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Obama’s Labor Skank Signs International Agreement With Effect Of Encouraging Illegal Aliens To Keep Or Come Take Jobs Needed By Unemployed Americans
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Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has overseen a number of signed agreements between U.S. agencies and foreign officials pledging to give migrant workers the full protections of U.S. workplace laws — regardless of their legal status — and she says her department will uphold them.
“No matter how you got here or how long you plan to stay, you have certain rights,” Solis said at an event unveiling the latest agreements on Monday in Washington.
Solis says foreign workers need to know their rights, so that they can lodge complaints without fear that they will be fired or deported. She believes the signed agreements with countries like El Salvador and Mexico will serve to “remove those fears.”
Critics of the move say the policy flies in the face of U.S. laws on both immigration and labor, and find the pledges especially worrisome in a time of high unemployment.
“Obviously everyone wants workers protected in the workplace, that’s not the issue,” said Phil Kent, national spokesman for Americans for Immigration Control. “The problem is the bending over backwards to help and promote black market labor.”
Solis defends the agreements, saying that current U.S. law protects all workers.
“Previous administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have held to that, so I’m not doing anything different,” she said.
But critics argue that regardless of which party advocates for the written agreements, the policy is wrong. They also note that the Labor Department’s own website states that businesses may only hire workers who are U.S. citizens or those who are in the country legally.
Kent says it’s also a slap in the face to immigrants who try to go through proper legal channels for naturalization, saying they must ask themselves whether it’s worth it to immigrate legally.
“Why did I bother to go through six, seven years of this to become a citizen when you have people like Secretary Solis and the Obama administration just thumbing their nose at the law — and the American worker?” Kent said, describing how legal immigrants may respond.
In addition to the agreements already signed with countries in Central America, Solis says there are also plans to enter into similar partnerships with governments in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.
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A Republican member of the House Tea Party Caucus on Wednesday countered recent inflammatory remarks by members of the Congressional Black Caucus against the Tea Party.
“I’m a TEA Party caucus member and have spoken at two tea party rallies. I am also NOT a racist. Maxine & Andre – get a grip,” Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) tweeted.
Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) both directed harsh remarks at the Tea Party movement last week.
Carson accused the Tea Party members in Congress of wanting to see blacks “hanging from a tree.”
Waters said at an event in California, “The Tea Party can go straight to hell.”
Democratic members of the CBC ramped up the anti-Tea Party rhetoric in late August, with members such as Waters and Carson speaking at events in their home districts.
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), another Black Caucus member, identified the Tea Party as “the real enemy.”
In response, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), the only Republican member of the group and also a member of the Tea Party caucus, said he is “reconsidering” his membership in the Black Caucus.
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Obama’s stunt today ended up being nothing more than a giant commercial for next week’s GOP debate. By bringing it all this attention, he’s simply guaranteed that more voters will see the jobs success counterpoint to his jobs failure that Rick Perry is, and will hear the GOP shred him with all guns blazing. Guaranteed also? In the shadow of all that, his speech will appear all the more small, empty and fraudulent.
Seemed like a clever idea last night, didn’t it, dumbass Obama? How’s it lookin’ now, you stupid bitch?
Aug 31 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will address a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8 instead of Sept. 7 to unveil proposals to create new jobs, bowing to objections from Republicans, the White House said on Wednesday.
Obama had requested originally to address Congress on the same night as Republican presidential candidates are holding a televised debate.
“The president is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy, so he welcomes the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, September 8th and challenge our nation’s leaders to start focusing 100% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
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During a Q&A session with students at Pennsylvania State University on Tuesday, GOP presidential hopeful (and Penn State alumni) Rick Santorum shared his views on a variety of topics, including the issue of gay marriage.
When Santorum expressed frustration over traditional Catholic teachings he follows being attacked today as being “bigoted” by gay activists, some dissenting students fired back, claiming that there are social benefits to homosexual marriage… because the American Psychological Association says so:
See more of Santorum’s Penn State Q&A session after the jump
Penn State’s Daily Collegian has more video:
Index of Questions:
00:18 – Do you believe that you are a viable presidential candidate, and at what point would you consider dropping out of the race?
02:11 – Why don’t you find protection for gay marriage in the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the 14th and 15th Amendments?
06:36 – How would you respond to those who say that your belief system is “archaic” and “out-of-date”? (as seen above)
11:53 – If you are elected president, to what extent will you reflect your beliefs on American society?
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This is yet another example of why it’s tough to calculate the actual job-stimulating benefits of the stimulus plan. The Recovery Act’s success is typically measured by looking at how many jobs have been created. But there’s also job “shifting,” which happens when a business uses stimulus funds to hire someone who was already employed at another company. And according to a new study from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, that’s been the case with nearly half of the workers hired under the Recovery Act:
Hiring isn’t the same as net job creation. In our survey, just 42.1 percent of the workers hired at ARRA-receiving organizations after January 31, 2009, were unemployed at the time they were hired (Appendix C). More were hired directly from other organizations (47.3 percent of post-ARRA workers), while a handful came from school (6.5 percent) or from outside the labor force (4.1 percent)(Figure 2). Thus, there was an almost even split between “job creating” and “job switching.” This suggests just how hard it is for Keynesian job creation to work in a modern, expertise-based economy: even in a weak economy, organizations hired the employed about as often as the unemployed.
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A new national survey has found that a majority of Americans think that abortion is wrong. While 48 percent of 1,000 likely U.S. voters queried in the late August Rasmussen Reports phone survey said they considered themselves pro-choice, with 43 percent identifying themselves as pro-life, 55 percent said they think abortion is morally wrong most of the time. Another 30 percent said they think abortion is morally acceptable in the majority of cases, with 15 remaining undecided on the issue.
Predictably, the poll found that 70 percent of Democrats identify themselves as pro-choice, while 62 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of voters affiliated with neither party identified themselves as pro-life.
When asked about the morality of the procedure, 72 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of unaffiliated voters said they thought abortion is wrong most of the time, with 46 percent of Democrats disagreeing and saying abortion is not wrong in most instances.
“When it comes to the next congressional election,” the Rasmussen report noted, “54% of voters say the issue of abortion is at least somewhat important in terms of how they will vote, including 31% who say it’s ‘Very Important.’”
The survey also found that 41 percent of all voters think it’s too easy to get an abortion in the U.S., with only 16 percent saying they think it’s too difficult to obtain the procedure, and another 29 percent saying they think the level of accessibility is just about right. Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats to say it’s too easy to get an abortion in America today.
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Barack Obama defeated Sen. John McCain 56 percent to 43 percent among female voters in the 2008 presidential election, according to the network exit poll, and Obama’s job performance as president won the support of 70 percent of women early in his tenure.
But Gallup polling last week showed that only 41 percent of women now say they approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president. That is an all-time low — down from the previous low of 43 percent, which is what Obama’s approval had been among women in each of the previous three weeks.
