Florida Primary Results8:35pm- with 63.6% in:
7:11pm- with 8% in:
Early results from CNN show Mitt Romney with a lead.
With 1% in:
Florida Exit Poll ResultsVoting across Florida will end at 8pm EST. Over 600,000 people have already voted before the actual polling day, with more coming out in person.
According to Matt Drudge, Mitt Romney is nearing a majority, according to early exit poll results. Drudge has Romney at 46%, Gingrich 31%, Santorum 12%, and Ron Paul 7%.
UPDATE 6:44pm. Drudge now has Romney 49%, Gingrich 33%, Santorum 11%, Paul 6%.
Breaking: Obama Hosted Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright at WH Three Times!Do you remember in the 2008 campaign when then-Senator Obama tried to claim that he had barely any association with Jeremiah wright or former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers? Well, Ayers claimed he barely even knew Obama: "I think my relationship with Obama was probably like that of thousands of others in Chicago and, like millions and millions of others, I wished I knew him better." Meanwhile, the New York Times tried to calm nerves by claiming that the two had barely any relationship at all. As Obama himself said, Ayers was “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.”
On the other hand, then-Senator Obama totally underplayed his relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright had married the Obamas and baptised their children. In May of 2008, Obama left the Trinity United Church and the future President and his wife stated, "Our relations with Trinity have been strained by the divisive statements of Reverend Wright, which sharply conflict with our own views."
Now by looking through the White House visitors' log, we get a completely different picture.
We can see that the President hosted Jeremiah Wright at least twice since he's taken office.
And Mr. Ayers? We see a William Ayers visiting the White House in May 2009.
Don't you find it at all disconcerting that this never made the news? Use the search bar at the database and see what you can find. We've already found George Soros there five times!
WH Records: Obama Hosted George Soros Five TimesThen-Senator Barack Obama made a campaign promise to keep lobbyists out of the White House. Multiple times he stated that he wanted to remove their influence from politics. Of course, since then it was discovered that the President had his Administration simply meet with lobbyists right across the street rather than directly in the White House itself.
The White House has released its visitor logs since the President took office in 2009. In looking at the logs, it becomes apparent that the President or his staff has met with billionaire investor and founder of Adbusters (the founder of the Occupy movement) George Soros five different times. This number does not count the President or Administration meeting with Soros outside of the White House.
Three of the meetings took place around the time of the big debate over the stimulus. One of the records showed that Soros met with Larry Summers, who was the President's economic adviser. Reasonably, it must be expected that Soros had at least some influence over the White House's ecnomic plan and stimulus.
Bad News: Peyton Manning's Career Likely FinishedSome sad news for football fans. Indiannapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's career is likely over as his injuries are not healing fast enough. It could be another year before a clearer picture emerges. In any case, don't expect him back next year.
“Right now, Peyton is at about six months. He should have a much better idea by July or August just how far he’s going to get … even then, that’s only a part of it. You can tell about 80 percent of how the nerves and the muscles are healing by rehab. What you really have to see is how his arm holds up when he starts to throw. Does he have the same velocity on the 15-yard out? Can he throw the 60-yard pass? Can he throw for 30 minutes before his arm gets tired? Can he throw for an hour? It’s a very complicated process.” It’s a process Irsay may not be able to gamble on at this point.
Interview with the Dryden Safe Energy CoalitionPundit Press is proud to present interview number 51 in our ongoing series. Today we're interviewing Tracy from the Dryden Safe Energy Coalition. The DSEC's mission is:
To offer balanced, data driven information on safe energy development, to logically and numerically evaluate benefit-to-risk ratios, free of emotional bias or ideology, and to bring together people interested in an analytical approach to energy issues.
1. When and why was the DSEC started?
In the summer of 2011, to bring data-driven, factual information to the public about energy development. We tend to favor drilling because of its economic benefits locally and nationally, but we expect adequate safeguards against factual environmental risks. We also try to bring people together who are interested in an analytical approach to energy issues.
2. How does the natural gas drilling experience in Pennsylvania affect the debate in New York?
Many of the early environmental problems in PA were incurred before the technology had evolved to its current state. However, many of the generalizations and mis- and dis-information are presented in the NYS debate as though nothing had changed from that time period in PA. This is disingenuous. One of the other results from the problems in PA is that NYS is formulating even stricter regulations than PA.
On the economic side, the explosion of growth in PA has even spilled over the boundary into the Southern Tier of NYS. The economic benefits are real and obvious, but the anti's are doing everything they can to marginalize these economic benefits.
3. Do you see widespread drilling in the Marcellus in the next five years?
Yes. We think that the lawsuits currently underway in NYS will uphold drilling. And it's clear that NYS's economy needs a shot in the arm that will benefit residents personally and will also provide the state and its local governments with new revenues, revenues based on growth rather than taxing New Yorkers more heavily.
But it's possible that state regulation may be so unnecessarily excessive that the industry is driven away.
4. How would you rate the local governments' responses to fracking in Pennsylvania and New York?
In contrast to the positions taken by the experts in the federal and state agencies charged with drilling oversight, local legislators with no expertise in gas regulation have overreacted by enacting bans and other excessive controls. If allowed to continue, this can result in different rules every ten miles, rules that potentially change with every election cycle. DSEC favors regulation at the state level through the DEC, as is already established in state laws and regulations.
5. How would natural gas drilling help or hurt these local communities?
We believe that with proper regulation, the inevitable risks associated with the gas industry are minimal, transient, and acceptable. And while economic growth carries with it its own problems as communities adapt, 22% of our Tompkins County population lives at or below the poverty line. Energy development with its high paying jobs (in contrast with other industries such as tourism) offers a way out of poverty. For landowners and farmers, it offers a new source of capital. Local schools and municipalities would benefit from increased tax revenue. And no state incentives would be necessary to jumpstart all of this.
6. Anything else you'd like to add?
The antis are trying to win the debate by instilling unreasoning fear. We urge people to get all the facts, evaluate the data carefully, avoid one-sided forums, and not succumb to irrational fear.
France Betrays NATO; AfghanistanThe current framework of NATO operations in Afghanistan is for combat troops to be pulled out in 2014, of course with the exception of special forces and trainers to aid Afghan forces, but our allies residing in Paris decided to throw us a curve-ball: all French combat troops will be out in 2013; not everyone's agreed 2014 deadline.
This is setting alarms in the United States because we are afraid more nations are likely to follow the French and end combat missions before the Afghanistan National Army is ready to take over, before NATO's mission is over, as previously agreed to, and before the enemy is defeated.
