Did You Get Your Money’s Worth From Congress Last Week?
Money’s Worth | September 24, 2012
By Bankrupting America
If it seems like Congress just returned from a break before leaving town for another one, it’s because they did. After two short weeks in session, Congress adjourned again and will be out until after the Nov. 6 elections.
Before lawmakers left, the Senate passed a six-month continuing resolution and … well, that’s about it. No action on the fiscal cliff or other tax extenders. Take a look at all Congress has to do in their lame duck session, set for November or December: Reuters and The Washington Post have the story.
What you paid
Last week taxpayers spent roughly $100 million on Congress. Click here to see the breakdown.
What you got
The House voted to pass four bills that would have an unknown cost to taxpayers:
- H.R. 3409, To limit the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations before December 31, 2013, under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. COST: “Minimal Impact on the Federal Budget”
- H. J. Res 118, Providing for congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the Office of Family Assistance of the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of HHS relating to waiver and expenditure authority under the Social Security Act with respect to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. COST: $0
- H.R. 5912, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prohibit the use of public funds for political party conventions, and to provide for the return of previously distributed funds for deficit reduction. SAVINGS: Unknown
- H.R. 5044, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude from gross income any discharge of indebtedness income on education loans of deceased veterans. COST: Unknown.
In addition to the continuing resolution, the Senate passed a bill to put limits on United Nations assistance to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan; resolution that expressed the sense of Congress saying Iran should not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon; and arrived at cloture on a bill to “protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting …”
Click here to read more.
Let Freedom Ring has posted a new video on YouTube asking president Obama why he’s asking Israel to go back to 1967 boarders?
Originally posted at Center for Security Policy By Frank Gaffney, Jr.
For the last two weeks, the American people have been encouraged by Team Obama – both official spokesmen for the administration, its champions in the press and other partisans – to believe a number of national security calumnies that can only be described as surrealistically epic lies and dangerous deceptions. Far more than the usual political slight-of-hand that can be expected in the run-up to an election, the mendacity of Team Obama is truly audacious, and the consequences of the public accepting it at face value are very grave.Take, for example, Obama’s insistence that the surging violence in dozens of countries is a “natural” response by Muslims to a video produced in America that trashes Islam’s prophet, Mohamed. One can scarcely find an official or press account of these events that does not start with something to the effect that the attacks were precipitated by that (almost-entirely-unviewed) short film.
There are several things wrong with this proposition. First, in some places – notably, Libya where an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi resulted in the brutal murder of the American ambassador and three others assigned to that mission – there is no evidence that the film was even a pretext, let alone the real reason for what was, in fact, a disciplined, coordinated and successful act of jihad. In others, it was simply the latest excuse by Islamists to incite crowds to violence, just as Danish cartoons, burned Korans, a speech by the Pope and defiled Afghan corpses have been at one time or another in the past.
What this latest campaign of deceit by Team Obama is meant to obscure is its own national security malpractice, namely a dogged refusal to face the reality that America is at war with an enemy that they have been unwilling to name, have failed to counter and are actually emboldening. Such behavior has signaled to jihadists seeking to impose on the rest of us the totalitarian ideology they call shariah that acts of violence – or even threats of violence – against us will be met with accommodations and concessions whenever the stated justification is outrage over some perceived insult to Islam.
As recounted in this space last week, the Obama administration has already committed to engage in, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it, “old-fashioned peer-pressure and shaming” to discourage such offensive behavior. This is but a milestone (as Islamist ideologue Sayyid Qutb would say) along the trajectory of the White House’s acquiescence to the shariah blasphemy agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood’s state-level counterpart, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The course of this trajectory is utterly predictable: More violence, followed by more demands for more self-imposed restrictions on free speech,which are justified as necessitated by the national security. This pattern, in turn, translates into a rising perception of our submission to the Islamists’ demands, which encourages another cycle of jihadism. And on and on. What started as the U.S. government’s refusal to understand or even name the enemy for fear of causing offense, may soon metastacize into a cowed submission to shariah. All in the name of “keeping the peace,” of course.We are likely to be treated to another example of Obama’s staggering national security disinformation campaign in connection with the UN General Assembly meetings in New York this week. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, is expected to use his appearances to repeat his demand that the United States release a convicted terrorist currently serving a life-sentence in federal prison, Omar Abdul Rahman, better known as the “Blind Sheikh.” The Obama administration wants us to believe that such a step is notunder consideration.
Yet, Hillary Clinton’s State Department gave a visa in June to one of the Blind Sheikh’s fellow terrorists, Hani Nour Eldin. The reason? To facilitate discussions of Morsi’s demand in meetings at the White House, State Department and on Capitol Hill. Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor who secured Abdul Rahman’s conviction for conspiring to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993, warns that, despite the administration’s serial and artfully worded denials, President Obama is likely to release the sheikh after the November election.
Another Obama calumny I have experienced personally, but it touches every American that speaks clearly about the threat we face. Organizations closely aligned with the White House and supportive of its pandering to Islamists – like the radical left’s Center for American Progress, American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Council on American Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council(among others) – have taken to vilifying opponents of jihadism.
