Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rick Perry: "I am Returning to Texas"

In a campaign speech late Tuesday night, Governor Rick Perry stated that he is "returning to Texas" to reassess whether he is going to continue running for President.

The speech contained several emotional moments, in particular two moments. The first was when he read a letter from an adoring supporter who called him a "great man." The letter described a conversation that Mr. Perry had had with a soldier and how his supporter looked on in awe as he watched Governor Perry call the veteran his "Christian brother."
Perry
The second was when Perry announced that he would be returning to Texas to reassess whether he will continue his pursuit for the White House. Mr. Perry paused several times and appeared to be on the verge of tears as he winded down his speech.

Governor Perry came in fifth place in the Iowa caucus today, barely breaking ten percent of the vote. His announcement tonight likely marks the end to his campaign.

USA Today quotes Perry, "With the voters decision, I decided to return to Texas and determine if there is a path forward."

You can get live Iowa results here.

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Ron Paul Projected to Come in Third in Iowa

With 87.5% of precincts reporting, Pundit Press is projecting that Ron Paul will come in third place in the Iowa caucus.

At 10:51pm, the vote percentages stand at:

Rick Santorum- 24.6%
Mitt Romney- 24.5%
Ron Paul- 21.1%
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%
Rick Perry- 10.3%
Michele Bachmann- 5.1%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Ron Paul would have to heavily win the 12.5% of the remaining precincts to get out of third place and it is very unlikely that he will do so.
Paul
Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, however, are much too close in votes to call either way.

Live results can be found here.

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Live Iowa Caucus Results

Update- 2:36AM-

It is official. Mitt Romney has won the Iowa caucus by eight votes:

Mitt Romney- 24.5%, 30,015 votes
Rick Santorum- 24.5%, 30,007 votes


Update- 1:51AM- According to Politico, somebody screwed up counting the votes in several counties, and is now reporting that 99.5% of precincts are reporting in:

Rick Santorum- 24.5%, 29,968 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.5%, 29,964 votes (Only 4 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.5%, 26,186 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 16,241 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 12,592 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.0%, 6,070 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 744 votes

Update- 1:12AM- With 99.9% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.5%, 29,944 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.5%, 29,926 votes (Only 18 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.5%, 26,182 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 16,210 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 12,574 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.0%, 6,064 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 744 votes

Update- 12:52AM- With 99.5% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.6%, 29,908 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.5%, 29,874 votes (Only 34 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.5%, 26,097 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%, 16,161 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 12,536 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.0%, 6,056 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 742 votes

Update- 12:33AM- With 98.6% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.6%, 29,662 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.5%, 29,657 votes (Only 5 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.5%, 25,926 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%, 16,002 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 12,442 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.0%, 6,031 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 734 votes

Update- 12:26AM- With 98.3% reporting:

Mitt Romney- 24.6%, 29,625 votes
Rick Santorum- 24.5%, 29,584 votes (Only 41 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.5%, 25,875 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%, 15,974 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 12,410 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.0%, 6,016 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 732 votes

Update- 12:22AM- With 97.0% reporting (for some reason, AP is declaring a higher percentage reporting but fewer votes):

Rick Santorum- 24.6%, 29,181 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.6%, 29,137 votes (Only 44 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.2%, 25,325 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 15,706 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 12,181 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.0%, 5,934 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 712 votes

Update- 12:07AM- With 96.6% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.6%, 29,210 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.6%, 29,173 votes (Only 37 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.2%, 25,307 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 15,722 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 12,194 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.0%, 5,934 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 712 votes

Update- 11:49PM- With 96.6% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.7%, 29,051 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.6%, 28,938 votes (Only 113 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.2%, 25,121 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 15,639 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 12,127 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.0%, 5,926 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 702 votes

Update- 11:43PM- With 95.5% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.6%, 28,948 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.6%, 28,879 votes (Only 69 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.2%, 25,044 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 15,580 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 12,093 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.0%, 5,899 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 702 votes

Update- 11:38PM- With 93.5% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.7%, 28,276 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.6%, 28,147 votes (Only 129 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.2%, 24,325 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 15,227 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 11,827 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.1%, 5,786 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 672 votes

Update- 11:35PM- With 93.3% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.7%, 28,242 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.6%, 28,108 votes (Only 134 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.2%, 24,321 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 15,205 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 11,827 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.1%, 5,786 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 672 votes

Update- 11:30PM- With 92.8% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.7%, 28,102 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.6%, 28,003 votes (Only 99 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.2%, 24,199 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 15,120 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 11,724 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.1%, 5,767 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 668 votes

Update- 11:27PM- With 92.7% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.7%, 28,049 votes
Mitt Romney- 24.6%, 27,977 votes (Only 72 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.2%, 24,144 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 15,097 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 11,702 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.1%, 5,751 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 668 votes

Update- 11:19PM- With 91.8% reporting:

Mitt Romney- 24.7%, 27,830 votes
Rick Santorum- 24.7%, 27,817 votes (Only 13 votes separate Romney and Santorum)
Ron Paul- 21.1%, 23,737 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, 14,961 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, 11,600 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.1%, 5,690 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, 660 votes

Update- 11:09PM- With 89.3% reporting:

Mitt Romney- 24.7%, with 27,101 votes
Rick Santorum- 24.6%, with 26,976 votes
Ron Paul- 21.1%, with 23,155 votes
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%, with 14,576 votes
Rick Perry- 10.3%, with 11,279 votes
Michele Bachmann- 5.1%, with 5,576 votes
Jon Huntsman- .6%, with 645 votes

Update- 11:04PM- With 88.3% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.6%
Mitt Romney- 24.6%
Ron Paul- 21.1%
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%
Rick Perry- 10.3%
Michele Bachmann- 5.1%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 10:58PM- With 88.1% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.6%
Mitt Romney- 24.6%
Ron Paul- 21.2%
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%
Rick Perry- 10.3%
Michele Bachmann- 5.1%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 10:51PM- With 87.5% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.6%
Mitt Romney- 24.5%
Ron Paul- 21.1%
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%
Rick Perry- 10.3%
Michele Bachmann- 5.1%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 10:49PM- With 79.0% reporting:

Mitt Romney- 24.9%
Rick Santorum- 24.4%
Ron Paul- 21.2%
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%
Rick Perry- 10.2%
Michele Bachmann- 5.0%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 10:46PM- With 60.2% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 25.0%
Mitt Romney- 23.2%
Ron Paul- 21.4%
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%
Rick Perry- 10.6%
Michele Bachmann- 5.4%
Jon Huntsman- .5%

Update- 10:42PM- With 59.1% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.4%
Mitt Romney- 23.5%
Ron Paul- 21.7%
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%
Rick Perry- 10.5%
Michele Bachmann- 5.5%
Jon Huntsman- .5%

Update- 10:40PM- With 53.8% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.2%
Mitt Romney- 23.5%
Ron Paul- 21.8%
Newt Gingrich- 13.4%
Rick Perry- 10.4%
Michele Bachmann- 5.6%
Jon Huntsman- .5%

Update- 10:35PM- With 52.0% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.3%
Mitt Romney- 23.7%
Ron Paul- 21.6%
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%
Rick Perry- 10.2%
Michele Bachmann- 5.6%
Jon Huntsman- .5%

Update- 10:20PM- With 49.5% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.3%
Mitt Romney- 23.6%
Ron Paul- 21.8%
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%
Rick Perry- 10.1%
Michele Bachmann- 5.6%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 10:12PM- With 47.6% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.3%
Mitt Romney- 23.7%
Ron Paul- 21.8%
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%
Rick Perry- 10.1%
Michele Bachmann- 5.6%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 10:07PM- With 47.5% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.3%
Mitt Romney- 23.8%
Ron Paul- 21.8%
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%
Rick Perry- 10.1%
Michele Bachmann- 5.6%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 10:03PM
Precincts are taking a fairly long time to send in new results. We should have more momentarily.