Obama’s approval has dropped 11 points among women over the past three months. In the last week of May, according to the Gallup poll, the president’s approval among females was at 52 percent.
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The blogosphere has been abuzz this week with a video misleading viewers to believe that Rep. Michele Bachmann riles up a campaign crowd in Iowa with the line, “Who likes white people?”
The video was pirated from Robert Stacy McCain’s blog, the Other McCain, after he covered a Bachmann appearance at a rainy August 5th Christian music festival, during which Bachmann shouted to the drenched crowd “Who likes wet people?” She followed the question with a statement to her Christian audience on God’s power over the weather, which was cut from the edited version. The blogger took the video from McCain, added a caption to read “Who likes white people?” and the video instantly became viral thanks to Perez Hilton, CBS News, and Wonkette. Now the blogger who edited the stolen video has removed the video from YouTube and apologized to McCain, but has still damaged the reputation of Bachmann and could face legal repercussions from both her and McCain.
The blogger who wrongly edited the video issued his apology to McCain yesterday, writing:
I want to apologize for misusing Stacey Robert McCain’s [sic] original video…I was angry so I decided to take Mrs. Bachmann’s line out of context to make her seem more overtly racist in light of her recent signing of that Iowa marriage pledge that said black children were better off under slavery than in Obama’s America. Whether or not I dislike Michele Bachmann, it wasn’t right to deliver a dishonest blow like that. I wanted to apologize to Mr. McCain and all of you directly…[…]
I have removed the video from my Youtube channel.
Beyond the libelous action against Bachmann’s campaign, McCain also has the claim of copyright infringement against the blogger for pirating his video. This further extends against Perez Hilton, who branded the edited video with his own watermark.
CBS News even labeled the video as the number one selection in Michelle Castillo’s “Top 5 Viral Videos of the Week” before fact checking it, saying:
“Everything that comes out of Michele Bachmann’s mouth is gold. A new video has her asking a crowd of people, “Who likes white people?” It doesn’t make any sense, so many explanations are surfacing from “White People Soul Power” being the band that played before, to the fact it was raining and Bachmann is asking about ‘wet’ people.”
With a simple online search, the entire lineup of the musical festival would have been available, clearing up any confusion in band names. No attempts were made to contact a videographer, either, which would have led to McCain and the accurate conclusion that everyone watching Bachmann was, in fact, soaking wet.
McCain’s attorney is considering further action against the blogger, and with a written admission of his malicious act, Bachmann’s campaign would not have trouble taking action against him either.
After Scheduling Obama’s Address To Coincide With GOP Debate, Carney Says Republicans Should Reschedule “In The Spirit Of Democracy”…
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The White House suggested Wednesday that the hosts of next week’s GOP presidential debate can change the time by an hour so it doesn’t interfere with President Obama’s planned jobs speech to Congress.
POLITICO and NBC are hosting a Republican debate Sept. 7 at 8 p.m., the same time the White House said Obama asked Congress to make an address.
Asked about the timing on Wednesday, press secretary Jay Carney said, “It is coincidental.”
“There are a lot of factors that go into scheduling a speech before Congress, a joint session,” he said. “You can never find a perfect time. … There are many channels, there are many opportunities for people to watch the president, and obviously for people to watch the debate.”
Asked later if the interruption is then an “added bonus” for the White House, Carney suggested that isn’t the case. “There’s one president, there’s 20-some-odd debates,” he said.
“There are many opportunities for the American people. There’s a choice they can make to watch the president, to watch the debate,” he said. “A network could make a decision to alter the timing of the debate by an hour.”
Carney later elaborated, saying that if “sponsors chose and the candidates so chose to adjust the timing of their debate … that would be completely fine with us, in the spirit of democracy.”
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Hollywood actor Mel Gibson has been ordered to pay his baby mama & ex-girlfriend $750,000. Sounds pretty nice, right?
It‘s not so nice when you consider the fact that Gibson’s ex, Oksana Grigorieva, turned down his previous settlement offer a few months ago… an offer to the tune of $15 million.
It just goes to show that in the end, greed will get you.
Obama’s Scumbag Illegal Alien-Supporting Labor Boss Buys Canadian-Built Car, Has Audacity To Say She Did It “To Show Her Support For American Workers”
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To show her support for American workers, President Obama’s labor secretary, Hilda Solis, has junked the standard black limo and purchased a new Chevrolet Equinox to ride around Washington in. The problem: the crossover SUV is built and assembled in Canada from parts also made in Canada.
Solis proudly arrived at a media breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor today in the shiny silver vehicle, which she has dubbed the “bullet.” She was asked about why she traded the standard-issue limo for the SUV. “What better example could I set if I encouraged my staff to go and purchase and seek how we could acquire a vehicle that would for me would send a signal that we’re for supporting our American workers, American-made products, fuel efficient as well,” she told the Monitor’s Dave Cook, who provided this video of her answer.
Solis added that she was inspired to buy the Chevy because of the pride she saw in American auto workers during trips to U.S. car and truck plants. She said that she was wowed by “the pride that they take making our automobiles here in America.”
The car is made at two Canadian plants and has been so popular that General Motors has been hiring more workers in Canada to keep up with demand.
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An “Obama Clock” app is jockeying for position with National Geographic’s World Atlas atop the iTunes app store’s reference best-seller list, partly because conservatives are eager to monitor President Barack Obama’s skidding approval numbers and shrinking calendar, says the app’s designer.
Liberals don’t like the app because it shows Obama’s numbers trending down, said Jeremy Ross, even though his app just publishes publicly available data. The app can also be used to display the same stats on future GOP presidents.
Ross, a California aerospace engineer, cut his sleep time down to 5 hours per day to develop the app, which users rate at 4.5 out of 5 stars.
“Most of my friends are very left and strongly discouraged me from starting this app,” he said. “My best friend hates this app.” Ross added that his own mother, also politically liberal, isn’t happy about it.
“There‘s almost a sense of, ‘Well you should not do that,’” he told The Daily Caller. “I try to explain that it is not meant to hurt the president, but is a way of monitoring and keeping someone accountable … I would like this to be more of a ‘Presidents’ Clock,’” Ross said.
The app displays Rasmussen Reports’ polling data on Obama’s popularity along with the U.S. unemployment rate, the gasoline price index, housing values, the national debt — and the amount of time remaining until the next presidential inauguration.
Ross launched the 99-cent app on August 4.
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Organizers of the Labor Day parade in Wausau backtracked on Tuesday night from an earlier decision to bar Republican lawmakers from participating in the event.
In an email statement issued shortly before midnight, Marathon County Labor Council President Randy Radtke said everyone will be permitted to march in the parade “because we don’t want to have community groups and school bands affected.”
“We didn’t start this fight in Wisconsin, but were responding to anti-worker positions and policies supported by local Republican politicians, including those who have complained about not being invited,” Radtke’s statement read. “With the track records that Pam Galloway, Sean Duffy, Scott Walker, and Jerry Petrowski have all put together this year, they should be ashamed to even show their faces at a Labor Day parade.”