Without any basis in fact, we have been called everything from “racists” and “bigots” to “Islamophobes.” Our expertise on national security and threats from the shariah agenda have been denied, basically on the grounds that we have not been approved by the Muslim Brotherhood, attended a madrassa or been trained as an Islamist cleric. And lately it has been suggested that, if anything bad happens in the future involving Muslims and violence, it will be our fault.
Presumably, this assertion is designed to set the stage for prosecution of the kind we have seen in Europe and Canada on hate speech or other charges consistent with what amount to shariah blasphemy laws – once our First Amendment rights have been further shredded by Mr. Obama and his team.
Will we really accede to this succession of big lies, with all that portends for our freedom of expression, our situational awareness of the jihadist threat and our ability to resist it? Not if we want to bequeath to our children the America we inherited.
(Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for theWashington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9:00 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.)
It’s this type of nonsense that has American scratching their collective heads and wondering out loud what the hell these Democrats are doing trying to project a tough-on-terror image that doesn’t match its actions. But, then again, that’s the Liberal MO, isn’t it? Do as we say not as we do!
By Dave Reaboi
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, the recently elected president of Egypt, will be a featured participant at the eighth annual meeting of Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative in New York next week.
Morsi is a prominent figure in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the most important of the world’s Islamist organizations and ideological progenitor of al Qaeda and nearly every jihadist terrorist group in the world. Its slogan reads, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”
Israeli envoy to the United Nations walked out of Ahmadinejad’s address to UN General Assembly this morning. Ron Prosor, top legal aide, left the hall without hearing Iranian leader’s address.
The US officials stayed put.
From Gateway Pundit:
Israeli envoy to the United Nations walked out of Ahmadinejad’s address to UN General Assembly this morning. Ron Prosor, top legal aide, left the hall without hearing Iranian leader’s address.
The US officials stayed put. They wouldn’t walk out even after Ahmadinejad denied Israel’s existence.
Canada planned to walk out of Ahmadinejad’s speech.
Cross posted From CarolineGlick.com
On Tuesday, Egypt’s chief prosecutor issued arrest warrants against eight US citizens.
Their purported crimes relate either to their reported involvement in the production of the Internet movie critical of Islam that has received so much attention over the past 10 days, or to other alleged anti-Islamic activities.
One of the US citizens indicted is a woman who converted from Islam to Christianity.
According to the Associated Press, Egypt’s general prosecution issued a statement announcing that the eight US citizens have been indicted on charges of insulting and publicly attacking Islam, spreading false information, and harming Egyptian national unity.
The statement stipulated that they could face the death penalty if convicted.
The AP write-up of the story quoted Mamdouh Ismail, a Salafi attorney who praised the prosecution’s move. He claimed it would deter others from exercising their right to free expression in regards to Islam. As he put it, the prosecutions will “set a deterrent for them and anyone else who may fall into this.” That is, they will deter others from saying anything critical about Islam.
This desire to intimidate free people into silence on Islam is clearly the goal the heads of the Muslim Brotherhood seek to achieve through their protests of the anti-Islamic movie. This was the message of Muslim Brotherhood chief Yussuf Qaradawi. Three days after the anti-American assaults began on the anniversary of the September 11 jihadist attacks on America, Qaradawi gave a sermon on Qatar television, translated by MEMRI.
Qaradawi struck a moderate tone. He called on his followers to stop rioting against the US. Rather than attack the US, Qaradawi urged his Muslim audience to insist that the US place prohibitions on the free speech rights of American citizens by outlawing criticism of Islam – just as the Europeans have done in recent years in the face of Islamic terror and intimidation.
In his words, “We say to the US: You must take a strong stance and try to confront this extremism like the Europeans do. This [anti-Islamic film] is not art. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech. This is nothing but curses and insults. Does the freedom to curse and insult constitute freedom of speech?”
Both the actions of the Egyptian prosecution and Qaradawi’s sermon prove incontrovertibly that the two policies the US has adopted since September 11, 2001, to contend with Muslim hatred for the US have failed. The neoconservative policy of supporting the democratization of Muslim societies adopted by President Barack Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush has failed. And the appeasement policy adopted by Obama has also failed.
Bush’s democratization policy claimed that the reason the Muslim world had become a hotbed for anti-Americanism and terror was that the Muslim world was not governed by democratic regimes. Once the peoples of the Muslim world were allowed to be free, and to freely elect their governments, the neoconservatives proclaimed, they would abandon their hatred of America.
As a consequence of this belief, when the anti-regime protests against the authoritarian Mubarak regime began in January 2011, the neoconservatives were outspoken supporters of the overthrow of then-president Hosni Mubarak, despite the fact that he had been the US’s key ally in the Arab world for three decades. They supported the political process that brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power. They supported the process despite the fact that Qaradawi is the most influential cleric in Egypt. They supported it despite the fact that just days after Mubarak was ousted from power, Qaradawi arrived at Cairo’s Tahrir Square and before an audience of two million followers, he called for the invasion of Israel and the conquest of Jerusalem.
In the event, the Egyptian people voted for Qaradawi’s Muslim Brotherhood and for the Salafi party. The distinction between the two parties is that Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood are willing to resort to both violent and nonviolent ways to dominate the world in the name of Islam. The Salafis abjure nonviolence. So while Qaradawi called for the riots to end in order to convince the Americans to criminalize criticism of Islam, his Salafi counterparts called for the murder of everyone involved in producing the anti-Islamic film.
