Friday, June 29, 2012

Quick Hits - June 28, 2012 - Obamacare Edition

Patrick Gaspard, the Executive Director of the Democrat National Committee sent this tweet out to spike the football over the SCOTUS decision on Obamacare.

Here is President Obama's spiking of the football - and true to form, it's not about the health care reform bill, or the millions of uninsured who are now going to be insured at a cost of $1.75 trillion to $2.5 trillion to the U.S. taxpayer between 2014 and 2024, but all about the 'Narcissist in Chief'....

This is, as many pundits are noting, a historical decision by the Supreme Court of the United States.  But then, Plessy and Dred Scott were also historical decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States.  Being historical does not make the decision a good one.  Many of the pundits on the progressive left are celebrating the decision, specifically the majority decision - but they are focusing on the simple aspect that the Individual Mandate was not found unconstitutional and that the Obamacare legislation remains the law of the land.

For those of us in punditry on the right, well, we are taking a different point of view towards the decision.  But before I go to far, let's review the decision and try to summarize both the majority opinion and dissent.

First, the 4 liberal jurists of the Court, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, all supported the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate under the Commerce Clause.  Chief Justice Roberts, along with Associate Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito found that the Individual Mandate was unconstitutional under both the Commerce clause and the 'Necessary and Proper' clause in the US Constitution.

The surprise came from Chief Justice Roberts, who, along with the conscent of the liberal jurists, defined the Individual Mandate a 'tax' and therefore, under the powers given to Congress under the XVIth Amendment, a constitutional use of Congressional power to establish a tax.  This, therefore, provided the means for the Individual mandate to stand, and therefore the entire law to stand.

What will be examined for a long time is going to be the decision by the Chief Justice.  No where in the 2500+ pages of the legislation is the term 'tax' used.  The Individual Mandate, which requires all persons to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty - what could be a substantial penalty - to the IRS which is charged with collecting the penalty / enforcing the mandate.  Even when asked about the penalty being a 'tax' - President Obama strongly denied that the intent and purpose is a 'tax' -

But, now according to the Chief Justice, this is no longer a penalty - but a tax.

So, where does this leave us now?

I've noticed a number of the pundits talking about how Obamacare surviving, essentially untouched, as being the end point for a bad series of events for President Obama - and his struggling reelection campaign. The left has finally found a 5-4 SCOTUS decision that isn't partisan, political, embattled, or essentially invalid because it was decided by only 1 vote. There is talk of a real enthusiasm boost coming to the President - perhaps even with new enthusiasm towards fundraising.

But as excited as the left is over this ruling - this is going to be a case for the progressives of being careful about what you wish for.

Despite numerous promises throughout his campaign and his first several years in office, President Obama, with this legislation remaining in force, has delivered not only the largest tax increase on the American taxpayer in U.S. history, but these massive tax increases hammer the middle class American's - the specific class that President Obama promised to not increase taxes on. These taxes are above and beyond the nearly $500 billion tax increases that are coming on 'Taxmaggeddon' - January 1, 2013. Obamacare is going to represent between $1.75 trillion in new taxes over the decade of 2014-2024 (per the CBO's estimate) and $2.49 trillion (Heritage).

The Tea Party of 2009 and 2010 formed and coalesced over concerns of the expansion of the federal government powers, the increases in taxes and fees being instilled, and around the excessive reach of the Obamacare legislation - which puts 1/6th of the national economy in the direct control of the federal government. They've been fairly quiet this election season - but with this ruling, they will no longer be as quiet. They are now more energized than they were in 2010 because the only way Obamacare is going to be eliminated is to be repealed by a Republican majority controlled Congress and a Republican in the White House - like Mitt Romney who said 'Day One, Job One - End Obamacare' is his goal....

This is as the Chief Justice said - that elections have consequences and the role of the SCOTUS is not to determine if a law is good, bad, or fair - but if it is permissible under the Constitution.

Since the announcement, the Romney campaign and the RNC have raised nearly $3 million - and donations continue to flood in. The GOP and Tea Party are now mobilized for the November election. Rush Limbaugh, in his radio broadcast captured this....

RUSH: Hey, folks, have you seen the economic news today? Have you heard about the unemployment numbers today? (laughing) Gross domestic product, have you heard about any of that? Because I have it here, and it sucks. It’s a disaster. The economy of this country remains a disaster. And we, the American people, have just been deceived in ways that nobody contemplated. And what we now have is the biggest tax increase in the history of the world. What we have been told by the chief justice of the Supreme Court and four liberals on the court: Obamacare is just a massive tax increase. That’s all it is. Obama lied to us about that. The Democrats lied. “It wasn’t a tax. There was no way it was a tax.”

The chief justice was hell-bent to find a way to make this law applicable, so he just decided, you know what, as a tax increase, it works, because there’s no limit on the federal government’s ability to tax. And it’s right there in the preamble of the Constitution, right there, Article 1, Section 8, the general welfare clause, it’s been established Congress can tax whatever, whoever, whenever, how much they want. Even when they don’t ask for it, the Supreme Court is gonna find a way to make what they want to do legal because John Roberts said it’s not our job here to forbid this. It’s not our job to protect people from outcomes. It’s not our job to determine whether it is right or wrong or any of that. We just get to look at it. We can’t forbid this. This is what the elected representatives of the people want.