On Tuesday afternoon, one day after demanding organizers allow members of all political parties to participate or lose financial support for the event from the city, Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple said the decision was intended to make the parade all inclusive.
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President Obama plans to lay out his long-awaited jobs speech before a joint session of Congress next Wednesday evening — which happens to be the same night as a Republican presidential debate.
“I respectfully request the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7, 2011 at 8 p.m.,” Obama wrote in a letter sent Wednesday to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the timing of the speech is not aimed at overshadowing the next Republican debate, which is cosponsored by NBC News and Politico, and is scheduled to air at the same time as the planned presidential address.
“It is coincidental,” Carney said. “It is one debate of many [that will air] on one channel of many… [and] there are many other factors here” to consider when scheduling a major address from the president, he added.
Carney gave NBC his permission to reschedule the Republican debate so it doesn’t conflict with the president’s speech, saying “if the network so chose and the candidates so chose” to reschedule, “that would be completely fine with us.”
Boehner and Reid have not yet responded to Obama’s letter, according to Carney.
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Sigh. It’s just like junior high gym class… except on live television:
Something tells me this reporter probably didn’t stick around to make a donation to the Sierra Club before running away in shame.
“Obama’s Thinly-Veiled Political Ploy”: Boehner Urges Obama To Reschedule Jobs Speech Amid Conflict With GOP Debate – With Video
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House Speaker John Boehner has asked President Obama to postpone his planned jobs speech by a day, after the White House announced Wednesday that it was scheduling the address for the same night as a GOP 2012 primary debate in California.
With Republicans in control of the House and Democrats in control of the Senate, the president will need bipartisan support for any proposals he lays out. After bitter partisan debates led to last-minute agreements on government funding and a debt-ceiling increase, the president is calling on lawmakers to come together around his new proposals.
“It is my intention to lay out a series of bipartisan proposals that the Congress can take immediately to continue to rebuild the American economy by strengthening small businesses, helping Americans get back to work, and putting more money in the paychecks of the Middle Class and working Americans, while still reducing our deficit and getting our fiscal house in order,” Obama wrote in his letter Wednesday to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Boehner.
The two-hour debate, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, was supposed to start at 8 p.m. on Sept. 7. In Obama’s letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, the president requested to speak before a joint session of Congress at the very same time.
The president, though, needs permission from congressional leaders in order to deliver the address. While House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi welcomed the president, Boehner said in a letter late Wednesday afternoon that he would like the president to pick a different time. He did not mention the debate. Since the House does not come into session until Sept. 7, with votes scheduled that evening, Boehner expressed concern about the time it would take to conduct the security sweep in time for a presidential speech.
“It is my recommendation that your address be held on the following evening, when we can ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks,” Boehner wrote.
The White House had insisted the timing was coincidental. Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters there were many scheduling “considerations” and suggested the president has no interest in detracting from the debate viewership.
He said the administration would “welcome” a decision by debate hosts to “adjust the timing of their debate so that it didn’t conflict.”
But Carney downplayed the debate as one of many on the political calendar. He said the White House would “carry forward” with its planned speech regardless of “whatever the competing opportunities on television are, whether it’s the wildlife channel or the cooking channel.”
Republicans quickly slammed the president for the move. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called it a “thinly-veiled political ploy.”
“President Obama’s decision to address Congress at the same time as a long-scheduled Republican Presidential debate cements his reputation as Campaigner-in-Chief,” he said in a written statement.
A Reagan Library official, speaking to Fox News, says there is no official reaction yet from the organizers of the debate, but the event has been on the schedule for months. The Reagan Library is expected to issue a statement shortly. Politico, which is co-sponsoring the debate with NBC News, said the debate would not be postponed.
Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe didn’t buy the White House explanation. “No, that’s not just coincidental,” the Oklahoma senator told Fox News Radio, suggesting mischief was afoot. “Why else would he choose 8 o’clock on Wednesday?”
However, by scheduling the speech on the same night, the president runs the risk of becoming even more of a punching bag should the debate sponsors push back the time. Republican candidates would have an immediate opportunity to rebut the president’s speech on live TV.
“Potentially, it will backfire,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “Obama’s elevated this debate to a face-off with him rather than a face-off with the Republican candidates.”
Andrea Saul, spokeswoman for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, said in a statement that viewers will have a choice between “Republican candidates talking about the future of America, or Barack Obama talking about the future of his presidency.”
Though the debate is one of many, it would be the first to feature Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who jumped into the race shortly after the last debate, which was co-sponsored by Fox News. Perry has quickly vaulted into the lead position in many national polls.
Obama is expected to outline proposals for both long-term deficit reduction and job creation.
The plan is likely to include a mix of infrastructure spending and tax relief, as well as other proposals. For months, the president has been pushing for new trade agreements, patent reform and an extension of the payroll tax cut, among other initiatives.
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Since mid-July hundreds of Kurdish civilians in Iraq have fled bombings by the Iranian and Turkish armies, and set up refugee camps that are situated along the northern part of Iraqi Kurdistan (which borders Turkey and Iran). Up to a hundred Kurds have been killed in these bombings.
A Turkish crackdown on Kurds is nothing new and is part of an ongoing war with the terrorist organization PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), that started in 1984. In this war approx. 40,000 people – most of them Kurds – died, another two million Kurds or so were displaced and more than 3000 Kurdish villages were destroyed.
This time around however, the stakes are much higher since the Kurds have cast their eyes on the ‘Arab spring’, and feel that this might be the moment to establish an independent Kurdistan.
At the same time Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan stepped up a campaign that aims to Islamize Turkish society and to limit political freedom.
Erdogan has asserted control over the army and is responsible for the arrest of scores of journalists, political opponents and critics in the army.
The Kurds apparently have lost faith in Erdogan’s promises to resolve the conflict and to inplement reforms that would have ensured equality for the 20 percent Kurdish majority in Turkey.
Iran : The situation on the border of northern Iraq started to deteriorate when Iran began bombing Kurdish villages in July.
This resulted in a large amount of Kurdish refugees who now camp out on the hillsides at the foot of the Qandil mountains.
Last week, the Kurdish refugees in Iraq became trapped in their camps when Turkish army planes targeted PKK strongholds in the same area.
The Turkish army started to bomb the Kurdish areas in retaliation to recent terrorist attacks by the PKK that left scores of Turkish soldiers dead.
The PKK attacks were directly triggered by the continuous detainment of six MP’s of the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) on charges of terrorist activities. The BDP is the biggest Kurdish party in Turkey and has won 36 seats during the last elections in June 2011.
Turkish officials insist that the raids are not aimed at civilians but are meant to destroy the PKK’s infrastructure and to annihilate its fighters.
