the Second Amendment or U.S. gun laws. Still, the lack of details has the right on edge. Conservative blogs have dedicated significant attention to the negotiations. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told the U.N. last week that the treaty must eliminate all references to civilian firearms.

Yet none of these issues approach the furor over Fast and Furious, the scandal Republicans say will help them at the polls after Obama invoked executive privilege to block the disclosure of some Justice Department documents.

Democratic Rep. Gerald Connolly, whose Northern Virginia district houses NRA headquarters, said the GOP-led investigation is a "cynical ploy to exploit a tragic death from a program whose antecedent was in the Bush administration."

"People view it as a really horrible screw-up for which people need to be held accountable when you have Brian Terry dead," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), referring to the U.S. Border Patrol agent killed in 2010.

The Conservative Caucus in an ad published Wednesday in the Washington Times offered a $100,000 reward to any whistleblower who can provide "Verifiable Evidence of White House Involvement" in Fast and Furious. "This is your opportunity to save yourself before Operation Fast & Furious comes crashing down like Watergate," the ad reads, offering a toll-free number.

GOP pollster Whit Ayres said Obama's record on Fast and Furious and other gun issues continues to resonate. He also cited an August 2010 survey he conducted for the NRA of 800 gun owners: 76 percent said the president was "anti-gun."

"That's about all you need to know about what gun owners think of the president and how energized they're likely to be," Ayres said. "I've rarely seen a politician rated more negatively by a large group of Americans than Barack Obama is among gun owners."

Obama has taken pains not to upset gun enthusiasts.

He has backed away from several of his 2008 campaign promises on the issue, including a repeal of a longstanding Republican-sponsored budget rider requiring the destruction of background check records and prohibiting the public disclosure of crime gun trace data. Obama hasn't pushed for legislation to close the so-called "gun show loophole" that permits unlicensed private firearm sellers to skip the background checks and reporting requirements that registered gun dealers must deal with.

The White House hasn't tried to reauthorize a Bill Clinton-era ban on semi-automatic assault weapons that lapsed during the George W. Bush administration.

Obama has even signed laws permitting Amtrak passengers to carry guns in their checked baggage and to carry loaded, concealed guns when visiting national parks and wildlife refuges.

Unlike Clinton, Obama hasn't sought major new gun laws in the wake of major acts of gun violence. After the January 2011 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that left six people dead and 13 others injured, including Giffords, Obama made no public address specifically on the issue of guns. Instead, he called for more rigorous enforcement of current gun laws in an Arizona Daily Star op-ed that reiterated his support for the Second Amendment as the Supreme Court-affirmed "law of the land."

"The fact is, almost all gun owners in America are highly responsible," Obama wrote. "They're our friends and neighbors. They buy their guns legally and use them safely, whether for hunting or target shooting, collection or protection. And that's something that gun-safety advocates need to accept. Likewise, advocates for gun owners should accept the awful reality that gun violence affects Americans everywhere, whether on the streets of Chicago or at a supermarket in Tucson."

Inside his administration, the word from up top is to stay away from gun talk. After Holder told reporters in February 2009 that the administration would push to reinstate the assault weapons ban, Rahm Emanuel, then White House chief of staff, sent a message to DOJ that Holder should "shut the f---- up" about guns, according to Newsweek special correspondent Daniel Klaidman's 2012 book "Kill or Capture."

Obama's caution has done little to placate gun-safety advocates.

In 2009, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gave Obama an "F" for his gun record. The group has met with Obama since, but it still is frustrated. "I can tell you we're very disappointed with his lack of leadership on this issue," Brady Campaign President Dan Gross said.

Democrats insist Obama isn't scared of the gun lobby. "Absolutely not," said Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz , chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and one of Giffords' closest friends.

Wasserman Schultz said Obama had "done a good job on guns" but insisted in an interview that his focus has rightly been on the economy.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a gun owner and tea party favorite, said Obama's support for the Second Amendment smells of politics. "He's focusing on pandering to voters and not splitting off votes," DeMint said. "He's going to stay away from gun rights. It's a loser for him if he goes one way or another. It splits his base. The less said the better is probably good for him politically. But those of us who've watched him know he's certainly not friendly to the Second Amendment."

Fears over Obama's intentions on guns seem to be driving more conservatives to become politically engaged than Mitt Romney's record on the issue.

In Romney's 1994 Senate campaign, he said he didn't line up with the NRA. As Massachusetts governor, he signed a state assault weapons ban but had backing from the gun lobby because it allowed people to appeal a denial of a gun permit. Romney also approved increasing gun license fees from $25 to $100, though he pressed Democratic lawmakers to raise it to $75.

As Romney prepared for his first presidential run in 2006, he signed up as a lifetime NRA member. During the 2008 campaign, he answered a debate question by saying he'd been hunting for "small varmints." He shared more about his outdoor exploits during another GOP debate in January when he talked about hunting for pheasant and elk during a trip in Montana.

In April, Romney told the annual NRA conference that Obama's Second Amendment attacks haven't come through the front door.

"The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly," Romney said. "Instead, they've been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it."

Romney warned the gun crowd to be mindful of Obama's Supreme Court picks, a point emphasized again this month by campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

"Governor Romney will protect the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, and he will appoint justices who will do the same," she said.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt defended the president's record on gun issues while challenging Romney over his own background. "The president's record makes clear that he supports and respects the Second Amendment, and we'll fight back against any attempts to mislead voters," LaBolt said. "Mitt Romney is going to have difficulty explaining why he quadrupled fees on gun owners in Massachusetts, then claimed falsely that he was a lifelong hunter in an act of shameless pandering. That varmint won't hunt."

Some Democrats and gun-safety advocates shrug off the NRA efforts, calling the group a wing of the GOP that doesn't have much political potency. After all, 11 of the 13 states that the group targeted with attack ads in 2008 still went for Obama.

"You're talking rabid far-right extremists who aren't going to vote for Obama for a number of issues," Gross said.

But Connolly said the NRA has influence over the political debate -- even if it lacks a solid record of knocking off Democrats.

"Sadly, what has taken hold here in Congress is that they are all-powerful and therefore you dare not cross them," Connolly said. The Republic is a member of the Politico network

Obama - Successful people owe their success to the government

Successful people owe their success to the government.

Yea, if you believe that I have some land I want to sell you in Florida.

This editorial by Michael Barone seems to say that Barack Obama thinks the only reason people are successful in America is because they received help from the government.

I suspect Obama knows that is a crock of BS. But then Obama uses that to justify the government's theft of successful people's income.

You know, if the government gave successful people the money, then it has the right to steal the money back. So I guess Emperor Obama thinks we are dumb enough to believe that justifies his governments stealing 90+ percent of rich people income.


Obama Believes Success Is a Gift From Government

Posted: July 19, 2012 in Featured, Political

Perhaps the rain made the teleprompter unreadable. That’s one thought I had on pondering Barack Obama’s comments to a rain-soaked rally in Roanoke, Va., last Friday.

Perhaps he didn’t really mean what he said. Or perhaps — as is often the case with people — when unanchored from a prepared text he revealed what he really thinks.

“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back,” he began, defending his policy of higher tax rates on high earners. “They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

In other words, Steve Jobs didn’t make Apple happen. It was the work of a teacher union member — er, great teacher — and the government agencies that paved I-280 and El Camino Real that made Apple happen.

High earners don’t deserve the money they make, Obama apparently thinks. It’s the gift of government, and they shouldn’t begrudge handing more of it back to government.

And that’s true, as he told Charlie Gibson of ABC News in 2008, even if those higher tax rates produce less revenue for the government, as has been the case with rate increases on capital gains. The government should take away the money as a matter of “fairness.”

The cynical might dismiss Obama’s preoccupation with higher tax rates as an instance of a candidate dwelling on one of his few proposals that tests well in the polls. Certainly he doesn’t want to talk much about Obamacare or the stimulus package.

Cynics might note that he spurned super-committee Republicans’ willingness last year to reduce tax deductions so as to actually increase revenue from high earners, without discouraging investment or encouraging tax avoidance as higher tax rates do.

But maybe Obama’s Captain-Ahab-like pursuit of higher tax rates just comes from a sense that no one earns success and that there’s no connection between effort and reward.

That kind of thinking also helps to explain the approach taken by Sen. Patty Murray in a speech at the Brookings Institution Monday. She wants a tax rate increase on high earners so badly she said she’d prefer raising everyone’s taxes next year to maintaining current rates.

Murray was first elected in 1992 as a state legislator who had been dismissed by a lobbyist as “just a mom in tennis shoes.” But in 20 years she’s become an accomplished appropriator and earmarker.

“Do no harm,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told members of Congress at a hearing yesterday, urging them to avoid the sharp spending cuts and tax rate increases scheduled for year’s end.

But Murray is threatening to do exactly that kind of harm. Those prattling about how irresponsible Republicans are might want to ponder her threat.

And to consider that Republicans remember what happened to the last Republican who agreed to such rate increases, George H.W. Bush in 1990. Seeking re-election in 1992, he won only 37 percent of the vote. Republicans won’t risk that again.

The Obama Democrats seem to believe that there’s no downside risk in threatening huge tax increases for everyone and in asserting that if you’re successful “someone else made that happen.”

But The Wall Street Journal’s Catherine McCain Nelson reported yesterday how affluent Denver suburbanites have soured on Obama. Obama tied John McCain 49 to 49 percent among voters over $100,000 income in 2008, but in NBC/WSJ polls this year they’ve favored Mitt Romney 50 to 44 percent.

Affluent voters trended Democratic over two decades on cultural issues. But economic issues dominate this year, and they may not appreciate Obama’s assertion that they don’t deserve what they’ve earned.

Did the state make you great?

More on Obama's nonsense that people are successful because of government!


Did the state make you great?

By Charles Krauthammer, Published: July 19

“If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

— Barack Obama,

And who might that somebody else be? Government, says Obama. It built the roads you drive on. It provided the teacher who inspired you. It “created the Internet.” It represents the embodiment of “we’re in this together” social solidarity that, in Obama’s view, is the essential origin of individual and national achievement.

To say that all individuals are embedded in and the product of society is banal. Obama rises above banality by means of fallacy: equating society with government, the collectivity with the state. Of course we are shaped by our milieu. But the most formative, most important influence on the individual is not government. It is civil society, those elements of the collectivity that lie outside government: family, neighborhood, church, Rotary club, PTA, the voluntary associations that Tocqueville understood to be the genius of America and source of its energy and freedom.

Moreover, the greatest threat to a robust, autonomous civil society is the ever-growing Leviathan state and those like Obama who see it as the ultimate expression of the collective.

Obama compounds the fallacy by declaring the state to be the font of entrepreneurial success. How so? It created the infrastructure — roads, bridges, schools, Internet — off which we all thrive.

Absurd. We don’t credit the Swiss postal service with the Special Theory of Relativity because it transmitted Einstein’s manuscript to the Annalen der Physik. Everyone drives the roads, goes to school, uses the mails. So did Steve Jobs. Yet only he created the Mac and the iPad.

Obama’s infrastructure argument is easily refuted by what is essentially a controlled social experiment. Roads and schools are the constant. What’s variable is the energy, enterprise, risk-taking, hard work and genius of the individual. It is therefore precisely those individual characteristics, not the communal utilities, that account for the different outcomes.

The ultimate Obama fallacy, however, is the conceit that belief in the value of infrastructure — and willingness to invest in its creation and maintenance — is what divides liberals from conservatives.

More nonsense. Infrastructure is not a liberal idea, nor is it particularly new. The Via Appia was built 2,300 years ago. The Romans built aqueducts, too. And sewers. Since forever, infrastructure has been consensually understood to be a core function of government.

The argument between left and right is about what you do beyond infrastructure. It’s about transfer payments and redistributionist taxation, about geometrically expanding entitlements, about tax breaks and subsidies to induce actions pleasing to central planners. It’s about free contraceptives for privileged students and welfare without work — the latest Obama entitlement-by-decree that would fatally undermine the great bipartisan welfare reform of 1996. It’s about endless government handouts that, ironically, are crowding out necessary spending on, yes, infrastructure.