For instance, Salafi cleric Ahmad Fouad Ashoush issued a fatwa on Islamic websites last weekend calling for American and European Muslims to murder those involved with the movie. His religious ruling was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group on Monday.
Ashoush wrote, “Those bastards who did this film are belligerent disbelievers. I issue a fatwa and call on the Muslim youth in America and Europe to do this duty, which is to kill the director, the producer and the actors and everyone who helped and promoted the film.
“So, hurry, hurry, O Muslim youth in America and Europe, and teach those filthy lowly ones a lesson that all the monkeys and pigs in America and Europe will understand. May Allah guide you and grant you success.”
These are the voices of democratic Egypt. The government, which has indicted American citizens on capital charges for exercising their most fundamental right as Americans, is a loyal representative of the sentiments of the Egyptian people who freely elected it. The Salafi preacher is a loyal representative of the segment of the Egyptian people that made the Salafi party the second largest in the Egyptian parliament. Qaradawi’s call for the abolition of freedom of speech in America – as has happened in Europe – and to ban all criticism of Islam is subscribed to by millions and millions of Muslims worldwide who consider him one of the leading Sunni clerics in the world.
Free elections in Egypt have empowered the Egyptian people to use the organs of governance to advance their hatred of America. Their hatred has been empowered, and legitimized, not diminished as the neoconservatives had hoped.
The behavior of the Egyptian government, Qaradawi and the Salafis also makes clear that Obama’s policy of appeasing the Muslim world has failed completely. Whereas Bush believed the source of Muslim hatred was their political oppression at the hands of their regimes, Obama has blamed their rage and hatred on America’s supposed misdeeds.
By changing the way America treats the Muslim world, Obama believes he can end their hatred of America. To this end, he has reached out to the most anti-American forces and regimes in the region and spurned pro-American regimes and political forces.
When Obama’s policies are recognized as driven by appeasement, the seeming inconsistency of his war against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi on the one hand, and his passivity in the face of the anti-regime uprising in Iran in 2009 and the Syrian uprising against the Assad regime today makes sense. Gaddafi was not a threat to the US, so he was unworthy of protection. The mullahs in Iran and Assad are foes of the US. So they deserve protection. Obama has assiduously courted the Muslim Brotherhood from the outset of his presidency.
The official and unofficial Egyptian exploitation of the Internet film as a means to intimidate and attack the US into disavowing its core principles is proof that Obama’s theory of the source of Muslim rage is wrong. They do not hate America because of what the US government does. They hate America because of what America is. And it is because of this that since September 11, the rationale for Obama’s foreign policy has disintegrated.
Rather than accept this basic truth and defend the American way of life, Obama has doubled down in the only way now available to him. He, his administration, his campaign and his supporters in the media have responded to the collapse of the foundations of his foreign policy by resorting to the sort of actions they accused George W. Bush, his administration and supporters of taking. They have responded with a campaign of political oppression and nativist bigotry directed against their political opponents.
Late last Friday night, law enforcement officers descended on the California home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man who made the film that the Muslims of the newly free Arab lands find so offensive. Nakoula was questioned by federal authorities and later released. His arrest was photographed. The image of a dozen officers arresting an unarmed man for making a movie was broadcast worldwide within moments.
Beyond persecuting an independent filmmaker, the White House requested that YouTube block access to it. YouTube – owned by Google – has so far rejected the White House’s request.
The Obama administration’s abetment of bigoted nativism to silence criticism of its substantively indefensible foreign policy was on prominent display last Sunday. Obama’s campaign endorsed an anti-Semitic screed published by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
In her column, titled, “Neocons slither back,” Dowd wrote that Republican Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are mere puppets controlled by “neocon puppet master, Dan Senor.”
Neocon is a popular code for Jewish. It was so identified by Dowd’s Times’ colleague David Brooks several years ago.
Dowd said that “the neocons captured” Bush after the September 11 attacks and “Now, amid contagious Arab rage sparked on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, they have captured another would-be Republican president and vice president, both jejeune about the world.”
One telling aspect of Dowd’s assault on Senor as a neoconservative is that he and his boss in the Bush administration, Paul Bremer, were the nemeses of the neoconservatives at the Pentagon. The only thing Senor has in common with the likes of Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith is that all three men are Jews.
Moreover, Dowd drew a distinction between supposed “neocons” like Senor, and non-Jewish US leaders Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney who merely “abetted” the neocons.
So Senor doesn’t share the same ideological worldview as Feith and Wolfowitz but he’s a neocon. And Cheney and Rumseld do share the same worldview as Feith and Wolfowitz. And they are not neocons.
The Times’ public editor Andrew Rosenthal dismissed claims that Dowd’s column was anti- Semitic, arguing it couldn’t be since she never said a word about Jews.
The Obama campaign linked to Dowd’s column on its Twitter account with the message, “Why Romney and Ryan’s foreign policy sounds ‘ominously familiar.’” Obama’s campaign’s willingness to direct the public to anti-Semitic screeds against his political opponents is consistent with the administration’s general strategy for defending policies. That strategy involves responding to criticism not with substantive defense of his policies, but with ad hominem attacks against his critics.
