January 13th, 2012
A federal judge has ruled that Rick Perry and three other Republican will not be added to Virginia's primary ballot.
District Court Judge John Gibney Jr. rejected their requests, arguing that they filed their challenges to Virginia's stringent ballot requirements too late.
"They played the game, they lost, and then they complained about the rules," he said.
The decision means -- for now, anyway -- that Perry, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich will be left off the March 6 ballot after failing to meet a state requirement to collect 10,000 signatures in support of their respective campaigns.
The judge said the campaigns had from July to mid-December to obtain the signatures, and could have challenged the requirement during that period. "The plaintiffs knew the rules months ago," he said.
Gibney said that if the challenge had been filed earlier, he would have ordered the signature requirement be thrown out.
After the hearing, Perry campaign attorney Joe Nixon said he will need to talk to his client to determine whether to appeal.
Asked about the accusation that the candidates complained only after they lost, Nixon said: "The ultimate rule is the Constitution of the United States."
In a separate statement, Nixon said: "We are disappointed with this result that disenfranchises Virginia voters. The judge confirmed that the statute is unconstitutional, but did not remedy that situation. I commend Gov. Perry for his courage and tenacity in pursuing this case, and seeking to protect the rights of Virginia voters."
The candidates have argued that the rules were too strict. Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified for Virginia's ballot.
Fox News' Mike Levine contributed to this report.
January 13th, 2012
Certain 2012 candidates are worth hundreds of millions, others far less.
January 13th, 2012
Cr edit note: Oh ye, Of picayune perspicacity.
The media actually thinks that El Magnifico is doing this to save money! Since when, has the $15 Trillion dollar man EVER sought to shrink and lessen government, people?
All of our readers best look a far sight deeper, into this, than the media's facsile "first take."
The tiger cannot change his stripes, folks, and Obama has been playing very lively to his base, of late. This is a veiled attempt for the man to consolidate his control and influence, "to what end" bears some serious ruminations.
To Congress: "Just say no"
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will ask Congress on Friday for greater power to shrink the federal government, and his first idea is merging six sprawling trade and commerce agencies whose overlapping programs can be baffling to businesses, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.
Obama will call on Congress to give him a type of reorganizational power last held by a president when Ronald Reagan was in office. The Obama version would be a so-called consolidation authority allowing him to propose mergers that promise to save money and help consumers. The deal would entitle him to an up-or-down vote from Congress in 90 days.
It would be up to lawmakers, therefore, to first grant Obama this fast-track authority and then decide whether to approve any of his specific ideas.
Obama was expected to announce his plans Friday. The official confirmed the details to the AP on condition of anonymity ahead of the president's event.
In an election year and a political atmosphere of tighter spending, Obama's motivation is about improving a giant bureaucracy -- but that's hardly all of it.
To voters sick of dysfunction, Obama wants to show some action on making Washington work better. Politically, his plan would allow him to do so by putting the onus on Congress and in particular his Republican critics in the House and Senate, to show why they would be against the pursuit of a leaner government.
Obama also has an imperative to deliver. He made a promise to come up with a smart reorganization of the government in his last State of the Union speech. That was nearly a year ago.
At the time, Obama grabbed attention by pointing out the absurdity of government inefficiency. In what he called his favorite example, Obama said: "The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."
The White House said the problem is serious for consumers who turn to their government for help and often do not know where to begin.
Not in decades has the government undergone a sustained reorganization of itself. Presidents have tried from time to time, but each part of the bureaucracy has its own defenders inside and outside the government, which can make merger ideas politically impossible. That's particularly true because "efficiency" is often another way of saying people will lose their jobs.
Obama hopes to enhance his chances by getting Congress to give him the assurance of a clean, relatively speedy vote on any of his proposals.
There is no clear sign that Obama would get that cooperation. He spent much of 2011 in gridlock with Republicans who control the House and can halt votes in the Senate.
Should he prevail, Obama's first project would be to combine six major operations of the government that focus on business and trade.
They are: the Commerce Department's core business and trade functions; the Small Business Administration; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and the Trade and Development Agency. The goal would be one agency designed to help businesses thrive.