What divides liberals and conservatives is not roads and bridges but Julia’s world, an Obama campaign creation that may be the most self-revealing parody of liberalism ever conceived. It’s a series of cartoon illustrations in which a fictional Julia is swaddled and subsidized throughout her life by an all- giving government of bottomless pockets and “Queen for a Day” magnanimity. At every stage, the state is there to provide — preschool classes and cut-rate college loans, birth control and maternity care, business loans and retirement. The only time she’s on her own is at her grave site.

Julia’s world is totally atomized. It contains no friends, no community and, of course, no spouse. Who needs one? She’s married to the provider state.

Or to put it slightly differently, the “Life of Julia” represents the paradigmatic Obama political philosophy: citizen as orphan child. For the conservative, providing for every need is the duty that government owes to actual orphan children. Not to supposedly autonomous adults.

Beyond infrastructure, the conservative sees the proper role of government as providing not European-style universal entitlements but a firm safety net, meaning Julia-like treatment for those who really cannot make it on their own — those too young or too old, too mentally or physically impaired, to provide for themselves.

Limited government so conceived has two indispensable advantages. It avoids inexorable European-style national insolvency. And it avoids breeding debilitating individual dependency. It encourages and celebrates character, independence, energy, hard work as the foundations of a free society and a thriving economy — precisely the virtues Obama discounts and devalues in his accounting of the wealth of nations.

Mitt Romney is a gun grabber just like Barack Obama!!!!

Sounds like Romney is a gun grabber just like Obama

"Romney signed a ban on assault weapons as Massachusetts governor. But as the presumptive Republican nominee, he now bills himself as the candidate who will protect gun owners' rights."

Jesus those crooks will say anything to get elected.

Last with a gun grabber like Romeny running for President how can the NRA support him over a true pro-gun candidate like the Libertarian candidate for President.


Obama, Romney views have evolved toward gun rights

Associated PressBy CONNIE CASS | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney both have softened their positions on gun restrictions over the years. As they expressed shock and sorrow over the bloodshed at a Colorado movie theater, neither suggested that tougher gun control could make a difference, a notion that has faded from political debate.

Romney signed a ban on assault weapons as Massachusetts governor. But as the presumptive Republican nominee, he now bills himself as the candidate who will protect gun owners' rights.

Obama called for reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons during his 2008 presidential campaign. But since his election, he hasn't sought to get that done or pushed other gun control proposals, either.

Neither man is likely to raise gun control as a campaign issue — beyond Romney's insistence that an Obama presidency is bad for gun owners. Both say they'll protect the Second Amendment right to bear arms. A look at the evolution of the candidates' positions and where they stand on guns:


1997-2004: As an Illinois state senator, Obama supports banning all forms of semiautomatic weapons and tighter state restrictions generally on firearms, including a failed effort to limit handgun purchases to one per month.

2005: In the U.S. Senate, Obama votes against protecting firearms makers and dealers from lawsuits over misuse of their products by others. The bill is signed into law by President George W. Bush.

2008: During his first presidential campaign, Obama supports a return to the federal ban on assault weapons, which began during the Clinton administration and expired under Bush. He also endorses requiring background checks for buyers at gun shows. The National Rifle Association attacks him as an anti-gun zealot — a stand the group continues to take today.

April 2008: Obama is criticized for elitism after sounding dismissive of gun owners in a talk to campaign donors. He said voters in struggling small towns in Middle America "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them" to explain their frustrations.

September 2008: Obama seeks to reassure gun owners: "I believe in people's lawful right to bear arms. ... There are some common-sense gun safety laws that I believe in. But I am not going to take your guns away." Nonetheless, gun sales go up when Obama wins, apparently because of fear that new restrictions are imminent under his administration.

2009: As president, Obama signs a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons in the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and other national parks and wildlife refuges and another that lets people carry guns in their checked bags on Amtrak trains.

2010: The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives Obama a grade of "F'' for failing to push even the gun restrictions he supported while campaigning.

2011: Obama says the shooting that severely wounded then-Rep. Gabriel Giffords, D-Ariz., and killed six people should lead to "a new discussion of how we can keep America safe for all our people." He calls for "sound and effective steps" to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, including strengthening background checks on gun buyers. But he's short on specifics, and the Obama administration hasn't proposed any new gun initiatives since then.

March 2012: Obama calls the fatal shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida "a tragedy," saying Americans should do some soul-searching and "examine the laws" to figure out why it happened. He hasn't called for any legal changes in response to the case, which mostly brought attention to some states' "stand your ground" laws making it easier for a shooter to claim self-defense. Indeed, most gun regulations are imposed by states. The primary federal law is the Brady law requiring background checks on firearms purchasers.

July 20: Obama says he's heartbroken by the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre and calls for Americans to unite in prayer for the victims: "If there's anything to take away from this tragedy it's the reminder that life is very fragile, our time here is limited and it is precious."

Asked whether the mass shooting should prompt a new review of gun laws, White House spokesman Jay Carney declines to comment beyond reiterating Obama's existing stance in support of "common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights of Americans, while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing law do not get them."



1994: In his unsuccessful challenge to liberal Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Romney sounds moderate on guns, supporting an assault weapons ban and insisting, "I don't line up with the NRA."

2002: Running for governor of Massachusetts, Romney says he supports and will protect the state's "tough gun laws." The NRA gives his Democratic opponent a higher rating on gun-rights issues and makes no endorsement in the race.

2003: As governor, Romney upsets gun owners by signing a law that quadruples the state's gun-licensing fee — from $25 to $100 — as part of a widespread effort to eliminate the budget deficit.

2004: Romney signs a Massachusetts ban on assault weapons. He mollifies many gun rights advocates by coupling it with looser rules on gun licenses and an extension of the duration of licenses, reducing the effect of the earlier fee increase.

2005: Declares May 7 as "Right to Bear Arms Day" in Massachusetts.

2006: As he prepares for his first presidential run, Romney becomes a lifetime NRA member.

2007: While campaigning, Romney declares he sometimes hunts "small varmints" — a comment ridiculed by some as an awkward attempt to pander to pro-gun voters.

2008: In a Republican primary debate, Romney says he would have signed the federal assault weapons ban if it came to his desk as president, but he opposes any new gun legislation.

2011: Making his second presidential bid, Romney's campaigns on a promise to protect and promote the Second Amendment.

2012: Romney tells gun owners that Obama wants to erode their rights. "We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners," Romney told the National Rifle Association's annual convention. "President Obama has not. I will."

July 20: Like Obama, Romney avoids talking politics on the day of the Aurora shooting. He says Americans are coming together in their sorrow: "There is something we can do. We can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy laden, and we can mourn with those who mourn in Colorado."

Rob Robb on "Did the state make you great?"

More on Obama's comment that successful people owe their success to the government.


Obama inadvertently frames campaign

From the political notebook:

* Barack Obama may have inadvertently framed the presidential campaign with remarks he made while campaigning in Virginia a little over a week ago.

In making his usual case that successful people haven’t become that way on their own, Obama used a formulation that will be endlessly repeated and parsed for the remainder of the political season. This is the official White House transcript of what he said:

“Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

There’s been more attention to the word “that” in that formulation than to any word since Bill Clinton pondered the deeper epistemological mystery of “is”.

Republicans pounced on the statement, claiming that the “that” refers to “business” and Obama was saying business owners didn’t build their own businesses.

I think that’s nonsense. From Obama’s delivery, the “that” pretty clearly refers to “roads and bridges” in the previous sentence.

But it doesn’t really matter. The entire riff was a denigration of the centrality of individual initiative in individual achievement. According to Obama, people don’t succeed because they are smart and hardworking. That’s not what distinguishes those who succeed from those who don’t. He said that pretty plainly.

Now, there’s a certain amount of truism to what Obama is saying. Individuals do depend on living and working within a system in which individual initiative can matter. And that system is, for the most part, collectively provided through government. But it’s fatuous for him to suggest this is something that somehow divides the parties.

The Ryan budget would increase federal spending from $3.6 trillion to $4.9 trillion over 10 years. At the end of the 10 years, federal spending would still be 20 percent of GDP. That’s still a whole lot of collective providing.

But it’s becoming increasingly clear that Obama believes that what we do collectively is at least as important to our success as what we do individually, perhaps more so.

That’s not the way Americans have historically viewed themselves or their country. Downplaying the role of individual initiative in individual achievement goes against our grain.

This could be a very big deal.

* I doubt that Republicans are going to get very far in their efforts to convince judges to invalidate the redistricting maps adopted by the Independent Redistricting Commission. But they have produced some very strong circumstantial evidence that the lines were finagled to favor Democrats.

All districts are supposed to have the same population. On the congressional map, the IRC hit the mark on the button. For the legislative map, there were some substantial deviations and there was a distinct pattern to the deviations.

Of the 12 districts with less than the average in population, 10 have a Democratic plurality in registration. Of the 18 districts that are overpopulated, 16 have a Republican plurality.

So, the effect of the population deviations is to stuff more Republicans in Republican districts, advantaging Democrats in the remainder.

The IRC in its court response claims this is to create more districts where Latinos can influence the outcome. The Republican statistical analysis, however, convincingly disputes this, leaving the partisan effect as the primary outcome.

The map still tilts Republican, which is inevitable so long as the Voting Rights Act requires racial gerrymandering. But the Democratic pickup from the population deviations could amount to 3,000 votes or so in some districts.

Courts tend to turn a blind eye to finagling the lines for partisan advantage so long as minority voting strength isn’t weakened in the process.

But the partisan effect of the population deviations makes the IRC’s claim of political neutrality hard to accept.

* In ordering Secretary of State Ken Bennett to process the signatures for the sales tax initiative, Judge Robert Oberbillig reportedly said that the case was “silly.” That suggests a judge that didn’t seriously consider the important legal issue at stake. Bennett owes it to the state to appeal to some judges who might.

State law requires that, before an initiative is circulated, proponents fill out an application provided by the Secretary of State that includes the text of the initiative. The application is only available in paper form. Proponents of the sales tax initiative filled out that paper form and included a paper copy of the text of the initiative.

They also gave the Secretary of State an electronic version of the initiative that differed materially. They then circulated the electronic version rather than the version that was officially filed in compliance with state law.

According to Oberbillig, Bennett should have just ignored the version that was filed with the paper application. He cited no constitutional or statutory authority for Bennett to do so.

Whether an official text of an initiative has to be filed before being circulated and what constitutes the official text aren’t silly matters.

Obama using the Colorado murders to get reelected in 2012?

Vote for me, because those Colorado murders have made me much sadder then they will ever make Mitt Romney. Or at least that what I suspect the Obama line of BS will sound like.


Obama mourns with Colorado community looking for answers

By Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY

AURORA, Colo. – President Obama visited Sunday with families of the victims of the movie-theater massacre and some of the survivors as the suburban community mourned its losses and investigators tried to find a motive for one of the worst cases of gun violence in U.S. history.

President Obama speaks Sunday at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo., following a visit with victims and family members of Friday's shootings.

"Words are always inadequate in these kinds of situations, but my main task is to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know we are thinking about them and will continue to think about them each and every day," Obama said. "The awareness that not only all of America but much of the world is thinking of them might serve as some comfort.''

Obama went to the University of Colorado hospital here, where 23 of the 70 victims were treated. He praised a "magnificent'' effort by local police and singled out the story of one young woman's heroic action to stop a wounded friend's bleeding as the gunman continued firing.

Twelve people were killed and 58 more were injured in the attack inside a crowded movie theater. Police Chief Dan Oates said the man being held in the shooting, James Holmes, 24, was not cooperating with authorities. "He lawyered up. He's not talking to us," Oates said.

A recent dropout from a neuroscience graduate program, Holmes has been assigned a public defender. He is scheduled to make an initial court appearance today.

Holmes, taken into custody outside the theater early Friday morning, is being held without bond in solitary confinement on suspicion of multiple counts of first-degree murder.

Oates said it may take months for police, FBI and behavioral analysts to determine a motive for the bloody rampage in a theater filled for a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

In San Diego, where Holmes graduated from high school, Jerry Borgie, pastor at Peñasquitos Lutheran Church, recalled Holmes as "a little on the shy side."

"I don't think that he had a lot of friends,'' Borgie said.

"It's sickening that somebody could just do that," said Brian Pettee, 35, who attended an evening vigil for the victims with his son Austin, 14. It was held at Aurora Municipal Center, within sight of the theater.

Obama uses shooting to get reelected???