His failed economic policies’ critics are attacked as “Wall Street fat cats.” His failed foreign policies’ critics are demonized as ominous neocon puppet masters.
There is a difference between appeasing parties that have been harmed by your actions and appeasing parties that wish your destruction. In the 1970s the US appeased the Philippines by transferring sovereignty over the Clark Air Force Base to the Philippine government. America was still America and the US and the Philippines became friends.
To appease a party that hates your way of life, you must change your way of life. The only way America can appease the Muslim world is for America to cease to be America.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.
Driving The Discussion….
Yesterday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was on ABC’s This Week, where he expressed his confidence that the GOP will take back the U.S. Senate. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus expressed confidence Sunday morning that Republicans can win control of the Senate this November, even as polling shows Democrats have recently seized momentum in some key races. “I’m very confident we can take the Senate,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”
In Maine, Politico’s Morning Score previews – MAINE SENATE-NRSC ENGAGES KING: Things are heating up in Maine. Angus King is reportedly holding an 11 a.m. press conference in Portland tomorrow to attack outside money generally and the NRSC’s statewide ad that went up Friday specifically (watch: http://goo.gl/1xJ1S ). State and national Republicans plan to pre-empt that presser with releases highlighting key questions for King. One of their talking points will be that their ad highlights people who live in the area affected by his wind farm project while King’s ad features actor Sam Waterson, who doesn’t live in Maine. They’ll also draw attention to reports he was in DC to raise money from Democratic lobbyists last week.
- Meanwhile, Republican nominee Charlie Summers writes in the Portland Press Herald about how onerous regulations and higher taxes are hurting America’s small businesses. This all confirms what Mainers already know: We are in the midst of one of the slowest economic recoveries in history, and our nation is on the wrong path. The policies coming out of Washington and this administration simply are not working. Clearly we need to go in a new direction. We’ve tried Washington’s way, now let’s try the Maine way — the small-business way. The Maine way preserves middle-class tax cuts. Raising taxes on anyone in this economy is a bad idea, but hiking taxes on middle-class Mainers would be devastating.
- And Summers met with the Portsmouth Herald editorial board where he discussed the importance of working across party lines to get things done for the United States. Charlie Summers, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maine, said he sees himself as in the long line of Maine senators from Margaret Chase Smith to George Mitchell to Olympia Snowe. “At the end of the day, your responsibility is to move forward. That means working with people on both sides of the aisle,” he said.
In Massachusetts, the Boston Globe reports that former Democratic Mayor Ray Flynn joined Scott Brown on the campaign trail this weekend. In a Senate race that has turned on issues of class and authenticity, Flynn, a figure inextricably linked with blue-collar South Boston, personifies an important, if arguably dwindling, bloc of voters that Brown needs to capture. On Saturday, Flynn joined Brown as the senator shook hands at Castle Island.
- Meanwhile, the Globe reports that Brown has a new ad up reminding voters of his bipartisan record. In another new television ad, Senator Scott Brown again takes to his truck, this time emphasizing the theme of bipartisanship, while continuing his push for women voters. The latest 30-second spot, which will begin airing Monday, features Brown driving to the Shrewsbury home of Diane Gilfoy-Henry, an unemployed single mother, for a conversation at her kitchen table.
- Finally, Morning Score also reports - After months of positive bio spots, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown will go on the air with an ad that highlights the firestorm over Democrat Elizabeth Warren identifying herself as a Native American to employers. It ends with a devastating clip from a TV interview. The reporter asks, “Is there anything else that’s going to come out about you that we don’t already know?” Warren, trying to be funny, responds, “You know, I don’t think so. But who knows?” The Brown campaign notes that Warren went negative first, running two ads attacking his record, and that this Native American stuff matters. A campaign strategist flags a Suffolk Poll from last week that showed the third word most associated with Warren is “liar”: http://goo.gl/aA4Cz. Dave Catanese reported over the weekend that the race is entering a new, more negative phase: http://goo.gl/w9Ini.
In Montana, the Associated Press reports that a new Mason Dixon Poll has Denny Rehberg leading liberal U.S. Senator Jon Tester. A new poll has found that Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg has a 3-point advantage over incumbent Democrat Jon Tester for the U.S. Senate. A poll commissioned by Lee Newspapers of Montana found that 48 percent say they’ll vote for Rehberg while 45 percent support Tester. One percent said they’ll vote for Libertarian Dan Cox and 6 percent are undecided.
- Meanwhile, Politico’s Burns & Haberman report that the NRSC is up in Montana with a new 60-second ad casting Sen. Jon Tester as a foe of farmers and ranchers due to his votes on the estate tax. The commercial packs more of a personal punch than other Republican advertising in the state, and departs from what has been a pretty narrow script of knocking Tester over the Affordable Care Act and other national GOP staples. This spot features a rancher named Turk Stovall, explaining that his father’s death could put his family’s property at risk due to the “death tax.”
In Virginia, the New York Times reports that George Allen continues to highlight the Obama Administration’s failure to address devastating defense cuts. Just outside the gates of the storied Quantico Marine Base, George Allen, the Republican nominee for a Senate seat from Virginia, sat down in the offices of a moving van company with more than a dozen defense contractors from his state last Monday to listen to them fret over government spending cuts. Mr. Allen has made opposition to the bipartisan deficit reduction law of 2011 the centerpiece of his campaign. … “I personally could never imagine voting for something so devastating to our national security and jobs in Virginia,” said Mr. Allen, a former senator seeking to regain the seat he lost six years ago to Jim Webb, a Democrat, who is retiring.
