Thursday, January 3, 2013

Toomey: GOP should be willing to risk shutdown to get cuts in debt ceiling deal

Hot Air ^ | 3:31 pm on January 3, 2013 | by Mary Katharine Ham

Sen. Pat Toomey is one of the great accomplishments of the Tea Party Movement, and after supporting him in ’04 back when Bush was backing Specter, it does my heart good to see him in our dysfunctional deliberate body. For that same reason, some are very angry at him for his vote on the fiscal cliff deal. But as we go into another debt-ceiling fight, he’s one of our better communicators on this issue. So, it also does my heart good to see him go on “Morning Joe,” up against five people who disagree with him, and direct the conversation, over and over, away from the fig leaf of revenue and back to the real issue of entitlements and $16 trillion in debt.
There are some, like Ben Domenech, who think the debt ceiling deal will look much like this one— a short-term get-out-of-jail solution that again doesn’t address our real problems because no one really wants to address them. There are some, like Jim Pethokoukis, who think it’ll end in another tax hike.
If it’s ever going to look any different, with the GOP demanding what’s best for the country— “getting us off the path to Greece,” as Toomey puts it by addressing entitlement reform and maybe tax reform—it’s going to take people like Toomey to explain that, on TV, every single day. Many Americans simply don’t understand the gravity of the debt problem. Democrats and some Republicans are more than happy to feed this misunderstanding by pretending these deals make some kind of progress because it helps them avoid stickier budget wickets.
Toomey’s Wednesday appearance is getting a lot of press because he said the GOP should be willing to risk a temporary government shut-down to get cuts,.....
(Excerpt) Read more at hotair.com ...

Egyptian Magazine: Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrates Obama Administration

www.investigativeproject.org ^ | 03JAN12 | John Rossomando

An Egyptian magazine claims that six American Islamist activists who work with the Obama administration are Muslim Brotherhood operatives who enjoy strong influence over U.S. policy.
The Dec. 22 story published in Egypt's Rose El-Youssef magazine (read an IPT translation here) suggests the six turned the White House "from a position hostile to Islamic groups and organizations in the world to the largest and most important supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood."
The story is largely unsourced, but its publication is considered significant in raising the issue to Egyptian readers.
The six named people include: Arif Alikhan, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for policy development; Mohammed Elibiary, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council; Rashad Hussain, the U.S. special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Salam al-Marayati, co-founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); and Eboo Patel, a member of President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.
Alikhan is a founder of the World Islamic Organization, which the magazine identifies as a Brotherhood "subsidiary." It suggests that Alikhan was responsible for the "file of Islamic states" in the White House and that he provides the direct link between the Obama administration and the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011.
Elibiary, who has endorsed the ideas of radical Muslim Brotherhood luminary Sayyid Qutb, may have leaked secret materials contained in Department of Homeland Security databases, according to the magazine. He, however, denies having any connection with the Brotherhood.
Elibiary also played a role in defining the Obama administration's counterterrorism strategy, and the magazine asserts that Elibiary wrote the speech Obama gave when he told former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave power but offers no source or evidence for the claim.
According to Rose El-Youssef, Rashad Hussain maintained close ties with people and groups that it says comprise the Muslim Brotherhood network in America. This includes his participation in the June 2002 annual conference of the American Muslim Council, formerly headed by convicted terrorist financier Abdurahman Alamoudi.
He also participated in the organizing committee of the Critical Islamic Reflection along with important figures of the American Muslim Brotherhood such as Jamal Barzinji, Hisham al-Talib and Yaqub Mirza.
Regarding al-Marayati, who has been among the most influential Muslim American leaders in recent years, the magazine draws connections between MPAC in the international Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure.
Magid heads ISNA, which was founded by Brotherhood members, was appointed by Obama in 2011 as an adviser to the Department of Homeland Security. The magazine says that has also given speeches and conferences on American Middle East policy at the State Department and offered advice to the FBI. Rose El-Youssef says Patel maintains a close relationship with Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, and is a member of the Muslim Students Association, which it identifies as "a large Brotherhood organization."

Matt Damon called ‘liar’ by pro-fracking filmmaker

Politico ^ | 1/3/13 | PATRICK GAVIN

Fracking fans have a new target: Matt Damon.

“Promised Land,” the new Gus Van Sant film about the controversial technique that acquires natural gas through drilling and pressurized fluid, stars and was written by Damon and costar John Krasinski, opens nationally Friday.
Phelim McAleer is launching a one-man campaign to call Damon out about the film. McAleer directed the documentary FrackNation, along with his wife Ann McElhinney, and the film paints a more sympathetic portrayal of fracking and aims to dispel some of the misinformation that McAleer and McElhinney believe have dominated the debate over the procedure’s environmental and health impact.
(Also on POLITICO: Matt Damon: 'Game is rigged')
“This is classic propaganda,” McAleer told POLITICO. “It’s political from the beginning to the very end.” And that, according to McAleer, represents a large part of his problem with “Promised Land.”
(Excerpt) Read more at politico.com ...