Obama visits Colorado to console victims' families

Jul. 22, 2012 03:13 PM

Associated Press

AURORA, Colo. -- President Barack Obama arrived in Colorado to deal with the horror of the movie theater massacre in in person Sunday, making a brief stop in a shattered town to comfort families of the victims senselessly gunned down while viewing a blockbuster movie.

Air Force One touched down late Sunday afternoon at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, where two of the shooting victims were stationed.

The impossible-to-understand killings -- apparently the work of an unhinged former doctoral student -- briefly silenced the presidential campaign over the weekend. Both Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney cut short their schedules late last week and closed down their television advertising in Colorado out of respect for the victims and their families.

"We need to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.

The president planned just a brief visit to Aurora -- a bit under 2 1/2 hours -- during which he was also scheduled to meet with local officials in the Denver suburb, where the shots rang out at a multiplex theater early Friday. Twelve of the victims died, 58 were injured.

"I think the president coming in is a wonderful gesture," said Aurora's mayor, Steve Hogan. "He's coming in, really, to have private conversations with the families. I think that's totally appropriate."

Hogan told ABC television's "This Week" that it "certainly means a lot to Aurora to know that the president cares."

After the Colorado stop, Obama is flying to San Francisco, where on Monday he'll begin a previously scheduled three-day campaign trip that includes a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nevada, multiple fundraisers in California, Oregon and Washington state, and a speech to the National Urban League convention in New Orleans.

Aides said Obama received updates Saturday from his homeland security adviser, John Brennan, on the investigation into the shooting and the attempts by authorities to gain access to the suspect's apparently booby-trapped apartment.

For Obama, the Colorado visit was to be his second to the state in just over three weeks. Last month, he flew to Colorado Springs to share the pain of homeowners whose houses had been turned to charred heaps by a record outbreak of wildfires.

Obama and Romney used previously scheduled campaign appearances on Friday to focus attention on the need for national unity in the aftermath of the shootings. Their campaign teams rescheduled Sunday television news show appearances by top aides and surrogates, essentially providing a break in what has been an increasingly negative campaign.

The Colorado rampage injected a new tone into the campaign after Obama and Romney had clashed repeatedly over the economy, health care programs for the elderly, and the Republican candidate's tax returns.

Obama was set to start his second day of events in Florida when the shootings occurred, prompting his team to address the violence at a previously scheduled rally in Fort Myers, Florida, and scrapping an event in suburban Orlando. Obama told supporters in Fort Myers that the shootings served as a "reminder that life is very fragile."

"Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it's not the trivial things," he said. "Ultimately, it's how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another."

Romney echoed Obama's call for unity, saying at a previously scheduled event in Bow, New Hampshire, that he joined with the president and first lady in offering condolences for those "whose lives were shattered in a few moments, a few moments of evil in Colorado."

"The answer is that we can come together. We will show our fellow citizens the good heart of the America we know and love," Romney said.

Yet, beyond the calls for a higher purpose, the shootings could raise the profile of gun rights in the presidential campaign, an issue which has played a minor role so far.

As a senator, Obama voted to leave gun makers and dealers open to civil lawsuits, and as an Illinois state lawmaker he supported a ban on all forms of semiautomatic weapons and tighter state restrictions generally on firearms.

Following the killing of six people and wounding of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, in 2011, Obama called for a series of steps to "keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place."

Among those steps was a better federal background check system. The administration said Friday that it has indeed improved the amount and quality of information poured into that system, allowing background checks to be more thorough.

But the administration has offered no detailed, public explanation of how it is following up on all of Obama's previous promises, and it had no comment about any need for new legislation.

Romney backed some gun control measures when he was governor of Massachusetts. When he challenged Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in 1994 he declared, "I don't line up with the NRA." In April, Romney told the National Rifle Association, an influential lobbying group representing gun owners, he was a guardian of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That amendment guarantees the right to bear arms.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the Republican candidate believes that the "best way to prevent gun violence is to vigorously enforce our laws."

Obama shovels the BS in Oakland!!!!


Obama stirs supporters, protesters in East Bay

By Josh Richman and Matthew Artz

Posted: 07/23/2012 07:52:00 PM PDT

OAKLAND -- President Barack Obama told about 2,000 adoring supporters he needs a second term to finish delivering on his promises of restoring the American dream for all. [Obama didn't come thru on any of the things he promised during his first campaign, I doubt if we can believe that he will keep any promises he makes now!!!]

"This country was not built from the top down, it was built from the middle class up," he said at Oakland's Fox Theater. "That's how we became the most prosperous nation in the history of this world. That's the path you can choose in this election. And that's why I'm running for a second term as president." [Sorry this country was build by hard working honest people, despite the crooked politicians in the government.]

Supporters paid from $100 to $7,500 each to attend the event, which was the third of three fundraisers he did Monday in the East Bay.

"Frankly, the other side knows they can't sell their ideas, so what they're going to try to do is distort my vision," he said, calling Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney out by name for recent efforts to twist Obama's words about small businesses. [Give me a break, Romney is just as much of a crook as Obama]

"I believe the free market is the greatest source of prosperity in our history," but any business owner will also tell you success requires workers with the right skills and education, and a strong middle class that can buy products and services, Obama said. [Sounds like a repeat of Obama's line that successful people owe their success to government bureaucrats]

"Mr. Romney's plan is to gut these investments just so he can give more tax breaks to millionaires and those who are shipping jobs overseas," he said. "I've got to tell you, Oakland, he is dead wrong.

"There's only one way to grow our economy for the long run. That's what I'm fighting for," Obama said. "I'm running because I believe you can't reduce the deficit ... without asking folks like me who've been incredibly blessed to give up the tax breaks we've enjoyed for a decade.

"I'm running because after a decade of war, it's time to do some nation-building here at home," he said. [Of course Obama didn't mention he is responsible for 3 of those years of war. Nor did Obama say that he is almost a carbon copy clone of Bush who started those wars]

"I told you in 2008 that I wasn't a perfect man and I wouldn't be a perfect president ... but that I would wake up every single day fighting as hard as I can to make your lives a little bit better, because I saw myself in you," he said. "And Oakland, I have kept that promise every day ... I have been thinking about you and fighting as hard as I know how." [Huh??? I though that back in 2008 both Obama and McCain claimed to be the perfect candidates for President who would rescue us from the other guy who was Satan? Like they always claim.]

Obama earlier had addressed about 60 supporters who had paid $35,800 each to attend dinner at the Piedmont home of attorney/activist Quinn Delaney and real estate developer Wayne Jordan; Jordan is among the president's foremost fundraising "bundlers." [OK, now we get to the meat of this article. It's all about MONEY]

There, the president had said the GOP platform calls for tax cuts for the rich and stripping away regulations from Wall Street and corporate polluters. "It's a theory we've tested for a decade and it didn't work."

"This debate plays itself out across the board, on almost every issue," he said, noting that because California isn't a battleground state, many in the audience haven't seen the attack ads that are flying back and forth elsewhere in the country. "I'm comfortable that the American people will make the right choice.

"Americans are strong and they're resilient and they're optimistic about their futures and their kids' futures," he said, although they know of and are concerned about dysfunction in Washington, D.C., and a sluggish economy. "All they want to see is that their leadership shows the same decency and common sense that they try to apply every day in their own lives." [Yea, and were are we going to get that? In the 200+ years of American government we have had noting but a bunch of crooks and thieves in Washington D.C.]

Among those in the dinner crowd were: Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; former state Controller and major Obama supporter Steve Westly; prominent Bay Area attorneys Bob Van Nest and Steve Kazan; founder and Alta Partners co-founder Garrett Gruener; philanthropists and cleantech investors Jim and Gretchen Sandler; and real estate investment manager Dorine Streeter.

Obama's visit stirred both his most ardent supporters and fiercest foes. Hundreds of medical cannabis advocates, angry over a recent federal crackdown on dispensaries, marched through downtown Oakland, passing equally thick crowds of Obama fans waiting in line to get into the Fox. [Which reminds me one of the promises Obama broke in his first term was the one to stop jailing medical marijuana patients. And allow gay marriage!]

Medical cannabis advocates are angry with the president for allowing federal prosecutors to shut down dispensaries across California after he had pledged during his first campaign not to target the industry in states where it is legal.

In April, agents raided the Oakland properties of former Oaksterdam University Chief Richard Lee, who bankrolled a failed 2010 state proposition to legalize cannabis. Two weeks ago, prosecutors moved to shut down Oakland's Harborside Health Center, the nation's largest dispensary.

Obama supporters paid little attention to the protesters as they lined up on Broadway to get into the Fox. "It means a lot that the president has come to Oakland where I live and not up in the hills where the millionaires are," Mada Hudson said.

By early evening, most of the cannabis protesters had departed, and more than 100 demonstrators with Occupy Oakland and various anti-war groups had amassed one block from the theater at 19th and Broadway. Several of the protesters covered their faces, and many were standing in Broadway, blocking traffic. They marched to 20th and Telegraph Avenue and later dispersed after the crowd left the Fox Theater.

After traveling to Colorado on Sunday, Obama flew to spend the night at San Francisco's InterContinental Hotel. He flew to Reno on Monday morning for a previously scheduled event, and arrived back at Oakland International Airport at 2:34 p.m.

"This is the first time the president has come to the East Bay, and he told us that he would come, and he acted on his promise," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said, greeting the president at the airport. "This is Obama country; we love him and support him."

The president's motorcade then brought him to the Scottish Rite temple near Lake Merritt for a round-table with about 25 tech leaders, for which tickets cost $35,800 a person; reporters weren't allowed into this event. He went from there to the Piedmont dinner.

Secret Service tells Newport Beach to take a hike!!!


Secret Service won't pay Newport Beach for police at Obama event

By Mike Reicher, Los Angeles Times

July 30, 2012, 2:30 a.m.

A Secret Service official said Newport Beach city administrators are asking the wrong people to pay for police protection at presidential campaign events.

It's the service that is responsible for the candidates' security, not the campaigns, said Max Milien, an agency spokesman. Any cost concerns should be directed to the agency.

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff billed the campaigns of President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney for police security at their separate fundraisers this year in the city.

Now that the Romney campaign paid its bill, the city is left in the awkward position of trying to collect from Obama.

"We cannot reimburse any agencies," Milien said. "We make that clear from Day 1."

Milien explained that an advance team works with local law enforcement to plan road closures and other measures before a candidate's visit. If the local agency cannot afford to pay for extra security or overtime, the local officials should inform the Secret Service ahead of time, he said.

In that case, Milien said, the Secret Service would seek help from other law enforcement groups — county or state police, for example, who would not charge for the service.

"There is adequate time if an agency cannot assist us and is strapped for manpower," he said, adding that the Secret Service does not have the budget for that type of expense.

Kiff says the Police Department did raise the issue with the Secret Service before the president's visit.

"At that time, our staff was told that the Secret Service would not reimburse the city," Kiff wrote in an email, "and that we should check with the president's campaign or the DNC."

The Romney campaign paid its bill last week, about a month after the city sent its invoice. The Obama bill, on the other hand, was sent in May and has not been paid.

City spokeswoman Tara Finnigan said the city's billing system would be sending past-due notices.

About three weeks ago, the Democratic National Committee contacted the city and told officials to deal with the Secret Service.

The DNC and the Republican National Committee split their Newport Beach event proceeds with the respective campaigns.

"Any local law enforcement organization contacted by the Secret Service to assist in security should discuss matters related to costs and how to effectively manage those costs with the Secret Service," DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell wrote in an email Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Kiff would like the issue to go away.

"I am very tired of this story, but it will have legs again," Kiff wrote in an email to the City Council after the Orange County Register inquired about the Romney campaign's payment.

The city was "honored" to have the president in town, Kiff said, but he viewed the campaign fundraisers as private events.

"Had this been a 'business trip' — if the president came to Newport Beach to talk about one of his policies with our residents — the city would not have sent an invoice," he wrote in an email.

Newport Beach is in strong fiscal shape, with about $98 million in reserves.

The city's Finance Department recently emailed the Obama campaign a reminder about the bill instead of turning to the Secret Service, Finnigan said. City administrators did not return messages asking about their next steps.

Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, a Republican, said, "It's the city's intention to apply its usual policies and send the bill to collections."