In Connecticut, the Hartford Courant reports that former Governor Jodi Rell, Senator Susan Collins and Senator Lisa Murkowski kicked off the “Women for Linda” rally on Saturday. M. Jodi Rell, the state’s enormously popular former governor, said people often confuse her with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon. In fact, Rell joked, she offered to fill in as McMahon’s double at parades and other campaign events. While McMahon declined that offer, she enlisted Rell and two moderate Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in her drive to win over Connecticut’s women voters. The three women were the featured speakers at a “Women for Linda” rally McMahon held Saturday afternoon at a Norwalk hotel.
In Wisconsin, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told ABC’s This Week that former Governor Tommy Thompson would defeat liberal Madison Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin. [Priebus] added that the marquee race in his home state of Wisconsin favors the GOP nominee, former governor Tommy Thompson. “I know that Tommy’s going to win here in Wisconsin. He is a legend. It’s like Harley-Davidson, Miller Lite, Tommy Thompson. He is a brand. He’s going to win.”
- Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Governor Thompson greeted President Obama’s visit on Saturday, by reminding him of his job-killing record. “Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and President Obama ran on a message of hope and change, but four years later the stark reality of our nation’s economic state is setting in,” Thompson said. Thompson said the campaign stop at the Summerfest grounds in which Baldwin is expected to appear with Obama “only further contrasts the choice families in Wisconsin and across the country will have to make on Election Day.”
- Columnist Christian Schnedier writes in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about Tammy Baldwin’s hypocritical campaign. Yet Baldwin’s undying romance with special interests is the stuff of legend. Baldwin pretends that no video of her exists among the throngs of public employees in the Wisconsin Capitol during the height of the recent collective bargaining conflict. There was Baldwin, bullhorn in hand, fighting to protect what might be the state’s strongest special interest from Gov. Scott Walker’s reforms. Indeed, government unions have shown their gratitude, with AFSCME recently purchasing nearly $1 million in television ads supporting her.
In Florida, the Miami Herald reports that Connie Mack brought his pro-jobs bus tour to Gainesville and Tallahassee. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack began the first of a weeklong bus tour Saturday, stoking the college crowds at tailgate events starting in Gainesville, where the the candidate’s Gators were playing the Kentucky Wildcats and ending in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles play the Clemson Tigers.
- Meanwhile, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Connie Mack continues to highlight liberal Democrat Bill Nelson’s ties to President Barack Obama. In recent days, both campaigns have switched to more issues-oriented commercials — and their long-term strategies are becoming clearer. Mack, behind in most polls, is trying to portray Nelson as more liberal than Floridians think, and to link him to President Barack Obama. …”Nelson has turned into a senator that says one thing to the people of Florida and then does another in Washington, D.C., as a liberal in lock step with Obama,” Mack said in an interview last week.
In Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that on Thursday, Dean Heller will debate embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley’s failed record. Nevada’s U.S. Senate race gets real on Thursday. Republican Sen. Dean Heller and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, will face off in their first televised debate in what’s sure to be a clash of both substance and style. … Heller, in turn, will try to pin Berkley to the wall by highlighting all the times she supported President Barack Obama’s unpopular policies, from backing the $800 billion stimulus bill that critics say failed to revive the economy to voting for his signature health care law, which trimmed $700 billion in Medicare spending over 10 years
- Meanwhile, Heller’s campaign is up with a new ad reminding voters of Berkley’s flailing campaign. Seven-term Congresswoman Shelley Berkley’s latest attack ads about fictitious scandals are a pathetic attempt to distract from her own ethics problems. In the latest ad from Dean Heller, you don’t have to take just our word for it:
In Indiana, the Evansville Courier & Press reports that Richard Mourdock received another business endorsement. Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock picked up another business endorsement last week, earning the backing of the Indiana Manufacturers Association. Pat Kiely, the president of the group, announced the endorsement in a statement Thursday. “Indiana’s efforts are being stifled because of the lack of a strong and coordinated pro-business effort at the federal level. We believe that Richard Mourdock will provide the leadership needed to benefit all Hoosiers,” he said. Mourdock’s campaign touted the move, adding it to a list that already includes the state and national Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
- Meanwhile, conservative Human Events reminds Hoosiers that Senator Dick Lugar is supporting Mourdock’s bid. “Yes, the senator is supporting Treasurer Mourdock,” Lugar press secretary Andy Fisher told us Friday. “On the night of the Friday election (when Mourdock defeated Lugar by a margin of 3-to-2), he said he would vote for him in November.” Fisher also pointed out that, in July, Mourdock “was introduced by the senator to a luncheon of Republican senators.”
In Arizona, Jeff Flake penned an op-ed for the Arizona Daily Star reminding Arizonans that he’ll fight to fix our broken tax code. First and foremost, the federal government needs to reform the tax code and eliminate burdensome regulations that hamper economic activity. So long as the U.S. has the largest corporate tax rate in the world, manufacturers will relocate their factories and plants overseas and new businesses will choose to incorporate in other countries. It’s tough for manufacturers to survive when they are literally being regulated out of business by the federal government. In order for manufacturers to thrive in the U.S., they need a pro-growth tax and regulatory environment.
