They call this “transparent”?
Caught between their boss’ anti-lobbyist rhetoric and the reality of governing, President Barack Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds — and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident.
“They’re doing it on the side. It’s better than nothing,” said immigration reform lobbyist Tamar Jacoby, who has attended meetings at the nearby Jackson Place complex and believes the undisclosed gatherings are better than none.
The White House scoffs at the notion of an ulterior motive for scheduling meetings in what are, after all, meeting rooms. But at least four lobbyists who’ve been to the conference rooms just off Lafayette Square tell POLITICO they had the distinct impression they were being shunted off to Jackson Place — and off the books — so their visits wouldn’t later be made public.
Obama and his cronies seem to think that they’re living in the past, when the three big networks and a few huge newspapers controlled the flow of information. Of course, that makes sense, since they are also clearly living in the age when big government was all the rage, and there was a lot of overlap in those two time frames.
And Rep. Darrell Issa (R, CA) starts digging into the sewer that is the Obama Administration:
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) has issued his first subpoenas to the Obama administration, seeking depositions from two Department of Homeland Security employees about their handling of freedom of information requests.
Mr. Issa’s committee has been investigating allegations that DHS sidestepped politically-sensitive requests made by journalists and activists under the Freedom of Information Act. He’s also asked 180 other federal agencies for records of how they responded to requests for information under the act.
Now he is summoning two career officials from Homeland Security’s FOIA office to appear on March 7 and March 8 for depositions about their handling of requests.
It’ll be interesting to see how DHS responds.
I guess someone is already taking Rep. Capuano’s words to heart:
The PJ Tatler has some important details:
The victim of the assault is Tabitha Hale of FreedomWorks, who you will be glad to know is fine. No word yet on whether assault charges are going to be filed. Based on the T-shirt the guy was wearing, he belongs to the Communications Workers of America union.
So, now we have an assault by someone wearing a union shirt, shortly after a Democrat told union folks to “get out on the streets and get a little bloody.” Will the lefty talking heads in the Dinosaur Media now opine about how the Democrats and unions need to practice civil discourse?
Don’t hold your breath.
Now this has gotta be the feel good story of the week, perhaps the month:
“As long as he had a ball and bat in his hand he was a happy kid.” Ellen Rogers talks about her son Ned Sullivan, who five years ago was just like any other college senior.
But that’s when life, just stopped.
“It’s that call every parent dreads,” recalls Ellen.
Ned had a seizure behind the wheel and crashed into a brick wall and broke his neck. He was paralyzed from the neck down. He spent a long year in the hospital getting better, but when he got home, he got worse.
Ned says, “I always felt alone and stuck and depressed.”
But then his sister was invited to a school assembly and the topic? Helping Hands Helper Monkeys. The organization helps people with spinal cord injuries by giving them monkey to help with everyday tasks.
As someone with close friends with disabilities, as well as a hidden disability myself, this kinda story really touches me.
So much for the New Tone in Politics:
A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts is raising the stakes in the nation’s fight over the future of public employee unions, saying emails aren’t enough to show support and that it is time to “get a little bloody.”
“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members.
Remember after Gabrielle Giffords got shot, we were barraged with a seemingly endless repetition of how violent metaphors cause wackos to go off the deep end… so will those same finger-waggers now wag the finger in the face of Rep. Capuano about his his violent rhetoric? Or will they merely wink and nod?
To ask the question is to answer it.
Okay, now it’s moving out of the midwest:
- On Saturday evening, [Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom] Luna said, he encountered an angry man outside his mother’s house in Nampa. The man reportedly identified himself as a teacher opposed to Luna’s plans to increase class sizes and said he had planned to speak to Luna’s mother. Luna reported the incident to Nampa police.
- Late Monday or early Tuesday, someone slashed two tires on Luna’s vehicle at his Nampa home and spray-painted the word “Luna” with an X through it on the white truck’s passenger door. Nampa police are investigating.
- After Luna reported the vandalism early Tuesday morning, he went to a Downtown Boise coffee shop for an appearance on live morning television. He was approached by a man who loudly called him “a liar and other choice words” before a police officer intervened and calmed the man down, Luna spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said.