Update- 9:42PM- With 30.9% reporting:

Mitt Romney- 23.4%
Rick Santorum- 23.0%
Ron Paul- 22.8%
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%
Rick Perry- 10.2%
Michele Bachmann- 5.8%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 9:34PM- With 30.3% reporting:

Mitt Romney- 23.1%
Ron Paul- 23.0%
Rick Santorum- 22.9%
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%
Rick Perry- 10.3%
Michele Bachmann- 5.8%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 9:34PM- With 25.8% reporting:

Mitt Romney- 23.1%
Rick Santorum- 22.9%
Ron Paul- 22.9%
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%
Rick Perry- 10.4%
Michele Bachmann- 5.9%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 9:31PM- With 24.4% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 23.2%
Mitt Romney- 23.2%
Ron Paul- 23.0%
Newt Gingrich- 13.4%
Rick Perry- 10.4%
Michele Bachmann- 5.9%
Jon Huntsman- .6%

Update- 9:28PM- With 21.9% reporting:

Ron Paul- 23.9%
Rick Santorum- 23.6%
Mitt Romney- 22.2%
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%
Rick Perry- 10.0%
Michele Bachmann- 6.1%
Jon Huntsman- .7%

Update- 9:24PM- With 18.2% reporting:

Ron Paul- 24.0%
Rick Santorum- 23.2%
Mitt Romney- 22.6%
Newt Gingrich- 13.3%
Rick Perry- 9.8%
Michele Bachmann- 5.9%
Jon Huntsman- .7%
Herman Cain- .0%
Buddy Roemer- .0%

Update- 9:13PM- With 15.9% reporting:

Ron Paul- 24.1%
Mitt Romney- 23.0%
Rick Santorum- 22.9%
Newt Gingrich- 13.0%
Rick Perry- 9.9%
Michele Bachmann- 6.2%
Jon Huntsman- .7%
Herman Cain- .0%
Buddy Roemer- .0%

Update- 9:11PM- With 15.2% reporting:

Ron Paul- 24.0%
Mitt Romney- 23.2%
Rick Santorum- 23.0%
Newt Gingrich- 13.1%
Rick Perry- 9.6%
Michele Bachmann- 6.2%
Jon Huntsman- .7%
Herman Cain- .0%
Buddy Roemer- .0%

Update- 9:06PM- With 10.7% reporting:

Ron Paul- 24.2%
Rick Santorum- 23.0%
Mitt Romney- 22.9%
Newt Gingrich- 13.2%
Rick Perry- 9.4%
Michele Bachmann- 6.3%
Jon Huntsman- .6%
Herman Cain- .0%
Buddy Roemer- .0%

Update- 8:54PM- With 6.3% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 24.2%
Ron Paul- 23.7%
Mitt Romney- 22.3%
Newt Gingrich- 13.6%
Rick Perry- 9.0%
Michele Bachmann- 6.4%
Jon Huntsman- .5%
Herman Cain- .1%
Buddy Roemer- .0%

Update- 8:44PM- With 2.8% reporting:

Rick Santorum- 26.2%
Ron Paul- 22.9%
Mitt Romney- 18.0%
Newt Gingrich- 16.2%
Rick Perry- 9.5%
Michele Bachmann- 6.3%
Jon Huntsman- .3%
Herman Cain- .1%
Buddy Roemer- .1%

Update- 8:38PM- With less than 1% reporting:

Ron Paul- 42.9%
Rick Perry- 19.0%
Mitt Romney- 14.3%
Rick Santorum- 14.3%
Newt Gingrich- 9.5%
Michele Bachmann- 0.0%
Jon Huntsman- 0.0%

We at Pundit Press will be updating the results from the Iowa Caucus tonight with plenty of updates. Note that number will not add up to 100% as there will be some votes for Herman Cain, Buddy Roemer, "Other," and "no preference."

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Pundit Press Projects Gingrich to Come in Fourth, Perry in Fifth, and Bachmann in Sixth in Iowa

With the top three positions in the Iowa Caucus still up in the air, Pundit Press is projecting that Newt Gingrich will come in fourth, Rick Perry in fifth, and Michele Bachmann in sixth.
Gingrich
We will be monitoring the caucus until the final votes are tallied. You can get live results here.

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Watch Iowa Caucus Live

Below we have a livestream of coverage:



We also have live results here.

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Iowa Results

The Iowa caucuses start at 7pm Central or 8pm Eastern.

Until results start coming out, we have some from FoxNews.

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President Carter gives President Obama Re-election Advice





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Reason 12,834 to Home School

Virginia just can't seem to keep out of the news lately.  The latest outrage is a bunch of third graders wrote a little diddy they performed in October.  Now, if I am not mistaken a third grader is about 8 or so.  The school says the kids came up with these lyrics totally on their own:



Some people have it all
But they still don’t think they have enough
They want more money
A faster ride
They’re not content
Never satisfied
Yes — they’re the 1 percent
I used to be one of the 1 percent
I worked all the time
Never saw my family
Couldn’t make life rhyme
Then the bubble burst
It really, really hurt
I lost my money
Lost my pride
Lost my home
Now I’m part of the 99
Some people have it all
But they still don’t think they have enough
They want more money
A faster ride
They’re not content
Never satisfied
Yes — they’re the 1 percent
I used to be sad, now I’m satisfied
’Cause I really have enough
Though I lost my yacht and plane
Didn’t need that extra stuff
Could have been much worse
You don’t need to be first
’Cause I’ve got my friends
Here by my side
Don’t need it all
I’m so happy to be part of the 99
Yeah, I really buy that a group of eight-year-olds came up with this, all by their lonesomes.  On their website, Kid Pan Alley has songs from previous engagements that they have had around the country, some of the songs are named, Christmas in Tennessee, Stinky Socks, Bouncing of the Bottom, and Whispering in Spanish.  So normally these songs take on the silliness and innocence of childhood, yet this particular class wanted to write about the 99%.  
Our public school system should not be a place to push a political agenda.  No matter who is pushing it.  At the age of eight children should be learning how to think and at this point basic information about math, science, improving their reading and writing skills.  Instead the public schools have become a place where parents are forced to entrust their children to people who have an agenda, and to heck with the fact that some parents may not agree with that agenda.  Why are they teaching young children about class warfare?  There is a time and place for these discussions with young children, and a public school is neither that place nor the time in which to engage young, impressionable children about concepts they can't possibly understand at such a tender age.  
Values should be taught at home.  The fact that the school is defending this is reason enough to home school if at all possible.  
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Iowa Caucuses Day

Today is the day Conservatives, Republicans, political junkies and six candidates have been waiting for: the Iowa Caucuses.