No, the elected representatives of the people were deceived. Remember yesterday I asked you, if this decision went this way, what was your initial reaction going to be. And how many of you were deflated as you can be because of the way this was reported? The first thing that came down, the mandate, unconstitutional, that was the first thing everybody reported. Mandate unconstitutional, big sigh of relief. And then within moments, wait a minute, wait a minute, we’re reading further. Hold it just a second. The mandate’s unconstitutional, but the court has decided it’s a tax, and therefore it’s okay.

So Obamacare is nothing more than the largest tax increase in the history of the world. And the people who were characterizing it as such were right and were telling the truth. We have the biggest tax increase in the history of the world right in the middle of one of this country’s worst recessions. In fact, as the vice president said yesterday, a depression for millions of Americans. The chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts, said, “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” Not our job.

Well, what about when we are deceived? The court upheld a law that was not what we were told it would be. What has been upheld here is fraud, and the Internal Revenue Service has just become Barack Obama’s domestic army. That is what we face now. We were deceived. Obamacare was a lie. It was a stealth tax on all Americans, and nobody knew it until today.

While President Obama did not lie when he said he intended to 'fundamentally change the country' - the President and his progressive minions in the 2009-10 Democrat Congress did look the US citizenry in the eye and lie. We were told we had to pass the bill to see what's in it - and it's the largest tax hike on the middle class in U.S. history. It is an unprecedented seizure of power by the federal government- and it's now time for the US people to take the country back.

However, here's the rub and challenge that we face. Unless a majority of Americans see this as a overreach, as a reason for backlash to the progressives for another massive tax increase, and a reason to stop our slide to become a Euro-socialist entitlement state - we will become that Euro-socialist entitlement state and be looking within a decade of today being in the same boat as Greece or Spain is today.

As Rush Limbaugh noted in his commentary on the ruling, the US economic condition is, simply grim. The 1st Quarter 2012 GDP has been revised downwards to show only 1.9% of GDP growth - far below the 3% GDP growth experienced in the 4th quarter 2011. Estimates for the current quarter are also being downgraded - with expectations in the 1.5% GDP growth range. Consumer confidence has hit a 6 month low level and is trending down even further. New jobless claims are being touted as 'falling' by the Obama media sycophants - with the current week's report by the Department of Labor being 386,000 - just 1K below last week's 387,000....WAIT!!....for the 70th time in the last 71 weeks, the Department of Labor has revised the previous week's number upwards, so now we're looking at a decrease from 392,000 (the new number from last week) to 386,000 - a whopping 6K drop.

In another historical step, the House of Representatives today voted, for the first time in U.S. History, to hold the Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress - both on a civil contempt and on criminal contempt for his failure to respond to Congressional subpoena's seeking information regarding Fast and Furious. 17 Democrats crossed party lines to vote on the criminal contempt resolution, and 21 Democrats voted to hold the Attorney General in civil contempt. But even this was lost as about 65 House Democrats, including the leadership and much of the Congressional Black Caucus, walked out of the House chambers in protest for the vote to hold the AG in contempt.

Hot Air had an interesting editorial over the DC Circuit Court's rulings to uphold the authority of the EPA to classify CO2 as a greenhouse gas and having the authority to gut US industry and the US economy in the name of 'global warming'...
We in the US appear to be very close to becoming a theocracy. The religion in question is not Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, nor is it even environmentalism. It’s “government infallibilism,” or, as I like to call it, Govfall. The central tenet of this religion is that government is competent to decide or rule on anything – anything at all, regardless of evidence or lack of it, knowledge or paucity of it, or understanding or dearth of it.

The branch of the US government that represents the proper use of Govfall’s main religious tenet isn’t always the same one (which, frankly, ought to be a clue for believers). The judicial branch has been, as it were, on the throne of judgment for a number of decades, but Americans have also suffered a few presidents to seat themselves on it, like FDR and Obama…

…The matter at hand is the D.C. court of appeals ruling on the EPA’s authority to kill economic activity in the name of global warmism. The ruling describes the EPA’s opinion on global warming and greenhouse gases as “unambiguously correct” – which is a deeply silly formulation for characterizing any scientific theory, but would also have been considered, by our Founders and virtually all federal jurists up until the last 20-30 years, as comprehensively invalid language for any kind of judicial ruling. Judges aren’t competent to make decisions for the public on this matter. Their competence is in interpreting the law, not certifying scientific conclusions.

To the progressives, their political ideology is their religion...

Wrapping up today's edition, we have yet another example of just how little integrity, ethics, and credibility that the Washington Post has...

The Romney campaign met with the Washington Post to request a formal retraction of the major attack piece that the paper ran accusing the Republican candidate of being a leader of 'outsourcing' jobs from the U.S. to foreign countries while the head of Bain Capital. The Washington Post refused to issue a retraction for the story - saying they stand behind the story...