Of course, we have no evidence that the teachers or teachers’ unions are behind some of these attacks… except the first one where the miscreant self-identified… but the list of other people that would do this to this particular elected official is pretty darned small.
And the reforms?
Luna’s plan, which is still in the Senate Education Committee, would replace teacher tenure with rolling two-year contracts, force unions to prove they represent 50 percent of the teachers in a district, limit collective bargaining to salaries and benefits and not allow collective bargaining agreements to extend beyond the end of the state fiscal year.
In other words, it’s pretty close to the Wisconsin plan. And for this he–and his mother–get subjected to all this.
At least the Idaho Democrats haven’t snuck across the border to Oregon–the closest Democratic state to Boise–yet.
You can’t make stuff like this up:
Seats on one side of the Indiana House were nearly empty today as House Democrats departed the the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation.
A source tells The Indianapolis Star that Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.
Yeah, that worked really well in Wisconsin, didn’t it?
With incidents like these, 2012 is looking like it’ll be even better than 2010… this shows better than anything else I can think of just what the so-called Democratic Party really thinks of democracy.
Here’s a shot across the bow of those anti-democratic Democrats in Wisconsin:
State senators who miss two or more session days will no longer get paid through direct deposit. They’ll have to pick up their checks in person on the Senate floor during a session.
Maybe the unions will pay their hotel and restaurant bills for them… we already know these politicians are deep in the pockets of the unions.
…apparently can’t teach basic reading:
Two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently according to the U.S. Department of Education, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest.
In the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009—the latest year available—only 32 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned a “proficient” rating while another 2 percent earned an “advanced” rating. The other 66 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned ratings below “proficient,” including 44 percent who earned a rating of “basic” and 22 percent who earned a rating of “below basic.”
The test also showed that the reading abilities of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders had not improved at all between 1998 and 2009 despite a significant inflation-adjusted increase in the amount of money Wisconsin public schools spent per pupil each year.
And these are the people that are supposed to be so essential to Wisconsin’s success that they can’t have their precious union privileges (not rights, privileges) even slightly curtailed by Governor Walker?
Just as Ronald Wilson Reagan faced down the air traffic controllers, Scott Walker is facing down his own unionized public employees:
But Walker said while the state enjoys a lower-than-average unemployment rate — about 7.5 percent compared to 9 percent nationally — about 5,000-6,000 state workers and 5,000-6,000 local government workers could lose their jobs if they don’t accept changes to their benefits plan.
“I don’t want a single person laid off in the public nor in the private sector and that’s why this is a much better alternative than losing jobs,” Walker told “Fox News Sunday.”
The budget vote was supposed to take place last week, but was delayed when state Senate Democrats fled to Illinois to avoid having to vote on the plan, which would cost public sector employees about $300 million over two years, or less than 10 percent of the deficit total.
“If we’re going to be in this together, (cut) our $3.6 billion budget deficit, it’s going to take a whole lot more than just employee contributions when it comes to pensions and health care,” Walker said. “But it’s got to be a piece of the puzzle because as I saw at the local level, it’s like a virus that eats up more and more of the budget if you don’t get it under control.”
Basically, Walker is saying the cuts are gonna have to come somewhere for the state to stay solvent… and if they won’t accept the cuts he’s already suggested, then they will have to come from job cuts. Knowing bureaucracies, I imagine there’s a lot of deadweight that could be cut out without significantly impacting services… and once they’re cut and the sky doesn’t fall, it’ll be a lot harder for the pro-huge-government types to argue that those positions are needed.
Governor Walker has indeed thrown down the gauntlet… good for him.
Great moments in double standards:
A Broadview Heights woman is accusing state Rep. Robert F. Hagan of using a term that some believe has a racist connotation on a social networking site.
Hagan, D-60th, of Youngstown, used the term “buckwheat” in a Facebook posting Saturday.
He said the posting wasn’t racist, and the attack on him is the tea party’s attempt to make him look bad.
Rachel Mullen Manias, a GOP activist from Broadview Heights, outside Cleveland; a man named Kevin Crowther and others joined the discussion.
The discussion continues, with Manias, Cook and Crowther, who is black, arguing for the need for cuts and Hagan against what’s bee n proposed.