Hundreds of thousands of Republican inclined Iowans wont be "picking corn" as Jon Huntsman said last week, but potentially the next President of the United States. And if caucus goers are as unpredictable as recent surveys suggest, the victor might not be known until very late tonight when every precint reports.

I'm guessing Romney and Santorum finish almost even, while Perry places third and Ron Paul drops to fourth - where he belongs - leaving Gingrich and Bachmann barely placing above the bottom feeders... namely, Buddy Roemer and the five dozen diehards who write in Sarah Palin as their last act of devout followship.

One thing is for sure - the race for the nomination is no longer three debates, and two months away, just a couple more hours until the sun shines over Iowa and the regular folks who populate that little slice of midwestern heaven head to their local precints and cast their ballots.

What say you?

Harry Burkhart Identified as LA Arson Suspect

From ABC via Yahoo:
Officials this evening identified a man arrested after a series of 52 blazes in the Los Angeles area as Harry Burkhart, 24.

Burkhart was charged this afternoon with one count of arson of an inhabited dwelling, with more charges expected as the investigation proceeds, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told reporters. Burkhart was being held without bail.

"These were serious and potentially deadly crimes that needlessly endangered thousands of innocent lives," Villaraigosa said. "These crimes will not be tolerated."

According to ABC News sources directly involved in the case, the "prime suspect" under arrest told authorities upon his detention, "I hate America."

That suspect, at the time not publicly identified, was believed to be a German national who may have been motivated by a deportation hearing against his mother that took place in Los Angeles County about a week and a half ago, the sources told ABC News exclusively.

The State Department gave the information to the intelligence and operational task forces involved in the manhunt, according to the sources.

The man being held, identified by police as a "person of interest," is now considered a "prime suspect," the sources said.
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Monday, January 2, 2012

Once Again, Rumors of Fidel Castro's Death Inundate Twitter

The death of Fidel Castro would be a significant moment for the world and Cuba, but at the moment he is still alive.  However, if you have been on twitter for the last few hours, thousands of tweets have proclaimed him dead.

The problem: the news source they cite (the Cuba Press) has stated that they have no idea what people are talking about and that they have not declared Castro dead.

Likewise, this "death picture" is making the rounds, but it is almost certainly fake:
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Picture of the Day

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The Bitter and Amoral Attack on how the Santorum Family Mourned Baby Gabriel

Alan Colmes went lower than low with his attack on the way the Santorum family chose to mourn the loss of their baby boy; Gabriel, who died shortly after childbirth.  


I personally have never lost a child, but I have watched others who have.  My best friend died while we were teenagers and another woman I know lost a six week old to SIDS.  Mourning a child is a deeply personal issue and how a family that is grieving that horrible loss have the right to mourn that loss in the way they feel is best for their family.  Rick and Karen Santorum felt that their other children needed to be part of the process of saying goodbye to baby Gabriel.  They needed to see him and have a chance to say goodbye.  While it may not be the way that others would choose to handle it, it was their right as they are their children.  They hurt no one else, they broke no laws and even the hospital thought it would be good for them in dealing with their grief. 


What Alan Colmes is probably the most upset about is the fact that they didn't abort the child the moment they found out he wouldn't live.  But of course they said that their daughter Bela, who is now two, wouldn't live either.  


Any liberal who is not condemning these comments is a bad as Mr. Colmes is.  Alan Colmes has no right to tell a family how to mourn the loss of a newborn baby.  They said good-bye the best way they could and did what they thought was right by God and their other children.  

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Traffic on Official Santorum Website Explodes After Surge in Polls

For months on the campaign trail, former Senator Rick Santorum was an afterthought for many potential voters. However, in the past week, his popularity has increased tremendously right before the Iowa Caucus.

Along with his rising poll numbers, the traffic on RickSantorum.com has exploded as well. The traffic-tracking website Alexa did not even rank RickSantorum.com in the top 100,000 websites on the internet in the three months leading up to the surge. Yet, in the past week, not only has the site gone above 100,000, but it has broken 40,000:
Three-Month View
One Week View
To put this into a bit of perspective, the Drudge Report is the 385th largest site on the internet and Little Green Footballs is the 83,591th biggest site on the web.  So, in the last week, RickSantorum.com is getting a lot more traffic than Little Green Footballs, but a lot less than Drudge.

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Iowa Predicitions

For what it is worth, here are my predictions for tomorrow's caucus in Iowa.  


While Ron Paul has been falling in the polls over the past week, I still believe he will pull out the victory, but by a small margin.  The reason why is his supporters are loyal to a fault.  They are organized and energized.  They will show up tomorrow night no matter how much snow is on the ground or how cold it is.  No other candidate has that sort of energy behind him.  


Sadly, Romney will come in second.  My thoughts on Romney becoming the nominee are no secret.  Yuck.  But I do believe that it is inevitable at this point.  I will give his campaign credit where credit is due.  Placing in the top three in Iowa is to paraphrase Biden a BFD.  Romney is not the type of candidate that normally does well in Iowa.  The largest part of the republican party are very social conservative.  


Santorum will be the real stunner of tomorrow.  He will have a top three finish.  The problem is that he put all his eggs in the Iowa basket,  and not getting a real return on it until now.  He has no money and very little organization moving forward.  New Hampshire is only 8 days away.  Now Santorum is the type of candidate you would expect to do well in Iowa, but not in New Hampshire.  He lacks any clear economic policy of consequence, so he will not get traction moving forward.  I expect him to drop out right around South Carolina.  


Perry will finish in the top 4.  He also seems to be catching fire again.  He also has social conservative creds that fit well with the average GOP'er in Iowa.  Unlike Santorum, his campaign is still well funded, and he has real plans for the economy and shrinking government.  So he can still catch fire down the road.  He will do well in South Carolina as well.  


Newt's star has faded.  He has little money and his inability to get on the ballot in Virginia and Missouri have shown the cracks of his campaign when it comes to discipline and organization.  As late as 10 days ago he didn't have sponsors to speak for him at every voting location.  He may not still.  Ultimately, people want to vote for a winner and the person who is most likely to run a good general election campaign.  Newt ain't it.  If he manages to get to Super Tuesday, he may be able to pick up some steam and give Romney a run for his money, but does he have the money to last that long?  Not likely.  


Bachmann will finish dead last (Huntsman is not competing in Iowa) and will be dropping out of the campaign within the next 7 to 10 days.  I have said all along she wasn't in it to win it.  She had something to prove to the leadership of the congress who didn't back her desire for place at the leadership table.  


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Vote: Who Would You Support in the Iowa Caucus?

The Republican Iowa Caucus is tomorrow and by all accounts it will be a very close race.  Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have been neck-and-neck in the polls for months now, but a Rick Santorum surge in the last week makes Iowa appear to be a three-way race.  Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich are also on the ballot.