- Finally, the Arizona Republic reported that Richard Carmona was in recently in Washington raising money from his liberal friends. Arizona Senate candidate Richard Carmona is attending a Democratic fundraiser in Washington this morning, according to The Hill, a move that some Republicans say is a sign he’d rubber-stamp Obama’s agenda. “Rubber-stamp,” if you haven’t been following, is the GOP’s favorite phrase for Carmona.
In Nebraska, the Omaha World-Herald reports that Deb Fischer is leading liberal Democrat Bob Kerrey by 16 points. The margin was even worse for Kerrey when the poll was narrowed to likely voters, with the former governor and two-term senator trailing Republican State Sen. Deb Fischer by 16 percentage points — 56 percent to 40 percent.
In New Mexico, the Alamgordo Daily News reports that Heather Wilson brought her pro-jobs campaign to Alamgordo. U.S. Senate candidate Heather Wilson speaks with Alamgordo Flower Co. owner Margaret Brabson in her store Friday. Wilson also spoke to a group of small business owners at nearby at Print Plus. She is seeking the soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat left by outgoing U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.
In Hawaii, the Associated Press reports that former Governor Linda Lingle will get 5 times to debate Mazie Hirono’s failed record for Hawaii. Hawaii’s U.S. Senate candidates Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle have settled on five debates before the Nov. 6 elections. Campaigns for the Democrat Hirono and Lingle, a Republican, jointly announced on Wednesday that the schedule would include four televised debates, starting with an Oct. 8 debate on KHON-TV. The candidates will debate Oct. 16 on KITV-TV, Oct. 18 on PBS Hawaii and Oct. 22 on Hawaii News Now.
In Michigan, the Livingston Daily Press & Argus reports that Pete Hoekstra is reminding voters that liberal U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow is the worst senator the state of Michigan has ever had. In the coming weeks, the battle for the White House could take a backseat in Michiganders’ minds as one of the most contentious U.S. Senate races in recent history draws to a close. Two-term U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, faces challenger and former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, on the Nov. 6 ballot. U.S. Senate terms are six years long. Hoekstra, who won an equally contentious GOP primary for the nomination in August, is making the case that Stabenow is “the worst senator Michigan has ever had,” as stated in his most recent ad.
In Pennsylvania, Politics PA reports that Tom Smith is closing the gap against liberal Senator Bob Casey. Republican Senate hopeful Tom Smith still trails Bob Casey, but his race is closer than the presidential contest in Pa. … It’s the first time in 2012 that any pollster has shown the Senate campaign narrower than the presidential in numbers released the same week.
WASHINGTON — The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is asking embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today to tell Nevadans whether or not she shares President Obama’s view that the serious problems we have seen on the economy and the recent turmoil in the Middle East are just “bumps in the road.”
Speaking on CBS’ 60 Minutes last night about the current problems in the Middle East, President Obama said:
“I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road…” (CBS’s “60 Minutes,” 9/23/12)
These are the same words he used about our economic problems in a speech last year:
“There are always going to be bumps on the road to recovery.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks, Toledo, OH, 6/3/11)
“It’s typical of President Obama and the Democrat leadership to dismiss serious problems as being ‘bumps in the road’. While they might just be inconvenient to them, to everyone else, these ‘bumps in the road’ are real and they amount to some of the biggest diplomatic and economic challenges we’ve seen in our lifetime,” NRSC spokesman Jahan Wilcox said today. “Shelley Berkley needs to tell Nevadans whether she shares President Obama’s casual view of the position we’re in. Voters want and expect strong leadership from Government and real policy solutions, and these are things we are not seeing from Democrats in Washington these days.”
President Obama and congressional Democrats are dismissive of these problems even as evidence mounts about the scale of the challenges this country faces. On the economy, the recovery continues to be long, slow and hard for families across America:
- More Than Twenty-Three Million Americans Are Unemployed, Underemployed, Or Have Stopped Looking For Work. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, 9/10/12)
- The Latest Jobs Report Showed The “Economy Slogged Along For The 43rd Month In A Row With Joblessness Above 8 Percent.” “American employers added 96,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent as the economy slogged along for the 43rd month in a row with joblessness above 8 percent.” (Susanna Kim, “August Jobs Report: Unemployment Falls To 8.1 Percent,” ABC News, 9/7/12)
- In August, The Unemployment Rate Either Increased Or Was Unchanged In 38 States. “The Labor Department says rates increased in 26 states. They fell in 12 states and were unchanged in the other 12.” (Christopher S. Rugaber, “Unemployment Rates Rise In Half Of US States,” The Associated Press, 9/21/12)
- “A Record 46.7 Million Americans Received Food Stamps In June…” “A record 46.7 million Americans received food stamps in June, up 0.4 percent from the previous month, the government said. Participation was 3.3 percent higher than a year earlier and has remained higher than 46 million all year as the unemployment rate has stagnated just above 8 percent. New jobless numbers will be released Sept. 7.” (Alan Bjera, “Food-Stamp Use Climbed To Record 46.7 Million In June, U.S. Says,” Bloomberg, 9/4/12)
In the Middle East, commentators worry about the direction the Middle East is taking:
- The Wall Street Journal: “Mideast Turmoil Spreads” (The Wall Street Journal, 9/14/12)
- Bloomberg: “U.S. Officials Concerned Over What Follows Arab Spring” (Bloomberg, 9/12/12)
- The Associated Press: “Arab Winter? Spreading Anti-American Unrest Prompts Debate On US Policy In The Arab World” (The Associated Press, 9/14/12)
- The New York Times: “U.S. Is Preparing For A Long Siege Of Arab Unrest” (The New York Times, 9/15/12)
From National Review Online by Kathryn Jean Lopez
‘I expect to be judged by results. . . . If stuff hasn’t worked and people don’t feel like I’ve led the country in the right direction, then you’ll have a new president.”