As someone who desires victory in Afghanistan more than anything else in the world right now, the betrayal by President Sarkozy stings, especially since his decision is based on political calculations, without considering the security and future of the Afghan people. Then again President Obama has already done the same thing, so nothing new there.
I'm disappointed in the French today and I hope our other European allies don't follow suit and kill this mission before we kill the enemy.
What say you?
Michelle Obama Spends $50,000 in Lingerie Spending-Spree$50,000 is higher than the national median for yearly income in the United States. Less than half of working Americans can earn it in a single year. $50,000 can buy food for a family for years. $50,000 can pay off mountains of debts. But for the first lady Michelle Obama, $50,000 is a spending spree for lingerie.
And apparently, the clothes store Agent Provocateur is Mrs. Obama's store of choice. According to the Telegraph, Mrs. Obama closed off part of Madison Avenue in New York City in order to have some "alone time" shopping for lingerie.
What effect this will have in the general election is unknown. But this should ruffle the feathers of millions of people struggling to get by while the First Lady goes on a spending spree in Manhattan.
India Won't Join EU Sanctions on IranIndia has announced, despite the European Union and United States increasing sanctions on the Iranian regime, that they will continue, along with China, to import oil from the belligerent Persians, who have threatened to shut down the Straits of Hormuz, and are moving towards obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Their reasons are supposedly based on economics, but Europe's going to take a massive hit for uniting with America on this very important issue, so do they prefer cheap oil to a nuclear armed Iran gunning for war with Israel? Apparently so, and they didn't support the Western world when we went to war in Libya, either.
I don't understand the Indians on this. Are they trying to remain neutral with potentially the greatest threat to mankind right now for the continuing sale of cheap oil? I hope not, considering they might secure a seat on the U.N. Security Council one day and could use that position to veto action against Iran someday to benefit their own needs.
What say you?
Gingrich: Do As I Say; Not As I DoI just love Newt Gingrich, don't you?
In South Carolina his campaign was on the war-path against Romney for not releasing his tax records; they launched anti-capitalist attacks on Bain Capital and basically stopping short of calling the former governor a Republican version of the late Ted Kennedy. Then he went down to Florida and called him anti-immigrant and inhumane.
But now that Romney is responding with overwhelming force and money, all these attacks are just not fair! They are establishment, wall street, maybe even George Soros conspiracies to stop the man they "fear" because he will be a true conservative reformer, even though he performs worse then Ron Paul versus Obama in polls right now and the Washington establishment only cares about replacing Obama with a Republican.
It appears the former Speaker likes to lob bombs at everyone else, but takes exception when force fed his own toxic negative medicine. That, Mr. Speaker, is the height of hypocrisy.
I hope to God the good people of Florida prefer a man; someone who can take strong shots and return fire, and not a wuss who can't stand one negative advertisement without running to friendly circles in tears, because Obama is not going to wear kid-gloves in the general election and the media wont care.
What say you?
P.S. - If you can't bring yourself to vote for Mitt today for whatever reason, please support Rick Santorum and not Newt...
Video: Occupy DC Protester Getting TasedPolice were clearing out the Occupy DC camp and asked all of the protesters to leave. The police put up signs letting the Occupy people know to get out and take their stuff. Meanwhile, one of the rabble decided that he would rather stay and tear down the police signs. The police wound up having to tase him.
After the tasing you hear him shout loudly as his friends yell at the police.
Hat-tip: Ace of Spades.
The Romney Two Step
I have been mostly silent on the Republican primary contest, but enough is enough. Mitt Romney is exceedingly disingenuous, dishonest and not to be trusted. Say what you want about Newt Gingrich, but he hasn't relegated his political opponents to abject mockery and ridicule. Nearing the end of the embedded video Romney says what is happening now is the same thing that that led to him being reprimanded and pushed out of the speaker position by his own fellow republicans.
I couldn't agree more.
Romney: "What you see now is the same old Newt Gingrich." Yep, that's right. He is the same man who ushered in the Contract With America, the first Republican congressional majority, welfare reform, balanced budgets and more.
What do we see from you Mr. Romney?
That was then, and this is now.
H/T Legal Insurrection Riehl World View
Romney: "What you see now is the same old Newt Gingrich." Yep, that's right. He is the same man who ushered in the Contract With America, the first Republican congressional majority, welfare reform, balanced budgets and more.
What do we see from you Mr. Romney?
Believing in people is protecting their freedom to make their own life choices, even if their choice is different than yours. Accordingly, I respect and will fully protect a woman’s right to choose. That choice is a deeply personal one, and the women of our state should make it based on their beliefs, not mine and not the government’s.
My position has not changed. The truth is there is no candidate in this race from either party who would deny the women of our state abortion rights. So let’s end an argument that does not exist and put to rest these cynical and divisive attacks made simply for political gain."
"Mitt Romney supports the strict enforcement of gun laws. He is a supporter of the federal assault weapons ban."
That was then, and this is now.
H/T Legal Insurrection Riehl World View
UN to Assad: Set Down Within Two Weeks or ElseIs the United Nations actually going to do something? I wouldn't really count on it, but it sounds like they mean business. From Foreign Policy:
The Cable has obtained a copy of the draft resolution on Syria currently being discussed inside the U.N. Security Council. It calls on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to hand over power to his deputy and says additional measures would be taken if he doesn't comply within 15 days.Please bookmark!
U.N. Security Council diplomats are meeting behind closed doors on Friday to discuss what's being called the Arab-European draft resolution on Syria. The Moroccan ambassador is presenting the draft resolution, which is designed to implement the recommendations of the Arab League transition plan laid out on Jan. 22.
The draft resolution condemns "the continued widespread and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities," demands that the Syrian government immediately put an end to all human rights violations, and calls on both sides to end attacks and violence immediately.
The resolution then lays out a political roadmap that matches the Arab League initiative intended to pave the way for a transition "leading to a democratic, plural political system" through the formation of a national unity government, the handing over of all presidential authority to Assad's deputy for a transition period, and then the holding of free and fair elections with international supervision.
Importantly, the draft resolution requests that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon report on the implementation of the resolution every 15 days and also directs the Security Council "to review Syria's implementation of this resolution [in] 15 days and, in the event that Syria has not complied, to adopt further measures, in consultation with the League of Arab States."
In Defense of Romney's MormonismI have had about enough of this.
Reading various blogs, sites and forums has convinced me that a large portion of anti-Romney folks oppose him simply for belonging to the Mormon faith: I've even witnessed it within my own family.
Here's an example from one my close relatives: I've been reading about Mormonism; it's messed up! Wouldn't it be better to re-elect President Obama, at least he's a Christian.