Who will win is completely up in the air at the moment and will be until tomorrow night.  However, right now, who would you vote for if you had a chance to voice your support in the Iowa caucus?  Sure enough, some candidates that are in the race right now may not be in it by the time the primary in your state rolls around, so vote in our poll and make yourself heard now.

Vote below:


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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Santorum Gives Fantastic Interview on Meet the Press, Destroys Liberal Commentator

I am really starting to like Santorum a lot:


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Massive 7.0 Earthquake Hits Japan, January 1, 2012

Terrible news has just come across the news wires, as a 7.0 earthquake has struck Japan this evening.  More from the Economic Times:
A powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit a wide area in eastern and northeastern Japan on Sunday, rattling buildings in Tokyo and jolting the nation still recovering from last year's quake-tsunami mega-disaster.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injury and no tsunami warning was issued. The quake struck at 10:58 IST, Japan's Meteorological Agency said, as Emperor Akihito led the country's New Year celebrations by asking people to work together in rebuilding the nation from March's disaster.

There was no immediate information about abnormalities at nuclear reactors including those of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant, Kyodo News agency reported. The epicentre of the quake was located near Torishima, a northwestern Pacific island about 560 kilometres south of Tokyo.

The mid-afternoon quake swayed buildings in Tokyo and surrounding areas. Meanwhile, in a New Year message, Emperor Akihito said: "Our country is now going through difficult times because of the earthquake and other factors."
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Trey Scott Atwater Identified in Texas Airport Explosives Case

From MSNBC:
Authorities have charged a member of the U.S. military who was arrested after trying to go through a security checkpoint at a Texas airport with explosives in military-grade wrapping, the FBI said Sunday.

Trey Scott Atwater, 30, was stopped at security at the Midland International Airport about 9 a.m. Saturday. FBI spokesman Mike Martinez said Atwater is being held at the Midland County jail and has been charged with trying to bring explosives onto an airplane.

He will remain in custody at least until his arraignment Tuesday, given that the courts are closed Monday for the holiday, Martinez said.

Atwater and his wife and family had been visiting relatives in the area and were on their way back to his base in North Carolina, according to local media reports.
Atwater
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Breaking: Taliban Strikes Bagram Air Base

The source of this is questionable. However, these are the very people that the Obama Administration has stated are not our enemy:
Taliban militants say they have struck the US Bagram Air Base in the north of the Afghan capital Kabul with nine missiles in an attack, which left many casualties.
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And Speaking of a Sense of Entitlement - Drunk Drivers Sues for Medical Expenses



Chelsea Hess, a 22-year-old from South Carolina, is suing the county and a local sports bar to cover her medical expenses after a car accident left her paralyzed.  Ms. Hess was 20 at the time of the accident.  After spending several hours in bar drinking and playing pool she got into her car to drive home without putting on her seat belt.  

Ms. Hess and her attorney have decided that this is the responsibility of the bar, the bartender, and the county.  Apparently, she bares no responsibility at all.  The court documents show that she feels that she should have carded and refused service of the alcohol, the bartender should have also known that she may have been drinking before reaching the sports bar, and then of course, they should have also realized that she was unable to drive due to her drinking.  
'The bartender failed to attempt to ascertain whether or not plaintiff was already impaired by alcohol consumption when she purchased the alcoholic beverage and made sale to plaintiff even though she was unable to legally purchase the alcoholic beverage, and notwithstanding the possibility that she was already impaired by alcohol consumption,
She then follows all this up with county being responsible for the road saying it has not been properly maintained.  
'suddenly dropped off into a large unmaintained area on the shoulder of Alljoj Road, which caused plaintiff to lose control of her vehicle and causing her to roll the vehicle off the side of the road.'
So let me get this straight, a woman who is legally an adult bares no responsibility for going into the bar and ordering the drinks even though it was illegal.  It is all the bartender's fault, even when apparently they are admitting that she had been drinking before even reaching that bar.   Then she gets into her car knowing that she had been drinking and ends up driving on the shoulder of the roadway, then loses control of her car.  She crashes and because she wasn't wearing a seat belt she was ejected from the car and her injuries have left her paralyzed for life.  But that is the fault of the county.  It has nothing to do with her own reckless behavior.  It couldn't possibly be that her own bad choices caused this tragic accident.  

Yes, it is sad that she will spend the rest of her life in wheelchair.  That must be a difficult thing for a young person to face.  But, that doesn't change the fact that she made some very poor choices that evening.  The county didn't force her to drive her car, she did that all on her own.  The bartender didn't force her to drink any of those drinks.  While I agree that bars should be vigilant about making sure that who they are serving is of age, it isn't the sole responsibility of the bartender.  

It seems that young woman didn't learn a great deal from almost dying.  She made choices.  Very bad choices.  She has to learn to live with consequences of those choices and stop putting the blame on others.  Her life is not over.  She can do many great things with her life while in that wheelchair.  It is high time that she accept her fate, take responsibility for her actions, and get on with her life.  

Boy, do we need tort reform.




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Santorum Rising

With the Iowa caucuses just two days away now, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum has rised to 15% and into third place according to the last Des Moines Register poll before the vote. Romney remains on top with 24% and Paul closely follows at 22%. None of the other candidates come remotely close.

However, the real interesting numbers are revealed when you dig into the margins - during the last day DMR called Iowans, Santorum rised unbeliveably to second place with 22% of the vote - resulting in a spurt of momentum that could allow him to come away the winner of Iowa's caucuses Tuesday night.

Now, I still believe my candidate, Romney, will win this thing because he's the steady tortoise in this race, most voters still believe he's the most electable and he has already reached his 2008 result: 25%, meaning he has to perform better with everything on his side at this point in the race, unlike last time when he was being hammered over religion.

Either way, Santorum is a force to be honest with and Tuesday night is gonna be fun, regardless of who you support.

What say you?

Happy New Year

Pundit Press wants to wish all of our loyal readers a happy and healthy new year. Hopefully the same time next year we are waiting for the inauguration of a new President.

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Occupiers with Nothing Better to do Kicked out of Iowa Coffee Shop



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Man with Explosives Detained at Texas Airport

From the AP:
A man was detained Saturday after trying to go through a security checkpoint at a Texas airport with explosives in military-grade wrapping, federal and local officials said.

The man was stopped at a security checkpoint at the Midland International Airport about 9 a.m. and taken into custody by the FBI, they said.

FBI spokesman Mike Martinez declined to say whether the man was in military uniform or how many explosives were found in the bag. He said he did not know where the man was being held, saying he was at either the airport or at the FBI office in Midland.

City of Midland spokeswoman Tasa Watts said she had no information on the suspect but the explosives were wrapped in military-grade wrapping. She said the specific grade won't be known until the explosives are tested.

The Transportation Security Administration issued a statement saying one of its officers spotted a suspicious item in a carry-on bag during X-ray screening. It said the checkpoint was closed for about an hour while officers investigated and removed the item.