Both Turkey and Iran have bombed Kurdish regions in the past. These bombings always aimed to wipe out suspected hiding places of the Turkish PKK and their Iranian offshoot PJAK.
The recent Turkish military campaign triggered Iraqi Kurdish protests. They started when a family of seven was killed by a Turkish air strike near the town of Rania in Iraq, next to the Iranian border.
On August 19th Kawa Mahmud, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said that the Turkish bombardment “is a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, the norms of international law, and the UN charter.”
Mahmud said the attacks “have resulted in peaceful villages being depopulated as their inhabitants flee the bombings.”
In a related development this week the Iraqi Kurdish government decided to dispatch Kurdish forces beyond the borders of the autonomous Kurdish area, citing increased Arab attacks on Kurdish citizens
Turkish political analyst Mustafa Dhia said that the Turkish offensive “may check PKK infiltration across Iraq’s porous borders with Turkey for some time but, in the long term, there is no military solution to this problem.”
He added that “the Turkish government has a whole package of economic and social measures (available) to solve the Kurdish question by peaceful means.
Turkey’s military offensive shows the hypocrisy of Erdogan, as was pointed out by columnist Burak Bekdil in the Turkish paper Hurriyet.
Bekdil ridiculed Erdogan for insulting Israel’s president Shimon Peres at the Davos World Economic Forum two and a half years ago. At the time Erdogan blasted Israel’s handling of the Gaza war and told Peres: ‘You (Jews) know how to kill’.
Erdogan has also harshly criticized Bashar al-Assad’s bloody suppression of opposition protests in neighboring Syria, which has its own Kurdish minority. Tensions between Turkey and Syria boiled over this week, after Assad told Erdogan not to interfere in internal Syrian affairs.
At the same time Erdogan is conducting a relentless campaign against his opponents in Turkey. Middle East expert Barry Rubin reported this week that Erdogan’s regime ‘is arresting officers and dissidents on the most ridiculous charges of conspiring to murder people and overthrow the regime’.
In an e-mail to Missing Peace Professor Rubin commented on the Kurdish problem in Turkey and wrote that:
‘The Turkish regime spoke a great deal about solving the Kurdish issue in an Islamic context, that is by stressing that both Turks and Kurds are Sunni Muslims so there is no real problem. This effort failed, however, due both to the regime’s watering down its offers and many Kurds–as was evident in the last election–seeing themselves within a nationalist, or at least communalist, framework. Consequently, the PKK has restarted its violence and the regime–as it is doing in other areas–has responded with increasing repression’.
Israel: Meanwhile Turkey’s relations with Israel seem irreparable. Erdogan keeps insisting that Israel apologizs for the death of 9 Turks who were killed when a violent lynch mob attacked Israeli soldiers on the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship that attempted to break the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza in 2010.
A majority in the Israeli government oppose an apology as it would further weaken Israel’s position in the region and would not fundamentally change Erdogan’s attitude towards Israel.
Last week, WikiLeaks published a US cable from 2009. The cable revealed that the Israeli ambassador in Ankara Gaby Levy, blamed the deterioration in Turkish Israeli relations on Erdogan’s religiously inspired hatred for Israel.
In yet another development the Kavkazcenter, a Chechen Islamic internet news agency, reported last week that Erdogan intends to implement ‘Plan B’ for the relations with Israel.
The plan reportedly entails cutting of diplomatic relations and an end to military cooperation, trade sanctions and full support for ‘Palestine’ which includes a visit to Gaza by Erdogan.
Back in June, Missing Peace published an analysis on Erdogan’s victory in the Turkish elections titled: ‘Turkey’s stealth revolution’.
Based on the recent developments it is fair to say it is no longer a ‘stealth revolution’.
Erdogan has come out in the open and has taken off his gloves.
He no longer thinks it is necessary to hide his true intentions and aspirations.
Turkey is rapidly becoming less democratic and more Islamic. The Erdogan regime is supporting the Islamist agenda for the Middle East and working to become a regional superpower.
The writing is on the wall but it is highly doubtful the West will notice it.
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WaPo columnist: There are no “coincidences” in presidential politics
The battlefield legacy of Gen. David Petraeus: He really was that good
Pot, meet Kettle: Joe Scarborough says Rick Perry is “not a real conservative”
D.C. HIV/AIDS program funds strip club renovations
Obama labor boss buys new American Canadian car
Obama’s rules hold back his hometown businesses
Walter Williams: What’s race got to do with it?
Counting down until Obama leaves office? There’s an app for that
Rick Perry promises a pro-life VP pick
Misquoted: MLK memorial only tells half the story
Report: Washington Monument has sprung a leak after Irene
Flashback: Moving video montage celebrates Twin Towers film cameos (h/t Mediaite)
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“The Adventures of Methadone Man & Buprenorphine Babe, brought to you by the good people at The Open Society Institute:
Billionaire philanthropist George Soros’s Open Society Institute—which runs an international harm reduction effort as part of its health program—has just released a graphic novel to promote the fact that methadone and buprenorphine maintenance programs dramatically cut the rates of HIV infection in countries where the epidemic is skyrocketing. The 24-page comic book, Methadone Man and Buprenorphine Babe, stars a dynamic superhero duo pushing back against the worldwide War on Drugs to advocate drug-maintenance—both as a tool to treat addiction and to stop the spread of AIDS. “Methadone stops HIV in its tracks!” declares Methadone Man, the comic’s caped crusader. “Buprenorphine each day keeps injection away!” adds his comely pal, “Bupe Babe.” Designed to reach young people in the developed and developing worlds, the glossy comics are a far cry from the ones you grew up with as a kid. They’re also bound to raise some hackles among anti-drug groups who feel that Methadone is a poor substitute for outright abstinence.
Methadone, a synthetic long-acting full-agonist opioid drug, has been used in medication-assisted addiction treatment (MAT) for decades to block addicts’ cravings for narcotics such as heroin and Oxycontin. Buprenorphine—AKA Suboxone, Subutex or “bupe”—is a newer synthetic long-acting partial-agonist opioid. Developed for pain treatment and to conduct short-term detoxes from full-agonist drugs, it’s increasingly being used as a maintenance drug by many doctors. Like methadone, Buprenephorine can block cravings and prevent addicts engaging in criminal or unhealthy activities—like needle-sharing—to support their habits. Outside sub-Saharan Africa, one third of HIV infections are attributed to IV drug users sharing unsanitary works—IV drug use accounts for 10% of new infections around the world. The World Health Organization calls methadone and buprenorphine “essential medicines,” and they’re recognized as such by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNAIDS, and other international organizations. Methadone and bupe are available to drug addicts in 65 countries, but because of onerous restrictions they fail to reach many who could benefit, an Open Society report says. The comic book contains startling stats about the link between addiction and HIV: In Vietnam IV drug users account for 65% of HIV infections, but fewer than 0.5% have access to drug maintenance; HIV has reached epidemic levels among IV drug users in Russia—37% of Russian IV drug users reportedly have HIV, and they make up 80% of new cases—yet Russia has outlawed methadone and bupe; Poland has limited its drug maintenance program to just 1,000 people; 88 countries have IV drug-use problems but no MAT programs.