I spent last night researching the history of Mormonism and the claims that anti-Mormons often say about the religion that has over fourteen million followers in the world; half in the United States.
So what did I learn?
For one thing, most of their arguments concerning the weird doctrines of Mormonism are out of date. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had many, shall we say, interesting theories on how life began and how life should be lived, including the thought that Adam was originally a god and that all men could become one.
However, most never mention the fact these claims were questioned immediately by most Mormons - even when the two were still alive and the theory was officially kicked out of the church in the 1890's, leaving only fundamentalist's not recognized by the church as the only practitioners of the discredited notions.
For another, I realized this long before my research, but Mormons are not afraid to fight for socially conservative values that are shared by both Catholic and Protestant Christians. They were fighting on the ground for proposition 8 to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman and they got attacked viciously for their efforts.
This stems from their history as a religion under siege. They are the only faith, in my knowledge, to have war declared on them by various state governments and at one point the federal government in the then-Utah territory towards the 1860's. They survived all this while on the frontier; don't think a liberal media's gonna stop them.
In conclusion, most anti-Mormon opinions stem from bigotry pure and simple, or simply from fear. Much like America refused to elect a Catholic President for almost two hundred+ years because of misconceived stupidity, the same folks are preaching against Mitt Romney because he's different.
He has five children; been married for four decades; doesn't drink coffee, and he tithes 10% to his religion every year. In our society today, that's quite unusual, but it's also something to look at with envy. Mormons have managed to remain married, faithful, moral and devout when most have kicked that to the curve.
We need more of that; not less.
The Only Reason to Support SOPASOPA is a monstrosity that deserves to go to its legislative grave. It represents a vast overreach of government and corporate interests.
However-- a new ad campaign against SOPA and PIPA has given me at least one positive impression of the proposed laws:
Michelle Malkin Endorses SantorumHere is an excerpt from her site:
Rick Santorum opposed TARP.Please bookmark!
He didn’t cave when Chicken Littles in Washington invoked a manufactured crisis in 2008. He didn’t follow the pro-bailout GOP crowd — including Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich — and he didn’t have to obfuscate or rationalize his position then or now, like Rick Perry and Herman Cain did. He also opposed the auto bailout, Freddie and Fannie bailout, and porkulus bills.
Santorum opposed individual health care mandates — clearly and forcefully — as far back as his 1994 U.S. Senate run. He has launched the most cogent, forceful fusillade against both Romney and Gingrich for their muddied, pro-individual health care mandate waters.
He voted against cap and trade in 2003, voted yes to drilling in ANWR, and unlike Romney and Gingrich, Santorum has never dabbled with eco-radicals like John Holdren, Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. He hasn’t written any “Contracts with the Earth.”
Santorum is strong on border security, national security, and defense. Mitt the Flip-Flopper and Open Borders-Pandering Newt have been far less trustworthy on immigration enforcement.
Santorum is an eloquent spokesperson for the culture of life. He has been savaged and ridiculed by leftist elites for upholding traditional family values — not just in word, but in deed.
Gingrich's Sinking Ship in FloridaWith the clock counting down and folks getting ready to vote in tomorrow's all-important Florida Republican primary, the desperation of Newt Gingrich and supporters is getting quite ridiculous.
Newsmax, which I have as my homepage, has become Newt central: publishing stories faster then Gingrich press releases are filed. Sarah Palin is warning of the establishment, and the need to stop Romney at all costs, while Newt fans are touting a single poll showing him down by a few points, without mentioning the ten that have him down ten or more.
They all know Romney already has some 250,000 votes in the bag from early and Hispanic voters, another 350,000 at least from 2008's primary and who knows how many from his ongoing surge in almost every Republican constituency. Not to mention, but he's got Nevada in the bag for Saturday.
I guess anything could still happen, but if Newt keeps inviting Romney to debate on character and their records on marriage, ethics and arrogance are compared, we'll be talking about a majority for Romney; not a strong plurality.
What say you?
LIFE IN THE ASYLUM
NEWT vs. . . ANN COULTER?
There once was a reliable conservative pundit named Ann Coulter. Every Thursday morning this writer looked forward to devouring her online column. She was bright, tough and, did I say, conservative? Then came a startling revelation: if such a person ever actually existed, she no longer does.
The Ann Coulter who still publishes those columns and appears regularly on Fox News has cemented herself solidly among the elite GOP Washington establishment (now nearly indistinguishable from the elite Democrat Washington establishment). We will all get together and schmooz at Kennedy Center galas and try very hard to keep government growing and Washington as the intoxicating center of money, power and influence. Maybe she has actually been there all along. The truly disconcerting thing about this is the amount of company she has. In fact, this article is not about Ann Coulter but her affinity group. She is merely a convenient poster girl.
In addition to the many usual suspects (e.g., John McCain, Peggy Noonan), the affinity group now includes some slightly surprising members: George Will, Charles Krauthammer, nearly everyone at National Review, and even Mark Steyn. [To their credit, Krauthammer and the normally wonderful Steyn may have begun backing off a bit.] This special group has revealed its establishment credentials by joining in a massive Newt-bashing campaign, with actual truth being optional. The members obviously subscribe to the GOP establishment talking-point memos, being granted permission to use copyrighted phrases like “too much baggage” and “resigned from Congress in disgrace.”
The GOP establishment has decreed Mitt to be the 2012 candidate, and anyone who does not know that has been on Mars. Once such a decree has come down, the establishment will not hesitate to use tactics that would make Chicago aldermen or Washington Democrats blush. Mitt has now demanded that Newt “produce all documents concerning his ethics charges.” If Mitt does not know that the entire Report of the Select Committee on Ethics for this matter, dated January 17, 1997, all 1280 pages of it including all exhibits, is on line and has been for quite some time, he is a moron. And if he does know, he is a snake.
Mitt could have found out at any time, with a few mouse clicks, that Newt did not “resign from Congress in disgrace.” The New York Times, never a fan of Newt, published an article on October 11, 1998, headlined Ethics Panel Clears Slate for Gingrich. It pointed out, as none of our establishment friends named above have, that “Democrats had particular animosity toward Mr. Gingrich because in 1987 he brought ethics charges against Jim Wright, the Texas Democrat and Speaker, who was prompted to resign from Congress in 1989. But Republicans saw the case against Mr. Gingrich as an assault on the man who, more than any other, had engineered the Republican takeover of the House, after nearly half a century in the minority.” The Times also noted, as our establishment friends also failed to do, that: “The dismissal of the remaining charges came just days after Mr. Gingrich presided over the House of Representatives as it voted to open an impeachment inquiry into President Clinton, setting off a new round of partisan recriminations.”