...ignoring that their own 'fact checker', Glenn Kessler, examined the story and claims against Mitt Romney and pronounced them so fundamentally flawed and wrong that he gave the story a score of '4 pinochios' - representing a completely dishonest story without a basis in fact.

Today in History

1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and his wife Sophie, are assassinated by a Bosnian Serb nationalist during an official visit to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. The murders spark a chain of events that lead to the outbreak of World War I in August.

1919 – The Treaty of Versailles is signed ending the state of war between Germany and the Allied powers. The harsh provisions on Germany set the stage for the Second World War.

1940 – Britain recognizes General Charles de Gaulle as the leader of the Free French forces

Quick Hits - June 27, 2012

Many are in waiting and speculation mode regarding the SCOTUS decision on Obamacare and the House voting if to charge, for the 1st time in US history, the Attorney General with Contempt of Congress. Rather than focus on that - let's see the other news that is happening...

Stockton California is set to become the largest city in US history to file for bankruptcy protection.  Severely impacted by the 2008 housing collapse and the resulting massive increase of foreclosures, as well as by some  significant borrowing for a downtown revitalization project, these weren't the main reason why Stockton is being forced to look at bankruptcy.  The main reason?  Labor costs - courtesy of the public sector unions.
Still, debt financing is not the city's main cost driver. That would be labor costs, specifically retirement benefits. The city has a little over $300 million in general-fund backed debt, but an $800 million unfunded liability for pensions and retiree health benefit.

The latter, which are not pre-funded, are expected to grow by 7.5% annually for the foreseeable future. Pension costs are about 40% of what the city pays on worker salaries and are also growing. The average firefighter costs the city about $157,000 a year in pay and benefits and can retire at age 50 with a pension equal to 90% of his highest year's salary plus nearly free lifetime health benefits.

The city has laid off a quarter of its police officers, 30% of its firefighters and 43% of general city staff to pay for these generous benefits. Yet the city still faces a $26 million deficit on a $180 million budget. Soaring retirement costs mean that the gap will grow even if the city's housing crisis ebbs and revenues begin to recover. You can't build a city on debt and retirement checks.

Unions have made few concessions save agreeing to give up sick leave payouts and scale back pensions for new hires—when there are any. City officials could freeze worker pensions and reduce benefits going forward, as San Jose did via ballot initiative earlier this month. However, such a move would set off an expensive and protracted legal battle with the unions, which a city on the edge of bankruptcy can hardly afford.

I suspect that before the end of the year, Stockton may find itself no longer the owner of this dubious title - with Detroit leading a back of rust belt / progressive dominated cities that have severe fiscal challenges. The common element - the unfunded liabilities related to pension / retirement / health benefits for members of public sector unions.

Then there's the other aspect of these unions and their progressive politician allies which comes into play.... mention public sector unions, and the politicians will immediately reference the first responders - police and firefighters. Then they will reference teachers in the classroom. But left unmentioned are the real numbers that comprise members of public sector unions - the rank and file government worker.

Lost in the drama of the wait for the SCOTUS decision on Obamacare, came a court decision out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which will have major ramifications not only on the power of the federal government, but also our national economy....
A federal appeals court has upheld Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas regulations, a victory for the Obama administration that’s also sure to inflame election-year political battles over the White House green agenda.
Environmentalists heralded the three-judge panel’s unanimous 82-page ruling that leaves intact EPA’s first-time regulations and authority to craft future rules to help combat global warming.

“Today’s ruling by the court confirms that EPA’s common sense solutions to address climate pollution are firmly anchored in science and law,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. “This landmark decision will help secure a healthier and more prosperous future for all Americans.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld EPA’s “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health and welfare — a finding that provides the underpinning for regulation of emissions from tailpipes, smokestacks and other sources.

The court left intact EPA’s rules on carbon emissions from automobiles, and the “tailoring rule” that shields smaller stationary sources from greenhouse gas permitting that the EPA is using to target emissions from big sources like power plants.

Knocking down the tailoring rule might have created a chaotic, uncertain path ahead for emissions regulations by opening up massive numbers of businesses and other facilities to regulation.

Where to start with this? The concept that our courts are not apparently making decisions based on what science is valid - man-caused global warming via carbon dioxide emission? Or the use of the EPA regulatory power to gut the coal industry, significantly reducing electricity generation levels, and as a result cost tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs, driving up prices for energy, and damaging the national economy at a time when we are struggling to grow even 2% per quarter?

Then there is the overreach and increase in power being seized by the Executive Branch - which Congress needs to start to rein in...a Republican Congress.

As we move closer to the November election, the number and frequency of polls will increase. As I've noted before, the vast majority of these polls need to be taken with a few grains of salt. This is because many of these polls, done by organizations supportive of progressive politics and President Obama, are skewing the samples to try to paint a far prettier picture than reality for the President's chances of reelection.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quick Hits - June 26, 2012

Spain and Cyprus today formally become the fourth and fifth countries to request assistance from the euro zone's bailout funds - following Ireland, Portugal, and Greece (received 2 bailouts).  This starts a week that will end with a major summit.  The zone continues to struggle with how to address the growing financial crisis.  Egan Jones today downgraded Germany from AA- to A+ - showing the crisis is even affecting the 'giant' of the euro zone.