The Open Society’s program is part of a larger effort to lower HIV infection rates among injection drug users. The recent International AIDS Conference in Vienna declared that the War on Drugs is helping to spread AIDS and called for a policy overhaul. The Vienna Declaration was signed by thousands of people worldwide, including the Nobel-laureate co-discoverer of the HIV virus and other prominent health-policy figures. President Obama’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief also reportedly endorses MAT and harm-reduction strategies. A raft of methadone treatment programs were recently initiated in countries including Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Morocco, Cambodia and Bangladesh. In countries that already have MAT programs, like Georgia, Kyrgyszstan and Indonesia, IV addicts face prohibitively long waiting lists. The Open Society’s five-point harm reduction approach to reducing HIV infection also includes increasing needle exchanges, legal reform to end the focus on criminalizing addicts, increasing the availability of antiretroviral treatment, and teaching addicts to take care of their sexual health.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 1:59 PM with 3 comments
First let me say, contrarianism is one of my favorite personality traits, especially when you’re being contrarian to your own base or fans. It’s what I like about Chris Christie, Dick Cheney, Howard Stern, and…Charlie Sheen. When you have no regard as to whether anyone agrees with you (or even likes you) I trust you mean what you say.
And I have to say…I’m starting to like Jon Huntsman. Whether he’s talking about civil unions (which I agree with him on) … or climate change (which I don’t agree with him on, at least on the surface) … he doesn’t seem overly concerned with being popular. And he’s done it again with his tax reform plan.
Everyone gives lip service to reforming the tax code. Everyone says they want to simplify the tax code. Everyone says they want to do away with the ‘loopholes’. And everyone understands this would have enormous economic benefits.
But no one really wants to get into what they mean by “loopholes.”
Forget all the talk about corporate jet loopholes and the like. If you want to flatten the tax brackets and simplify the tax code without crushing the deficit – corporate jet talk is just nonsense. Real tax expenditures (aka – loopholes) are things that we all probably like.
Check out this list from The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation of the largest tax expenditures over the next half decade. (via Nicole Gelinas on NRO)
- Tax exclusion for employer contributions to health insurance: $659.4 billion
- Deduction for mortgage interest on owner-occupied houses: $484.1 billion
- Lower tax rates for dividends and long-term capital gains: $402.9 billion
- Tax exclusion of pension contributions (defined-benefit): $303.2 billion
- Earned income tax credit: $268.8 billion
- State and local tax deductions: $237.3 billion
- Exclusion of pension contributions, 401(k)-style: $212.2 billion
- Exclusion of capital gains at death: $194 billion
- Charitable deductions: $182.4 billion
- Untaxed Social Security and railroad retirement benefits: $173 billion
The point I’m making here is: you can’t meaningfully preach simplifying the tax code and getting rid of loopholes unless you’re willing to touch some loopholes that people really like. Liberal people…conservative people…all people.
That doesn’t seem to bother Jon Huntsman. As Meredith posted earlier, he’s proposed getting rid of ALL loopholes (including the popular mortgage interest deduction, child tax credit, and deduction for employer contributions to health insurance) in exchange for three tax brackets, the highest being 23%.
This is the kind of tax reform we should be talking about. And Huntman is brave to start the discussion.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 1:46 PM with No comments
Maybe this isn’t the best idea the DOD has ever had:
It crashed four times in development, killing 30 crew and passengers. An unexplained crash during a combat mission in Afghanistan last year claimed four more lives. Despite its lethal reputation, in April the controversial V-22 Osprey tiltrotor got a high-profile new assignment: hauling cargo for the president’s entourage, starting in 2013.
Now that mission has expanded, and the Osprey will haul the entourage itself. A July solicitation by Marine Corps asks for a company to supply VIP kits for four Ospreys. The kits include a liner to disguise the cabin’s pipes and wires, softer seats and a carpet bearing the squadron logo for the aircraft’s ramp.
Some observers see the VIP mods as a baby step towards putting the president himself in the $100-million dollar aircraft, dubbed the “Dream Machine” by one fawning writer. After an expensive false start, the Pentagon wants to buy a new fleet of presidential transports starting in 2017; the V-22 is officially a candidate.
The Wired report goes on to suggest this could be an “economic” move by the Pentagon — they’re short on “reliable large helicopters” and might be seeking a “viable alternative.”
Is putting the president’s staff — or the president himself — on a transport with such a troubled past really a “viable alternative”?
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 1:22 PM with No comments
Newly released aerial images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show the devastating toll Hurricane Irene took on many coastal areas up the eastern seaboard.
According to local news estimates, the major seawater breach shown above is more than 100 feet wide and 8 feet deep.
Click here to see more post-Irene coastal images.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 12:41 PM with No comments
The liberal blogosphere threw up a collective cheer yesterday after American University professor Allan Lichtman predicted that President Obama would score a big win in 2012. According to the original report, Lichtman’s election formula has “correctly called every president since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election.” But Daily Mail blogger Don Surber points out that in March 2000, this surefire “expert” predicted a win for Al Gore during an appearance on CNN:
ANCHOR JAN HOPKINS: So from your surefire guide for predicting the next president, what’s it look like? Who’s going to be president?
ALLAN LICHTMAN: It’s looking very good for Al Gore. One of the keys to the White House is whether the party in power, of course the Democrats, can avoid a bruising, bloody internal fight for the nomination. Al Gore knocked off Bill Bradley, knocked him cold yesterday. He avoided the big nomination struggle. Combine that with other keys, Jan — a strong economy, peace, tranquillity at home and a united incumbent party — those are pretty good keys to hold for winning and retaining the White House for the Democrats this fall.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 12:16 PM with No comments
GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman may have ruffled some conservative feathers with his recent comments on climate change, but he may mend some ties with his new economic plan — the most sweeping of any Republican candidate to date.
Huntsman proposes significant changes to the U.S. tax code, including eliminating all deductions and dropping the top rate to just 23%. Billed by some as Huntsman’s “last best chance,” what impact will this have on the GOP field?
The centerpiece of the plan is a proposal to reform tax rates. It would eliminate all loopholes, deductions and tax exemptions in exchange for establishing three individual-income brackets, taxed at 8 percent, 14 percent and 23 percent. The Huntsman plan would also eliminate capital-gains and dividend taxes, do away with the Alternative Minimum Tax and reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.
Other GOP candidates would do well to propose similarly bold free-market steps to get our economy back on track. Offering clear alternatives to Obamanomics will also only serve to help the GOP’s general election candidate with unemployment remaining at 9%.
That said, I’m not sure how well nixing deductions for mortgage interest will go over since people purchase a home counting on that deduction and figuring it into their payment calculations.