So to sum up, Mitt, Ann, and the other suspects named above have been claiming that Newt did not actually accomplish any of the important things he now claims, and eventually was forced to resign “in disgrace” by a non-partisan process. In fact, he did accomplish what he now recounts, arousing “particular animosity” and “partisan recriminations” from vengeful Democrats who filed literally scores of spurious “ethics” charges. The fabled $300,000 “fine” was presented to Gingrich as the cost of conducting the investigation into these scores of charges. Gingrich, in effect, took an Alford plea to the final count and paid court costs.
Is the GOP establishment attempting to stack the deck and short-circuit the voters? Consider the following: it has substantial power and influence not only over national elections, but over the state groups, every member of which aspires to move up to the big leagues. The Washington group parcels out money to the state groups, and dictates many details about how the states carry on business. For example, it tells the states when they can or cannot schedule a primary. This year several states (including Florida) defied this particular mandate, and the national group discussed penalizing such states by stripping them of half of the convention delegates that a primary would ordinarily produce. Now look at the following amazing coincidences:
THE IOWA CAUCUSES: 1) The Iowa GOP establishment declares Romney the “winner.” 2) After days of frantic work by the Santorum people, it turns out there had been “errors” in the tally; Santorum actually has received more votes. Thus, the GOP establishment declares, of all things, a “tie.” 3) After more frantic work by the Santorum people, the GOP establishment is browbeaten into admitting that when one candidate gets more votes it is not normally called a “tie.” In fact, the one with more votes is usually called the “winner.”
THE VIRGINIA PRIMARY: The Virginia GOP establishment writes the primary rules, and apparently changes them whenever it wants to influence the outcome. On this occasion a late rule change simultaneously induces four (4) of the remaining six candidates (Santorum, Gingrich, Perry, Bachman) to file untimely petitions for access to the ballot. Curiously, the only two who managed to meet the new requirements are Romney and non-serious contender Ron Paul.
THE FLORIDA PRIMARY: When Gingrich took the lead in Florida polls, the Washington GOP establishment began talking about enforcing the half-the-delegates penalty referred to above. Now, after two weeks of big money Newt-bashing ads, and establishment dinosaurs like Bob Dole chiming in, Romney has taken a significant lead. Guess what has now happened to the talk of half-the-delegates penalties?
We find ourselves today in a terrible confluence that may destroy this nation. The GOP establishment wants Mitt for one of two reasons: 1) engaging in the ultimate triumph of hope over experience, it believes Mitt will do better than Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, or John McCain; or 2) it doesn’t care, because it doesn’t want the intoxicating power center of Washington to change. At the same time, the establishment media wants Mitt because 1) it can’t wait to begin ripping him apart in the general election; and 2) Obama will beat him. And the Democrat establishment wants Mitt for the same reason – Obama will beat him. This is a powerful array of forces, and it lays to rest, perhaps for the last time, the myth that we have a genuine, 2-party, adversary political system. God help us; the GOP establishment will not.
Palin: Gingrich is the Man to Beat ObamaOnce again, just short of a full-blown endorsement, but right on the cusp:
Liberals Create Ad Campaign Declaring All White People RacistLiberals can't get much lower than this. Racism is a deplorable thing in which a person or group of people declare that a certain race of human beings have certain attributes simply because of the color of their skin. Ironically, liberals in Duluth, Minnesota's are doing just that: declaring that all white people are racist, based solely on the color of their skin.
The new campaign, called "Unfair Campaign," has purchased several billboards throughout the city. Here is just one example:
Room 402, 411 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218) 730-5230
You can also watch a report on the campaign below:
Interview with Laughing ConservativePundit Press is proud to present interview number 50 in our ongoing interview series. Today we're interviewing the site Laughing Conservative.
1. When and why did you start Laughing Conservative?
I began Laughing Conservative in May 2011. I tried serious conservative blog before that but I didn't much enjoy writing it nor did it add much to what other conservative blogs were already doing. I looked for a niche that had not been filled. and humor/satire, with a conservative twist, was not well-served. I've always used humor as a means of staying sane. So I went with that concept and absolutely love doing it!
2. What is your favorite part of running the site?
Firstly, Seeing other blogs link to my work and seeing people visiting from all over the world. From Jedda in Saudi Arabia, (do they get the humor?) to Britain and Australia, Iceland...you name any country, I likely get visitors from there.
Also I greatly value e-friendships with other bloggers and their generosity in helping a newbie. Chris Wysocki at Wyblog was particularly generous in linking to me when I was a fledgling. I try to give back to others, in turn.
3. Is there a reason the site focuses mainly on humor?
Under the current administration conservatives can only laugh or cry. By definition, most of my regular readers share my quirky sense of humor, and my love of the absurd. There is so much pleasure in sharing laughter. But there is also a very serious conservative message in the blog. Humor helps me break that into manageable bites.
4. Has President Obama been better or worse than you expected?
The idea of a black president was very seductive, so seductive that many voters failed to look hard enough at his record as a left-wing activist, a socialist if you will. I was guilty of that. Thank goodness his ineffectiveness as a leader has saved us from the worst of his agenda. I have experienced socialist governments in Britain and Australia. We only have to look at Europe to see how well socialism works. I detest any government that wants to make personal, life-changing decisions on my behalf. They don't know better than I do what's good for me
5. Do you see the GOP field defeating President Obama later this year?
I have faith in the common sense of Americans to perceive that, however flawed the eventual GOP nominee is [and he/she will have flaws, as we all do] any of the GOP candidates will support smaller government and so restore American optimism, and the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that Obama has suffocated.
6. Anything else you'd like to add?
I am a British-born, naturalized American and have all the passion of the converted. I love this country's optimism and have enormous confidence in America's future and try in a small way, through humor, to help us return to a secure path based on small government and economic strength.
Cain Endorses GingrichFrom the AP:
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Former presidential hopeful Herman Cain threw his support behind Newt Gingrich Saturday night, providing the former House speaker with a late boost just days before Florida's primary.
Cain, a tea party favorite, endorsed his fellow Georgian at a GOP fundraiser Saturday calling him "a patriot."
"Speaker Gingrich is not afraid of bold ideas," Cain said.
The former pizza executive, who left the race before the first nominating contests after facing accusations of unwanted sexual advances, suggested the two have both undergone intense scrutiny.
"I know that Speaker Gingrich is running for president and going through this sausage grinder," Cain said. "I know what this sausage grinder is all about."