Obama spoke at a private home in Corona del Mar in February, and Romney held his May fundraiser at the Balboa Bay Club. The $35,000 bill for Obama was more than three times as much as Romney's. Kiff said the difference was due to the added street closures and additional security requirements for the president.

Costa Mesa police did not bill the Romney campaign for an event this week because it did not require additional police personnel, city spokesman Bill Lobdell said.

"Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" the Obama version?

Remember in the 2008 election when we made fun of war monger and Presidential candidate John McCain for singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" to the tune of a Beach Boys song.

Sadly Emperor Obama has turned out to be just as much of a war monger as John McCain and in fact in this article President Obama may very well end up bombing Iran.


Panetta, in Israel visit, stresses that U.S. military action against Iran remains an option

By Greg Jaffe, Updated: Wednesday, August 1, 7:30 AM

ASHKELON, Israel — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta stressed Wednesday that if economic sanctions do not compel Iran to end its nuclear program, the United States would have to consider military options to destroy it.

Panetta’s repeated emphasis on pursuing other options if diplomacy fails did not mark a change in policy but gave his remarks a harder edge than his previous statements.

Iran’s quest to possess nuclear technology: Iran said it has made advances in nuclear technology, citing new uranium enrichment centrifuges and domestically made reactor fuel.

His comments came amid deepening concern that Israel could launch a unilateral strike on Iran. They followed a series of visits to Israel by senior Obama administration officials, who are pressing the Israelis to give economic sanctions more time to persuade the Iranians to give up their nuclear ambitions.

Panetta described the recently imposed economic sanctions as “the toughest Iran has ever faced” and insisted they were working. “The most effective way to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is for the international community to be united, proving to Iran that it will only make itself less secure if it continues to try to pursue a nuclear weapon,” he said.

The defense secretary’s statements also come as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is making the Obama administration’s policy toward Iran a campaign issue. During his visit to Israel this week, Romney used sharp language, saying that “any and all measures” should be considered to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Panetta appeared with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at a jointly funded U.S.-Israeli anti-rocket battery in southern Israel, then met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Even as Panetta emphasized the Obama administration’s deep opposition to Iran’s nuclear program and the United States’ close partnership with Israel, the differences in the American and Israeli views regarding the need for urgent military action were clear.

Barak told reporters that the likelihood of sanctions curbing Iranian nuclear ambitions is “very, extremely low” and suggested that the Iranians were stalling for time as they moved quickly to enrich the uranium they would need for a nuclear weapon.

“We have clearly something to lose by this stretch of time on which sanctions and diplomacy takes place because the Iranians are moving forward,” he said, standing next to Panetta.

Netanyahu reiterated that message in a brief statement after his meeting with Panetta. “However forceful our statements, they have not convinced Iran that we are serious about stopping them,” Netanyahu said. “Right now, the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program. This must change quickly, because the time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out.”

In remarks that appeared designed to increase pressure on the Iranians and reassure the Israelis, Panetta said repeatedly that the United States had developed military options to thwart the Iranian nuclear program if sanctions fail.

“We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Period,” Panetta said after his meeting with Netanyahu. “And we will exert all options in the effort to ensure that that does not happen.” In his appearance with the Israeli defense minister, Panetta said it was his responsibility to “provide the president with a full range of options, including military options, should diplomacy fail.”

Unlike the U.S. military, the Israel Defense Forces do not have tankers capable of refueling warplanes in flight, nor is Israel’s arsenal of bunker-busting bombs thought to be as effective as that of the United States at taking out deeply buried targets. Those shortcomings could limit the effectiveness of any unilateral action by the Israelis against the Iranian nuclear program.

Panetta spent the morning touring an anti-rocket battery developed by the Israelis with the assistance of the United States and more than $200 million in U.S. aid. Last week, President Obama pledged an additional $70 million to help Israel bolster the Iron Dome system, which is designed to shoot down short-range rockets from Gaza and Lebanon. Panetta called the system a “game changer” for the Israelis and said it had shot down more than 80 percent of the rockets fired in recent months at Israeli cities.

The anti-rocket system would not be effective against longer-range Iranian missiles, which can be countered only with more sophisticated theater missile-defense systems.

A unilateral Israeli strike on the Iranian program would be likely to trigger large reprisal strikes by Iran against Israel and U.S. targets in the Middle East. There would be intense pressure on the Obama administration to provide for Israel’s defense.

Panetta’s quick tour of the Iron Dome system was designed to highlight the close partnership between Israel and the United States.

“This is the strongest alliance that we have . . . and we will continue to strengthen the military relationship,” Panetta said.

Obama administration doesn't to live up to its transparency promise???

Sounds like President Obama is just as much of a police state thug as President Bush was.


Obama administration struggles to live up to its transparency promise, Post analysis shows

By James Ball, Friday, August 3, 8:25 AM

In its first year, the Obama administration vowed an increase in transparency across government, including through the Freedom of Information Act; the proactive release of documents; and the establishment of a new agency to declassify more than 370 million pages of archived material.

Three years later, new evidence suggests that administration officials have struggled to overturn the long-standing culture of secrecy in Washington. Some of these high-profile transparency measures have stalled, and by some measures the government is keeping more secrets than before.

Media organizations and individuals requesting information under FOIA last year were less likely to receive the material than in 2010 at 10 of the 15 Cabinet-level departments, according to an analysis of annual reports of government agencies by The Washington Post.

The federal government was more likely last year than in 2010 to use the act’s exemptions to refuse information. And the government overall had a bigger backlog of requests at the end of 2011 than at the start, due largely to 30,000 more pending requests to the Department of Homeland Security.

The FOIA went into effect in 1967 to provide public access to undisclosed, unclassified federal government information. The law requires the information to be released unless the government determines that it can be withheld under one of nine exemptions.

The Post’s analysis of the handling of FOIA requests comes as the administration and Congress are trying to exert new control over access to government information. A Senate committee last week approved tough legislation aimed at stopping leaks of classified information, and the administration has prosecuted six cases against government employees accused of misusing secret information.

The trends appear to run against the direction set out by the president in the earliest days of his government. On his first full day in office, Jan. 21, 2009, President Obama issued a presidential memo on freedom of information, telling agencies: “The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails.”

The early results seemed promising. In 2010, response rates to FOIA requests increased and the use of exemptions to refuse requests fell. Federal departments also reduced the backlog of pending requests.

Since then, the Post analysis shows, progress has stalled and, in the case of most departments, reversed in direction. The analysis showed that the number of requests denied in full due to exemptions rose more than 10 percent last year, to 25,636 from 22,834 the previous year.

Similarly, the pledge to declassify archived material has run into major delays. The National Declassification Center (NDC) was established by the president in December 2009 to review and declassify 371 million pages of material by December 2013.

In its latest progress report, issued last month, the center said that it had completed the review process for 51.1 million pages, less than 14 percent of the total. Of that number, 41.8 million pages were made available to researchers and the public.

The center’s director, Sheryl Senberger, acknowledged in an interview that it will have “issues” meeting the 2013 deadline. She blamed legal complexities and a lack of resources at some agencies.

“I don’t like to admit defeat, so I really absolutely must not say that we will not meet the deadline,” she said. “I would prefer to say that we’re going to show great progress, and we will absolutely accomplish certain steps in our progress. But if a person only associates accomplishment of the goal with all 372 million pages made available to the public — no. ”

Senberger said one reason for the delay is funding. Spending last year on declassification across the government, excluding intelligence agencies, was $52.8 million, according to the Information Security Oversight Office, the federal agency that oversees the classification system. That was less than 1 percent of the budget for classifying material, which rose 12 percent year-on-year to $11.36 billion.

Indeed, while the declassification effort appears certain to miss its deadline, the volume of material being classified jumped 20 percent last year. The oversight office cited better record-keeping as a reason for the increases of recent years.

Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said The Post analysis on FOIA shows that the administration “can be credited or blamed for agency performance only up to a certain point, and no further.”

“It’s all part of a larger picture that warrants attention,” he said. “The NDC piece of it is particularly noteworthy as they were assigned a job by the president, and it looks like they’re not going to complete it, which is a shocking development, or it ought to be.”

Others were more critical. Hina Shamsi, director of the National Security Project for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the administration has failed to live up to its promises to deliver transparent government.

“I think that in the first months President Obama and his administration took some very important and historic steps to provide transparency,” she said. “The reality is that governments generally have a tendency to secrecy, and after initially pledging a new era of transparency, the Obama administration has backtracked in critically important areas. . . . I think it has sent a message through government into the country that is quite disturbing about valuing secrecy in the national security context over transparency.”

Shamsi added: “We recognize that there are genuine instances in which secrecy is both legitimate and necessary. . . . But claims that are too broad in their sweep undermine the very system itself.”

Porn star Jenna Jameson supporting Romney

I wonder did Jenna give Romney any special campaign contributions???


Jenna Jameson supporting Romney

by Caitlin McDevitt - Aug. 3, 2012 02:01 PM


Porn star Jenna Jameson supports Mitt Romney for President Porn star Jenna Jameson is rooting for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to win in November.

"I'm very looking forward to a Republican being back in office," Jameson said at a San Francisco strip club on Thursday, CBS reports.

Her reason? "When you're rich, you want a Republican in office."

Remember the war in Afghanistan? Obama and Romney don’t seem to

I guess this means I am right about President Barack Obama being just as much of a war monger as President Bush and wanna be Presidential hopeful John McCain.

Sadly Mitt Romney seems to be just as much of a war monger as President Obama.

If you are anti-war don't waste your vote on the Republicans or Democrats. The only party that hasn't screwed you yet is the Libertarian Party. Vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson in the 2012 Presidential Election. And hey, in addition to his desire to want to stop murdering innocent women and children in Afghanistan he wants to legalize pot.


Remember the war in Afghanistan? Obama and Romney don’t seem to.

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Published: August 3

There are still almost 80,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and each month brings a few dozen home in coffins — more than 2,000 since 2001. Hundreds more arrive on medical evacuation flights, many of them without a limb. The war will cost taxpayers more than $100 billion this year. The Taliban, which enjoys sanctuary in nuclear-armed Pakistan, continues to conduct devastating attacks on the Afghan government and the civilian population.

But you wouldn’t know any of it from listening to President Obama and Mitt Romney on the campaign trail. They may not agree on much, but when it comes to the decade-old conflict, they have adopted the same strategy on the stump: Say as little as possible — sometimes not a word — and quickly change the subject.

Romney rarely mentions the war in his speeches at public campaign events and fundraisers. When he does, his comments usually are devoid of specifics. At a Republican National Committee event in Arizona in April, he said that Obama has made “a number of errors in the way he managed our relationship there,” but he did not provide details or say what he would do differently.

The president is almost as taciturn. In remarks to supporters and donors, he often cites the war, but usually in just one sentence that emphasizes how he is seeking to scale back U.S. involvement. (His two favored versions of that sentence: “We’re transitioning out of Afghanistan” and “We’re winding down the war in Afghanistan.”)

He rarely tries to make the case that his troop surge succeeded, that the more than 50,000 troops he sent over in 2009 and 2010 have pummeled the Taliban and increased the Afghan government’s chances of holding onto large swaths of the country.

The candidates have a shared reason for ignoring Afghanistan. It has stretched into the longest war in U.S. history, and Americans are tired of it. With an anemic economy on the home front, pollsters say that voters want to hear a substantive discussion about jobs, taxes, government spending and health care — not about a murky conflict half a world away.

But even if voters wanted to confront the war, each candidate would still have his own motives to run from it.

Obama doesn’t want to remind his liberal base that he more than doubled the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. His decision in late 2009to send 30,000 more military personnel — made over the objections of Vice President Biden and several of his most senior White House advisers — was deeply unpopular with Democrats, even though he pledged to begin reducing forces in 2011.

If Obama were to include a discussion of Afghanistan in his speeches, he would inevitably have to address the troop increases. He could argue that the surge forces did succeed in beating back the Taliban in parts of southern Afghanistan, giving the Afghan government and its army a chance to take charge of those places. But those gains occurred against a backdrop of escalating violence elsewhere. In my recent book on the Afghan war, “Little America,” I write that a CIA assessment conducted last year concluded that the surge’s successes in the south had been offset by losses in the east and that the country was “trending to stalemate.”

Presenting the case that the surge worked in a few provinces doesn’t make for a rousing victory speech. It is even more difficult when the Taliban continues to attack, sometimes spectacularly, and the Afghan government remains inept and corrupt.