One of the proposals being floated for discussion at the summit later this week is for a stronger economic union within the euro zone -where member nations would surrender additional fiscal and budgetary sovereignty to the centralized EU bureaucracy. The French Budget Minister, Jerome Cahuzac today announced that France is 'ready to share budget sovereignty'...
France must agree to share sovereignty over its budget with its EU partners, French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac said on Tuesday.

He told BFM TV and RMC radio: "This is what we are talking about, budget solidarity in Europe which implies that not only that the French budget, but also the German, Italian and Spanish budgets be subjected to a review by all our partners."

He said: "This does not mean abandoning sovereignty, it is sharing."

Speaking against a background of strong tensions between France and Germany in the last two weeks, Cahuzac said: "France and Germany have to work together ... Germany has to stop imagining inflation everywhere ... and France has to understand that it is also perhaps in the interest of our country, for France to move towards this sharing of sovereignty."

The minister said that "without a profound reform of Europe, of its organisation, of its governance and of its policies, not a single country can cope."

Even with the 'profound reform', the Euro crisis will remain as the issue at the root cause of the problems are not related to the lack of centralized planning and control - but with the fact that each of these countries are running out of the funds, their own and others, to fund their euro-socialist entitlement societies.

The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed in today's edition that highlights just one aspect of the euro-socialist mindset that is at the root of the financial challenges in a piece titled, 'Employment Italian Style'.

This details just a fraction of the rules, regulations, and bureaucratic burdens a business owner in Italy must face as they try to grow their business. Burdens that actually work as a disincentive to the business owner to grow their business. Collectively, these rules and regulations are fundamentally anti-business and contribute to limiting the economic growth these countries can achieve. Left undocumented within this brief example are other regulations which provide 6 to 8 weeks of annual vacation standard - now where if the employee is sick while on one of their vacation days, they are entitled to get a replacement vacation day from their employer. Also not referenced are the very liberal retirement options available - depending on country and specific job, people can retire as early as 50 and receive a mandated pension equal to nearly their entire annual working salary. In fact, in Greece, even though a calendar year is only 12 months long, those who receive government benefits get 14 months of benefits in every calendar year. With all of this, how can anyone see these as sustainable?

Rather than change their policies which are fiscally unviable, the EU nations continue to look towards Germany and a German bailout - that realistically speaking, Germany cannot afford to deliver.
There are those that wait and hope and pray that there will be Divine Intervention. They cling to the belief that Germany, in the end, will back down and retreat and agree to bail everyone out. Germany’s GDP is only $3.2 trillion and this expectation, believed in by more than a few, is not only ridiculous in my opinion but a mathematical impossibility. If you consider the current EFSF program and that $300 billion has already been used for Greece, Ireland and Portugal and that this new assistance program for Spain will take it up to $425 billion you begin to get some sense of the enormity of the problem. The U.S. equivalent then for the total EFSF would be $4.318 trillion or 30.4% of America’s total GDP which would swamp our nation. This is why when I listen to Frau Merkel say “Nein;” I believe her! It is the twentieth Summit. I predict it will be the twentieth time that almost nothing is accomplished. The beggars want to be the choosers and Germany and the richer nations will hardly allow for that.

Speaking to members of her junior coalition partner, the Free Democrat party, German Chancellor strongly ruled out the establishment of Eurobonds as part of a proposed 'solution' for the euro economic crisis 'for as long as I live'...
The German Chancellor's comments were met with applause as she briefed MPs from the Free Democrats party, her junior coalition partner, at an assembly meeting on Tuesday.

One official told AP that the crowd "reacted with applause to hearing that the Chancellor does not want a joint debt liability," while one participant reportedly shouted: "We wish you a long life!"

Several eurozone leaders, including French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti have called for the 17-nation bloc to draw-up plans to issue jointly-guaranteed debt in order to reduce borrowing costs for struggling eurozone nations.

Yields on benchmark 10-year government debt are currently at 6.8pc in Spain, and 6.15pc in Italy. Long term borrowing costs above 6pc are widely viewed as unsustainable in the long term.

While Merkel fights to force Europe to face its unsustainable government spending and excessive entitlement society, the same fight is also being waged here in the United States. Clinton Administration Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, attacked the conservative message of smaller limited government, lower tax rates, and pro-business / pro-growth policies as being 'regressive' and 'unpatriotic'...
Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich savaged conservative “regressives” in a column Tuesday, arguing that “patriotism means paying for America.”

“When arguing against paying their fair share of taxes, wealthy regressives claim ‘it’s my money.’ But it’s their nation, too. And unless they pay their share, America can’t meet the basic needs of our people. True patriotism means paying for America,” Reich writes in a piece for Business Insider.

Instead, he says, conservatives are “out to gut” government.