Cain is set to campaign with Gingrich on Monday in an 11th hour push for support. Gingrich is in a fierce fight for Tuesday's Florida's GOP primary with Mitt Romney.
Gingrich on Saturday night said that, like Cain, he is running a campaign based on big ideas and bold solutions.
The decision was not unexpected but the announcement comes at a make or break moment.
"I had it in my heart and mind a long time ago," Cain said.
Iranian Ayatollah: We Are NuclearThanks, Obama:
Senior Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said on Friday that Iran is already a nuclear state and that Americans have not realized that.Please bookmark!
“The United States says it will not allow Iran to be nuclear, but it is so blind that it hasn’t noticed that Iran has already become a nuclear state,” Khatami was quoted by Channel 10 News as having said. He added that the U.S. has become isolated in the region, after its four “slaves” were removed from power. He was referring to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi, former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Khatami also addressed the EU’s embargo on Iranian oil imports, which was announced this week, and said that the Europeans decided to wait with the implementation of the sanctions until July because their economic situation is no better than Iran’s.
“Why did the Europeans decide to wait half a year before implementing the sanctions? The answer is simple - the Europeans have their own serious trouble - they were hit by the financial crisis,” he said.
DOE Sought Federal Contracts for SolyndraCan you imagine the Main Stream Media coverage of this corruption if a Republican were in office:
House investigators say that one Department of Energy (DOE) official tried to aid Solyndra in procuring government contracts that could support the then-ailing company, while President Obama's campaign bundler -- and major Solyndra investor -- suggested that military contracts might be a "win win win" for DOE.Please bookmark!
The House Energy and Commerce Committee summarized the push to prop up Solyndra in two letters to Obama Administration officials. "Documents produced to the Committee show that Jonathan Silver, the Executive Director of the DOE Loan Programs Office, contacted the General Services Administration (GSA) in July 2010 about scheduling a meeting with Solyndra to discuss a contract for Solyndra to provide solar panels for government buildings," Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation Chair Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., wrote to GSA Administrator Martha Johnson. The investigators asked Johnson for all GSA documents related to Solyndra.
The same month that Silver was connecting Solyndra to the GSA, George Kaiser -- a fundraiser for Obama with a massive stake in Solyndra -- and his adjuncts were game-planning how to get military contracts from the Defense Department that could solve Solyndra's financial problems. "What about DOD (and other governmental entity) sales efforts? Do the DOE people focus at all on how a Buy American plan could be a win win win for them and do they have any influence?" Kaiser emailed to some executives in his investment firm, Argonaut Private Equity, according to the House Committee.
Following that email, Steve Mitchell -- an Argonaut executive on the Solyndra board -- emailed a colleague suggesting that they push for a law that would, in effect, cause the Defense Department to buy Solyndra solar panels. "Get them to buy our panels," Mitchell wrote. "All they have to do is do some US content type of requirements for DOD procurement."
Video: Jeopardy Contestants Have No Idea Who Rachel Maddow IsA "ratings giant" according to MSNBC:
Jan Brewer Letter to President ObamaArizona Governor Jan Brewer released a letter that she wrote to President Obama. This comes after the two's tiff on the tarmac on Arizona. Obama reportedly was upset with what Brewer had written about him in her book, Scorpions for Breakfast.
The letter is here. Warning, it's a PDF file.
Obama Ratifies ACTA Without CongressNot only is this (likely) illegal and irrefutably unethical, ACTA is potentially worse than SOPA and PIPA combined. Thanks, Obama (<NOTICE THAT THERE USED TO BE A LINK TO THE REAL AGENDA, WHICH WAS ALWAYS THERE. APPARENTLY AN AUTHOR ON THAT SITE SUPPORTS SQUASHING FREE SPEECH/SUPPORTS ACTA. I WILL DIRECT ANYONE WHO CAN ACTUALLY READ TO LOOK UP "FAIR USE." IRONICALLY, THE REAL AGENDA PROUDLY PROCLAIMS THAT THEY USE FAIR USE ON OTHERS MATERIAL. ALSO NOTICE BELOW THAT THERE IS A THING CALLED "BLOCK QUOTES," DENOTING THAT THE EXCERPT IS FROM ANOTHER SITE WHICH, ONCE AGAIN, HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE. THE QUOTE BELOW NOW IS FROM A MUCH BETTER SITE, THE NEW AMERICAN):
Before the American people were protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, the president managed to sign an international treaty which would permit foreign companies to demand that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) remove web content in the United States without any legal oversight. Entitled the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the treaty was signed by Obama on October 1, 2011, but it is currently a subject of discussion because the White House is circulating a petition demanding that senators ratify the treaty.Please bookmark!
What’s worse is that the White House has done some maneuvering — characterizing the treaty as an "executive agreement" — thereby bypassing approval by members of Congress.
Video Highlights of Republican Debate 1/27/2012
Who Won Tonight's Republican Debate (1/26/12)You decide:
Watch Republican Debate Live 1/26/2012You can watch the debate live here:
Sarah Palin was just about to drag the Progressive John McCain over the finish line. Then the economy collapsed and Senator McCain suspended his campaign to fly back to Washington and add his, “Me too” as President Bush said, “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.” An economic downturn, a weak contender, and unpopular never-ending wars let Barak Obama win the presidency with vague promises of hope and change.
I personally met people who voted for Mr. Obama because they thought he was for lower taxes. Ones who thought he was pro-business. I even met people who voted for him because they thought he was pro-life. His blank slate promises were interpreted by many to be whatever they thought they wanted. He was the “Anyone would be better than what we have now” candidate. Combine that with some of the best political theater in American History, slick advertising, a complicit media and a community organizer from the most corrupt community in the country becomes the most powerful man in the world.
The information about who Mr. Obama is, where he comes from, and what he stands for was readily available before the election to anyone interested enough to look. Instead of researching, a majority of voters relying on television ads and sound bites, disgusted with the way the country was going under Bush the Younger, decided to give the unknown and untried man from Chicago a chance.
Flash forward three years and many of those who thought they could vote for anyone and the country would survive realize they may have placed that bet once too often. It is now obvious for all to see Barack Obama is a strident left wing ideologue who applies the political strategies of the late Chicago communist Saul Alinsky, strategies he used to teach his followers in Chicago. He uses the Bully Pulpit to advance a radical agenda of class warfare. He is at war with capitalism and dedicated to spreading the wealth around. Our President is no longer hiding behind vague platitudes. He is no longer trying to sell us a pig-in-a-poke. Instead he is now trying to sell us a societal bridge to nowhere as he campaigns openly on transforming America into a country based on centrally-planed redistribution and social planning as he channels the grandfather of Progressivism: Teddy Roosevelt.