Watts said the man was entering a terminal when he was stopped, and a sweep was done to clear that terminal before normal operations resumed.
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Poll: 48% Say Most Members of Congress Are Corrupt

How surprising...
The belief that politicians use their office for personal gain is growing.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that most members of Congress are corrupt. Just 28% disagree, and another 24% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 27-28, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
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Newt Gingrich Weeps While Campaigning in Iowa

Well then:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wept Friday as he recalled his late mother's end-of-life illnesses, a moment of poignancy in a notably negative Republican presidential Iowa caucus campaign with four unpredictable days yet to run. 
"I do policy much easier than I do personal," Gingrich told an audience of women as he tried to regain his composure. The tears flowed as the former speaker was responding to questions about his mother from a pollster and longtime political ally. 
Gingrich's emotional moment came as his rivals engaged in traditional campaign tactics, and as polls suggested large numbers of Iowa Republicans could change their minds before caucuses Tuesday night provide the first test of the 2012 campaign.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Newt Gingrich Crying Video

From Iowa:



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Hormuz and Iowa

The Iranian's threatening to close the vital Strait of Hormuz not only brings the possibility of conflict between the U.S. Navy and theirs, whether it be by us acting first or them surprising us all, but how voters in Iowa will react to the bold aggression and saber-rattling of the islamic regime.

When they look at the field as it stands, we have numerous opinions on how to deal with Iran, but its very probable that our next elected President wont be thinking hypothetically, but will actually have to do something in his first year, because the threat is that real and dangerous.

In Iowa we have five candidates that can win the caucuses - Romney, Paul, Gingrich, Santorum and Perry. And the question heading to the local precincts shouldn't be "Who is pro-life?" but "Who will take Iran seriously?"

Romney wants to rebuild our U.S. Navy to superpower strength and blockade Iran. Paul wants to do nothing and allow them to acquire nuclear weapons. Gingrich has not really settled on a plan, besides tougher economic sanctions. Santorum would attack Iran, while supporting dissidents of the regime. Perry favors economically attacking the country, especially Iran's Central Bank.

Iowa, the implications of your choice is more important than you'll ever know. We are looking at the possibility of War against Iran, please select your candidate based on their thoughts on that, and that alone - and please do so wisely.

What say you?

Video: Arlen Specter Does Stand Up

Former Pennsylvania Senator Specter does some fairly good standup:



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Joe Klein: Iran Just Wants Nukes "To Deter Israel"

So very, very stupid:


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Corporate Responsibility, Personal Responsibility, Nike, and Michael Jordan


We have all heard the stories of the near riots that occurred when Nike released a new version of Air Jordan sneakers several days before Christmas.  There were arrests, damage to stores, toddlers left in cars, and pepper spray all brought out while the frenzy to be one of the lucky ones who got a pair.  Sneakers that are now on sale on Ebay for almost double the original cost.
Activists in the Houston area have asked the Michael Jordan and Nike take responsibility for the violence that occurred when they went on sale and the violence that has occurred to those who have a pair.
“It is the responsibility of Michael Jordan and Nike to stand up and be part of the solution. Right now it’s a public safety issue with children wearing those sneakers,”
“The people that can least afford these shoes are buying them, and what happens as a result of that? Well there’s more crime,”
So, it is Nike and Michael Jordan who are responsible for the violence?
I have had pretty strong opinions on Micheal Jordan during his entire career.  As a lifelong long-suffering Knicks fan, Michael Jordan and his Bulls team was nothing but a source of disappointment for me.  But above and beyond the fact that the Knicks could never get past the Bulls and go onto to win a title one of the things that always did annoy about Michael Jordan was his insistence of saying nothing no matter what was going on.  When asked about endorsing a political candidate running against the sitting republican senator of his home state his response was:
"Republicans buy sneakers, too."
Jordan made millions and possibly billions from endorsements.  His life has always seemed to be about the conquest and the next thing.  Some call that arrogant, I have always preferred to look at as the "eye of the tiger" if you will.  He always maintained an edge that made him better and more competitive.  His juices for the next title, the next trophy, the next accomplishment kept him at the top of his game for the majority of his basketball career.  He made very few errors until the very end of career  and once he went to the management side of things.  He has every right to go out and make money.  I believe in capitalism so have at it.  But I, for one, have always been disappointed that they he didn't take some stands on important issues.  Such as child labor in China, the breakdown of the black family (while since it has come out that he had more than one affair while he was married, that could be part of the reason) as he had an image of a family man, who grew up in a close family, and many other issues.  But he always kept his mouth shut and picked up his next check.  The same was true of Tiger Woods.
I am not a believer in parents sitting back while their children idolize some sports or music star.  We should be showing our children the real heroes in our society, first responders who put their lives on the line to protect their communities, our volunteer military who willing go off to war to protect our rights, the people who work at shelters and food banks to help the neediest amongst us for little pay, and countless others who get up everyday and just try to do the right thing.  Parents should be living a life that their children will be proud to follow as they grow and mature.
But we have become a culture of entitlement.  One of the activists said himself that the people who can afford them the least are the ones buying them.  A Black Panther is saying that Nike is responsible for the thefts that are occurring to the people who lucky enough to get a pair of these sneakers.  Another said this:
“These shoes have always had a place of value in Black life,”
Maybe instead of going after Nike to lower the price to keep up with the demand (I will let go of that obvious ignorance of how economics work) they should be having the discussion with parents of the kids who were rioting.  They should be talking to the kids themselves about coveting a pair of sneakers instead of looking at what the Christmas season is really about.  Maybe we should be telling these kids that expecting your parents to spend almost $200 on a pair of sneakers when they don't have a great deal of money isn't such a great idea.  Take this moment to teach them about personal responsibility instead of what we want and when we want it.  Let this be a teachable moment about how if we really want something we need to go out and work for it.  No, instead they are saying that Nike should lower the price.  How low should the price be?  Should Nike also give some away at no charge for the neediest of people because after all these shoes are part of "black life".  What about the non blacks who want these shoes too and can't afford them?
While I would love to see Michael Jordan take a real stand for once, the truth is, this isn't his responsibility.  This is the responsibility of the care givers of these children and young adults who caused all the mayhem last week.  It is up to the individual to act in a responsible manner, not some athlete who hasn't been on the scene in more than decade.


Cross posted at  just a conservative girl



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Stormfront Founder: Ron Paul’s Views ‘Coincide with Ours’



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Santorum Smacks Down Sharpton on MSNBC



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Huntsman: Iowa Picks Corn

One of Huntsman's problems has been his apparent arrogance when dealing with people, or situations, but it hasn't effected his goal of performing somewhat reasonable in New Hampshire, and perhaps not leaving the race immediately. However, his latest display of odd behavior could ruin any chances he's had.

When asked about his decision not to campaign in Iowa this morning, Mr. Huntsman had this to say: "They pick corn in Iowa. They pick presidents in New Hampshire." Except for selecting Bush in '00, and Dole in '96 as the Republican nominees for President, Iowa has no track record of, uh, success...

Insulting the social conservative bedrock, small farmers, country folk and a state that is potentially a swing state is not only incredibly stupid, but also a good reason why Huntsman hasn't made it - he is arrogant and doesn't understand how America lives, or operates.

What say you?