The official said 1,000 to 2,000 jobs would be cut, but the administration would do so through attrition; that is, as people routinely leave their jobs over time.
The administration said the merger would save $3 billion over 10 years by getting rid of duplicative overhead costs, human resources divisions and programs.
The point, the official said, is not just making the government smaller but better by saving people time and eliminating bureaucratic nightmares. The idea for the consolidated business agency grew out of discussions with hundreds of business leaders and agency heads over the last several months.
The administration official presented Obama as the CEO of an operation who should have more power to influence how it is designed. According to the White House, presidents held such a reorganizational authority for about 50 years until it ran out during Reagan's presidency in 1984.
January 13th, 2012
Cr Editorial Note: A lot of hardcore Conservatives got snookered by the establishment on this one. I even heard Romney commercials with Rush Limbaugh, himself, attacking Conservative Gingrich in support of Moderate Romney, while I banged on the dashboard.
They, the establishment, managed to rephrase the argument so that it was about Capitalism, rather than the man's flip-flopping, self-interested character.
Trying to defend coporate raiding within Capitalism is much like trying to defend adultery in marriage, they are both often present and there are often reasons, but it should not be cheered as the norm. Even better, trying to defend a firing squad in favor of lethal injection, is much of what we saw over the past several days.
But in the end, the results work out to the media and the establishment's desired effect. But just wait, if Romney wins, we will see reams of attacks from Obama, that makes Gingrich's critiques look like back-slapping cameradery.
The Conservatives got the short end of the stick, while the moderate got praised, in this one, and a great many "of us" took the bait.
Ya gotta ask yourself, in the end, is this is the outcome you wanted as a Conservative?
If not, then.....
(AP) GREER, S.C. - An array of Republicans and conservatives — including some of Mitt Romney's sharpest critics — rushed to the GOP presidential front-runner's defense Thursday to counter efforts to paint the former venture capitalist as a job-killer. Under fire, Romney rival Newt Gingrich tempered his attacks on Romney's tenure at the helm of Bain Capital, but Rick Perry defended his approach.
"We're disappointed" with the line of criticism, said Thomas Donohue, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The business group doesn't endorse in presidential campaigns, but Donohue said: "We think Romney has had a pretty good track record. Perfect? Hell no, but damn good."
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran against Romney four years ago, wrote in an online letter: "It's surprising to see so many Republicans embrace that left-wing argument against capitalism." And another 2008 foe, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, told Fox News Channel: "I'm shocked at what they are doing. I'm going to say it's ignorant. Dumb. It's building something we should be fighting — ignorance of the American economic system."
Romney's new defenders — many of whom have long histories of disagreeing with the former Massachusetts governor — argued that the attacks on his business record undermined the GOP's identity and weakened the party's chief argument against Democratic President Barack Obama, that federal intrusion has stymied the economy's recovery.
And while the latest comments were more a rejection of attacks on Romney's record at Bain than an endorsement of Romney as a candidate, they signaled a warming toward Romney by a cross-section of the GOP as his party struggles to settle on a more conservative alternative. They also signaled that attempts by Gingrich, a former House speaker, and Perry, the Texas governor, to cast Romney as a cold-blooded predator in the business world appeared to be backfiring badly — and playing right into the Romney campaign's hands.
A prominent fundraiser in South Carolina — Barry Wynn — shifted his support from Perry to Romney in light of those attacks, which he said had crossed the line in a political party that values free-market capitalism.
"I've been fighting for this cause most of my life," Wynn said. "It's like fingernails on the chalkboard. It just kind of irritated you to hear those kind of attacks."
The controversy over Romney's Bain tenure began last weekend when Gingrich, seeking a rebound for his candidacy if not revenge for attack ads that crippled his campaign in Iowa, sought to undercut the central rationale of his chief rival's candidacy — that Romney's business background made him the strongest Republican to take on Obama.
Perry, whose campaign also is in trouble, joined in.
Both are accusing Romney of being a fat-cat venture capitalist during his days running Bain, laying off workers as he restructured companies and filled his own pockets.
But the criticism of both Gingrich and Perry has been swift, with opponents Rick Santorum and Ron Paul refusing to attack Romney's time at Bain, and others fearful about bloodying the Republican most likely to become the party's nominee.