Manias then wrote, “I’m guessing your (sic) from an entrenched area ripe with corruption. I don’t recognize your name as a Cuyahoga County resident, but I’m guessing you’re from the land of Traficant…”
Hagan responds that she’s not making sense. Two others comment and then Crowther returns to the discussion of public unions.
Then Hagan writes, “I ran against Traficant buckwheat … so take your personal shots, and shove them where the sun don’t shine.”
To start with, it looks like Hagan is himself using “personal shots,” while decrying them in others… so that’s one set of double-standards right there.
However, there’s a bigger one… the last time a politician used the term “buckwheat,” the NAACP regarded it as a racist term.
So… let’s see if the NAACP denounces Hagan for the term, shall we? Whether or not they do, we will learn something about where the NAACP really stands… that is, for those out there who don’t know already.
Just proving that life is really stranger than fiction:
The Obama administration is asking a federal judge who struck down the healthcare reform law to clarify that states must still implement the overhaul as the appeals process plays out.
Some states are saying the Jan. 31 ruling relieves them from implementing the sweeping reform law because the federal judge in Florida found it to be unconstitutional.
The Obama administration, in a Thursday evening filing in a Northern Florida federal court, is asking the court to clarify that the 26 states who successfully challenged the law are still required to comply with it.
Ed at HotAir is speculating about why the ObamaCrats are doing this…
Essentially, the Obama administration wants Vinson to tell the states to obey an unconstitutional law. This isn’t a necessary step for an appeal, although it might or might not be a prerequisite to an application for a stay at the 11th Circuit. Either way, it’s a fool’s errand. If a judge declares an entire law void on the basis of constitutionality, he is hardly likely to issue an order telling states to obey it anyway.
Assuming this isn’t fulfilling some arcane check box on an appeal, what’s the point of asking Vinson to do this? Either Obama’s team doesn’t understand how to read a legal brief — an amusing prospect, but utterly untrue — or they’re trying to delay the appeal a little longer. Perhaps they’re hoping for a few more decisions to go their way in circuit courts before Vinson’s ruling gets reviewed at the next level. Frankly, though, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, either. Except as a political pose, this seems completely futile and meaningless.
All respect to the great Captain Ed, but I think the answer is simple. Obama is acting like the immature person he is, kicking his feet and screaming “Nonononononono! You can’t take away My Signature Achievement!”
In another House vote today:
The House voted Thursday to dethrone nine White House “czars.”
Republicans successfully added an amendment to the continuing resolution that would leave President Barack Obama’s senior advisers on policy issues including health care, energy and others out of a job.The vote was 249-179.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) offered the amendment that blocks funding for various policy advisers to combat what he called “a very disturbing proliferation of czars” under Obama.
“These unappointed, unaccountable people who are literally running a shadow government, heading up these little fiefdoms that nobody can really seem to identify where they are or what they’re doing,” Scalise said Thursday. “But we do know that they’re wielding vast amounts of power.”
He has a point… these people also haven’t been vetted by the Senate, even the Democrat-controlled Senate that would probably rubber-stamp Obama’s appointments. The most obvious conclusion is that Obama didn’t even want that little bit of light to shine on these people or their policies.
Of course, this is all but certain to get shot down in the Senate… but still, it shows that the GOP is serious about reining in runaway government. And the Democrats that vote against this are gonna show the voters exactly where they stand regarding these unelected, unvetted, unaccountable people.
Rep. Steve King: GOP Trying To Stop Efforts To Defund ObamaCare. UPDATED and BUMPED: King’s Amendment Passes
From his op-ed today in the Washington Times:
There has been an effort behind the scenes to block my initiative to cut off all funding to Obamacare. One of the tactics is to argue that my proposal violates the rules by legislating on an appropriations bill. It wasn’t a violation when Congress defunded the Vietnam War, and it’s not a violation now. The CR [continuing resolution--CW], the very bill that I seek to amend, has language in it that blocks the use of any funds to move detainees out of Guantanamo Bay. By their definition, they’ve set a precedent and all I ask is to use the same tool to debate and vote on blocking the use of any funds to implement or enforce Obamacare. In fact, the CR as written already addresses Obamacare in at least four places, the 1099 provision among them.