“True patriots don’t hate the government of the United States. They’re proud of it. Generations of Americans have risked their lives to preserve it. . . . [T]rue patriots work to improve the U.S. government, not destroy it. But regressive Republicans loathe the government — and are doing everything they can to paralyze it, starve it, and make the public so cynical about it that it’s no longer capable of doing much of anything.”

It's shocking to see how many can look at the fiscal disaster in Europe, at the anemic and struggling economic recovery we've now been in for 3 years - and still have a sub-2% GDP growth rate, a non-cooked unemployment rate over 10% - with millions more not working today than on January 2009, are in the midst of the fourth consecutive year with a budget deficit greater than $1.2 trillion, and are on pace to add $6.4 trillion to the country's national debt during the January 2009 - January 2013 term of President Barack Obama - and not see that we are racing down the same path that Europe has.

With this, Hugh Hewitt is looking at the recent actions of the Obama Administration - particularly around the President's unilateral executive decision to grant a defacto immunity to upwards 1.2 million illegal immigrants and concluding that beyond pandering for Hispanic votes, the political calculation around this decision was intended to 'change the narrative' and try to fix a major crisis the President is facing...
The campaign is about a much larger issue --the direction of the country and whether, as Romney argues, a sharp U-turn is urgently needed. All attempts to sidetrack the electorate from that overarching issue have failed, and even Thursday's decision on Obamacare will only matter to the extent it underscores the choice that has to be made.

What worries the Chicago gang, and what ought to worry down ticket Democrats everywhere, is that the economy's doldrums are getting worse, not better, and that November's cake is already baked for most voters on the question of the president's massive incompetence. The latest diversion is the campaign against Romney as an outsourcer, and like the last half dozen attempts to "change the narrative," this one has failed as well. Nobody cares. Voters care about how the country is going to rally from this mess, and they know Obama hasn't got a plan or even a clue.

Thus, as Powerline's John Hinderaker points out today, the growing hysteria in Democratic fundraising circles. The only hope the president has left is to hammer Romney with a billion dollars in attack ads, but the money isn't coming in in anything like the quantity necessary to overwhelm Team Romney. Nor will it any time soon. The president has lost much of his own base who want the economy to grow as well. The president has to be worried about the Rasmussen and Gallup tracking polls that show Romney with a small but steady lead, and he really has to lose sleep over the growing chance that key parts of his party will want to shed him and his gang of incompetents for four years and come back with Hillary at the head of a re-energized party free of the odor of failure on so many fronts.

There are numerous signs highighting the real problems of the President's feckless policies - all of which are contributing to a campaign that seems to be as unable to stimulate a spark as they were flawless in 2008 riding the vapid 'Hope and Change' mantra to victory.

Despite attending over 100 fundraisers this year, and more this campaign season than the last 5 incumbent Presidents did combined in their reelection efforts, the President is failing to meet their fundraising goals or the levels of fundraising that were achieved in 2008. The grassroots / small contributors are not making the contributions to the Obama campaign that they did in 2008. Major unions are announcing that they are not donating to the President - partially in retribution for the President's failure to support them in Wisconsin. Wall Street donations are also down - an effect of the President's class warfare and demonizing of Wall Street.

Even the Democratic National Convention is feeling the pain of a financial backlash against the President as they are being forced to scale down their convention festivities, including canceling the planned kick-off event at Charlotte Motor Speedway...
The move comes as party planners are grappling with a fundraising deficit of roughly $27 million, according to two people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss internal party politics. With a party ban on direct contributions from corporations, the host committee has raised less than $10 million, well short of its $36.6 million goal, said one of the people.

This also comes on top of a growing number of Congressional Democrats who are announcing that they are not going to attend the DNC convention late this summer. A number of these come from West Virginia and Pennsylvania - states that are challenged by the Administration's anti-coal agenda and policies. However, one of the President's top allies, Missiouri Senator Claire McCaskill who is facing a tough reelection bid this November, has announced that she is also skipping the DNC convention.

Political strategist, Dick Morris, is looking at the run that the President has had since at least April, and culminating in a very difficult June that will wrap up with a possible Congressional contempt citation against his Attorney General, a SCOTUS decision on his signature legislative achievement, Obamacare, and what is likely to be a dismal jobs report for June, and sees this as the beginning of the end for President Obama's reelection effort. Anticipating a Reagan-like 1980 landslide, Morris also notes that the fundraising and spending issues of the President's campaign...
More disturbing for Obama is that his June swoon happened despite spending at least $50 million and likely much more on paid advertising during May and June. He threw his best punch – an attack on Romney’s record at Bain Capital – and got nothing for it.

More bad news for the President? How about his immigration pandering costing him support of white democrats in the battleground state of Ohio?
PPP, a democrat-leaning polling firm, is out today with a new poll of Ohio, a critical battleground this Fall. The top-line number getting the most attention is Obama's erosion of support over the past month. A month ago, Obama led Romney by 7. Today's poll shows the lead has fallen to just 3 and Obama remains below the important 50% threshold. Perhaps more interesting in today's poll, though, is the sharp drop-off in Obama's support among white Democrats.

Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Representative Darrell Issa sent a strongly worded letter to President Obama regarding the executive privilege claim asserted last week to deny  DoJ documents requested by Congress under subpoena saying - either you are involved or executive privilege claim is unjustified....
“[Y]our privilege assertion means one of two things,” Issa wrote to the president in a letter dated June 25. “Either you or your most senior advisors were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious and the fallout from it, including the false February 4, 2011 letter provided by the attorney general to the committee, or, you are asserting a presidential power that you know to be unjustified solely for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation.”

Issa said Obama’s assertion of executive privilege “raised the question” about the veracity of how the “White House has steadfastly maintained that it has not had any role in advising the department with respect to the congressional investigation.”

Issa revealed in the letter to Obama that Attorney General Eric Holder had requested the president assert the privilege in a letter last Tuesday evening — shortly after Holder, Issa and other congressional leaders involved in Fast and Furious met to try to come a resolution before last Wednesday’s contempt vote in Issa’s oversight committee. The president’s decision to assert the privilege came via a letter from Deputy Attorney General James Cole to Issa minutes before Issa began the proceedings against Holder.

The California congressman told Obama that Cole’s letter stating that Obama has “’asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011 documents’ raised concerns that there was greater White House involvement in Operation Fast and Furious than previously thought.”

One of the documents that Congressional investigators are seeking is an email that the Congressional committee knows exists, from direct testimony under oath by the former acting Director of the ATF, but which has been not been disclosed to Congress as the investigators have requested.
A single internal Department of Justice email could be the smoking-gun document in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal — if it turns out to contain what congressional investigators have said it does.

The document would establish that wiretap application documents show senior DOJ officials knew about and approved the gunwalking tactic in Fast and Furious. This is the opposite of what Attorney General Eric Holder and House oversight committee ranking Democratic member Rep. Elijah Cummings have claimed.

It appears that email would also prove senior DOJ officials, likely including Holder himself, knew in March 2011 that a Feb. 4, 2011 letter from the DOJ to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley falsely denied guns were permitted to “walk” into Mexico. The DOJ allowed that false letter to stand for nine more months, only withdrawing it in December 2011.

During the June 24 broadcast of Fox News Sunday, House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa cited the email as a “good example” of a specific document his committee knows Holder is hiding from Congress.

Why would the top levels of the DoJ assert, for nearly 10 months, they knew nothing about a program and let a materially false letter to Congress stand?

What was the specific purpose of Fast and Furious? Has any official in the Administration provided a cogent rationale for the existence of the program - and the goals of the program?

Why, after providing 80,000 documents to the internal Inspector General, and 7,600 of those documents to Congress, is the Obama White House now declaring 'executive privilege' regarding internal DoJ communications? How involved was the WH to justify the use of executive privilege?

I don't expect the President's run of bad news and troubles to end anytime soon. This will mean that the President, his advisors and spokespeople, his campaign, and the Obama sycophants in the media to become even more shrill and desperate leading towards November's election.

Today in History

1917 – The first 14,000 US troops land at the French port of St. Nazaire. The troops would undergo major training in France to prepare them for their combat debut in October, 1917.

1940 – Turkey announces its neutrality in the widening world war.

1945 – Delegates from 50 nations sign the United Nations Charter, establishing the world body as a means of saving ‘succeeding generations from the scourge of war’.

1948 – US and British pilots begin delivering food and supplies by airplane to Berlin after the city is subjected to a Soviet blockade.

1956 – Congress approves the Federal Highway Act – allocates $30 billion for the construction of some 41,000 miles of interstate highways.

1959 – Queen Elizabeth II and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower official open the St. Lawrence Seaway – creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.

1963 – President John Kennedy expresses solidarity with democratic German citizens in a speech in West Berlin – declaring ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ – noting that free nations still stood by the people of West Berlin – a strategic foothold for democracy behind the Iron Curtain.

Monday, June 25, 2012

BREAKING NEWS - DHS Suspends Immigration Agreements with Arizona

The Washington Times is reporting....
The Obama administration said Monday it is suspending existing agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws, and said it has issued a directive telling federal authorities to decline many of the calls reporting illegal immigrants that the Homeland Security Department may get from Arizona police.

Administration officials, speaking on condition they not be named, told reporters they expect to see an increase in the number of calls they get from Arizona police — but that won’t change President Obama’s decision to limit whom the government actually tries to detain and deport.

“We will not be issuing detainers on individuals unless they clearly meet our defined priorities,” one official said in a telephone briefing.

The official said that despite the increased number of calls, which presumably means more illegal immigrants being reported, the Homeland Security Department is unlikely to detain a significantly higher number of people and won’t be boosting personnel to handle the new calls.

“We do not plan on putting additional staff on the ground in Arizona,” the official said.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Arizona may not impose its own penalties for immigration violations, but it said state and local police could check the legal status of those they have reasonable suspicion to believe are in the country illegally.

That means police statewide can immediately begin calling to check immigration status — but federal officials are likely to reject most of those calls.