The gloves are off. The false fronts have been discarded, and we have come face-to-face with the ultimate goal of the Progressive agenda: an America that has evolved past the Constitution leaving limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom as mere memories. A new America confined by regulations and intimidated by an ever more intrusive security apparatus. A new America hostile to Christianity where being successful invites attack.
If President Obama wins re-election with this blatant appeal to class warfare and interest group divisions with no need to worry about re-election and having already said he will impose his agenda without Congress, there will be no check and no balance. He will claim a mandate to complete his vision for a completely transformed America.
Congress has already shown that it will not stand up to President Obama’s naked power grabs. When he initiated an illegal war against Libya without even consulting Congress the perpetually re-elected did nothing. When he made recess appointments while Congress was still in session the parties of power were silent. Congress has legislated away their own power for years, passing vague laws and allowing bureaucrats to fill them in with legally binding regulations. They have made themselves irrelevant, and we now have a President who is ready to rule without them.
The biggest question left concerning America’s ever accelerating slide into Progressivism’s version of socialism’s version of communism is whether or not there will be a real choice this November. Will the Republican wing of the Party of Power nominate another Progressive: an Obama Lite? Or will the rank and file break through and nominate a candidate who stands for a return to Constitutional government?
The Media wing of the party of Power is working 24/7 to frame the debate and manage the primaries. Every broadcast, every cable show builds up the candidates they favor and ignores or demeans the ones they find unacceptable. Will the voters follow like sheep or will they think for themselves? Will they affirm the choice of the big government social engineers or will they see the blinders used to focus their attention on the anointed candidates?
If there is no choice there will be no chance. If there is a choice America may yet pull itself out of the decline we see all around us. A return to limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom would once again release the energy and creativity that made America the greatest nation in the History of the world. A renunciation of collectivism, class warfare, and social engineering will once again open the door for a return to morning in America. The re-election of President Obama will mean a solidification of his transformed America and a shabby darkness will settle over the land.
We who seek a return to limited government must look at the candidates, discern which one has a consistent record of supporting constitutional government, and then we must use every opportunity to influence others to unite behind that candidate. If we don’t this may be our last chance to stop the Progressive transformation of America before they lead us into the dreary dead end of their collectivist dystopia. Now is the time for all good Americans to come to the aid of the country, or as Ronald Reagan once said, “If not us - who?” If not now – when?”
January 26th, 2012 CNN Florida DebatePost debate opinion:
Mitt Romney - He had another solid debate performance, especially early on when immigration was discussed and through-out the debate when he often mentioned his private sector experience. I really liked his answer on Latin America and how President Obama has ignored the region. Also, the brief shot of his wife when he was praising her showed something very special there.
Newt Gingrich - He predictably pandered to the crowd at times (no surprise) and he attacked CNN... meaning I'm a genius. On substance, Newt had a good debate as always, although he toned down his rhetoric on Cuba from Monday and received a full-body slam from Mitt on his Moon colony idea.
Rick Santorum - He came right out the gate fighting, and damn did he win this debate. His answers were undoubtedly the best, most passionate and best received tonight. I didn't like his no position in regards to Puerto Rico statehood, but he stole the show when he pleaded everyone focus on policies and issues; not petty politics.
Ron Paul - Only he can manage to find a reason to bring our War on Terror into every answer, and be wrong everytime. Same ole, same ole from the GOP's crazy uncle.
Winner: Rick Santorum.
The four Republican candidates will meet once again in the Sunshine State, this time in a debate moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer at 8 p.m eastern standard time, to make their final case before Tuesday's delegate rich primary that at least two million Republicans will participate in.
Before Monday's debate Newt Gingrich was surging to a ten point lead and marching towards an landslide, but now Mitt Romney is surging to near 40% and strengthening his early lead over his opponents. Tonight's debate could, and probably will, determine who comes away with Florida's delegates next week.
Debate participation will be allowed this time, unlike in NBC's quiet affair Monday night, which Gingrich complained about because he couldn't use the audience's energy to appear stronger and everyone should be on the lookout for Newt to attack the media tonight, as he almost always does with CNN.
I expect things to get interesting, and suggest you stay tuned to Pundit Press for updates all night, including my post-debate analysis immediately afterwards.
Surprise! Romney Donated to DemocratsOne of Mitt Romney's most famous quotes comes from his 1994 race for Senate in Massachusetts. Whie debating Ted Kennedy, he openly stated that he did not want to return to "Reagan-Bush," adding that he was an independent during that time. It's also come out that he voted in the 1992 Democratic primary.
Now, Pundit Press has found that the former Massachusetts Governor not only voted in the Democratic primary, but also gave money to multiple candidates. By searching for Romney, it turns out that his donations helped three Democrats.
A 1992 donation went to Democratic Congressman John LaFalce:
The same year we have Democrat Doug Anderson:
We also have former Democratic Congressman Dick Swett:
We'll leave you with this:
Video of Biden Using Indian AccentHuh?
Surprise: Warren Buffett's Secretary is Part of the 1%I'm shocked, shocked President Obama would lie about something:
Warren Buffet’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, served as a stage prop for President Obama’s State of the Union speech. She was the President’s chief display of the alleged unfairness of our tax system – a little person paying a higher tax rate than her billionaire boss.Please bookmark!
Bosanek’s prominent role in Obama’s “fairness” campaign piqued my curiosity, and I imagine the curiosity of others. How much does her boss pay this downtrodden woman? So far, no one has volunteered this information.
We can get an approximate answer by consulting IRS data on tax rates by adjusted gross income, which would approximate her salary, assuming she does not have significant dividend, interest or capital-gains income (like her boss). I assume Buffet keeps her too busy for her to hold a second job. I also do not know if she is married and filing jointly. If so, it is deceptive for Obama to use her as an example. The higher rate may be due to her husband’s income. So I assume the tax rate Obama refers to is from her own earnings.
Insofar as Buffet (like Mitt Romney) earns income primarily from capital gains, which are taxed at 15 percent (and according to Obama need to be raised for reasons of fairness), we need to determine how much income a taxpayer like Bosanek must earn in order to pay an average tax rate above fifteen percent. This is easy to do.
The IRS publishes detailed tax tables by income level. The latest results are for 2009. They show that taxpayers earning an adjusted gross income between $100,000 and $200,000 pay an average rate of twelve percent. This is below Buffet’s rate; so she must earn more than that. Taxpayers earning adjusted gross incomes of $200,000 to $500,000, pay an average tax rate of nineteen percent. Therefore Buffet must pay Debbie Bosanke a salary above two hundred thousand.