And what about charitable donations? Will charitable giving suffer if people can no longer benefit from it financially? One would hope not, but I‘m sure it’ll be a legitimate concern many will have about the Huntsman proposal.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 11:45 AM with No comments
His Worshipfulness President Obama has announced his intent to speak to a joint session of Congress on September 7. No biggie, right?
Well, turns out that the GOP has a long-ago-scheduled debate at the Reagan Library that same night. And it will be Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s coming out party. From the Houston Chronicle’s “PerryPresidential” blog:
President Barack Obama will make his long-awaited speech about jobs Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress at the same time that the Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in California.
While the debate isn’t the first Republican debate of the cycle, it is the first since Gov. Rick Perry entered the presidential contest, and polls have shown him taking a commanding lead in the race for the GOP nomination. Political observers have said that the debate could provide crucial insights into how Mitt Romney’s and Michelle Bachmann’s campaigns plan to deal with Perry’s surging candidacy.
In his letter to House Speaker John Boehner requesting the joint meeting of both houses of Congress, Obama wrote that he will unveil a series “bipartisan proposals” that Congress can take up immediately to “rebuild the American economy.”
However, with a presidential address to a joint session of Congress scheduled on the same night, at the same time, it’s likely that any press generated from the debate would be drowned out by the developments in Washington.
That’s right — the president could have asked for ANY date, and he chose the night of a Republican presidential debate.
Further confirming the view many Americans — Left and Right — have of this administration, White House spokesman (and Rachel Maddow look-alike) Jay Carney snidely offered that NBC had the president’s “permission” to move the debate — which was, remember, scheduled long before Obama the Magnificent declared he wanted to address the entire Congress:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the timing of the speech is not aimed at overshadowing the next Republican debate, which is cosponsored by NBC News and Politico, and is scheduled to air at the same time as the planned presidential address.
“It is coincidental,” Carney said. “It is one debate of many [that will air] on one channel of many… [and] there are many other factors here” to consider when scheduling a major address from the president, he added.
Carney gave NBC his permission to reschedule the Republican debate so it doesn‘t conflict with the president’s speech, saying “if the network so chose and the candidates so chose” to reschedule, “that would be completely fine with us.”
Exit question (yes, it’s rhetorical): Has President Obama proven Mark Halperin correct?
UPDATE (5:04pm): Allah sums this whole thing up perfectly:
The worst part is that, with the economy on the brink of a double-dip and consumer confidence falling off a cliff, this guy’s mind is still so preoccupied with the campaign that he can’t muster a moment of presidential leadership without counterprogramming it against a Republican primary event. He could have given this speech at any point. Six months ago, the day after the debt-ceiling deal was struck, last week, yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day before the Republican debate, the day after. Any of those would have been fine — the earlier the better, of course, given the magnitude of the problem — but that doesn’t occur to him because his own reelection is ever foremost in his imagination. We’ve known that for months, ever since he rolled out his horrendous budget that punted on entitlements so that he’d have a freer hand to demagogue the GOP, but in case you forgot, let this refresh your memory. If you could somehow promise him right now that he’ll get a second term no matter what happens with jobs, he’d tear the speech up and watch the Packers/Saints game himself. Pathetic.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 10:59 AM with No comments
Military blogger Michael Yon has noticed a disturbing trend during his time embedded with our men and women fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan: we need better pants.
“Rip, rend and slash are all in a day’s work here. Yet I have never seen so many troops with so many pairs of pants that are ready to fall off,” Yon writes in his latest dispatch from Kandahar Province. Our troops are forced to duct tape their pants together or pull out needle and thread to mend them when time permits. “The troops need better pants,” he concludes.
Click here to see more of Yon’s pictures of our tattered troops.
Obama Asks For Joint Session Of Congress To Lay Out Jobs Plan; Schedules Speech At Same Time As Rick Perry’s First Debate Appearance
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 10:09 AM with No comments
The almost certainly televised speech has been scheduled to occur at the same time as next Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate…
President Obama has sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, requesting to speak before a joint session of Congress next Wednesday night to lay out his jobs proposals.
“I respectfully request the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress on September 7, 2011, at 8:00 p.m.,” the letter reads. “It is my intention to lay out a series of bipartisan proposals that the Congress can take immediately to continue to rebuild the American economy by strengthening small businesses, helping Americans get back to work, and putting more money in the paychecks of the Middle Class and working Americans, while still reducing our deficit and getting our fiscal house in order.”
With Republicans in control of the House and Democrats in control of the Senate, the president will need bipartisan support for any proposals he lays out. After bitter partisan debates led to last minute agreements on government funding and a debt ceiling increase, the president is calling on lawmakers to come together around his new proposals.
“It is our responsibility to find bipartisan solutions to help grow our economy, and if we are willing to put country before party, I am confident we can do just that,” the letter continues.
But the president asked for the session on what promises to be a partisan night in politics as the 2012 GOP presidential candidates are slated to debate at the Regan Library in California at the same time that evening.
The president he must be formally invited by Congress in order to address a joint session and can’t just show up. The rule works the same way for the State of the Union.
Fox News Senior House Producer Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 9:49 AM with No comments
Folks in the media often judge the intellect of candidates using one crucial question: Do you agree with me?
Now, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, leading Republican presidential candidate, readily admits that he’s not a scholarly type. But if your spider senses, like mine, are tingling, it probably has more to do with Perry’s slippery politics than it does with his aversion to curling up with a dog-eared copy of The Wealth of Nations.
In a recent Politico piece (one that mistakes wonkery for overall intelligence), readers are asked, Is Rick Perry dumb? “He is not an ideas man,” explains Politico. He “hasn’t spent his political career marking up the latest Cato or Heritage white papers or reading policy-heavy books late into the night. Advisers and colleagues have informed much of his thinking over the years.”
Listen, I love reading a Cato white paper as much as the next guy, but that doesn’t make me smart; it makes me tragically boring. No doubt Barack Obama picked up his sad conviction in redistributionist economics perusing stacks of white papers—highlight marker within reach—but his presidency was won on crude progressive populism anchored in emotion, not reason. Policy ideas had little to do with Obama’s election victory, though they have almost everything to do with his failures as president.
I’ve not seen or heard enough of Perry to form any opinion on his intellect—and if he instituted policies that I agreed with, I, like most Americans, wouldn’t give one whit about his IQ . But politicians, by their nature, are not intellectually curious, save their ability to twist their opponent’s beliefs for political gain. Elections, after all, are about pandering, not thinking.
That doesn’t make them “dumb.” What makes a person dumb is repeating mistakes when all the evidence tells him to stop for his own good. We will witness this human shortcoming when the president rolls out his new “stimulus” package. Some ideas, goes Orwell’s saying, are so dumb only intellectuals can believe them.
On the other hand, reflexive anti-intellectualism (a misguided belief on the right that was spurred by having to share the word “intellectual” with Cornel West) is also destructive. If you’re going to propose more than hope in 2012—say, some policy—you have to be prepared with scholarly backup.