Once again, the imperial President is demonstrating a complete and utter disdain to the other co-branches of Government - this time effectively ignoring the ruling announced this morning by the Supreme Court of the US on Arizona's SB1070 illegal immigration bill because he apparently doesn't like the ruling they made permitting Arizona law enforcement to query on a person's immigration status if they have a 'reasonable suspicion' they are in the country illegally and have committed crime.

Associate Justice Scalia blasted President Obama in his dissent of the Arizona ruling...
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday ripped President Obama’s new deportation directive when he offered his minority opinion on the Arizona immigration ruling.

The court tossed out most of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, but in his dissent Scalia raised eyebrows by blasting the Obama administration’s directive to stop deporting some young illegal immigrants though that policy was not a matter before the court in the Arizona case.

The conservative justice accused Obama of selectively enforcing only those immigration laws that he deems appropriate and said states would never have joined the union if the framers of the Constitution had intended for the executive branch to wield power in such a way.

“The delegates to the Grand Convention would have rushed to the exits,” Scalia wrote.

Given that scathing rebuttal of the President's assertion of powers to selectively enforce only those laws he deems appropriate - I can imagine Scalia (and others) reacting as the President flips us a collective 'bird' and again decides to selectively enforce only those laws he personally deems appropriate. Yes, he is the....

The Most Arrogant Man in the World...

Quick Hits - June 25, 2012

The Supreme Court of the United States released four major rulings today, but alas, we will have to wait on the decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare's individual mandate and that decision's impact on the entire legislative for Thursday morning, 10am Eastern.

Two major rulings were announced, one on the Arizona SB1070 Illegal Immigration legislation, passed and signed by the state, and immediately challenged by the Obama Administration.  The second major ruling involved a revisit to the 2010 Citizens United decision which came to the court via a Montana Supreme Court decision which blocked corporations making expenditures to support or oppose candidates or political parties. remains the go-to site for information and analysis - and they will be hosting a live blog chat / analysis of Thursday's announcements.

The Supreme Court issued a mixed ruling on Arizona's SB1070 that has both sides declaring victory. The Administration is focusing on three key elements of the state's legislation that were struck down by the Court as being unconstitutional.  Struck down were provisions in the bill that made it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to carry identification that they are in the U.S. legally; that made it a crime for illegal immigrants to apply for a job; and that the state or local authorities cannot arrest someone solely on the suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

However, the Court upheld a major component of the legislation, the provision that requires police to check on the immigration status of anyone they detain if there is 'reasonable suspicion' that the person is illegally in the United States.

This last provision was one of the flashpoints of opposition against the Arizona bill - with opponents claiming that this was opening the door for racial profiling and intimidation by the police.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer cited the decision of the Court to support this provision of the law as a victory for her and Arizona in statements earlier today.

While the Administration did gain some minor victories in the three aspects that were struck down, not only did they lose on the main point, but the Court also delivered a sharp slap at the Administration saying that it was 'improper' when it attempted to block the legislation before an Arizona state court had a chance to interpret the legislation and see if it was in conflict with existing federal immigration law.

The Court voted 5-3 in their decision, with Justice Kagan recusing herself.  Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion with Roberts, Ginsberg, Breyer, and Sotomayor concurring.  Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito concurred in part and dissented in part.

I've always suspected that the aspect of the Arizona bill that made it a crime for illegal immigrants to apply for a job was a bit of a stretch.  The existing Federal law already puts the onus on this with the employer - and that it is already illegal for employers to hire undocumented workers.  As for the failure to carry documentation, I suspect that if someone doesn't have documentation and there is a 'reasonable suspicion' of one's illegal status, they will be checked.  I recall, when I held my 'green card', the card itself said that it needed be carried at all times - and I did.

The real takeaway from this ruling however, to me, is the slap that the Court delivered to the Administration for its actions regarding contesting the state.  I wonder if this will continue as the Court evaluates the Administration's actions regarding states Voter ID laws in the term starting this October.

Another aspect that will reverberate is the dissent from Associate Justice Scalia, which directly referenced the decision by President Obama, via executive fiat, to halt enforcing immigration laws on a certain aspect of the illegal immigration population in the United States - asking what recourse states would have if the executive decided to not enforce federal laws on the books.

Another major decision was the Supreme Court reaffirmation of the 2010 Citizens United decision that was specifically attacked by President Obama during the 2011 State of the Union speech.  In a 5-4 decision that matched the court breakdown in Citizens United (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy for), the SCOTUS reversed a Montana Supreme Court ruling that blocked corporations from making expenditures to support / oppose candidates or political parties - ruling that corporations could contribute to political causes, parties, and candidates.

As SCOTUSblog notes in their recap...
Leaving no doubt that the Supreme Court has no intention of putting new restraints on political campaign spending, despite the huge outflow of cash this year, a five-Justice majority on Monday seized on a new case from Montana to solidify the controversial ruling two years ago in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Only two potential developments might make a difference in the future: if the Court were persuaded to crack down on secrecy in such spending, or if the Court’s own membership changes. With complete freedom of donors to contribute and to spend, the disclosure of their identities now looms as the next major issue on campaign finance.
The President himself is bringing the last issue to the forefront with the efforts of his reelection campaign to obtain, target, and attack the names of private contributors to conservative SuperPACS.