Barack Obama may regret having said that at a stimulus pep rally in 2009.
“The party’s over, the smoke has cleared,” says Gerald from Iowa. Gerald, by the way, has “voted Democrat” his “entire life.”
“I’m a lifelong Democrat,” says Dorrie from Pennsylvania.
“My dad was a Democrat. My mother was a Democrat. I’ve converted my wife to a Democrat,” says Jack from Iowa.
“I voted for the wrong guy,” says Nancy, a Democrat from Ohio.
“As he would say, we’re ready for a change,” says Matthew, an independent from Virginia.
After hearing from 40 independents and Democrats from swing states, the new documentary The Hope and the Change ends with this question: “Can we go through another four years of this?” What would America look like after another four years of squandered opportunities for economic stewardship, and of leadership priorities driven by radical ideology contrary to the much-celebrated unifying tone Barack Obama rode into office on?
It’s a tragic story. A story of people who pinned their hopes and dreams on political rhetoric and have been left not just disappointed but despondent.“If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now when he’s President Obama?” is how Mitt Romney introduced the case for himself at the Republican convention. “You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.”
Spending Daily | September 24, 2012
Why the National Debt Matters
The Associated Press reports, “A sea of red ink is confronting the nation and presidents to come. The budget deficit – the shortfall created when the government spends more in a given year than it collects in taxes and fees- is on track to top $1 trillion for the fourth straight year. When there’s not enough to pay current bills, the government borrows, mostly by selling interest-bearing Treasury bonds, bills and notes to investors and governments worldwide. It now borrows about 40 cents for every dollar it spends. The national debt refers to the total amount the federal government owes; the deficit is just a one-year slice. … The outstanding debt has since risen to a shade over $16 trillion. While there’s plenty of finger-pointing by politicians over who’s to blame, deficits historically surge during wars and deep recessions, and the U.S. has had both over the past decade. … Congress sets a ceiling on how much the government can borrow. If this debt limit is breached, the government will default on its obligations. This has never happened, but it almost did last summer in a Capitol Hill standoff. As a consequence, the nation’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time ever. The current $16.4 trillion debt limit will be reached late this year or early next. A slew of tax breaks will expire at the same time. No matter who wins, he’ll immediately have his hands full.”
Sequester II: Return of the Sequester
Politico reports, “There’s an idea kicking around Congress to avoid the year-end ‘fiscal cliff,’ and it bears an uncanny resemblance to the dreaded sequester that’s become the bane of lawmakers’ collective existence. It’d be a stretch — but not a huge one — to call it another sequester. Designed to head off the deep automatic spending cuts and higher tax rates set to kick in next year, the proposal is to instruct — actually, mandate — the powerful House and Senate tax-writing committees to rewrite the Tax Code.” There is no telling what will happen if they fail, but Congress would be forced to slash the deficit and reform tax laws. … While the latest idea — under consideration at the highest levels of Congress — would be structured differently than the sequester, it is inspired by a similar line of thinking. Proponent of the plan, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the Budget Committee chairman said he wouldn’t call it a second sequester. But many fear Congress may have no other choice. ” After rushing out of town last week for the campaign homestretch, lawmakers left behind a pile of unfinished business that could send the economy back into recession if left unresolved before the new year.”
Ryan Takes On Entitlements at AARP
The Wall Street Journal editorializes, “The headlines this weekend were all about the boos Paul Ryan elicited on Friday when he addressed the AARP, the self-styled seniors’ lobby. The herd of independent media minds missed the real story, which is that the Republican Vice Presidential nominee went into the heart of the entitlement culture… Perhaps most striking, Mr. Ryan even earned some applause when he discussed Social Security reform, including ‘slightly raising the retirement age over time and slowing the growth of benefits for those with higher incomes.’ Raising the retirement age used to be anathema and AARP still opposes it. … In an instructive question and answer session that is available on AARP’s website, Mr. Ryan also held forth on the threat of rising national debt, the economic drawbacks of raising payroll taxes (the favorite liberal answer on Social Security) and the bipartisan roots of his proposal for Medicare premium support.”