"If you believe what the Obama administration is doing is a direct assault on the private sector and as Republicans we believe that's the wrong approach, you can't turn around and say what is going on in the private sector is wrong," said Jim Dyke, a GOP strategist in South Carolina who is uncommitted to a candidate in the Jan. 21 primary.
The backlash against Gingrich and Perry snowballed Thursday when the U.S. Chamber, one of the nation's most prominent pro-business lobbying groups, weighed in.
Earlier in the week, conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, often a Romney critic, called Gingrich's comments "out of bounds for those who value the free market." Club for Growth President Chris Chocola labeled the attacks "disgusting." And South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who endorsed Romney in 2008 but is unaligned this year, suggested that Romney critics don't understand "the principles of our party."
"To have a few Republicans in this race beginning to talk about how bad it is to fire people...it really gives the Democrats a lot of fodder," DeMint, arguably South Carolina's most popular Republican, told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham.
Although presidential contender Jon Huntsman had criticized Romney for a comment he made about firing people, Huntsman said on Wednesday: "If you have creative destruction in capitalism, which has always been part of capitalism, it becomes a little disingenuous to take on Bain Capital."
Gingrich seems to have gotten the message — to a point.
While Gingrich said "I'm not going to back down" during a campaign stop in Columbia on Thursday, he made no mention of Romney nor did he repeat his criticism of Romney's record as a venture capitalist.
Instead, Gingrich tried to shift blame, saying that it was his calls to audit the 2008 federal banking bailout that had "rattled a number of so-called conservatives."
"When you have crony capitalism and politicians taking care of their friends, that's not free enterprise, that's back-door socialism," said Gingrich, who is airing a TV ad describing Romney's economic plans as timid.
In a television interview later Thursday, Gingrich said he still reserved the right to question Romney's record "because he's running for president."
An outside group supporting Gingrich — called Winning Our Future — pressed ahead with plans to launch an advertising attack on Romney's time at Bain, complete with a bruising ad and longer-form video in South Carolina assailing Romney as a vicious corporate raider.
Perry, who had likened companies like Bain to vultures, avoided attacking Romney for his role at Bain during two stops in South Carolina on Thursday.
But he defended the approach later, arguing Republicans were better off airing concerns now than letting Democrats exploit it this fall.
"I don't want to be out there defending practices that put people out of work," Perry told The Associated Press in Walterboro. "My point is if we're going to be the party of positive job growth, we need to be really careful about creating these types of situations."
During a walk between shops in Summerville, S.C., voter Barbara Schimp pulled Perry aside and told him to "lay off" the Bain attack. She told Perry, whom she supports, that he sounds anti-business.
"Roger that," Perry responded with a wink.
Romney, for his part, has tried in recent days to explain the private equity business. He told reporters in Greer as the day began that in the private sector, some businesses grow and thrive while others have to be cut back in order to survive and become stronger.
"Sometimes you're successful at that and sometimes you're not," Romney said.
Meanwhile, his team was working behind the scenes to blunt the force of the criticism, distributing talking points to surrogates warning against attacking the free-market economy.
On Wednesday night, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, chided Gingrich and Perry indirectly in introducing Romney, whom she has endorsed, during a campaign event in Columbia.
"We have a real problem when we have Republicans talking like dang Democrats against the free market," Haley said. "We believe in free markets."
January 12th, 2012
CR Editorial note: A number of graphic pictures have been thoughtfully added, to this article, in order to accentuate a "more realistic viewpoint" for the panty waists in our government and the media, who appear more worried about murderous, terrorist, and ultimately dead barbarians, than our own soldiers or even the citizens of this nation.
War is hell, you sent them there, they have adjusted--Leave our fighting men alone.
The Washington Post
Top U.S. officials moved swiftly Thursday to try to prevent diplomatic damage and contain public disgust from the release of a video that appeared to show Marines urinating on three Afghan corpses — images that spread quickly around the globe.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said he had viewed the video and considered it “utterly deplorable.” He telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai and pledged a full investigation.
Prior to the call, Karzai described the video as “completely inhumane and condemnable in the strongest possible terms.” His administration called on the U.S. military to “apply the most severe punishment to anyone found guilty in this crime.”