This Year's List of Most Corrupt Politicians is Out - Read it and Weep Folks

I don't care what party you are from, if you are corrupt, it is time for you to pack your bags.  If you broke the law, go to jail.  Sadly, some of these will be re-elected in less than a year.  


This list is compiled by Judicial Watch and is alphabetical order.


1. Spencer Bachus (R-AL): He has become the face of acongressional “insider trading” scandal that has rocked the Washington establishment as 2011 draws to a close. Rep. Spencer Bachus, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was one of the principal targets of a (CBS News)  60 Minutes investigative report on the scandal, which aired on CBS TV in September 2011.



The report was based, at least in part, on the book Throw Them All Out by author Peter Schweizer, which outed a slew of members of Congress who allegedly profited in the financial markets by trading on insider information. Bachus was not the only congressman cited by 60 Minutes -- others included Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi –- but the Alabama Republican stood out for his remarkable “good fortune” in shorting the stock market.
According to the allegations made by Schweizer and 60 Minutes, Congressman Bachus, at the time the ranking Republican on the Financial Services Committee, traded short-term stock options in 2008 after receiving a private briefing for congressional leaders by Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The subject of the briefing: the pending meltdown in the global economy. Those privileged to attend the meeting reportedly sat around a table in Pelosi’s office, having left their cell phones outside the room to avoid leaks.
Congressman Bachus’s aggressive trading practices, in which he was able to benefit by betting on falling stock prices, reportedly earned him substantial profits from some of the 40 trades placed during the months of July through November 2008, many of the trades occurring after the September meeting.
In the wake of the congressional insider trading scandal, legislation banning insider trading is under consideration in Congress. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee advanced a bill banning insider trading on December 14, 2011. Similar legislation (pushed by Rep. Bachus himself, obviously to deflect criticism) has stalled in the House. Critics have suggested, and so has the House Ethics Committee, that the law already prohibits insider trading by members of Congress.
2. Former Senator John Ensign (R-NV): John Ensign, former U.S. Senator from Nevada and former Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, was forced to resign from office in May 2011 as the result of an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. In a scandal that first broke in 2009, Senator Ensign publicly admitted to an affair with the wife of long-time staffer Douglas Hampton. Ensign then allegedly tried to cover up the affair by bribing the couple with lucrative gifts and political favors.
According to The New York Times, after Hampton discovered the affair involving his wife Cynthia, the senator bought his silence by giving him “a strong boost into a lobbying career.” Ensign asked political backers to find Hampton a job. “Payments of $96,000 to the Hamptons also were made by Senator Ensign’s parents, who insist this was a gift, not hush money. Once a lobbying job was secured, Senator Ensign and his chief of staff continued to help Mr. Hampton, advocating his clients’ cases directly with federal agencies.”
These lobbying activities seemingly violated  the law related to the Senate’s “cooling off” period for lobbyists. According to Senate rules, former Senate aides “may not lobby the Member for whom he worked or that Member’s staff for a period of one year after leaving [their] position.” Hampton began to lobby Ensign’s office immediately upon leaving his job on Capitol Hill.
In November 2010, the Federal Election Commission dismissed a complaint that Ensign had violated campaign-finance laws, and in December, the Obama Department of Justice announced that it would file no criminal charges against the senator. Ensign, however, was unable to avoid the ongoing investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. In May 2011, the Senate Ethics Committee issued a devastating report that summarized the evidence against Ensign and made the extraordinary recommendation that the Justice Department reopen a criminal investigation.
3. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL): In a year full of shocking congressional sex scandals, perhaps none is more serious than that involving Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, who allegedly sexually harassed a female government employee and then engaged in a cruel campaign of retaliation when she rebuffed his advances. (On March 7, 2011, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against Hastings on behalf of the victim, Ms. Winsome Packer.)
The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 2008 when Hastings (an impeached federal judge) served as Chairman of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Ms. Packer served as his employee. According to Judicial Watch’s complaint, “Mr. Hastings’ intention was crystal clear: he was sexually attracted to Ms. Packer, wanted a sexual relationship with her, and would help progress her career if she acquiesced to his sexual advances.”
These advances included: Making multiple demands that Ms. Packer allow Rep. Hastings to stay in her apartment while she served as the Commission’s lead staff representative overseas; subjecting Ms. Packer to unwanted physical contact, including hugging her with both arms while pressing his body against her body and his face against her face; inviting her on multiple occasions to accompany him alone to his hotel room; making sexual comments and references to Ms. Packer; and asking Ms. Packer humiliating and inappropriate questions in public, such as “What kind of underwear are you wearing?”
In addition, Hastings seems to have abused his office by using government travel as a cover for sightseeing and by soliciting gifts and campaign contributions from congressional staff.
On November 28, 2011, The House Ethics Committee announced that it will take an additional 45 days to determine whether to launch a full investigation into the allegations against Hastings.
4. Attorney General Eric Holder: Attorney General Eric Holder now operates the most politicized and ideological Department of Justice (DOJ) in recent history. And revelations from the Operation Fast and Furious scandal suggest that programs approved by the Holder DOJ may have resulted in the needless deaths of many, including a federal law enforcement officer.
Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun-running” operation in which guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels and others, apparently in hopes that the guns would end up at crime scenes. This reckless insanity seems to have resulted in, among other crimes, the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a shootout with Mexican criminals in December 2010. Fast and Furious guns were found at the scene of his death.
The Fast and Furious operation by itself should have resulted in Holder’s resignation, but it is the cover-up that has prompted serious calls for Holder’s ouster.
On May 3, 2011, in a House Judiciary Committee hearing chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Holder testified: “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” Newly released documents show he was receiving weekly briefings on Fast and Furious as far back as July 5, 2010. It appears Holder lied to Congress. (Judicial Watch sued the DOJ and the ATF to obtain Fast and Furious records. The Judicial Watch investigation continues.)
Unfortunately, when it comes to Holder's corruption and abuse of office, Fast and Furious is just the tip of the iceberg.
On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that DOJ lawyers would no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), as applied to homosexual couples. DOMA had passed Congress by a vote of 85–14 in the Senate and a vote of 342–67 in the House. President Clinton signed the act into law on September 21, 1996.
Judicial Watch filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the DOJ (including one on behalf of the Family Research Council) for records related to this pro-homosexual marriage decision. This failure to defend this federal law is unprecedented and raises serious questions as to whether President Obama and Eric Holder are upholding their oaths of office and following the Constitution’s command to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
The DOJ continues to stonewall the release of information regarding Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s participation in Obamacare discussions when she served as Solicitor General. In addition to forcing Judicial Watch to file a lawsuit to obtain this information, Holder’s DOJ thumbed its nose at Congress by failing to release this material to the Senate Judiciary Committee during Kagan’s judicial confirmation hearing. Holder continues to personally resist requests from Judicial Watch and Congress for additional information on this controversy. Kagan’s role in these discussions is especially significant now that the U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will consider challenges to the constitutionality of Obamacare in Spring 2012.