Romney Surges in FloridaWith the polling data now reflecting Mitt Romney's solid debate performance on Monday night and Newt's disgraceful attacks (saying Mitt is anti-immigrant, doesn't see humanity in illegal aliens, etc) Romney has surged in a slew of polls released today on the state of race in Florida.
Insider Advantage poll of 530 likely Republican voters:
Mitt Romney - 40%
Newt Gingrich - 32%
Ron Paul - 9%
Rick Santorum - 8%
Undecided - 11%
CNN poll of 369 likely Republican voters:
Mitt Romney - 36%
Newt Gingrich - 34%
Rick Santorum - 11%
Ron Paul - 9%
Undecided - 7%.
Tonight's CNN debate could very well be the game-changer, but I hope the Florida electorate pays close attention to what the candidates say and not how the audience responds, because I believe somewhere in the back of viewer's minds Monday, they realized how dependent on platitudes Mr. Gingrich is, and how Romney doesn't need a crowd to be strong.
What say you?
Say No to ACTALike SOPA and PIPA, but worse:
Gingrich in 1986: Reagan Trade Policies a "Gimmick"Newt Gingrich has been playing to the Reagan model quite heavily during his run for the Presidency. In 1995 Nancy Reagan said that her husband's torch had been passed to the House Speaker.
But what did Gingrich say about Reagan during his term. Many articles have come out with both Gingrich supporting and opposing various Reagan initiatives. By looking back through the news of the Reagan Administration what Newt believed about various aspects of his presidency.
In 1986, a Republican economist, James Clipton, urged tariffs to diminish the United States' trade deficit. This flew directly in the face of Reagan's free trade policies. While the United States has knocked down many tariffs since then, Congressman Newt Gingrich was clear about Reagan's position, as quoted in the Orlando Sun Sentinel.
Citing writings by 17th century economist Adam Smith, often called the father of free trade theory, Gingrich said the United States must retaliate when faced with unfair competition from foreign competitors.
"Free trade is a gimmick," Gingrich said. "Free trade is a slogan, and the majority of the people who will tell you that we must have it have never read Adam Smith and don`t know that he considered it an ideal model only, a theory."
Hmmmm. President Reagan's economic policies garnered the United States 25 years of growth. Doesn't sound like a gimmick to me.
Statistics: Romney In Good Shape to Win FloridaNote: I support Mr. Romney's campaign.
With the Florida Republican primary just six days away, statistics are painting a good picture for Mitt Romney's chances in the Sunshine State, which he finished second in 2008 with over 31% of the vote.
Using 2008's vote totals as a guide, somewhere around, or above two million Republicans will head to the polls next week, but that takes into account 300,000 who have already voted (reportedly a majority voted for Romney), and nearly 200,000 registered Latinos who are heading to the polls (polls indicate 49% favor Romney right now).
This means that Romney (assuming Latinos have not voted heavily in early voting) already has around 250,000 guaranteed votes in his pocket heading into Tuesday. And that's not taking into account the nearly 600,000 folks who could back Romney again from four years ago (which is likely considering Romney has improved in every state from last time around, especially South Carolina).
I know previous elections don't always paint a guide for future ones, but Florida's electorate hasn't had a big shift in four years, and that favors Mitt Romney's very organized, and thus far leading campaign. All that could change with tomorrow's CNN debate, but I have a solid feeling his opponent is helping Mitt with his own idiotic comments more then tomorrow's upteenth go-around will.
Regardless, numbers don't lie and they are favoring Mitt right now.
What say you?
Video: Mitch Daniels Speech 1/24/2012
Draft Daniels? Too LateI didn't watch the Mitch Daniels GOP response to Obama's SOTU address, but I did read the transcript and can understand why some wanted the Indiana Governor with apparent wonkish qualities to throw caution to the wind and run for president this cycle. He's brilliant and would appeal to the only voting bloc of 2012: those concerned with the economy.
However, to those who still insist he should be drafted into running: wake up and drink some coffee. Filing deadlines end any real possibility of Daniels being able to run for the nomination at this point, along with the fact voters are not going to start a massive write-in campaign for someone they do not know.
And if I hear even one mention of a brokered convention in Tampa, I'll scream, because if we don't have a nominee by late August - you can forgot about competing for, let alone, winning the general election against Obama, who will have had nearly seven months of unopposed campaign time by then.
I understand the lack of love for our current GOP field, but it's all we're getting at this point. So, could we please focus on the four men running for President and not the men who aren't?
What say you?
Watch Republican Response Video Live (Mitch Daniels) 1/24/2012
State of the Union Transcript 1/24/2012Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought – and several thousand gave their lives.
We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.
Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.
We can do this. I know we can, because we’ve done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known. My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill. My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.
The two of them shared the optimism of a Nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism. They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share – the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.
The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.
Let’s remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete. Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.
In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior.
It was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hard-working Americans holding the bag. In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly four million jobs. And we lost another four million before our policies were in full effect.
Those are the facts. But so are these. In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than three million jobs. Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005. American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion. And we’ve put in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like that never happens again.
The state of our Union is getting stronger. And we’ve come too far to turn back now. As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.
No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.
This blueprint begins with American manufacturing.
On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number one automaker. Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.
We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back.
What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh. We can’t bring back every job that’s left our shores. But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive. A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. Today, for the first time in fifteen years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.
So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.
We should start with our tax code. Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it.
So let’s change it. First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it. That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home.
Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here.
Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.
My message is simple. It’s time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I’ll sign them right away.
We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements I signed into law, we are on track to meet that goal – ahead of schedule. Soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago.
I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products. And I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules. We’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration – and it’s made a difference. Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires. But we need to do more. It’s not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated. It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.
Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China. There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders. And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing finance or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you – America will always win.
I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can’t find workers with the right skills. Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job. Think about that – openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.
That’s inexcusable. And we know how to fix it.
Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic. Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College. The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training. It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.
I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did. Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. My Administration has already lined up more companies that want to help. Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers – places that teach people skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.
And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need. It’s time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.
These reforms will help people get jobs that are open today. But to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, our commitment to skills and education has to start earlier.
For less than one percent of what our Nation spends on education each year, we’ve convinced nearly every State in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning – the first time that’s happened in a generation.
But challenges remain. And we know how to solve them.
At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced States to lay off thousands of teachers. We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000. A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance. Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives. Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies – just to make a difference.
Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.
We also know that when students aren’t allowed to walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. So tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen.