Casting the Taliban as a critical security threat to the United States poses its own challenges for the president. He has long maintained that his principal reason for the surge was to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But Osama bin Laden, who had been hiding in Pakistan, is now dead — the result of a daring mission for which Obama can claim credit — complicating the case for continued large-scale operations in Afghanistan.

Romney’s principal line of attack is that the president rejected a recommendation from the former top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, to wait until the end of this year to bring home all the surge troops. Instead, Obama ordered them out of Afghanistan by the end of September.

“I have been critical of the president’s decision to withdraw the surge troops during the fighting season, against the advice of the commanders on the ground,” Romney told the Veterans of Foreign Wars last month. “President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war — and to potential attacks here at home — is a politically timed retreat.”

Those remarks were Romney’s most detailed public statement on the war since becoming the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. But making a repeated case for a delayed drawdown has potential peril for him: Recent polls, including one conducted in April by The Washington Post and ABC News, show that a narrow majority of Republicans now think the war in Afghanistan is no longer worth fighting. Among independents — to whom Romney must appeal — disapproval of the war jumps to 66 percent. No surprise that when Romney went overseas last month, he stopped in London, Jerusalem and Warsaw, not Kabul.

The candidates’ relative silence on the war contrasts with the other two presidential elections since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. When he campaigned in 2008, Obama had no reservations about addressing Afghanistan. It was, he said repeatedly, “a war we must win.” His Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, was unafraid to remind voters about his support for the troop surge in Iraq, even though much of the public had soured on the war there.

In 2004, President George W. Bush did not shy from talking about Iraq despite public support for the mission falling below 50 percent that summer.

If Obama and Romney spent more time discussing the war in Afghanistan, what would voters learn? Both of them have said they want to transition responsibility for the country’s security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014 — a deadline agreed upon by NATO allies — but they have been vague about how many troops they would withdraw next year. (By Election Day, there will be about 68,000 uniformed U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.) Both say they would consider conditions on the ground and listen to the advice of commanders.

But what are their gut feelings? Does Romney plan to suspend further troop reductions next year, as some Republican lawmakers have urged? When Obama said this year that he wants to “effectuate this transition in a way that doesn’t result in a steep cliff at the end of 2014,” did he foreshadow an intention to order significant drawdowns next year?

There is an even more important reason that both men should be talking about Afghanistan: The war is not going away anytime soon. It will continue for the first half of the next presidential term. Then the situation gets even more complicated. The Pentagon will probably want to keep some troops there to conduct counterterrorism missions and continue training the Afghan army. And the Afghan government is going to need substantial U.S. financial support to sustain its security forces, run its ministries and provide basic services to its people.

That could cost as much as $4 billion a year, by some estimates. Given the size of the tab — about $1 billionmore than we provided last year to Israel, the next-largest recipient of U.S. assistance — whoever resides in the White House next year will need to make the case to Congress and the American people about the importance of supporting Afghanistan.

This is the time to begin laying that groundwork. If voters in both parties do not start hearing about the need to help the Afghans once our troops leave, it will be much harder for the winner to generate the political consensus to secure the funding, especially during a time of domestic economic crisis.

It sounds expensive, but it is far cheaper than $100 billion a year. If some of the gains in security and governance that have resulted from the surge are to be sustained, and if the United States wants to decrease the chances of Afghanistan slipping into another civil war, it will have to keep writing checks to Kabul.

Both camps should remember the lesson of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. The communist government in Kabul did not collapse overnight. It fell in 1992, after the Soviet Union collapsed and Moscow stopped bankrolling President Najibullah.

American officers and enlisted personnel across Afghanistan have told me that they yearn for a meaningful conversation back home about the war, a discussion they would far prefer over obligatory remarks thanking them for their service.

Although he skipped Afghanistan on his foreign trip, Romney still could deliver a speech that addresses the war in a more substantive way.

For Obama, a golden opportunity awaits in September. He has awarded the Presidential Unit Citation — the highest military honor that can be bestowed upon a group of troops — to the Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, one of the first units to deploy to Afghanistan under his signature in 2009. The 10,000-strong brigade engaged in pitched fighting as it sought to push insurgents out of the Helmand River Valley, suffering 90 fatalities.

The White House has not told the Marine Corps whether the president will travel to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to present the award in person. Several Marine officers who served in the brigade are hoping he will make the short trip from Washington.

“The least these Marines are owed is an in-person thank you,” said John Kael Weston, a former State Department officer who served as the brigade’s political adviser. “It’s the right thing to do.”

By awarding the citation himself, Obama “will remind the nation that there’s still a war going on,” Weston said. “He needs to do that, even if he rightly wants to end this war.”

After serving for seven years in Iraq and Afghanistan — more consecutive time in those combat zones than any other U.S. diplomat — Weston has joined the ranks of those who believe this war needs to end.

“But it needs to end in a responsible way,” he said. “You don’t end a war by encouraging the American people to ignore it.”

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a senior correspondent and associate editor at The Washington Post, is the author of “Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan.”

No matter who gets elected we are screwed!!!!


Romney, Ryan bet U.S. is ready for an adult debate

by Robert Robb, columnist - Aug. 15, 2012 12:00 AM

The Republic |

Everyone is saying that the choice of Paul Ryan to be Mitt Romney's running mate offers the country a stark choice between competing visions for the country's future. Even the campaigns and the candidates are saying it.

But on the issue for which Ryan is most relevant -- fixing the federal government's finances -- that's not really accurate. That's because President Barack Obama doesn't have a plan to fix the federal government's finances. He proposes to leave them unfixed.

Right now, total federal debt exceeds 100 percent of gross domestic product. Four years ago, it was 70 percent. During the Reagan years, which were supposedly a period of undisciplined deficit spending, it barely got above 50 percent. The last time federal debt exceeded GDP was World War II.

So, we're in unprecedented territory.

Economic historians say that when sovereign debt gets above 90 percent of GDP, it adversely affects the performance of the private-sector economy and raises questions about the ability of the government to pay it back.

So, we're in unprecedented, dangerous territory. Getting federal debt back below 90 percent of GDP should be an urgent national priority.

Obama's proposed budget plan for the next 10 years doesn't get national debt below 90 percent of GDP. In fact, it never gets debt below 100 percent. After 10 years, the country would still be in the same unprecedented, dangerous debt territory we are in now.

It is very important to note that this isn't some conservative critique of the president's budget. The conclusion isn't from some conservative think tank or the calculations of a conservative scribbler. It's what Obama's own budget says.

If every tax increase Obama proposes is enacted and raises to the penny what Obama says it will raise, and if the federal government spends to the penny what Obama proposes on every program for the next 10 years, and if the economy responds precisely as Obama's economists predict it will respond, federal debt after 10 years will still exceed 100 percent of GDP.

It gets worse. If Obama's budget proposal were enacted in its entirety, what the country spends to service the national debt would increase from around $225 billion today to $850 billion in 2022. Again, that's the projection of Obama's own budgeteers.

In short, Obama's budget will lead the country into a debt trap similar to the one many European countries are trying to escape, in which debt never gets retired and the cost of servicing it constantly increases. Given that much of U.S. debt is short-term and has to be continuously refinanced, that's a reckless vulnerability to the bond markets.

The Ryan plan, far from being radical, barely gets the United States out of the danger zone on debt. Ryan's budget wouldn't get the country's debt below 100 percent of GDP until 2016. It wouldn't dip below 90 percent until 2020. At the end of 10 years, it would still be at 85 percent. That's out of the danger zone, but it's far from healthy.

And far from a starvation diet, federal spending under Ryan's plan would increase from $3.6 trillion today to $4.9 trillion in 2022.

There are plenty of other ways to get the federal government out of the danger zone on debt. Taxes could be increased by more than Obama is proposing. An argument could be made for less military spending and more domestic spending than is in Ryan's budget.

The point, however, is that Obama isn't proposing alternative ways to get the country out of the danger zone on debt. He is proposing that the country stay in it.

I have no idea whether the selection of Ryan as his running mate makes it easier or harder for Romney to get elected president. But it makes victory, should it come to pass, more consequential.

And it says something important about Romney. He's betting that the country is ready for a grown-up conversation about debt and the tough choices involved in getting it under control.

Obama is betting that it isn't.

Reach Robb at

Special ops group attacks Obama over bin Laden bragging, leaks


Special ops group attacks Obama over bin Laden bragging, leaks

By Mark Hosenball | Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of former U.S. intelligence and Special Forces operatives is set to launch a media campaign, including TV ads, that scolds President Barack Obama for taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden and argues that high-level leaks are endangering American lives.

Leaders of the group, the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc, say it is nonpartisan and unconnected to any political party or presidential campaign. It is registered as a so-called social welfare group, which means its primary purpose is to further the common good and its political activities should be secondary.

In the past, military exploits have been turned against presidential candidates by outside groups, most famously the Swift Boat ads in 2004 that questioned Democratic nominee John Kerry's Vietnam War service.

The OPSEC group says it is not political and aims to save American lives. Its first public salvo is a 22-minute film that includes criticism of Obama and his administration. The film, to be released on Wednesday, was seen in advance by Reuters.

"Mr. President, you did not kill Osama bin Laden, America did. The work that the American military has done killed Osama bin Laden. You did not," Ben Smith, identified as a Navy SEAL, says in the film.

"As a citizen, it is my civic duty to tell the president to stop leaking information to the enemy," Smith continues. "It will get Americans killed."

An Obama campaign official said: "No one in this group is in a position to speak with any authority on these issues and on what impact these leaks might have, and it's clear they've resorted to making things up for purely political reasons."

Obama has highlighted his foreign policy record on the campaign trail, emphasizing how he presided over the killing of bin Laden, as well as how he ended the war in Iraq and set a timeline for winding down the war in Afghanistan.

However, Obama has come under sharp attack from Republican lawmakers who have accused his administration of being behind high-level leaks of classified information.

They have pointed to media reports about clandestine drone attacks, informants planted in al Qaeda affiliates and alleged cyber-warfare against Iran that Republicans say were calculated to promote Obama's image as a strong leader in an election year.

The White House has denied leaking classified information.

The president of Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc, Scott Taylor, is a former Navy SEAL who in 2010 ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for a congressional seat in Virginia.

Calling itself "OPSEC" for short - which in spy jargon means "operational security" - the anti-leak group incorporated last June in Delaware, a state that has the most secretive corporate registration rules in the U.S.

It also set itself up as a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)4 of the U.S. Tax Code, allowing it to keep donors' identities secret. Spokesmen for the group declined to discuss its sources of financing.

Several group representatives say their main motivation for setting up OPSEC was dismay at recent detailed media leaks about sensitive operations.

In an interview, Taylor denied OPSEC had any political slant. He described the group as a "watchdog organization" but added that the current administration "has certainly leaked more than others."

OPSEC spokesmen said the group has about $1 million at its disposal and hopes to raise more after the release of its mini-documentary, entitled "Dishonorable Disclosures," which aims, in spy-movie style, to document a recent spate of leaks regarding sensitive intelligence and military operations.

Following the film's release, OPSEC's spokesmen said, the group expects to produce TV spots on the anti-leak theme that will air in a number of states, including Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada - key battleground states.

Fred Rustmann, a former undercover case officer for the CIA who is a spokesman for the group, insisted its focus on leaks was "not a partisan concern." But he said the current administration had been leaking secrets "to help this guy get re-elected, at the expense of peoples' lives.... We want to see that they don't do this again."

Chad Kolton, a former spokesman for the office of Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration who now represents OPSEC, also said the group's message and make-up are nonpolitical.

"You'll see throughout the film that concern about protecting the lives of intelligence and Special Forces officers takes precedence over partisanship," he said.

Responding to criticism about the president taking credit for the bin Laden raid, an Obama campaign official pointed to an interview with CNN last month in which Admiral Bill McRaven, commander of the raid, said: "At the end of the day, make no mistake about it, it was the president of the United States that shouldered the burden for this operation, that made the hard decisions, that was instrumental in the planning process, because I pitched every plan to him."

"I think Admiral McRaven knows more about the President's role in the bin Laden operation than this group," the campaign official said.

White House videographer a stealth campaign worker


Taxpayer watchdog: White House videographer a stealth campaign worker

The Daily Caller – Thu, Aug 9, 2012

The National Taxpayers Union criticized official White House videographer Hope Hall on Wednesday, alleging that her position blurs the line between legitimate government functions and political campaigning.