If a candidate asserts that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and a “monstrous lie,” I may agree (because I read Cato white papers!), but he’d better have some innovative ideas to offer voters instead—ideas that can pithily and reassuringly convince baby boomers they won’t be cracking open dog food canisters to survive in a few years. Decades of reliance on flawed New Deal policies doesn’t just end. They need to be reformed or replaced—unlikely as that is to happen.
When a candidate claims that Medicare is another “fraudulent” system “designed to take in a lot of money at the front and pay out none in the end,” he sure is right, but he’d better be able to deftly handle policy questions and transcend talking points—which it seems to me is all Perry has offered so far.
This requires the only form of intelligence that matters in politics: the ability to synthesize the complex ideas of other people and then sell them.
Follow on Twitter @davidharsanyi.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 9:35 AM with No comments
I’ll admit, I never thought of this as a potential GOP ticket in 2012, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker last night told CNN’s Piers Morgan that a Perry-Romney ticket would be “spectacular”:
I’m intrigued. What do you think? Vote in the poll and talk it out in the comments.
In other GOP presidential news, Townhall’s Guy Benson wonders about the prospects of another ticket combination: Perry-Pawlenty in 2012?
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 9:07 AM with No comments
@HeyTammyBruce Tammy Bruce
“Game on! CONFIRMING Sarah Palin will be at Iowa Rally. #teaparty #tbrs”
@RealClearScott Scott Conroy
“Source close to Palin now confirms she will attend Tea Party rally on Sat in IA; they “worked out concerns” w/ organizers”
Scott Conroy is one of the few members of the press who is trusted by the Palin camp.
Sarah Palin’s Saturday appearance at a tea party rally in Indianola, Iowa, is on hold, a person close the former Alaska governor told The Wall Street Journal.
The person said Ms. Palin’s appearance was “no longer confirmed” and cited “continual lying” from event organizers at Tea Party of America, including a recent mixup over whether former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware would also speak.
Ms. Palin is known for last-minute schedule changes that whipsaw supporters and media across the country. But the latest decision is puzzling. Ms. Palin’s speech at the rally was viewed as her most high-profile appearance of the summer, fueling speculation she was indeed plotting to run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Attendees were reportedly traveling from across the U.S. to attend the rally in Iowa, which holds the nation’s first nominating contest next year.
The former governor will now appear at a Friday event in Des Moines sponsored by the group Conservatives4Palin. It is currently scheduled for 8 p.m. at The Machine Shed Restaurant, though the location will probably have to be changed, the person close to Ms. Palin said. Ms. Palin is still scheduled to appear at a Tea Party Express tour stop Monday in New Hampshire.
Ms. Palin may still hold an event Saturday, the person said, though she has no firm plans. It’s also possible she could still attend the Indianola tea party rally, the person said.
The former governor’s team decided to back out Tuesday night after rally organizers re-invited Ms. O’Donnell to speak on stage. Organizers had booked Ms. O’Donnell, who lost her 2010 bid for a U.S. Senate seat from Delaware, to speak but quickly withdrew the invitation in an effort to avoid controversy.
A Tea Party of America leader told Ms. Palin’s aides that the former governor told him to re-invite Ms. O’Donnell, which is not true, the person said, adding that there were also issues over fund-raising and logistical changes that were not approved by Ms. Palin’s team.
Earlier this month, Ms. Palin’s political action committee released a Web video touting her recent appearance at the Iowa State Fair. It ended with the words, “See You Again September 3rd.”
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 9:02 AM with No comments
The Huffington Post is OUTRAGED. Did you know that CEOs of the world’s most successful companies make lots of money? How is that even possible?!
(An interesting complaint from a site whose CEO has earned millions with the help of unpaid bloggers, no?)
When did it become so unconscionable to thinks it’s a good thing for the leader of an extraordinarily successful business gets to keep more of his/her money than the government takes?
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 9:00 AM with No comments
When it comes to lying about the Tea Party, liberals can’t even keep their own stories straight. In trying to defend Rep. Andre Carson’s outrageous statement that the Tea Party would like to see black people “hanging on a tree”, Fox news analyst Alan Colmes claimed that Rep. John Lewis was spat on by Tea Party members.
For the record: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver claimed he had been spat on until a video showed that it was merely errant spital from a screaming protester. Furthermore, Rep. Carson is the one who claimed he and Rep. Lewis were called the “N-Word” by Tea Party members even though four different videos of the precise moment in question show no such thing.
Before sliming your political opponents Mr. Colmes, at least get your lies straight.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 8:49 AM with No comments
A top tea party organizing group, FreedomWorks, is planning to protest Mitt Romney’s appearance this weekend at a New Hampshire stop of a bus tour intended to encourage tea party sympathizers to participate in the Republican presidential nominating process.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is among the leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination, but is viewed warily by tea party activists, who believe him to be insufficiently conservative and particularly blame him for Massachusetts state healthcare overhaul he signed into law.
And Romney, for his part, hasn’t focused much energy on appealing to the movement. So it attracted considerable attention — both within the tea party and among the GOP operative class — when it was announced Tuesday that he intended to speak at a Sunday evening rally being staged by the Tea Party Express in Concord, N.H., as part of a cross country bus tour set to culminate in Tampa, Fla., ahead of a Sept. 12 GOP presidential debate co-sponsored by the Tea Party Express and CNN.
FreedomWorks, which had been participating in the Tea Party Express’s tour and had helped turn out activists at rallies during prior stops, decided it could no longer be affiliated with the tour, said Brendan Steinhauser, a lead organizer for FreedomWorks.
Instead, it began working with local New Hampshire tea party groups to organize a counter rally set for about the same time in the same park in Concord as Romney’s speech.
“We have to defend our brand against poseurs,” said Steinhauser.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 8:39 AM with No comments
I’ve got two declarative statements to make. One of them, you will not like. But stretch it out. Get limber. If you stick with me, I might be able to tie this room together.
1.) Jon Huntsman is right on climate change.
2.) The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley is one of the most important books of the last five years.
A quick correction to the first statement…it was an….understatement. Jon Huntsman’s position on climate change reflects a deep and unique understanding of “how prosperity evolves.” May I explain?
First, I’m not talking about Huntsman’s tweet saying: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” Rather, I’m talking about Huntsman’s position that the government solution to climate change is to do…absolutely nothing.
Most of the Republican field is stuck in a debate over whether or not climate change is a giant hoax. But let’s submit for a moment to Huntsman’s contention that man is contributing to climate change. (FYI – I’m in the ‘I Don’t Know Camp’. If 97% of climate scientists say it’s true…well that’s compelling. But I also know they were equally as certain and apocryphal about acid rain, thinning ozone, and such.) By getting past the debate over data we get to a question whose answer is more revealing for our presidential candidates. That is: what should we do about it?