When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July. Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves middle-class families thousands of dollars. And give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.
Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid. We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money. States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down. Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that. Some schools re-design courses to help students finish more quickly. Some use better technology. The point is, it’s possible. So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. Higher education can’t be a luxury – it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.
Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: The fact that they aren’t yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.
That doesn’t make sense.
I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my Administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office.
The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now. But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.
You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country. That means women should earn equal pay for equal work. It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work; and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.
After all, innovation is what America has always been about. Most new jobs are created in start-ups and small businesses. So let’s pass an agenda that helps them succeed. Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow. Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs. Both parties agree on these ideas. So put them in a bill, and get it on my desk this year.
Innovation also demands basic research. Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally-financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched. New lightweight vests for cops and soldiers that can stop any bullet. Don’t gut these investments in our budget. Don’t let other countries win the race for the future. Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries.
Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my Administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. That’s right – eight years. Not only that – last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past sixteen years.
But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.
We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.
The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy. And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of thirty years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock – reminding us that Government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.
What’s true for natural gas is true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled. And thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.
When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan. Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts. Today, it’s hiring workers like Bryan, who said, “I’m proud to be working in the industry of the future.”
Our experience with shale gas shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don’t always come right away. Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. I will not walk away from workers like Bryan. I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here. We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs.
We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change. But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven’t acted. Well tonight, I will. I’m directing my Administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history – with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.
Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here’s another proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, and more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs.
Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America’s infrastructure. So much of America needs to be rebuilt. We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges. A power grid that wastes too much energy. An incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.
During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. After World War II, we connected our States with a system of highways. Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.
In the next few weeks, I will sign an Executive Order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.
There’s never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest-hit when the housing bubble burst. Of course, construction workers weren’t the only ones hurt. So were millions of innocent Americans who’ve seen their home values decline. And while Government can’t fix the problem on its own, responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.
That’s why I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low interest rates. No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit, and will give banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.
Let’s never forget: Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a Government and a financial system that do the same. It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.
We’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them. That’s why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior. Rules to prevent financial fraud, or toxic dumping, or faulty medical devices, don’t destroy the free market. They make the free market work better.
There is no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly. In fact, I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his. I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense. We’ve already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years. We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill – because milk was somehow classified as an oil. With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.
I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder. But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago. I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury pollution, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean. I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women differently from men.
And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules. The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system’s core purpose: Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, start a business, or send a kid to college.
So if you’re a big bank or financial institution, you are no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers’ deposits. You’re required to write out a “living will” that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you fail – because the rest of us aren’t bailing you out ever again. And if you’re a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices are over. Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job: To look out for them.
We will also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments. Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender. That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing. So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count.
And tonight, I am asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.
A return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help us protect our people and our economy. But it should also guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future.
Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile. People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year. There are plenty of ways to get this done. So let’s agree right here, right now: No side issues. No drama. Pass the payroll tax cut without delay.
When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more, and that means making choices. Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else – like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.
The American people know what the right choice is. So do I. As I told the Speaker this summer, I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.
But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of Members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes. Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes. And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up. You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You’re the ones who need relief.
Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.
We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference – like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know it’s not right. They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to their country’s future, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit. That’s an America built to last.
I recognize that people watching tonight have differing views about taxes and debt; energy and health care. But no matter what party they belong to, I bet most Americans are thinking the same thing right now: Nothing will get done this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, because Washington is broken.
Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical?
The greatest blow to confidence in our economy last year didn’t come from events beyond our control. It came from a debate in Washington over whether the United States would pay its bills or not. Who benefited from that fiasco?
I’ve talked tonight about the deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street. But the divide between this city and the rest of the country is at least as bad – and it seems to get worse every year.
Some of this has to do with the corrosive influence of money in politics. So together, let’s take some steps to fix that. Send me a bill that bans insider trading by Members of Congress, and I will sign it tomorrow. Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact. Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa – an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington.
Some of what’s broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days. A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything – even routine business – passed through the Senate. Neither party has been blameless in these tactics. Now both parties should put an end to it. For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days.
The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated and remote. That’s why I’ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy so that our Government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people.
Finally, none of these reforms can happen unless we also lower the temperature in this town. We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction; that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common sense ideas.
I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more. That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and States. That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work. That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a Government program.
On the other hand, even my Republican friends who complain the most about Government spending have supported federally-financed roads, and clean energy projects, and federal offices for the folks back home.
The point is, we should all want a smarter, more effective Government. And while we may not be able to bridge our biggest philosophical differences this year, we can make real progress. With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow. But I can do a whole lot more with your help. Because when we act together, there is nothing the United States of America can’t achieve.
That is the lesson we’ve learned from our actions abroad over the last few years.
Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies. From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America.
From this position of strength, we’ve begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan. Ten thousand of our troops have come home. Twenty-three thousand more will leave by the end of this summer. This transition to Afghan lead will continue, and we will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America.
As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana’a to Tripoli. A year ago, Qadhafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictators – a murderer with American blood on his hands. Today, he is gone. And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change can’t be reversed, and that human dignity can’t be denied.
How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain. But we have a huge stake in the outcome. And while it is ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well. We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians, Muslims, and Jews. We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.
And we will safeguard America’s own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests. Look at Iran. Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one. The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent. Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.
The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever. Our ties to the Americas are deeper. Our iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history. We’ve made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope. From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease; from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies; to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back.
Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about. That’s not the message we get from leaders around the world, all of whom are eager to work with us. That’s not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin; from Cape Town to Rio; where opinions of America are higher than they’ve been in years. Yes, the world is changing; no, we can’t control every event. But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs – and as long as I’m President, I intend to keep it that way.
That’s why, working with our military leaders, I have proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget. To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I have already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing danger of cyber-threats.
Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it. As they come home, we must serve them as well as they served us. That includes giving them the care and benefits they have earned – which is why we’ve increased annual VA spending every year I’ve been President. And it means enlisting our veterans in the work of rebuilding our Nation.
With the bipartisan support of this Congress, we are providing new tax credits to companies that hire vets. Michelle and Jill Biden have worked with American businesses to secure a pledge of 135,000 jobs for veterans and their families. And tonight, I’m proposing a Veterans Job Corps that will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters, so that America is as strong as those who defend her.
Which brings me back to where I began. Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind.
One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden. On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But that doesn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates – a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary; and Hillary Clinton, a woman who ran against me for president.
All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves. One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission. It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job – the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs. More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other – because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s someone behind you, watching your back.
So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No one built this country on their own. This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.
Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
Thanks to the National Journal.