Both Hall and her predecessor, Arun Chaudhary, produced videos for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, according to The Washington Guardian.

The videographer’s role is similar to that of the White House photographer, filming the President during speeches, meetings with foreign leaders, White House celebrations, and other events. When those events are closed to reporters, the White House videographer has exclusive access.

The videographer compiles clips from her footage each week into a short video called “West Wing Week,” which appears on the Obama administration’s website.

Pete Sapp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union, told The Daily Caller that he fears taxpayers are subsidizing the President’s reelection campaign. ”West Wing Week” often matches the messages of the Obama’s re-election ads.

“There’s always been a degree of controversy over how a president separates purely official duties and business from campaigning,” Sapp said. “The first step here would at least be to get some cost transparency so that citizens can weigh whether something like this is worth the expense.”

David Almacy, the White House Internet director under President Bush, told TheDC he has similar concerns. “It is taxpayer-funded and the videographer has the ability to take scenes and edit them the way they wish,” he said, “and when you have a White House press corps that’s hundreds of feet away from the Oval Office.”

“The videographer is a federal employee,” Almacy adds, “[and] the power of editing could cause some concerns about perceived propaganda. With average views between 5,000 and 10,000 for most ‘West Wing Week[lies],’ one could argue that the costs associated with producing the weekly installments aren’t providing much value to citizens, especially in tough economic times when Congress and the White House are looking for ways to cut the budget.”

More than a dozen White House officials have refused to comment on the program or identify the specific federal budget line utilized to fund it. In an interview with the Washington Guardian, Chaudhary said he was paid as a federal employee.

When asked about the funding for Chaudhary’s salary and the production of “West Wing Weekly,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz wrote Tuesday, “I just don’t think we’re going to engage here.”

Neither Obama nor Romney get that separation of church thing

Obama doesn't seem to get it about that separation of church and state thing.
"Obama highlighted cooperation between government, which has the resources religious groups often lack, and religious groups, which understand local needs in a way government often fails to do"
I guess that is Obama's way of saying he doesn't have a problem with the government giving religious groups tax dollars to solve the problems religious groups think are important.

Of course Romney doesn't seem to get that that separation of church and state thing either.

"We are a nation 'Under God,' and in God, we do indeed trust," Romney said.

Obama: Not my job to convince folks I’m a Christian

By Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News | The Ticket

President Barack Obama says convincing doubters that he is a Christian isn't part of his job description. Mitt Romney tells skeptics of his faith: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind" and pleads for tolerance.

The two White House contenders addressed the issue of persistent questioning of their religious beliefs as part of a wide-ranging exchange with National Cathedral's "Cathedral Age." The magazine asked Obama and Romney to weigh in on the role of faith in public life and politics as well as in their personal lives.

Public opinion polls have repeatedly found large numbers of Americans who say they think Obama, a practicing Christian, is secretly a Muslim. And some conservative Christian groups reject Romney's Mormon faith.

So "how do you respond" to those who "have questioned the sincerity of your faith and your Christianity?" the magazine asked?

"You know, there's not much I can do about it," Obama said.

"I have a job to do as president, and that does not involve convincing folks that my faith in Jesus 
is legitimate and real. I do my best to live out my faith, and to stay in the Word, and to make my life look more like His. I'm not perfect. What I can do is just keep on following Him, and serve others—trying to make folks' lives a little better using this humbling position that I hold."

"I am often asked about my faith and my beliefs about Jesus Christ," Romney said.

"I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. Every religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These should not be bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree."

Favorite Bible passage? Romney cited Matthew 25:35-36--"For 
I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me."

Obama pointed to Isaiah 40:31 ("But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" in the King James Bible) and Psalm 46.

Asked different questions about the role of religious faith in public life, both men noted its central role in national struggles like the civil rights movement, and in calls for compassion and service. And what do you know about a political leader from his faith?

"A political leader's faith can tell us a great deal or nothing," Romney said. "So much depends on what lies behind that faith. And so much depends on deeds, not words."

"I think it is important that we not make faith alone a barometer of a person's worth, value, or character," said Obama. The president also highlights former president George W. Bush's faith, calling it a factor in his decision to step up U.S. efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa and urging immigration reform.

Can government and religious groups work together while respecting the First Amendment and the principle of separation of church and state?

Obama highlighted cooperation between government, which has the resources religious groups often lack, and religious groups, which understand local needs in a way government often fails to do.

"The constitutional principle of a separation between church and state has served our nation well since our founding—embraced by people of faith and those of no faith at all throughout our history— and it has been paramount in our work," Obama said.

"Clearly the boundaries between church and state must be respected, but there is a large space in which faith-based organizations can do good for the community in which they serve," said Romney.

The former Massachusetts governor warns against those whom he said take the separation of church and state "well beyond its original meaning" and aim "to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God."

"We are a nation 'Under God,' and in God, we do indeed trust," Romney said.

Atheist Billboards at Presidential Conventions

According to these article the atheist billboards put up at the Republican and Democratic National Presidential Conventions had to be removed because of threats of violence against the employees of the billboard companies.

Boy those Christians are a bunch of hypocrites. They preach love and peace, but they threaten to kill anybody that doesn't believe in their Jesus God.

Secret Service Agent leaves gun in plane bathroom


Agent leaves gun in Romney plane bathroom

By David Jackson, USA TODAY

TAMPA -- Some embarrassment for the Secret Service on the campaign trail.

An agent accidentally left an unattended gun in a bathroom aboard Mitt Romney's charter plane, and a reporter found it.

The agent has been pulled from Romney's security detail.

The incident occurred Wednesday as Romney traveled from the Republican convention in Tampa to a speech in Indianapolis.

In a statement, the Secret Service said, "we take the care and custody of our equipment, especially firearms, very seriously. We will deal with this matter internally and in an appropriate manner."

Reports CBS News:

The weapon, presumably left behind in the bathroom by accident, was discovered by a CBS News/National Journal reporter, who alerted a flight attendant about the gun. A member of the Secret Service on board the plane was informed and retrieved the gun.

Romney has traveled with Secret Service protection since early February and has an armed detail assigned to him at all times. His wife, Ann, was just assigned her own detail -- albeit a smaller one -- last Friday.

Paul Ryan lies about his marathon time

Sadly most politicians are compulsive liars who will say anything to get elected.

In this article VP candidate Paul Ryan says he ran a marathon in two hour and fifty-something. Turns out he lied and ran it in 4 hours.

Yea, who cares and so what!!!!

But if he is going to lie about small stuff like this, it's almost certain that he will lie about what he plans to do when he gets in office!!!


Paul Ryan exaggerates his marathon-running prowess

By James Rainey

4:01 p.m. CDT, September 1, 2012

Voters will have to decide how much to ding Republican vice presidential nominee Paul D. Ryan for slamming President Obama on a debt reduction commission, when Ryan made the same judgment himself with a vote in Congress.

That kind of inconsistency is easy to prove, if a bit arcane for some Americans. But there is nothing mysterious to the athletically-inclined about marathon times, so it will be interesting to see how the public reacts to Ryan carving a huge hunk out of his best time for the 26.2-mile race.

Ryan last week told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he had run a marathon "Under three [hours], high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something."

Even for someone like the hyper-fit Ryan, sub-3 is a substantial accomplishment — requiring a runner to average under seven minutes a mile, a pace most recreational runners can't hold for even a mile or two.

When Runner’s World magazine expressed some skepticism about the accomplishment, the Ryan campaign conceded the Wisconsin lawmaker had given the wrong information. He ran a single marathon—the 1990 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn. – and that race lists Ryan’s finish as 4 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds.

That’s more than an hour slower than Ryan had claimed, prompting Ryan to issue a corrective statement Friday night.

"The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin — who ran Boston last year — reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three,” said Ryan, officially nominated this week as Mitt Romney’s running mate . “If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight."

It's not clear, with Ryan saying he would round his time to four hours, why he rounded it dramatically downward.

Many avid runners commenting on the blogosphere said they can't imagine anyone so badly misremembering their time, especially for a pinnacle achievement like a marathon and especially for those who have run it just one or two times.

Aficionados of the "26.2" wondered what made Ryan so badly misstate his best time and then brush off the error so blithely.

Runners commenting on the Runner’s World online bulletin board gave a mixed verdict: “The Romney campaign has already stated ‘We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,’” said one. “Anyone who believes Ryan without documented proof should have their voting privileges revoked.”

It’s hard to tell whether the exaggerated marathoning memory will resonate with many voters. Voters usually have some patience, but they can quickly become displeased with politicians whose prevarications become routine.

Mormons praise Romney for spotlighting the faith


Mormons praise Romney for spotlighting the faith

Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2012 1:19 pm

Associated Press

WOLFEBORO, N.H. — Republican Mitt Romney, the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party, sat in the Wolfeboro Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday as, one by one, members of his congregation credited him for bringing the faith more into the public eye.

"There has never been as much positive publicity about the church...thanks to the wonderful campaign of Mitt Romney and his family," J.W. "Bill" Marriott, the chairman of Marriott International, said. Marriott was the first in the congregation to take the podium to offer testimony — examples of his own life experience and how it's affected his faith, a tradition on the first Sunday of every month in the Mormon church.

"Everybody is looking at us and saying, 'Are you as good as the Romneys?'" Marriott said. "Today we see the church coming out of obscurity, and we see that 90 percent of what has been written and said ... 90 percent of it has been favorable," he said. "And that's a great tribute to Mitt and Ann."

Many Americans have long viewed Mormonism skeptically, and the Salt Lake City-based church has fought for decades for recognition and acceptance as a faith. [Hey if you ask me the silly superstitious stuff the Mormons believe isn't any more silly then the silly superstitious stuff the mainstream Christians believe in]

In the eyes of Mormons gathered here Sunday, Romney winning the nomination has been overwhelmingly positive for their church.

"He's a marvelous ambassador of who we are," said a member of the Archibald family, another large Mormon clan that, like the Marriotts and the Romneys, vacations in Wolfeboro.

The Marriotts and Romneys are close friends; the hotel magnate is a major campaign donor and the candidate used to serve on the board of Marriott International.

Although Romney has long shied away from talking about a faith that has shaped his life, from his childhood to his college years as well as his marriage and business career. He occasionally has recounted his time counseling families who were struggling members of his Boston congregation. He usually doesn't touch on his two years serving as a missionary in France for the church. And he typically doesn't mention that he at one point rose to a rank equivalent to a bishop and presided over a group of congregations.

In recent weeks, Romney has started to open up about his faith and directly mentioned it during his Thursday night acceptance speech after members of his congregation took the convention stage to praise his work in the church. Said Romney that night: "We were Mormons and growing up in Michigan, that might have seemed unusual or out of place, but I really don't remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we went to."

Mormonism began in the mid-1800s when, according to believers, an angel presented another book of scripture to Joseph Smith, the church's founder, called the Book of Mormon. With 14.4 million members, the church is among the fastest growing in the world, supported by a full-time missionary force of about 55,000 young people.

At church Sunday, Marriott talked about the church's efforts over the years to explain its mission to Americans who don't understand the faith.

He recounted serving on a committee based in Salt Lake City with Romney's father, George Romney, and then later being featured in a "60 Minutes" piece on the Mormon Church. During the interview, Marriott said he was asked about the specific undergarments, which he described as a t-shirt and boxer shorts, that Mormons are encouraged to wear. He said he told interviewer Mike Wallace that he wore the garments, and about a time when he caught fire in a boating accident. His polyester pants burned, though his undershorts were untouched. Well if he had not been wearing polyester pants he would not have needed the magic Mormon underwear to save his life!

Marriott said he told Wallace: "These holy undergarments saved my life."

Later, another church member rose to offer an example of Romney's influence in publicizing the faith.

She recalled a time when she visited a sick church member in the hospital and a non-Mormon nurse asked her why they had come to visit a woman who wasn't a relative.

The woman said she told the nurse she was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And the nurse, clearly recognizing the faith, responded: "Oh, Mitt! Oh, Mormon!"

Sitting in the pews, Ann Romney laughed.

Will Obama bomb Iran to get reelected???

Will Obama bomb Iran to get reelected and prove he is a bigger war monger then Romney???