It’s absolutely despicable, and contrary to the results of the 2010 elections for those Republicans that campaigned on stopping ObamaCare to stand in the way of defunding it. I wanna know who’s behind this effort!
I urge Rep. King to name names, so we can put political pressure on these Republicans that apparently don’t want to defund ObamaCare… and in the mean time, everyone that’s represented by a Republican should be on the phone to their Representative’s office, either in the district or in DC, telling them to support King’s effort to defund this monstrosity.
There’s a quick and easy “Find your Representative” link in the upper left area of the US House website.
Update and bump: According to the PJ Tatler, King’s amendment has passed. Results of the roll call vote aren’t available at the Clerk’s website as of the time of this writing, but I am betting it’s either roll call vote 99 or 98, seen here at 2:31 pm or 2:27 pm respectively.
And then there were four… retiring Democratic Senators, that is.
CNN confirms that Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico will announce later Friday that he will not run for re-election next year.
I am betting this is only the start, neighbors. It’s gonna continue, and it’s probably gonna escalate as we get closer to the 2012 elections.
I’m not sure how much the Palinistas and Birthers overlap, but I am suspecting that there is at least some, and those people are gonna be chagrined at this:
“Do you question his [Obama's] faith and citizenship?” Palin was asked today during an onstage interview hostedby the Long Island Association. Her answer was brief and to the point.
“I don’t, and those are distractions,” she said to some applause. “What we’re concerned about is the economy. And we’re concerned about the policies coming out of his administration and what he believes in terms of biggovernment or private sector. So, no, the faith, the birth certificate, others can engage in that kind ofconversation. It’s distracting. It gets annoying and let’s just stick with what really matters.”
I happen to agree. The whole Birther and He’s-a-closet-Muslim things are merely distractions, and he’s playing them well–whether deliberately or accidentally–to distract a certain segment of the population from what he is doing to the economy, even if it only takes away part of their attention.
As a famous fiction book series said, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. And the main thing has gotta be getting our economy back in order and the debt and deficit under control. So kudos to Sarahcuda for recognizing that.
Gotta love those ethical Democrat donors…
A federal grand jury indicted two Virginia men on Wednesday for allegedly trying to illegally reimburse donors who gave to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate and presidential campaigns.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has accused the two men, William Danielczyk and Eugene Biagi, of paying back $186,600 in contributions to the Senate and presidential campaign committees of a candidate for federal office, and obstructing the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the FBI.
Though the DOJ does not name the candidate that the men donated to, according to campaign finance records Danielczyk and Biagi donated to Clinton’s 2006 Senate bid and her 2008 presidential campaign.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Hillary herself is in trouble… just some of those fine upstanding citizens who supported her.
Real Clear Politics has the video, along with this quick quote:
A reporter asked Carney why unemployment is at 9% and not 7%, the percentage projected if the stimulus worked. Carney dismissed the question. “We’ve said repeatedly that we don’t want to relitigate the battles of the past,” Carney told the reporter.
Of course they don’t wanna talk about the past… the past is when they stated their goals, and so bringing them up now would just show that no, the goals haven’t been met.
Maybe Carney meant that the goals were to re-elect more Democrats. Oh, wait… that didn’t work either, did it?
However you slice it, Carney’s statement is pure bull.
I guess not when you’re a teacher’s union protesting a Republican governor, to wit, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin:
But holding my breath, I am not.
Now we find out one of the items Obama has decided to cut to the bone… interest payments on our existing national debt!
The Obama administration’s statement that the government will not be adding to the debt by the middle of the decade clashes hard against the facts, Republicans say, leaving officials straining to justify the budget claim they’ve pushed repeatedly over the past few days.
As it turns out, the administration is not counting interest payments. That means the budget team plans to have enough money to pay for ordinary spending programs by the middle of the decade. But it won’t have the money to pay off those pesky — rather, gargantuan — interest payments. So it will have to borrow some more, in turn increasing the debt and increasing the size of future interest payments year after year.
That’s right… Obama would have us borrowing more to pay off the interest on our existing debt. And he thinks this makes good economic sense?
Not only is Obama economically ignorant, but apparently so are his economic advisors, if they agree with this plan. Either that or, as some postulate, he really is deliberately trying to destroy the US economy.
Personally, it’s more important to me that we stop this first, and worry about motives later.