New revelations emerged in 2011 about the DOJ’s Black Panther scandal. Judicial Watch uncovered evidence that the liberal special interest group National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) may have had an inappropriate amount of influence on the DOJ’s decision to drop its voter intimidation lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense. This comes on the heels of sworn testimony that the Civil Rights Division of the Holder DOJ makes enforcement decisions based upon race.
Most recently, Judicial Watch obtained shocking documents suggesting the Holder DOJ is conspiring with scandal-ridden Project Vote (President Obama’s former employer and ACORN front) to use the National Voter Registration Act to increase welfare voter registrations. One former ACORN employee (and current Project Vote Director of Advocacy), Estelle Rogers, is even helping to vet job candidates for the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Division! (ACORN and Project Vote have a long record of voter registration fraud.)
Seeming to affirm ACORN’s hijacking of the DOJ, Holder recently said in a speech that he plans to use “the full weight” of the agency in 2012 to attack states that are enforcing laws that protect against fraud in the voting booths. This speech ended the pretense that the DOJ is independent from the Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign – as it repeated almost verbatim the partisan arguments made by the Democratic Party against voter ID laws.
Holder must go. Pick your reason – Black Panthers, race-based decision making, abandoning the Defense of Marriage Act, Fast and Furious killings and lies, or turning the DOJ into an arm of the radicalized left –- but Holder must go.
5. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) and the Blagojevich Co-Conspirators: It took more than two years and two trials, but disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod “Blago” Blagojevich was finally brought to justice on June 27, 2011, for a number of crimes, including his efforts to “sell” President Obama’s vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. He became the state’s fourth governor, and one of at least 79 Illinois public officials, to be found guilty of a crime since 1972, proving that Illinois has certainly lived up to its reputation as a cesspool of corruption.
As the trial unfolded, it became clear that many hands were dirty in the Blago scandal. (See Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm “Rahmbo” Emanuel, who was finally forced to testify during this second Blago trial – for a whopping five minutes – and President Obama himself, who was interviewed by the FBI in the scandal even before he took office.)
But all of the focus now seems to center on Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.
The House Ethics Committee announced on December 2, 2011, that it will continue its investigation into allegations that “Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. or someone acting on his behalf offered to raise campaign cash for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for a Senate appointment in 2008….The committee also released an initial report from the Office of Congressional Ethics that said there was “probable cause” to believe that Jackson either directed a third party or had knowledge of a third party’s effort to convince the since-convicted Blagojevich to appoint Jackson Jr. in exchange for campaign cash.
The evidence suggests Jackson, Jr. attempted to bribe his way into the U.S. Senate. And it will take a monumental lack of attention on the part of the House Ethics Committee to overlook the Illinois Congressman’s role in this serious scandal.
6. President Barack Obama: President Obama makes Judicial Watch’s “Ten Most Wanted” list for a fifth consecutive year. (The former Illinois Senator was also a “Dishonorable Mention” in 2006.) And when it comes to Obama corruption, it may not get any bigger than Solyndra. Solyndra was once known as the poster child for the Obama administration’s massive “green energy” initiative, but it has become the poster child for the corruption that ensues when the government meddles in the private sector. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September 2011, leaving 1,100 workers without jobs and the American taxpayers on the hook for $535 million thanks to an Obama administration stimulus loan guarantee.
Despite the Obama administration’s reticence to release details regarding this scandal, much is known about this shady deal. White House officials warned the president that the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program was “dangerously short on due diligence,” nonetheless the Obama administration rushed the Solyndra loan through the approval process so it could make a splash at a press event. The company’s main financial backer was a major Obama campaign donor named George Kaiser. While the White House said Kaiser never discussed the loan with White House officials, the evidence suggests this is a lie. And, further demonstrating the political nature of the Obama administration’s activities, the Energy Department pressured Solyndra to delay an announcement on layoffs until after the 2010 elections. Despite the public outrage at this scandalous waste of precious tax dollars, President Obama continues to defend the indefensible and has refused to sack anyone over the Solyndra mess.
President Obama continues to countenance actions by his appointees that undermine the rule of law and constitutional government:
  • Despite a ban on funding that Obama signed into law, his administration continues to fund the corrupt and allegedly defunct “community” organization ACORN. In July 2011 Judicial Watch uncovered a $79,819 grant to AHCOA (Affordable Housing Centers of America), the renamed ACORN Housing which has a long history of corrupt activity. In absolute violation of the funding ban, Judicial Watch has since confirmed that the Obama administration has funneled $730,000 to the ACORN network, a group that has a long personal history with President Obama.In 2011, JW released a special report entitled “The Rebranding of ACORN,” which details how the ACORN network is alive and well and well-placed to undermine the integrity of the 2012 elections –- evidently with the assistance of the Obama administration.
  • Barack Obama apparently believes it is his “prerogative” to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law when it comes to appointing czars. According to Politico: “President Barack Obama is planning to ignore language in the 2011 spending package that would ban several top White House advisory posts. Obama said this ban on “czars” would undermine “the President’s ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” In other words, Barack Obama believes he must ignore the U.S. Constitution to protect the U.S. Constitution. Many Obama administration czars have not been subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate as required by the U.S. Constitution. In 2011, JW released a first-of-its-kind comprehensive report on the Obama czar scandal, entitled “President Obama's Czars.”
  • In an historic victory for Judicial Watch and an embarrassing defeat for the Obama White House, a federal court ruled on August 17, 2011 that Secret Service White House visitor logs are agency records that are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell issued the decision in Judicial Watch v. Secret Service. The Obama administration now will have to release all records of all visitors to the White House – or explain why White House visits should be kept secret under the law. The Obama White House continues to fight full disclosure and has stalled the release of records by appealing the lower court decision.(Judicial Watch gave Obama a “failing grade” on transparency in testimony before Congress in 2011.
  • In 2011, the Obama National Labor Relations Board sought to prevent the Seattle-based Boeing Company from opening a $750 million non-union assembly line in North Charleston, South Carolina, to manufacture its Dreamliner plane. Judicial Watch obtained documents from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) showing this lawsuit was politically motivated. Judicial Watch uncovered documents showing NLRB staff cheerleading for Big Labor, mouthing Marxist, anti-American slurs and showing contempt for Congress related to the agency’s lawsuit against Boeing, including email correspondence attacking members of Congress. And it starts at the top. Obama bypassed Congress and recess-appointed Craig Becker, who is connected to the AFL-CIO, the SEIU and ACORN, to the NRLB.
  • Obama’s corrupt Chicago dealings continued to haunt him in 2011.Obama’s real estate partner, campaign fundraiser and Obama pork recipient Antoin “Tony” Rezko was finally sentenced to jail this year as was former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is now set to serve 14 years for attempting to sell Obama’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder. The FBI continues to withhold from Judicial Watch documents of its historic interview of then-Senator Obama about the Illinois corruption scandal. The FBI interview was conducted in December, 2008, about one month before Obama was sworn into the presidency.
7. Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA): A first-timer on Judicial Watch’s “Ten Most Wanted” list, Rep. Laura Richardson is in hot water for reportedly misusing her congressional staff for personal and political gain. Rep. Richardson is now under investigation by the House Ethics Committee regarding allegations by former staff member Maria Angel Macias. Macias alleges that she was required by Richardson to order other staffers to run personal errands for the Democrat congresswoman – such as picking up her dry cleaning – and to work on her re-election campaign at taxpayer expense.