Israelis huddling with U.S. over Iran

Moves suggest imminent attack less likely

by Josef Federman - Sept. 4, 2012 11:03 PM

Associated Press

JERUSALEM - Israeli officials said Tuesday they are in close discussions with the United States over how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program, seeking to ease tensions that have emerged between the two allies over a possible Israeli military strike against Iran.

The dialogue, in which Israel is looking for President Barack Obama to take a tough public position against Iran, suggests the odds of an Israeli attack in the near term have been reduced.

Israel, convinced that Iran isn't taking seriously U.S. vows to block it from acquiring nuclear weapons, believes that time to stop the Iranians is quickly running out. A series of warnings by Israeli officials in recent weeks has raised concerns that Israel could soon stage a unilateral military strike. In response, senior American officials have made clear they oppose any Israeli military action at the current time.

After tense exchanges with the Americans, Israeli political and defense officials said Tuesday that the sides are now working closely together in hopes of getting their positions in sync.

Clearer American assurances on what pressure it is prepared to use against Iran, including possible military action, would reduce the need for Israel to act alone, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a security matter.

There was no immediate American comment Tuesday, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu huddled with his security cabinet for a daylong briefing by military intelligence on Iran's nuclear program.

Netanyahu has criticized the international community for failing to curb Iran's nuclear program. In recent days, he has called for the world to set a clear "red line" for the Iranians. His comments were seen as veiled criticism of President Barack Obama.

Israel has not publicly defined its own red lines, which might include a deadline for Iran to open its facilities to U.N. inspectors or a determination that Iran has definitively begun enriching uranium to a weapons-grade level.

Israel believes Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge the Iranians deny. The U.S. has said it doesn't know what Iran's ultimate plans are for its nuclear program.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Sunday played down any differences, saying "there is absolutely no daylight between the United States and Israel when it comes to the necessity of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."

"The best way to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon is through a diplomatic process that results in Iran finally agreeing to, in a completely verifiable way, give up its nuclear weapons ambitions and abide by its international obligations. But that window will not remain open indefinitely," Carney said.

He emphasized that Obama "has insisted that all options ... remain on the table."

A U.N. report last week showing continued progress in the Iranian nuclear program reinforced the Israeli view that negotiations and economic sanctions are not persuading Iran to change its behavior.

The U.N. report found that Iran has moved more of its uranium enrichment activities into fortified bunkers deep underground and impervious to air attack. Enrichment is a key activity in building a bomb, though it has other uses as well.

Israel views a nuclear-armed Iran as a mortal threat, citing Iranian calls for Israel's destruction, Iran's development of missiles capable of striking the Jewish state, and Iranian support for hostile Arab militant groups.

Israel's timeline for military action is shorter than that of the United States, which has far more powerful bunker-busting bombs at its disposal.

Feeling so vulnerable, Israel needs strong assurances from its key ally, said Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and confidant of Netanyahu.

"We have to hear something a lot more concrete, a lot more public from the U.S., which is the leader of free world. What is it going to do?" Gold told the Army Radio station.

Israeli officials said they are discussing the possibility of tightened economic sanctions on Iran. They also want Obama to make a strong public statement of American unwillingness to tolerate a nuclear Iran, perhaps at the U.N. General Assembly later this month or even sooner.

"What we'd like to see is President Obama saying something in the next few days or weeks, something serious," said one official.

"It could be (a declaration) of red lines, or some forceful statement," he said.

"The point is not to convince Israel, but to convince the Iranians, that we, the United States, mean business. We will tighten sanctions. There's a military option. ... The Iranians have to understand unequivocally that the Americans are serious about preventing them from acquiring nuclear weapons."

Obama has repeatedly said he would not allow Iran to gain nuclear weapons and has said the U.S. would be prepared to use force as a last resort.

But many Israelis are skeptical. Obama is also believed to be unwilling to launch a risky military operation in the run-up to presidential elections. An attack could send global oil prices skyrocketing and endanger U.S. troops in the region.

The Israel Hayom newspaper, widely considered to be a mouthpiece for the Netanyahu government, wrote in an analysis Tuesday that Obama "does not believe in a military strike on Iran."

"Obama could have long ago resolved the entire matter in the simplest fashion: Had he posed the Iranians with an ultimatum, even for a date after Nov. 6 (U.S. presidential elections), he would have allayed Israel's concerns, he would have shown the Iranians that he was resolute," commentator Boaz Bismuth wrote. "But Obama has not done that for now, not because he can't, but simply because he doesn't want to."

Israel Hayom is a free tabloid financed by American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a friend of Netanyahu's and a major donor to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign.

Strains between Washington and Israel have been exceptionally apparent in recent weeks, with the top U.S. military official, Gen. Martin Dempsey, twice speaking out against a go-it-alone strike.

Last week he said he would "not want to be complicit" in such an assault.

At the same time, many in Israel suspect Israel's leaders are bluffing in order to compel the world to get serious about the issue. An array of retired military officials have said Israel should not act on its own, reasoning that it can depend on Washington to act if necessary. Also, they warn of a harsh response by Iran and its proxies in Lebanon and Gaza in the event of an Israeli strike.

VP Paul Ryan: Don't interfere with legalized medical pot

Is Paul Ryan lying about medical marijuana like President Obama did when he said he wouldn't arrest people in the medical marijuana industry?

Personally I am voting for the Libertarian guy, Gary Johnson. But if you want to waste your vote and vote for a Republican or Democrat I would waste my vote on the Republican guy this time. Obama, the Democrat has already proven to be a liar about his position on medical marijuana.

On the other hand according to the article

"A spokesman for Ryan later said that Ryan agrees with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has said that marijuana should never be legalized"

Ryan: Don't interfere with legalized medical pot

Sept. 7, 2012 03:54 PM

Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told a Colorado television station that he thinks the federal government shouldn't interfere with states that have legalized medical marijuana.

Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, told KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs that he personally doesn't approve of medical marijuana laws. But he said that states should have the right to choose whether to legalize the drug for medical purposes.

"It's up to Coloradans to decide," he said in response to a reporter's question. A clip of the interview aired Friday.

Ryan added that the issue would not be "a high priority" in a Romney-Ryan administration.

Ryan taped the interview while campaigning this week in Colorado Springs.

A spokesman for Ryan later said that Ryan agrees with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has said that marijuana should never be legalized.

Romney told a Colorado reporter earlier this year, "I think marijuana should not be legal in this country. I believe it's a gateway drug to other drug violations."

Ryan's statement contrasted with the administration of President George W. Bush, which sent federal agents to raid dispensaries in California that were legal under that state's voter-approved medical marijuana law.

Initially, the Barack Obama administration signaled that it would not interfere with state-sanctioned marijuana distribution. But Obama's Justice Department has since angered marijuana activists by shutting down dispensaries in California and Colorado.

Colorado is one of 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow medical marijuana.

Marijuana activists lauded Ryan but said they weren't sure a Romney administration would embrace states that condone medical marijuana.

"We'll take this with a grain of salt," said Steve Fox of the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project.

Fox said Republicans and Democrats alike have said they want to respect state marijuana laws while enforcing federal law, which outlaws pot in all circumstances. He called Ryan's comments significant because they indicate a new willingness from to politicians to talk about marijuana policy.

"The positive from our perspective is that he feels this is the right position to take from a political standpoint," Fox said.

The Obama campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A look at Obama, Biden claims that don't match facts

Obama and Romney are both liars who will say anything to get elected.

The Republicans and Democrats have screwed us for as long I have been alive.

This time not going to waste my vote on a Republican or Democrat who will screw us again. I'm voting for the Gary Johnson who is the Libertarian guy.


A look at Obama, Biden claims that don't match facts


WASHINGTON - President Obama laid claim to a peace dividend that doesn't exist when he told the nation he wants to use money saved by ending wars to build highways, schools and bridges.

The claim was one of several by Obama in his acceptance speech Thursday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., and by Vice President Joe Biden in earlier remarks that did not match the facts. A look at some of their assertions:

OBAMA: "I'll use the money we're no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work - rebuilding roads and bridges, schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it's time to do some nation-building right here at home."

THE FACTS: The idea of taking war savings to pay for other programs is budgetary sleight of hand, given that the wars were paid for with increased debt.

OBAMA: "We will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we'll do it by reducing the cost of health care, not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more."

THE FACTS: Some of the proposals the Obama administration has floated in budget negotiations with Congress would ask Medicare beneficiaries to pay more. Among them: revamping co-payments and deductibles in ways that could raise costs for retirees and increasing premiums for certain beneficiaries.

Obama also indicated a willingness to consider raising the eligibility age, currently 65, to 67. As word of some of the proposals leaked out, the president faced a backlash from fellow Democrats.

He has since said he would not accept Medicare cuts as a part of a deficit reduction deal, unless it also includes higher taxes on the wealthy.

OBAMA: "We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years."

THE FACTS: Obama has claimed an increase of some 500,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 29 months. But from the beginning of Obama's term 3 1/2 years ago, manufacturing jobs have declined by more than 500,000, according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manufacturing jobs have been on a steady decline for nearly two decades.

BIDEN: "Gov. Romney believes that in the global economy, it doesn't much matter where American companies put their money or where they create jobs. As a matter of fact, he has a new tax proposal - the territorial tax - that experts say will create 800,000 jobs, all of them overseas."

THE FACTS: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's proposal is actually aimed at encouraging investment in the U.S., not overseas.

The U.S. currently has a global tax system that is filled with credits, exemptions and deductions that enable many companies to avoid U.S. taxes and provides an incentive for corporations to keep their profits in other countries. Whether Romney's plan would spur investment in the U.S. is debatable, but it's not a plan aimed at dispersing profits abroad.

Experts differ on the impact of a territorial system on employment in the U.S. But Biden's implication that Romney's plan sends jobs abroad is not supported by the expert opinion he cites.

OBAMA: "You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class. Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion."

THE FACTS: Three years ago, Obama pledged to cut in half the deficit "we inherited" by the end of his first term, a mark he's set to miss by a wide margin.

The deficit when he took office was $1.2 trillion, and the $800 billion stimulus bill Obama signed soon afterward increased the shortfall to over $1.4 trillion.

The White House predicts this year's federal budget deficit will end up at $1.2 trillion, marking the fourth consecutive year of trillion dollar-plus red ink.

Obama's new $4 trillion target over 10 years resets the goalposts with some fancy budget footwork. For one thing, it includes $1 trillion in cuts already signed into law.

And it assumes that Congress will pass the administration's plan to raise the capital gains tax, boost taxes on households earning over $250,000 a year and impose a minimum 30 percent tax on incomes above $1 million.

It also assumes a reduction in the amount of interest the government must pay on its debt.

Mitt Romney Vows God Will Stay in GOP Platform


Mitt Romney Vows God Will Stay in GOP Platform

By Emily Friedman | ABC OTUS News

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Making reference for the first time to the Democrats' about-face on having the word "God" in their party's platform, Mitt Romney said here today that if he is elected, God will not be removed from the Republican platform.

"I will not take God out of the name of our platform," said Romney to thunderous applause. "I will not take God off our coins and I will not take God out of my heart. We're a nation that's bestowed by God."

It was Romney's first reference to last week's awkward proceedings during the Democratic National Convention, in which after one day the platform was amended to include the word "God" and name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reportedly under the instruction of President Obama.

Romney debuted a new stump speech here today, one that hinged on the candidate leading the crowd of thousands in the Pledge of Allegiance.

"I remember as a boy, I was in the fourth grade, somehow in my mind I remember being there in the fourth grade in front of the blackboard, we had an American flag that was pinned in front of the blackboard. And every day we stood, lined up in front of that blackboard and we recited the pledge of allegiance. Do you remember?" asked Romney, launching into the pledge.

"When I make a promise I intend to keep a promise, and I've done that through all my life. When I made that promise time and time again in my pledge of allegiance to the flag I remembered that flag and I remember it to this day," Romney said.

Then, drawing on each clause of the pledge, Romney ticked down is list of campaign promises.

"One nation indivisible," he said, before vowing not to divide the nation or "apologize for America abroad."

"With liberty and justice for all," Romney continued, saying he will "not forget that for us to have liberty here, for us to be able to protect ourselves from the most evil around the world, for us to share liberty with our friends around the world, we must have a military second to none, so strong no one would ever think of testing it."