The video, which runs for less than a minute, depicts four Marines in combat gear laughing and joking as they urinate on three male bodies. The caption refers to the corpses as “dead Talibans,” but it is unclear whether the men were civilians or fighters killed after a battle.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed “total dismay” at the behavior depicted in the recording, and said the “vast, vast” majority of American military personnel would not engage in such actions.
A Marine official said investigators were questioning two individuals that they had preliminarily identified as being in the video. The Marine Corps is “fairly confident” that all four are members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the probe is underway.
There was no way to determine independently where the video was filmed or the identities of those involved. It was first posted on the Internet on Wednesday and began to circulate quickly as news sites reported on its existence.
The NATO-led security force in Kabul said in a statement that the acts of desecration “appear to have been conducted by a small group of U.S. individuals, who apparently are no longer serving in Afghanistan.” The statement did not elaborate.
Pentagon officials said that they were still trying to confirm the video’s authenticity but that they had no reason to believe it was a fake. “It certainly appears to us to be what it appears to be to you guys,” Capt. John Kirby, a defense spokesman, told reporters.
Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, said he had asked the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to “pull together a team of their very best agents and immediately assign them responsibility to thoroughly investigate every aspect of the filmed event.” He also said he would assign a Marine general and a senior attorney to conduct a parallel inquiry.
“The institution of the Marine Corps will not rest until the allegations and the events surrounding them have been resolved,” Amos said. “We remain fully committed to upholding the Geneva Convention, the Laws of War, and our own core values.”
U.S. military law and the Geneva Convention prohibit the desecration of bodies of people killed in war.
Fallout from the video comes at a particularly sensitive time for the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan.
The Obama administration is trying to resume peace talks with the Taliban but is awaiting formal approval from Karzai, who torpedoed an earlier attempt at negotiations. Washington has been trying to accelerate the negotiations as it draws down troops and nears a self-imposed December 2014 deadline to withdraw all combat forces from Afghanistan.
U.S. officials have said they are far from certain that the Taliban leadership is seriously interested in a political settlement. It was unclear whether the Marine video would make those diplomatic challenges even more difficult.
The Taliban, which has a long-standing reputation for brutality and beheadings, called the video barbaric, but made no immediate demands for retribution, as it has in the past. “It was inhuman and despicable, an unforgivable act,” said Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi.
At the same time, other Taliban spokesmen told reporters that the incident would not interfere with the early stages of diplomatic negotiations. In a statement, the group said it would continue to pursue a political solution to the decade-long conflict in Afghanistan — but did not soften its hostility to Karzai’s government.
“We have increased our political efforts to come to mutual understanding with the world in order to solve the current ongoing situation,” the statement said. “But this understanding does not mean a surrender from Jihad, and neither is it connected to an acceptance of the constitution of the stooge Kabul administration.”
Digital videos and photography have become increasingly common on the battlefield, and many of the amateur productions wind up on the Internet. On occasion, the trend has caused severe embarrassment for the U.S. military. Rare cases, such as the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq, triggered international controversy and legal action against those involved.
The Pentagon has sent mixed messages on social media, reviewing troops’ blogs for inappropriate content and classified information at the same time as it has encouraged units and commanders to communicate through Facebook. In embracing social media, the Pentagon has effectively acknowledged that it simply cannot stop the flood of data and images coming from the battlefield.
In 2010, members from the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, photographed themselves posing with corpses of Afghan civilians who were gunned down by a self-proclaimed “kill team” of rogue soldiers. In that case, however, the Army confiscated hundreds of photographs and successfully kept them out of the public domain for months.
A few were later obtained, and were published last March by two news magazines — Rolling Stone and Der Spiegel, a German publication — but the impact was relatively muted.
In Afghanistan on Thursday, in an embattled swath of Kandahar province, a local Afghan official was killed by a suicide bomber as he was traveling along a roadway, a government spokesman said.
Sayed Fazluddin Agha was the governor of Panjwaj, a district within Kandahar. Four people who were with him were killed as well. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Correspondents Kevin Sieff, Javed Hamdard and Sayed Salahuddin contributed to this report from Kabul.
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