April 3rd, 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Tuesday Republicans want to force a "radical vision" on the nation, accusing the opposition party of moving so far to the right that even one of its beloved figures, Ronald Reagan, could not win a GOP presidential primary.
In a blistering election-year critique, Obama sought to present himself to voters as the protector of the middle class and the leader of a Democratic Party that is willing to compromise in Washington. He singled out the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, for criticism and more broadly said Republicans had shifted from any reasonable debate on health care, debt reduction and the environment.
Republicans "will brook no compromise," Obama told news executives at the annual meeting of The Associated Press.
He cited a Republican presidential debate late last year when the entire field rejected the prospect of $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases as a means to lower the debt.
"Think about that. Ronald Reagan, who as I recall was not accused of being a tax-and-spend socialist, understood repeatedly that when the deficit started to get out of control that for him to make a deal he would have to propose both spending cuts and tax increases," Obama said. "He did it multiple times. He could not get through a Republican primary today."
Republicans called Obama's remarks a partisan attempt to cover up broken pledges to cut the federal deficit in half, curb spending and make tough choices to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
"The president has resorted to distortions and partisan potshots and recommitted himself to policies that have made our country's debt crisis worse," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman, said that after the past three years, "the last thing President Obama is qualified to lecture on is responsible federal spending."
Making his case for re-election, Obama said the nation must restore a sense of security for hard-working Americans and stand for a government willing to help those in hard times. The Democratic president blasted Republicans by name and said the choice between the parties is "unambiguously clear."
Stirring anew the themes of his State of the Union speech, Obama said the central issue for the country is deciding whether it wants to give everyone a fair chance — with government as a tool to help do that — or whether it is content to let only the wealthy succeed.
Obama used his speech to paint his Republican rivals as protectors of a trickle-down economic philosophy that does not work. He spoke on the day that GOP presidential front-runner Romney was expected to move closer to seizing his party's nomination as voters went to the polls in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Obama directly challenged Romney for embracing a $3.5 trillion budget proposal led by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin that was approved by the House last week. Ryan's proposal aims to slash the federal deficit and reduce the size of government. It stands little chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate, yet Obama targeted it as a symbol of the Republican vision.
Obama even poked fun at Romney's word choice. "He even called it 'marvelous,' which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget," Obama said. "It's a word you don't often hear generally."
During a telephone town hall meeting in Wisconsin last week, Romney said that it would be "marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan's budget" and pass it but that it was not "terribly likely as long as Democrats are in the charge in the Senate." Romney called the plan "the right direction for our country."
The president said that instead of moderating their views even slightly, the Republicans running Congress have "doubled down" and proposed a budget so far to the right it makes the "Contract With America" look like the "New Deal."
The Contract with America was the policy document that helped Republicans win the House in 1994 and propelled Newt Gingrich into the speakership. The New Deal was President Franklin Roosevelt's plan for pulling the nation out of the Great Depression.
Yet Obama also sought to buffer himself from criticism that he is a supporter of big government.
Speaking to publishers and editors, Obama said: "I believe deeply that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history."
Obama went into a lengthy, point-by-point critique of the Ryan budget, showing what he said would be a perilous future for senior citizens, college students, people with disabilities and many other Americans. He condemned the GOP plan as a "prescription for decline."
"It's antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who's willing to work for it, a place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top but grows outward from the heart of the middle class," he said.
Obama made a separate call for economic fairness encapsulated by the "Buffett Rule," arguing the wealthy shouldn't pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than middle-class taxpayers. He said maintaining current rates or more tax breaks for the wealthy would mean "higher deficits" or "more sacrifice from the middle class" that would force seniors to pay more for Medicare and lead to college students losing some financial aid.
Republicans have said the new tax on the wealthiest Americans would push investors into sending money overseas where it would be taxed less. The GOP also points to congressional analysts who note the new revenue would be only a small amount compared with the projected budget deficits.
Obama's focus on tax change has come as Democrats seek to bring attention to Romney's business background and wealth. Romney is a millionaire who is paying 15.4 percent in federal taxes for 2011 on income mostly derived from investments. The top rate for taxpayers with high incomes derived from wages is 35 percent.
Asked about the fate of his health care reform law, his signature legislative achievement, Obama said his administration was "not spending a whole lot of time planning for contingencies" in the event that the law is struck down.
Obama said the nation's high court has exercised "restraint" and "deference" to Congress in economic cases in the past and he expected the court "to recognize that and to abide by well-established precedents out there."
Follow Ken Thomas on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas
Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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April 3rd, 2012
April 3rd, 2012
By Barry Secrest
On returning from a business lunch in the early afternoon, I had just merged onto the freeway loop that circles around uptown Charlotte, approaching from the northern side. Flicking on the radio, there was a fifteen-year old from the rustic mountain town of Floyd, Virginia, speaking to Rush Limbaugh, on WBT, concerning America's free market economy and how it was quickly being eroded away into nothing much more than a collectivist experiment into poverty.
As the young man spoke, an image of the esoteric town of Floyd flickered across my memory, recalling small groups of bluegrass and folk musicians peppered all about the town, playing for any and all who cared to listen on a crisp early-autumn evening, both tie-dyed hippies and overall clad countryfolk co-existing meaningfully in the throes of both music and American culture.