And in referring to "justice for all," Romney continued that he does not believe it's just to pass on debts, adding, "I also don't think it's justice for all when a nation as prosperous as ours, the most prosperous major nation in the history of the earth, to have one in every six people below the line of poverty."

And with that, his use of the Pledge of Allegiance as a vehicle to deliver his own promises, had come full circle.

"We believe in a nation under god, a nation indivisible, a nation united, a nation with justice and liberty for all," said Romney reciting the final clause in full. "And for that to happen, we're going to have to have a new president that will commit to getting America working again; that will commit to a strong military; that will commit to a nation under god that recognizes that we the American people were given our rights not by government but by God himself."

Romney senior adviser Kevin Madden said before rally that the campaign anticipates Virginia will be a tight race until November.

"I think those people are very anxious about the direction of the country and I think they represent a pretty unique opportunity for us to win the state," Madden said. "It's going to be a very close race in Virginia, I'd expect all the way through."

Romney notably chose Virginia as the site for the announcement of his choice for running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, in August, but has not been back to the state since, scrapping plans to rally here with Ryan last week to make a stop in Louisiana to visit areas damaged by Hurricane Isaac.

Obama won't remove "In God We Trust" from American money

Sounds like Obama is clueless about that First Amendment thing that says no mixing of government and religion.


Obama aides mock Romney talk of taking ‘God’ off currency

By Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News | The Ticket

President Barack Obama smiles during a campaign event at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida …"The president believes as much that God should be taken off a coin as he does that aliens will attack Florida."

That's the response from Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki to Mitt Romney's apparent suggestion at a Virginia Beach, Va., rally on Saturday that Democrats hope to take "In God We Trust" off American money. There is no such effort.

"I will not take God off our coins and I will not take God out of my heart. We're a nation that's bestowed by God," the Republican standard-bearer said.

"Look, this is nothing more than a desperate attack based on a false premise by the Romney team, and it's sad that the debate has been driven to this level of discourse," said Psaki. "It's an absurd question to be raised."

(White House press secretary Jay Carney piled on, saying that, in presidential campaigns, "there's a period when the argument is not going your way… and you begin to see random issues thrown up like spaghetti against the wall to see if anything can stick.")

Romney's riff came after embarrassed Democrats gathered at their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., restored the only reference to God in their party platform after dropping it.

Psaki and Carney's remarks were collected and shared by pool reporter Reid Epstein of Politico.

Looks like Romney will say anything to get elected

Romney to keep "some" of Obamacare

Looks like Romney will say anything to get elected.

Now Romney seems to be a socialist who says he will keep some of Obamacare.

On the other hand Obamacare is pretty much a clone of Romneycare which Romney created when he was governor of Massachusetts.

Of course Obama is also a liar. He in 2008 he ran as the Peace President, but he turned out to be a lying war monger, just like Bush and McCain.


Romney moves to center on health care

Associated Press

Updated 11:08 p.m., Sunday, September 9, 2012

Boston -- With swing voters in his sights, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is tacking toward the center on health care and defense spending now that he's put his final partisan hurdle behind him and the sprint to Nov. 6 is under way.

Romney said in an interview that aired Sunday that he would retain some popular parts of the 2010 health care law he has pledged to repeal, saying the features he would keep are common-sense measures in what he calls an otherwise costly, inefficient plan.

The former Massachusetts governor also faulted congressional Republicans for going along with the White House on a budget deal that has set up automatic spending cuts that include huge reductions in defense spending - a deal his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, helped steer.

Meanwhile, President Obama on Sunday focused Floridians' attention on the Republican ticket's stand on Medicare, an issue that has been favorable to Democrats.

Romney's campaign dismissed the idea that the comments were a lurch toward the middle now that the Republican convention, the last partisan event of the campaign, has passed.

"I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place," Romney told NBC's "Meet the Press" in an interview taped Friday and Saturday. He cited coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions and new insurance marketplaces.

Romney's aides said that was consistent with his previous position that those who haven't had a gap in coverage shouldn't be denied coverage.

But the comments brought renewed attention to the similarities between Obama's plan and the one Romney championed when he was Massachusetts governor, which included protections for health conditions and an individual mandate that the Republican has since railed against.

The GOP nominee, who attended church in Boston before debate practice sessions Sunday, didn't offer specifics for how he'd deal with the affordability of insurance, but suggested competition would help bring down costs. For seniors, Romney has called for restructuring Medicare by giving retirees a government payment that they would use to choose between traditional Medicare and private insurance.

Obama told about 3,000 supporters in Melbourne, Fla., that if Romney had his way, Americans will pay more so insurers could make more. "No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies," he said.

In broadcast interviews, Romney and Ryan kept the heat on Obama on the economic front, warning that across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect at the start of 2013 could devastate the defense budget.

But Romney's attacks on the president for signing the deficit-reduction measure had some collateral damage for his running mate, who as House Budget Committee chairman both voted for and loudly praised the bill that created the trigger for the automatic spending cuts.

"I thought it was a mistake on the part of the White House to propose it," Romney said. "I think it was a mistake for Republicans to go along with it."


Monday, 10 September 2012

Romney's "Not Getting Rid of All of" ObamaCare

Written by Jack Kenny

Romney's "Not Getting Rid of All of" ObamaCare

Mitt Romney has promised to "repeal and replace ObamaCare," but he is not for "getting rid of all" of the president's signature healthcare reform. And if he gets to preserve all the features of the Affordable Care Act that he likes, there may not be much replacing to do.

In an interview on NBC's Meet the Press September 9, Romney said people with pre-existing conditions and adults under age 26 would not lose their guarantee of coverage if he succeeds in getting the Democrats' healthcare law repealed.

"Well, of course not," Romney said. "I say we're going to replace Obamacare. And I'm replacing it with my own plan. And, you know, even in Massachusetts where I was governor, our plan there deals with pre-existing conditions and with young people." The Affordable Care Act requires that young adults will be eligible for coverage under their parents' healthcare plans until age 26.

"So you'd keep that part of the federal plan?" host David Gregory asked.

"Well, I'm not getting rid of all of healthcare reform," the Republican candidate replied. "Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their — their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company."

Romney was neither asked about nor did he mention the most controversial feature of the healthcare law, the requirement that people not otherwise covered either purchase health insurance or pay a penalty for not doing so. The healthcare reform that Romney championed and signed into law in Massachusetts included the same requirement, though the former governor has said he opposes the individual mandate at the federal level.

The federal mandate withstood a constitutional challenge when the Supreme Court issued its decision in June of this year that the penalty for not buying health insurance falls within the taxing power of Congress. Supporters of the law have said the mandate is an essential feature of the overall plan and is necessary to provide the premium base the insurance companies will need to insure those with pre-existing conditions and others who are currently uninsured.

The pledge to make repeal of ObamaCare the primary goal of the next president was a theme shared by Romney's rivals in the GOP primary campaigns, many of whom questioned the former governor's bona fides on the subject. The Massachusetts healthcare reform, commonly called "Romneycare," is widely regarded as the model for the plan Obama and congressional Democrats enacted four years later. As a candidate for the party's nomination, Romney was repeatedly forced to defend the Massachusetts law and explain why he opposed essentially the same legislation at the federal level.

Romney, who described himself in the Meet the Press interview as someone "as conservative as the Constitution," has yet to explain where in the Constitution he finds the power delegated to Congress to prescribe the terms of insurance policies and to mandate whom insurance companies must cover. The clause (Article I, Section 8) that authorizes Congress to "regulate Commerce with foreign Nations and among the several States, and with Indian Tribes" is a delegation of power to regularize the rules of trade, not to dictate the content of the goods or services that may be traded. The primary aim was to prevent states from levying their own imposts or tariffs on foreign imports or upon goods shipped from one state to another, as occurred under the Articles of Confederation. That concern was well described in the December 5, 1787 edition of the Massachusetts Centinel:

For if one State makes a law to prohibit foreign goods of any kind, or to draw a revenue, from any imposition upon such goods, another State is sure to take the advantage, and to admit such goods free of costs. By this means it is well known how the trade of Massachusetts is gone to Connecticut, and that for want of a revenue, our own State taxes are increased.

In the 20th century, the Commerce Clause has been interpreted broadly enough to make the regulatory power of the federal government virtually limitless. The Supreme Court has ruled, for example, that even a crop both grown and consumed on a landowner's own farm or field is subject to regulation as interstate commerce. (See Wickard v. Filburn, 1942 and Gonzalez v. Raich, 2005.)

Romney has defended the Massachusetts healthcare reform, while insisting that he opposes a "one size fits all" solution to healthcare problems for the entire country. But by preserving essential features of ObamaCare, he would ensure that healthcare would remain a federal program indefinitely, if not forever. And his enthusiasm for national healthcare transcends national as well as state boundaries. Speaking at a campaign fundraiser in Jerusalem this summer, Romney praised Israel's healthcare program:

Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent. You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You're a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of G.D.P. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.

Israel has a universal healthcare system that includes an individual mandate, but chances are we won't hear Romney praising the Israeli approach to healthcare while he is promising to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare here in "the homeland."

Will Obama bomb his way to reelection in 2012?


Attacks shift presidential campaign focus to foreign policy

by Richard Wolf and Jackie Kucinich - Sept. 12, 2012 11:21 PM

USA Today

WASHINGTON - A presidential campaign that's been all about the economy shifted suddenly to foreign policy Wednesday following the murderous attack on U.S. diplomats in Libya, giving President Barack Obama an advantage over a challenger who has yet to start receiving national security briefings.

By criticizing Obama's response to the killings and a violent protest in Egypt, Republican challenger Mitt Romney opened himself up to warnings from officials in both parties that politics should "end at the water's edge," in the words of former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.

While Obama was condemning the attacks, vowing justice against the perpetrators and consoling the victims' families and State Department colleagues, Romney doubled down on a statement he initially released Tuesday night accusing the administration of sympathizing with the attackers. His accusations were aimed at a statement issued from the U.S. embassy in Cairo on Tuesday, in the midst of the protest, which sought to soothe anger among Muslims at a video blaspheming the prophet Mohammed. The statement condemned rhetoric that "hurt the religious feelings of Muslims."

"I think it's a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values," Romney said Wednesday during a press conference in Florida, accusing the administration of sending "mixed messages to the world."

His running mate, Paul Ryan, said in Wisconsin that the administration's "weakness" and "moral equivocation" emboldens America's enemies.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence, said the foreign policy contrast is "probably a fair debate to have in this upcoming election." But now, he said, is a time to focus on "the fact that we lost a United States ambassador."

After holding its fire for most of the day, the White House later released part of Obama's interview with CBS' 60 Minutes in which he said Romney "didn't have his facts right."

"Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later," Obama said. "And as president, one of the things I've learned is you can't do that, that it's important for you to make sure that the statements you make are backed up by the facts, and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make them."

Unless the situation in the Middle East spins out of control, the attack and Obama's denunciation and actions in response could strengthen his hand, experts say, since he has successfully waged war on al-Qaida throughout the Middle East and northern Africa.


President Obama hates gays????

President Barak Obama is against gay marriage - sounds like it!!!

Mitt Romney & Donald Trump have a talk

Mitt Romney & Donald Trump have a talk

Jan Brewer shakes her finger at Emperor Obama

You're not entering Arizona until I see your immigration papers -  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to President Obama - Wow! Reminds me of Arizona's racist SB 1070 law

Picking Sarah Palin was a dumb game change

Sarah Palin in the movie 'Game Change'

Mitt Romney - I don't remember beating up that gay guy and cutting off his hair - Honest!!!! Mitt Romney doesn't remember beating up the gay guy John Lauber and cutting his hair off - Honest!

Mitt Romney doesn't remember beating up the gay guy John Lauber and cutting his hair off - Honest!

Mitt Romney doesn't remember beating up the gay guy John Lauber and cutting his hair off - Honest!

Mitt Romney doesn't remember beating up the gay guy John Lauber and cutting his hair off - Honest!

Mitt Romney doesn't remember beating up the gay guy John Lauber and cutting his hair off - Honest!

Obama - The Diversion - But don't worry, Mitt Romney is just as guilty of this nonsense

You didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. President Obama telling Bobby and Lucy that the government is responsible for their successful lemonade stand

More articles on the 2012 Presidential elections.

Ron Paul

The American Emperor

The President of the United States of America