And as I said, Huntsman’s answer is: nothing. In an interview last week on SiriusXM Huntsman told me that any plan to regulate carbon emissions was too costly to the economy and ultimately missing the lessons of history. He said human beings have a history of innovating out of our problems and he’s confident we will do so with climate change. As he spoke, I began to wonder, has Huntsman read The Rational Optimist?
I cannot recommend a book more highly than The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. In the book Ridley posits that the unique trait driving our species forward in a constantly improving state is human beings’ propensity for exchange, specialization and free trade. He says that through our habit of free trade the human race has become a “collective problem-solving machine”. Ridley gives several examples.
In the 1800s British economist Stanley Jevons saw that the world was running out of coal and predicted an impoverished future without the world’s primary fuel source. “It is useless to think of substituting any other kind of fuel for coal,” he said.
Within a decade of Jevons’ prediction not only were vast new coal reserves found, but we also found a substitute for coal. Oil. And almost as soon as the world discovered oil as a fuel source, predictions about its demise began.
As Ridley writes: “In 1914, the United States Bureau of Mines predicted that American oil reserves would last ten years. In 1939 the Department of Interior said American oil would last thirteen years. Twelve years later it said the oil would last another thirteen years. President Jimmy Carter announced in the 1970s that: ‘We could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.’” It’s true oil is finite. But so far we not only keep finding more oil, we find ways to make things work on less oil.
Overpopulation and Famine
Overpopulation and famine are the herpes of doomsday theories. They keep coming back. In the 1970s scientists Paul Erhlich and John Holdren argued that “if population control measures are not initiated immediately, and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come.” The needed “measures” Holdren and Erhlich discussed included: involuntary sterilization, adding sterilants to the drinking water, and compulsory abortions. But…the predicted misery never came. Holdren is now President Obama’s science advisor.
However, the OG of overpopulation and famine was Robert Malthus, who in 1798 predicted that, “the global food supply could not keep pace with population growth because of the finite productivity of land.” The world was headed for famine said Malthus. Know what? He was right.
Stuck with the productivity and technology of 1800, and extrapolating those circumstances into the future, the world was headed for famine. Malthus’ flaw, though, was that the world wasn’t stuck with the productivity and technology of 1800. Over the next two centuries human beings learned how to create large quantities of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, invent the internal combustion engine, and genetically modify food sources. And over the last hundred years massive increases in croplands, yields, and harvests have led to a population increase of 400 percent.
The Common Mistake: Extrapolation
It’s not just overpopulation, famine, peak coal, and peak oil. There have been apocalyptic predictions of pandemics, acid rain, and thinning ozone. The point isn’t that all these predictions were false. The point is that immediate intervention to stem the problem is rarely the solution.
The mistake of all the doomsday “we must act now” predictions, according to Ridley, is extrapolation. Or “assuming the future is just a bigger version of the past.”
But it’s not. The world changes, adapts, evolves. Malthus could no more see the invention of the internal combustion engine, than Holdren could understand genetically modified plants, or than we can now see our future carbon-free fuel source. But history suggests that the “collective problem solving machine” of the free market will find the solution to climate change.
The obvious critique of this argument is that I’m just sticking my head in the sand and saying it will all be alright. Maybe. But history suggests that – from a government standpoint – that actually works. And the real threat is in slowing down or misdirecting change through intervention.
Jon Huntsman statement suggests he understands the very important role of an unencumbered free market. His record on climate change suggests otherwise. He did back a cap-and-trade bill as Governor of Utah. It’s a position, though, he has since admitted was a mistake.
Perry and Bachmann may – and probably do – feel similarly about our ability to innovate out of our problems. But we don’t know for sure. Because they’re too busy debating the validity of the science.
By admitting that he believed man was contributing to climate change, though, Huntsman was able to move to the next stage of the debate and illuminate a more important principle. That is the principle that free markets allow us to innovate out of our problems and drive human beings toward prosperity. That’s good to know.
Posted by photo 7 background picture Posted on 8:29 AM with No comments
Without minimizing the damage and loss of life that occurred, the hoarding that occurred in the lead up to Irene was, to a large extent, a reaction to an event that turned out to be more bark than bite. Flashlights, C and D batteries and gasoline containers flew off the shelves at record speeds. Lines formed at gas stations. Shelves at supermarkets went empty.
In the end, Irene made suckers out of the hoarders.
Every time a natural disaster occurs or threatens to occur, the issue of price gouging arises. Inevitably, some intrepid business decides to jack up prices on the eve of the impending event. Gouging is commonly understood to be an immoral act and is, for the most part, outlawed and ostracized. But is that common understanding correct? If we take a critical look at the practical effect of gouging, we realize that rather than being an immoral act, it can actually have considerable beneficial effects.
Had price gouging been allowed to occur, gasoline prices, for example, could have spiked to upwards to $20 per gallon. Had this happened, those on the economic margins would have been priced out of the gasoline market. In other words, the poor wouldn’t have been able to afford it. In addition, those who could afford it might have thought twice about purchasing $20 per gallon gasoline, gambling instead on the chance that the storm wouldn’t generate the level of damage the hysteria had led them to believe it would.
In this particular case, the level-headed and those who could least afford to buy based on hysteria would have won the day. The price gouging would have actually saved these people money as they wouldn’t have purchased what was ultimately unnecessary anyway.
As an added bonus for you class warriors, can you guess who would have lost out in this deal? First, the wealthy who could afford to hoard $20/gallon gasoline would be out considerable amounts of money as gasoline plunged back down to its normal market-driven price after Irene. Second, the reputation of the evil corporate vendor who charged the exorbitant prices would be considerably damaged, as the community would no longer trust their prices.
95% of all price gouging is based on hysteria. Should it be allowed, gouging would, in most circumstances, make people more conscious of their purchases and the circumstances around which they were making them. This would lead us all to take a more measured approach to natural disasters rather than simply being swept up in the hype.
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Allen West Says He May Quit Congressional Black Caucus After Anti-White Hysteria Sweeps The Group – With Video
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To say that the Tea Party is racist because they are white, is to be anti-white, to say that they are evil simply because of they are white.
After watching several video clips on Wednesday of fellow black lawmakers attack the tea party, Rep. Allen West, Florida Republican, told Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy, “I think I’m re-considering my membership in the Congressional Black Caucus.”
This remark came from Rep. West, a popular lawmaker among tea party activists, happened after a clip was played of Rep. Andre. Carson, Indiana Democrat, told an audience in Miami that tea-party supporting members of Congress look at African Americans as “second-class citizens” and would like to see them “hanging on a tree.”
Congressman West immediately defended the tea party and called Rep. Carson’s statements “reprehensible.” Rep. West is the only Republican who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. When he first came to Congress back in January, he and fellow Republican , Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina, were invited to be members of the CBC. Congressman West accepted, while Congressman Scott rejected the offer.