February 19th, 2012
By Noel Shepard
After CNN's Soledad O'Brien took some heat a few weeks ago for accepting a high five from Roland Martin as congratulations for skewering Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, you'd think she be careful not to demonstrate such overt partisanship while on the air.
Apparently not, for during CNN's broadcast of Whitney Houston's funeral Saturday, O'Brien and Piers Morgan "Obama bumped" singer Roberta Flack.
After Houston's funeral, Morgan and O'Brien interviewed Jesse Jackson and Flack.
Before breaking for a commercial, Jackson got up to shake Morgan and O'Brien's hands saying, "We're going to the cemetery."
Flack then held out her fist saying, "Let's have an Obama bump here."
Morgan and O'Brien obliged with the latter saying, "Absolutely."
As if the President and the First Lady originated this practice.
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February 19th, 2012
Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Ariz., stepped down as a co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s campaign in the state on Saturday after a newspaper published accusations that he threatened to deport a former boyfriend, who was from Mexico, when the man refused to keep quiet about their relationship.
Deirdre Hamill/The Arizona Republic, via Associated Press
Mr. Babeu made national headlines for his tough stance on illegal immigration. He endorsed Mr. Romney in October and is running for Congress in Arizona’s Fourth District.
The news of Mr. Babeu’s decision to step down from the Romney campaign was first reported by The Arizona Republic.
On Thursday, The Phoenix New Times reported the allegations of a 34-year-old Mexican man whom they identified only as “Jose.” He said that when he refused to sign an agreement that he would never mention his relationship with Mr. Babeu, which he said lasted for years, the sheriff and his lawyer tried to intimidate him with threats of deportation.
In a press conference on Saturday, Mr. Babeu said that he had had a personal relationship with Jose, but denied that he had threatened to deport him. The accusations, he said, “are absolutely, completely false — except for the issues that refer to me as being gay. Because that’s the truth. I am gay.”
Even though Mr. Babeu was a minor figure in the Romney campaign, the accusations came at a less than ideal time. With Arizona and Michigan holding primaries at the end of the month, Mr. Romney is struggling to shore up social conservatives’ support and to fend off Rick Santorum, who is surging after winning contests in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota.
“Sheriff Babeu has stepped down from his volunteer position with the campaign so he can focus on the allegations against him,” Andrea Saul, a campaign spokeswoman, said in an e-mail statement. “We support his decision.”
The press conference that Mr. Babeu held on Saturday largely turned into a call to look beyond his sexual orientation.
He defined himself as an American, and appealed for voters and the public to view him through the lens of his military service and time in law enforcement.
“I want to be judged on my service: 20 years in the military, two deployments — including one in Iraq — a police officer who has responded to thousands of calls for help, and a sheriff who has cut response times while reducing my own budget,” he said in a statement.
Jose also told The Phoenix New Times that Mr. Babeu e-mailed explicit photographs of himself to an anonymous man whom he met on a Web site called Adam4Adam.
NY Times Recommended Editorials
February 19th, 2012
Cr edit note: what this article doesn't state, and one of the main questions, is how much of the oil that Iran exports, actually goes to these European Countries?
The answer is approximately 20% or less than 1/5th, which is about what's needed to sustain a profit, in most ordinary businesses. In other words, lose 20% of your sales and you end up with about the same amount of angst as most US companies went through after the 2008 financial meltdown.
Operative point here being the fact that Iran is already mired in heavy financial difficulties without all of this. Societal upheaval, will most likely result, from these sanctions, in the long run.~BLS
Paul Taylor | Stone | Getty Images
"Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped ... we will sell our oil to new customers," spokesman Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the ministry of petroleum website.
Iran's oil minister said on Feb. 4 that the Islamic state would cut its oil exports to "some" European countries. The European Commission said last week that the bloc would not be short of oil if Iran stopped crude exports, as they have enough in stock to meet their needs for around 120 days.
Industry sources told Reuters on Feb. 16 that Iran's top oil buyers in Europe were making substantial cuts in supply months in advance of European Union sanctions, reducing flows to the continent in March by more than a third - or over 300,000 barrels daily.