If I Were The Speaker Of The House

boortz.com ^ | Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 | Neal Boortz

And as we get into this, let’s remember that if frogs had wings they wouldn’t bump their ass every time they jumped. Got it? OK …..

We learned yesterday from Jamie Dupree that there is no Constitutional requirement for the Speaker of the House to actually be a member! In other words, the Republicans could make Jessica Simpson the Speaker today if they wished to .. and frankly she would probably do a better job than the weak-kneed man we have in there right now, and attendance at her press conferences would certainly go up.

But Jessica is pregnant and doesn’t want the job … so yesterday I announced on the air that I would gladly come out of retirement right now to take the job of Speaker if it is offered. Oh yeah! I would like to be the guy determining committee assignments and chairmanships and setting the agenda for legislation to be considered by the House.

The way things stand now the next Speaker is only going to serve two years. That would be because when the next Congress convenes in 2015 the Speaker of the House is going to be (gaaackkkk) Nancy Pelosi. The entitlement electorate is expanding and Democrats are poised to take even more power.

(Excerpt) Read more at boortz.com ...

"there is no Constitutional requirement for the Speaker of the House to actually be a member"

Wouldn't it be nice to have a patriotic American with a backbone and character? Just an idea.

Reminder to Criminals: Just About Everyone in Texas May Own, and in Fact May Be Carrying, a Gun

PJ Tatler ^ | January 2, 2013 | Bryan Preston

Texas has some of the most classically liberal — meaning free of government interference — gun laws anywhere. Take this page of law from TexasGunLaws.org.

The Basics

Q: How long is the waiting period to buy a Handgun / Shotgun / Rifle in Texas?
A: There is no waiting period for purchasing a firearm in the state of Texas.
Q: I just moved to Texas, do I have to register my firearms?
A: No, there is no state registration of firearms.
Q: I just inherited / bought a gun from someone in Texas, do I need to transfer the gun to my name?
A: No, there is no state registration of firearms, thus there is no requirement transfer the firearm in your name.
Q: What is required to purchase a firearm in the state of Texas?
A: You will need a valid state-issued ID. Many FFLs will not sell to out-of-state residents. This is due to the FFL’s requirement to uphold your resident state’s gun laws, and the inherient complexity associated with many states.
Q: Can I carry a firearm on my person?
A: Yes, with proper licensing (Concealed Handgun License) you may carry a pistol or revolver on your person so long as it remains concealed. Long guns (rifles / shotguns) do not have to be concealed, but must be carried in a manner not calculated to cause alarm, and do not require a license.
Q: Can I strap a gun on my hip in Texas?
A: No, with some exceptions. Open carry is not legal in Texas, but you may open carry on your own property, in the commission of a sporting activity (competition, shooting ranges, etc.), and while engaged in hunting.
Q: Can I carry a firearm in my vehicle?
A: Yes...
(Excerpt) Read more at pjmedia.com ...

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: These tax hikes on the rich are just first step of “the balanced approach”