Drifting quickly back again to the wise youngster's voice, his subjectivity reminding me a great deal of my own young son's of about the same age, he was highlighting a growing concern for America's future. As I listened to the two discuss America's current generational quandary on the radio, I glanced up at the Charlotte skyline, my vehicle describing a long, lazy arc around the metropolis; uptown buildings leaping from a lush canopy of trees. My gaze returned to the freeway long enough to verify where I and the other vehicles were. I glanced up at the sky scrapers again, consternated that something very familiar was missing. My eyes darted cautiously across the skyline trying to find this missing symbol that should have been embedded deep in the heart of one of America's largest financial centers, and yet the expected elements, long a familiar sight, simply weren't there.
I Applied a bit of logic and reran the mental sequence back through twice while quickly changing lanes away from an erratically driven car from New York. The big Dodge engine meanwhile grumbled at being impeded by some tiny little 2-Liter upstart. Reengaging my random access memory, I was trying to remember another time in the past when the reassuring icons of American industry had been absent, but was drawing a complete blank. You see, the things that were missing were the telltale skycranes that would normally tower out of the Cityscape, often even in multitudes, across the largest and wealthiest city in North Carolina.
Nothing of any note, it would seem, was being constructed for the first time in a very long slice of Charlotte's storied history, that being one of outrageous growth.
Literally unfortunate it is, it would seem, that ours is not the only city being unable to boast that ever-familiar symbol of growth, in America. This particular story in fact, is being repeated in city after major city all across America, even as those in power continually whisper soothing rejoinders of how things are getting better and will be great again, and soon.
But haven't we been hearing this fable for over three long years now, and will we be forced to yet hear this same mantra for another four years? Especially after also being repeatedly told that America can no longer be the world's economic engine that it was.
After repeated and devastatingly radical administrative moves over the past three years, the defining note in the final year for Obama's term is the fact that there will be an election held in a relatively scant, eight months. This led us to wonder exactly how it is, after a decidedly miserable job of managing America's success as a nation, many continue to think that Obama will win the day at election, predicated only on the President's melanin content and a large number of dubious, at best, protestations of unfortunate good intent that went terribly awry.
So, indeed, why is it that we think both Obama and the Democrats face a scorched earth, uphill battle in the impending 2012 election, while many, many others seem to not?
Here are our Top-Ten arguments against the predominant belief that Obama will manage to rebalance the updated US crown as Leader of the Flee World upon his messianic cranium, even though it brims over with the overwhelming detritus of Progressive mush.
10 Obama's Saul Alinsky Radicalism
April 3rd, 2012
BLS Note: "Um...sheez! Ok, no wonder"...this is a pic of Anna Chapman we snared from a Russian website"
If the arrest of Russian spy Anna Chapman seemed abrupt, it’s because the FBI began to fear she was out to sexually ensnare a member of President Obama’s cabinet.
That seems too crazy to be true, even in a case as bizarre as Chapman’s. But the FBI’s counterintelligence chief tells a BBC interviewer that Chapman was getting “closer and closer to higher and higher ranking leadership.”
“They were getting close enough to a sitting U.S. cabinet member that we thought we could no longer allow this to continue,” says C. Frank Figliuzzi, the assistant FBI director for counterintelligence, according to the Independent. That alleged — repeat: alleged — sexual “closeness” prompted Figliuzzi’s agents to shift from monitoring Chapman’s crew of ten spies to arresting them in 2010.
Figliuzzi doesn’t say which “serving” cabinet official was thisclose to shtupping Anna Chapman. It would be irresponsible to speculate. But it’s so, so, so hard not to. (I’m guessing that you can erase ex-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a former CIA kremlinologist, from Anna Chapman’s little black book.)
Chapman will not go down in history as the world’s ugliest agent, and the history books are littered with politicians who convinced themselves that the rewards of power include extracurricular, extramarital sex. But Anna Chapman appears to have been a pretty incompetent spy. Her crew used what intelligence reporter Jeff Stein termed “primitive radio techniques” and hid loosely encrypted messages in plain sight on the Internet. She traded in “routine political gossip and policy talk,” as the New York Times put it, rather than real secrets. Bedding a cabinet official would seem to be past her means, comely as they are.
These days, you’re likely to find Chapman on the Russian celebrity circuit, boosting Vladimir Putin’s political machinations, or expressing ambitions for designing bizarre fashions. So she’s probably unlikely to spill. But if Figliuzzi is anywhere even close to correct, maybe Chapman left clues to her little black book online somewhere.
Tops at Wired
April 3rd, 2012
"The case raises the possibility that the president's campaign and that of Clinton’s, could have been legally challenged in Indiana if the alleged forgeries were discovered during the race."
Oct 30, 2008 – Indiana vote results for the 2008 Presidential race. Barack Obama upended 40 years of Republican tradition by winning the presidential race ...
By Eric Shawn
Felony charges related to election fraud have touched the 2008 race for the highest office in the land.
Prosecutors in South Bend, Ind., filed charges Monday against four St. Joseph County Democratic officials and deputies as part of a multiple-felony case involving the alleged forging of Democratic presidential primary petitions in the 2008 election, which put then-candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the Indiana ballot.
The officials are accused of taking part in a scheme to fake signatures and names on the primary petitions needed to run for president. Court papers say the plan was hatched by local Democratic Party officials inside the local party headquarters.