France's Total [TOTF.PA 41.68 0.40 (+0.97%) ] has already stopped buying Iran's crude, which is subject to fresh EU embargoes. Market sources said Royal Dutch Shell [RDSA.L 2293.00 -1.00 (-0.04%) ] has scaled back sharply. Among European nations, debt-ridden Greece is most exposed to Iranian oil disruption.
Motor Oil Hellas of Greece was thought to have cut out Iranian crude altogether and compatriot Hellenic Petroleum along with Spain's Cepsa and Repsol were curbing imports from Iran. Iran was supplying more than 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the EU plus Turkey in 2011, industry sources said.
By the start of this year imports had sunk to about 650,000 bpd as some customers cut back in anticipation of an EU ban. Saudi Arabia says it is prepared to supply extra oil either by topping up existing term contracts or by making rare spot market sales. Iran has criticized Riyadh for the offer.
Iran said the cut will have no impact on its crude sales, warning that any sanctions on its oil will raise international crude prices.
Brent crude [LCOCV1 119.95 --- UNCH (0) ] oil prices were up $1 a barrel to $118.35 shortly after Iran's state media announced last week that Tehran had cut oil exports to six European states. The report was denied shortly afterwards by Iranian officials.
"We have our own customers ... The replacements for these companies have been considered by Iran," Nikzad said.
EU's new sanctions includes a range of extra restrictions on Iran that went well beyond U.N. sanctions agreed last month and included a ban on dealing with Iranian banks and insurance companies and steps to prevent investment in Tehran's lucrative oil and gas sector, including refining.
The mounting sanctions are aimed at putting financial pressure on the world's fifth largest crude oil exporter, which has little refining capacity and has to import about 40 percent of its gasoline needs for its domestic consumption.
February 18th, 2012
By Barry Secrest
"Shrinkage," as a tool in the abstract, appears to now be in unfortunate vogue for We The People in 2012, as Obama and the Progressives continue their carpe annum assault on virtually any and everything appearing even remotely sacrosanct within America, these days. Well, except, of course, for those true problems devastatingly plaguing the US, that actually are not sacrosanct issues at all, at least not according to the Obamaphibians.
Indeed, across each and every single front, shrinkage seems to rule the day, as the soley-expansive Obama administration slithers its way to an ignominious ending in 2012. The White House outrageously outdid even itself, this time, having effectively shrunk our religious Liberties in its incessant and ongoing meddling in non-problems, even while setting the entirety of Christendom on its ear with its edict to the Catholic Church on reproductive issues. As Mike Huckabee stated, with melee at apex, "we all our Catholics now," and indeed we certainly are, albeit ironically.
However, and as usual, the Axis Press, of course, came surging to the Presidents stipulatory rescue, even here, after the President, absorbing whithering fire from virtually every religious institution known to man, decided to "Uh"...quickly change the required offering of every reproductive control device available, from being a required offering by the Church to now being offered by the Church's insurance companies and voila, problem solved, um...NOT.
The First Dietary Lady
Now, this shellgame ploy response by the White House, having totally missed the Clouseu-ish mal-intellect of the Mainstream Media, would be about the same as arguing that a credit card company pays for all charge card purchases, rather than the consumer, which is true, but only at first, of course. We all defacto know who ends up paying in the end, and in spades, to be sure, except of course for the Axis Press, which effectively gains traction after noting their increasingly miserable financials. However, this type of shrinkage, once again, is a word that lamentably inspires fear, if not loathing, to a preponderance of "man-kind," while fomenting a palpable terror on its destabilizing effects to the vast collective of man's governments all over the globe.
Even while most women, especially the First Dietary Lady, find either unparalleled joy, on the one hand for themselves on the vagaries of the word shrinkage, or great mirth, on the other, as it can be applied to their anxious menfolk, shrinkage even here carries palpable weight. But, ironic, indeed it is, that women will spend billions on diet pills and the like, in order to induce and even magnify the effects of shrinkage on their bodies, while men will spend still more billions on inarguably useless alchemies, mitigating the damnable effects of shrinkage on their maladjusted love torpedoes, ahem.
In fact, just think of either the proliferation or mitigation by human-kind towards shrinkage, or its opposite, as being much like the Colonel's secret recipe, bearing at least eleven secret herbs and spices, but only as applied to diminufied male members, well-rounded feminine physiques, or even Cloward-Piven spending plans induced by the Messianic Marxist, himself, rather than just succulently fried poultry....