Congress Skips Town, Putting Off Important Issues Until After Election
The Washington Post reports, “With final Senate votes cast 1 a.m. Saturday morning, Congress has concluded work and departed Washington, putting off major decisions on tax and budget issues until after the November election. The session ended on terrain familiar from the past 18 months of gridlocked action — with both parties blaming each other for not getting more done and a procedural debate in the Senate delaying final action on a bill over which there was no big dispute. The Senate early Saturday approved a six-month spending measure to fund the government when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30 on a 62 to 30 vote. The measure, which the House approved last week, would spare Washington the specter of a government shutdown in the weeks leading up to the election. Approval of the must-pass funding bill marked Congress’s only significant accomplishment during an eight-day work period that followed the August recess.”
“Poll: More trust President Obama on Medicare”
Politico reports, “More swing-state voters trust President Barack Obama to handle Medicare than Mitt Romney, according to a poll Monday. Fifty percent of registered voters in 12 swing states trust Obama to handle Medicare, compared to 44 percent who trust Romney more, according to a Gallup Poll. Nationally, Obama has a 51 percent to 43 percent edge over the Republican nominee. Only 44 percent said Romney and running mate Paul Ryan have put forth a specific plan to overhaul Medicare. Ryan, as chairman of the House Budget Committee, has proposed giving seniors money to purchase either a government plan or a private plan, which Democrats have criticized as ‘ending Medicare as we know it’ because the voucher might not be enough to cover medical costs comparable to traditional Medicare. … Only 44 percent said Romney and running mate Paul Ryan have put forth a specific plan to overhaul Medicare. Ryan, as chairman of the House Budget Committee, has proposed giving seniors money to purchase either a government plan or a private plan, which Democrats have criticized as ‘ending Medicare as we know it’ because the voucher might not be enough to cover medical costs comparable to traditional Medicare.”
Senate Passes Stopgap Spending Measure to Avoid Gov’t Shutdown
Reuters reports, “A deeply divided and unproductive Congress wrapped up its final business before November’s elections early on Saturday as the U.S. Senate passed a stopgap measure to fund federal programs and avoid an Oct. 1 government shutdown. The 62-30 vote on the funding bill, which now moves to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law, was delayed by days of partisan bickering over votes on unrelated measures aimed at boosting both Democrats’ and Republicans’ political fortunes. For the new fiscal year which begins on Oct. 1, the $524 billion measure slightly raises discretionary spending – which funds government agencies and everything from defense to national parks – from current levels. It was needed because Congress’ normal process of appropriating money for government operations broke down amid disagreements between Democrat and Republicans over spending levels and funding was due to run out after Sept. 30.”
Bill to Repeal Health Insurance Tax Has Enough Co-Sponsors to Pass in House
The Hill reports, “Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.) announced Friday that his bill to repeal one of the taxes in President Obama’s healthcare reform law has 218 co-sponsors — enough to ensure it would pass the House. The Republican-led House has voted more than 30 times to repeal or defund all or part of the Affordable Care Act, so Boustany’s bill never would have faced much trouble. But it targets a provision that has faced steady, consistent opposition from Republicans as well as the insurance industry. Boustany’s bill would repeal the health law’s tax on insurance plans — a policy critics say would raise premiums at a time when millions of new people will be coming into the insurance marketplace.”
Germany Grows Impatient as Spain is Reluctant to ask for Help
Bloomberg reports, “Germany’s governing coalition showed growing exasperation with Spain, as a senior ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy must stop prevaricating and decide whether Spain needs a full rescue. ‘He must spell out what the situation is,’ Michael Meister, the chief whip and finance spokesman for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said in an interview in Berlin today. The fact he’s not doing so shows ‘Rajoy evidently has a communications problem. If he needs help he must say so.’ … Rajoy has displayed reluctance to seek more help after Draghi unveiled the central bank’s bond-purchase plan, linked to conditions for recipient states, on Sept. 6. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said last week Spain will consider a bailout if conditions are acceptable. … ‘There won’t be any nation that voluntarily, with a pre- emptive move, even if rationally justified, would go to an international body and say, ‘I give up my national sovereignty,’ Polillo said in Rome. ‘I rule it out for Italy and for any other country.’
Investors Race to Buy Treasuries as Doubt Over Fed Recovery Looms
Bloomberg reports, “U.S. investors are buying Treasuries at a faster pace than foreigners for the first time since 2010, aiding the government in its efforts to borrow as total public debt outstanding rises above $16 trillion. Government debt securities held by domestic buyers, excluding the Federal Reserve, rose 10.7 percent in the first seven months of this year to $3.61 trillion, compared with a 6.9 percent increase for countries from China to Germany, according to the latest data available from the Treasury Department and compiled by Bloomberg. Record-low yields are proving no deterrent to U.S. buyers concerned that unprecedented stimulus by the Fed and Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may neither stimulate the economy nor bring down a jobless rate that has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009. … Even though the national debt has soared, borrowing costs have tumbled as investors sought a haven from the turmoil. … ’One of the biggest risks out there is market risk that interest rates will start rising,” Kathleen Gaffney, a money manager at Loomis Sayles & Co.’
“U.S. Stock Futures Fall as Europe Leaders Clash on Crisis”
Bloomberg reports, “U.S. stock futures fell, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will drop a third day, as European leaders clashed on ways to stem the debt crisis and data from China and Germany signaled the slowdown is deepening. … S&P 500 futures expiring in December retreated 0.4 percent to 1,445.70 at 8:39 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 49 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13,451 today. The number of shares changing hands in Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s companies was 31 percent lower than the 30-day average at this time of day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Read More