Richardson’s alleged behavior would violate federal law, which protects federal employees from “being forced by job-related threats or reprisals to donate to political candidates or causes.” House ethics rules also specify that “in no event may a member or office compel a House employee to do campaign work.”
Macias indicated to the Committee that Richardson regularly directed her to call staff members outside of office hours to “make them work at campaign events.” According to former employees, they were required to work the extended hours “under threat of dismissal,” and reportedly, were even required to act as servers at such events. Shirley Cooks, chief of staff for Representative Richardson, was also directed to ensure that staff members “volunteered” for off-hour campaign projects.
Rep. Richardson has responded by denying that she has ever forced employees to volunteer on campaigns, and then played the “race card,” claiming she is being targeted because she is black and because she is a woman. Richardson has further indicated that she would explore whether the Ethics Committee “has engaged in discriminatory conduct”… which is a blatant attempt to intimidate committee members and undermine the investigation.
Richardson is not new to controversy and investigations of ethics violations. Complaints against her include commandeering emergency helicopters in her California district for use as sightseeing vehicles for her staff and of her receiving special treatment when a bank rescinded the sale of a foreclosed home Rep. Richardson owned in Sacramento and then restructured her mortgage. (This was the third home on which Rep. Richardson had missed payments.)
The House Ethics Committee failed to punish her over the foreclosure deal (no surprises there) and approximately one year later Richardson again defaulted on her payments. True to form, however, Richardson failed to take responsibility for her actions, claiming the default was due to a “clerical error.”
Rep. David Rivera (R-FL): Rep. David Rivera, U.S. Representative for Florida’s 25th congressional district, is mired in numerous ethics controversies stemming from charges of money laundering and tax evasion schemes initiated when Rivera served in the Florida House of Representatives. The Republican congressman, serving his first term, is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Miami-Dade Police public corruption unit, and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office.
Of particular interest is the investigation by the FBI and the IRS regarding Rep. Rivera’s dealings with the Flagler Dog Track, now known as the Magic City Casino. The basis for the investigation relates to payments reportedly totaling as much as $1 million made by the casino to Millennium Marketing in the guise of a consulting contract. Most of the money is said to have been paid in 2008.
Millennium Marketing is owned by Rivera’s mother and godmother, and Rivera supposedly benefited from the arrangement, and is thus the subject of a tax evasion inquiry. Income from the consulting contract was never reported by Rivera on his tax forms, nor did he mention the Millennium deal in financial disclosure forms filed with the Florida Ethics Commission. Instead, Rivera indicated that he had worked as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in addition to being a member of the Florida House of Representatives. He reported no income for USAID, however, and the agency had no record of his having ever worked there.
For a long time, Rep. Rivera denied ever receiving any income from the dog track, but just before heading to Congress, Rivera admitted receiving $132,000 in “undisclosed loans” from Millennium. He claims he paid the money back.
Participating in the dog track inquiry – and at one time having had the lead on the case – is the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, assisted by the Miami-Dade Police. Investigators are also taking a close look at Rivera’s campaign spending, including $75,000 he paid in 2010 “to a now-defunct consulting company owned by the daughter of a top aide.”
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA): Rep. Maxine Waters is one of the most senior and one of the most outspoken members of Congress. She is also one of the most corrupt.
In August 2010, an investigative subcommittee of the House Ethics Committee charged Rep. Waters with three counts of violating House rules and ethics regulations in connection with her use of power and influence on behalf of OneUnited Bank. She was expected to face an ethics trial in late 2010, but the committee delayed the trial indefinitely on November 29, 2010, citing newly discovered documentary evidence that may impact proceedings.
The delay apparently has less to do with evidence and more to do with infighting on the panel. Ultimately, an outside counsel was retained and a recommendation was expected by January 2, 2012. However, the Committee announced that the Waters probe will be extended until July 31, 2012.
According to The Associated Press, the charges currently under the House Ethics Committee microscope “focus on whether Waters broke the rules in requesting federal help [bailout money] for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on the board of directors.” At the time she requested the help, Waters neglected to tell Treasury officials about her financial ties to OneUnited Bank.
Without intervention by Waters (and a big assist from her co-conspirator Rep. Barney Frank), OneUnited was an extremely unlikely candidate for Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funding. The Treasury Department indicated that it would only provide bailout funds to healthy banks to jump-start lending. However, Judicial Watch uncovered documents detailing the deplorable financial condition of OneUnited at the time of the cash infusion. In fact, just prior to the bailout, OneUnited received a “less than satisfactory rating.”
Aside from OneUnited, there was yet another scandal with Waters’ fingerprints all over it.
According to The Washington Times: “A lobbyist known as one of California’s most successful power brokers while serving as a legislative leader in that state paid Rep. Maxine Waters’ husband $15,000 in consulting fees at a time she was co-sponsoring legislation that would help save the real-estate finance business of one of the lobbyist’s best-paying clients…”
“Real-estate finance businesses,” such as the one helped by Waters’ influence, were labeled a “scam” by the IRS in a 2006 report.
Despite all of her ethical woes, Maxine Waters seeks to take over the retiring Barney Frank’s position as the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. It is quite obvious that Rep. Waters has neither the integrity nor the ethics necessary to hold such a position of public trust.
Rep. Don Young (R-AK): Rep. Don Young may have achieved a new level of corruption in 2011. The House Ethics Committee announced just before Christmas that the Alaska Republican Congressman was cleared of allegations by the House Ethics Committee that he exceeded the limit on campaign donations to his legal defense fund – which was set up to defend Young against an entirely different set of corruption charges! There was good reason the House Ethics Committee released this decision after most of official Washington left for the Christmas holiday: because the Committee’s “exoneration” is a joke.
House ethics rules prohibit contributions from any single source that exceed $5,000. Young received $63,000 from “twelve companies that…were in fact owned by Gary Chouest, his wife, and his five children, or some combination of those seven individuals.” Despite an independent analysis by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) that the shell-game was a rather transparent violation of the contribution limit, the House Ethics Committee gave Young a free pass because the 12 companies controlled by essentially one individual were “separate legal entities”!
On July 24, 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that Young was under federal investigation for taking bribes, illegal gratuities, and unreported gifts from VECO Corporation, an Anchorage, Alaska- based company. Two executives in the company, including former company CEO Bill Allen, had already pled guilty to bribing members of the Alaska legislature. Reportedly, Young received $157,000 from VECO.
Rep. Young has developed a legendary reputation for steering federal dollars to Alaska. As The New Republic put it, Rep. Young is “well known for his sharp elbows and generous appetite for legislative pork,” including the $223 million he secured to build the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere.” Eventually, lawmakers responded to the mounting criticism and the bridge was defunded.
Over the years, Rep. Young has been linked to lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s illegal efforts to lease government property, and he has been criticized for adding a $10 million earmark to a transportation bill for a short piece of road in Florida near Fort Myers, called Coconut Road. The local real estate developer who owned 4,000 acres along the road helped raise $40,000 for Young’s campaign, which might go a long way toward explaining why the Alaska congressman aggressively pushed to build a road in Florida.

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