February 18th, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Lashing out on two fronts, Rick Santorum on Saturday questioned President Obama's Christian values and attacked GOP rival Mitt Romney's Olympics leadership as he courted tea party activists and evangelical voters in Ohio, "ground zero" in the 2012 nomination fight.
Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator known for his social conservative views, said Obama's agenda is based on "some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology." He later suggested that the president practices a different kind of Christianity.
"In the Christian church there are a lot of different stripes of Christianity," he said. "If the president says he's a Christian, he's a Christian."
The Obama campaign said the comments represent "the latest low in a Republican primary campaign that has been fueled by distortions, ugliness, and searing pessimism and negativity."
Santorum was forced on his heels in recent days after a top supporter suggested women use aspirin to prevent pregnancy.
In Ohio, a Super Tuesday prize, he shifted decidedly to offense before friendly crowds. Trailing Romney in money and campaign resources, Santorum is depending on the tea party movement and religious groups to deliver a victory March 6 in the Midwestern contest.
More delegates will be awarded in Ohio than in any other state except Georgia in the opening months of the Republican campaign. Ohio and Georgia are two of the 10 contests scheduled for March 6, a benchmark for the primary campaign that often decides who can continue to the next level.
Santorum has surged in recent opinion polls after capturing Republican caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado and a non-binding primary in Missouri on Feb. 7. Several polls have shown him ahead in Romney's native state of Michigan, where primary voters cast ballots a week from Tuesday.
Obama's campaign team has responded by starting to consider the possibility that Santorum rather than Romney could be the Republican nominee. The Chicago-based organization has begun scrutinizing Santorum's past record and asked its Pennsylvania allies to look for information that might be used against Santorum in future ads and speeches.
Even as he criticized Obama, Santorum also went after one of Romney's most promoted achievements — his leadership at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
"One of Mitt Romney's greatest accomplishments, one of the things he talks about most is how he heroically showed up on the scene and bailed out and resolved the problems of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games," Santorum said. "He heroically bailed out the Salt Lake City Olympic Games by heroically going to Congress and asking them for tens of millions of dollars to bail out the Salt Lake games — in an earmark, in an earmark for the Salt Lake Olympic games."
The Romney campaign does not dispute that congressional earmarks helped save the games. But they noted that Santorum voted for those earmarks, among many others, when he was a senator.
"Sometimes when you shoot from the hip, you end up shooting yourself in the foot," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. "There is a pretty wide gulf between seeking money for post-9/11 security at the Olympics and seeking earmarks for polar bear exhibits at the Pittsburgh Zoo."
Santorum used a later appearance before the Ohio Christian Alliance to go after Romney for using his financial advantage as "as a club to beat anyone who gets in his way." But he saved his most pointed criticism for Obama, suggesting that the Democratic president's health care overhaul encouraged abortions by requiring insurance plans to cover prenatal screenings.
"It saves money in health care. Why? Because free pre-natal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled from our society," Santorum said. "That too is part of ObamaCare. Another hidden message as to what Obama thinks of those who are less able than the elites who want to govern our country."
Santorum planned to finish his day in Akron before heading to Georgia on Sunday. While 63 delegates are at stake in Ohio, Georgia offers 76.
"There's no state that can shout louder. You are the biggest state. You've got the biggest trove of delegates," Santorum told the Brown County Republican Party on Friday night. "This is ground zero. Ohio."
Questions about whether Santorum can sustain his rise in the polls come amid signs of stress within his campaign, mainly disorganization. Romney's machine, coupled with new scrutiny for Santorum's view of social issues as well as governmental policies, will give Santorum little margin for error.
As an example, one misstep by a Santorum supporter kept the former senator off message at times for two days.
Foster Friess, the main donor behind Santorum's "super PAC," created a stir Thursday when he related on MSNBC an old joke about how aspirin used to be a method for birth control. "Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception," Friess said with a grin. "The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."
Friess apologized Friday in a blog post. But Santorum was repeatedly forced to distance himself from his surrogate's comments, which Santorum described as "a bad joke." The comments drew unwanted attention to Santorum's own musings about contraception and women's issues.
"Santorum has been in the position of explaining on all of these issues. And when you're explaining in politics, you're losing," said Phil Musser, a GOP strategist who doesn't work for either campaign.
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