Hotair ^ | 01/02/2013 | AllahPundit

Via Mediaite, "balanced approach" is Obama's Orwellian term for selling tax hikes to the public as a condition of spending cuts even though there's nothing remotely balanced about our fiscal problems. Spend 10 seconds looking at the graphs in Yuval Levin's new post at the Corner. That's the reality that the "balanced approach" pretends to address. As Levin said in another post today, “The fiscal trajectory of our welfare state is not sustainable, no matter how much taxes go up.”
But okay. The left’s new talking point, pushed by The One himself, is that they absolutely positively won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling. No one believes that, but fine. Supposedly, if the GOP wants spending cuts, the debt ceiling is off the table and the price will be additional revenue. One question: Where’s that new revenue coming from? I can’t figure it out. Neither can Megan McArdle:
For starters, there’s a matter of timing. President Obama just successfully raised taxes on the rich. Is he going to go back and do it again in a few months? I’m not sure about the optics here: while I think that a tax increase on the rich was popular and inevitable, I don’t think that Democrats will do well to position themselves as the party that does nothing but demand more tax increases, even on rich people. Moreover, each successive tax increase is likely to be less popular than the last, precisely because the most politically popular increases inevitably get passed first. A return to the Clinton-era tax levels on people who make more than $450,000 a year is, politically speaking, a no-brainer. A further hike will peel off a few voters who just wanted the rich to pay their “fair share” and now feel content. The third hike will be pushing rates close to 50%, if it is to raise any money at all. That seems to be pushing pretty far past most Americans’ ideas about what tax rates ought to be…
When you look at the actual proposals Democrats talk about, they’re trivial. Things like lengthening the depreciation schedule for corporate jets, which doesn’t raise much in the short term, and raises almost nothing in the long term, because while companies get a smaller depreciation and amortization deduction for the first few years, that just means they get a bigger one later. Or ending the immediate expensing of drilling costs, a deduction that the major oil companies lost years ago, so that you’re basically just pulling pennies out of wildcatters.
There are bolder things they could do in lieu of raising rates again, like eliminating deductions or enacting a VAT, but that gets them into squeezing the middle class and that’s not the way this game is played. Those would be viable options if this were about raising revenue, but revenue and deficit reduction have never been the core of Obama’s tax messaging. (The final deal ended up raising less revenue than Boehner offered O during their negotiations, in fact.) The core is “fairness” and the middle class are already paying their “fair share” per the Democrats’ acquiescence last night in making the Bush tax cuts permanent for everyone earning less than $450K. Tax hikes are for rich people — except for the huge hit you and I took yesterday on the payroll tax — so presumably the “balanced approach” that Debbie Downer’s talking about here vis-a-vis the debt ceiling will have to target the rich again. But how? Cancel the tax exemption for muni bonds and let local governments wither? Hike capital gains taxes while the economy continues to lurch along? The whole reason McConnell got Obama and Biden to agree to a $450,000 threshold for new tax hikes instead of the $250,000 one that O preferred is because the White House feared congressional Democrats would go wobbly if the GOP dug in and hammered them during a post-cliff standoff for being tax vampires. If Obama demands further taxes on the rich during the debt-ceiling negotiations, and then further taxes after that as part of the next fiscal clusterfark, how many Dems will stick with him as public perceptions start to sour? Realistically, the Democrats had more fiscal leverage over the past two months than they’re likely to have over the next two years and all they got from it was something like $60 billion a year in extra revenue when we’re running trillion-dollar deficits. If that’s their best showing even when everything’s breaking their way, what does O think he’s getting in March? Or am I giving him and Wasserman-Schultz too much credit in thinking they’re interested in anything deeper than the “balanced approach” soundbite here?

CLICK ABOVE LINK FOR THE VIDEO

White House: Immigration and gun control are happening. Soon.

Hotair ^ | 01/02/2013 | Erika Johnsen

Certain parties may be taking more political heat than others, but I think it's safe to say that nobody but nobody is going to walk away from the fiscal cliff deal completely unscathed --- and we only have even more similarly piddling but surely melodramatic standoffs on deck for the near future. Ergo, no doubt the White House will be eager to have a few bright-'n-shiny political items on hand with which to tout President Obama's go-gettin', even-handed know-how. It would be a darn shame to miss the chance to lament what amazing victories President Obama could achieve, if only those silly hostage-taking Republicans would let him, so why not start preparing some liberal red meat to conveniently keep on the back-burner, via HuffPo:
Despite a bruising fiscal cliff battle that managed to set the stage for an even more heated showdown that will likely take place in a matter of months, President Barack Obama is planning to move full steam ahead with the rest of his domestic policy agenda.
An Obama administration official said the president plans to push for immigration reform this January. The official, who spoke about legislative plans only on condition of anonymity, said that coming standoffs over deficit reduction are unlikely to drain momentum from other priorities. The White House plans to push forward quickly, not just on immigration reform but gun control laws as well.
The timeframe is likely to be cheered by Democrats and immigration reform advocates alike, who have privately expressed fears that Obama’s second term will be drowned out in seemingly unending showdowns between parties. The just-completed fiscal cliff deal is giving way to a two-month deadline to resolve delayed sequestration cuts, an expiring continuing resolution to fund the government and a debt ceiling that will soon be hit.
Well, who are we to let the fact that our country is on a self-inflicted path to decline distract us from Obama’s legacy-building? If we find ourselves standing in smoking fiscal ruins someday, at least we can look back and take comfort in President Obama’s many attempts to skirt Congress, the latest of which already went down today. Who’s getting excited for the second-term agenda?
The Obama administration eased the way Wednesday for illegal immigrants who are immediate relatives of American citizens to apply for permanent residency, a change that could affect as many as 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants unlawfully in the U.S.
A new rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security aims to reduce the time illegal immigrants are separated from their American families while seeking legal status, immigration officials said.
Beginning March 4, when the changes go into effect, illegal immigrants who can demonstrate that time apart from an American spouse, child or parent would create “extreme hardship,” can start the application process for a legal visa without leaving the U.S.
Once approved, applicants would be required to leave the U.S. briefly in order to return to their native country and pick up their visa.

FEAR

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The worst is behind us?

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Cooking the books

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My Bad

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Times are hard!

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Public Notice

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Lessons

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YOU!

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Hollywood

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Two Ways

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Gathering Storm

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Legal

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NOTICE

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Stupid

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All yours...

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Lucky 13?

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TRUTH

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Stay at home

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Fiscal Cliff Deal

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Compromise

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Evenhanded

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Gangnam Style

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A new study

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What's left...

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It's a wonderful life!

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