Also announced by the SCOTUS, a decision to declare unconstitutional laws that sentence juveniles to either the death sentence or for life in prison without the opportunity for parole.

These decisions have temporarily pushed the Fast and Furious kerfuffle to the back pages, but a poll conducted by The Hill is showing that voters disapprove of the President's use of executive privilege in this case by over a 2 to 1 margin.  Even 28% of the self described Democrats in the poll believed that the President overreached in the use of executive privilege to block Congressional investigators from receiving documents they requested.

Yesterday's QH featured a video blog post by Bill Whittle where he made the (IMO strong) case that Fast & Furious might have started as a political operation intending to create a justification for far more stringent gun control legislation in the U.S.  Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa said he believed the same while appearing on ABC's News This Week yesterday.

Wasting little time, Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood President says his first order of business is to forge an alliance with Iran and 'rethink pact with Israel'.....
Egypt’s Islamist president-elect, Mohamed Morsi, wants to “reconsider” the peace deal with Israel and build ties with Iran to “create a strategic balance” in the Middle East, according to an interview published by Iran’s Fars news agency on Monday.

The stated goals are certain to alarm Israel and its ally the United States as they adapt to the new direction Egypt will chart with Morsi at the helm.

They could also boost Iran’s influence in the Middle East at a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and the West.

But President Mohamed Morsi was not done as he defined his domestic policy directions...
Egypt’s Constitution should be based on the Koran and Sharia law, presidential candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist movement Mohamed Morsi said.

“The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal,” Morsi said in his election speech before Cairo University students on Saturday night.

Today Egypt is close as never before to the triumph of Islam at all the state levels, he said.

“Today we can establish Sharia law because our nation will acquire well-being only with Islam and Sharia. The Muslim Brothers and the Freedom and Justice Party will be the conductors of these goals,” he said.

Senator John Kerry, who I heard once served in Vietnam, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is telling us that we should not prejudge the Muslim Brotherhood and their claims for support of 'jihad' and a fundamentalist enforcement of Sharia law. Wow, I feel so much better now that Senator Kerry has picked his side - particularly given his personal history of siding with America's enemies.

Meanwhile, Hamas is continuing to step up their rocket attacks from Gaza on Israeli towns and villages - over 160 were launched last week.

Last week I reported about merchant ship sailing from Russia to Syria carrying attack helicopters for the Assad regime that was forced to return to Russia after British insurers cancelled the insurance for the shipping line the vessel was registered to. The Guardian is reporting today that the ship has now been reflagged under a Russian flag and is set to sail for Syria carrying attack helicopters and air defense missiles and systems for the Syrian strongman. Sailing under the Russian flag limits the ability of Western powers to intercept or stop the ship as any such action can be seen as an act of war against Russia.

The European fiscal crisis continues to fester as Cyprus makes its formal request to the EU for a bailout to prevent their default on their debt obligations.

The debt status and weak financial standing of most major European banks continue to pressure the markets.    Health issues have forced the resignation of the newly appointed Greek Finance Minister.  With all of this turmoil, all eyes continue to focus on Germany - and if Germany will blink by opening their purse strings to bailout the troubled countries (Greece, Spain, Italy), and accept a 'fiscal union' that would have the debt from southern Europe shared with those countries of northern Europe.

Last week, during the G20 meetings in Mexico, President Obama directly called on Germany to do this while also requesting that Germany and other European nations embrace Keynesian economics by increasing their government spending and stop focusing on the austerity of measures of lowered government spending and fewer entitlements.

Germany's finance minister gave his answer today, telling President Obama to 'butt out on the debt crisis'.
Germany’s finance minister is rejecting U.S. President Barack Obama’s calls on Europe to move faster in fighting its debt crisis, telling him to get the American deficit under control instead.

Wolfgang Schaeuble told public broadcaster ZDF in an interview late Sunday that “people are always very quick at giving others advice.”

He says: “Mr. Obama should first of all take care of reducing the American deficit, which is higher than in the euro zone.”

Germany also has a similar message for the new Greek government - stop asking for help and start cutting spending...

NYT's Paul Krugman, the former Enron financial advisor, continues his gymnastics to try to reconcile and build a case that Keynesian economic policies are the solutions to not only the economic woes in Europe, but also in the United States. As he frequently does, he starts from a preconceived conclusion and then contorts a 'case' to lead to that conclusion. This time he is focusing on the Austrian banking crisis of 1931 and that the failures of the ECB or Federal Reserve to act to take a more proactive role (since governments are not) are the causes of today's economic challenges in Europe and the United States...
It started with a banking crisis in a small European country (Austria). Austria tried to step in with a bank rescue — but the spiraling cost of the rescue put the government’s own solvency in doubt. Austria’s troubles shouldn’t have been big enough to have large effects on the world economy, but in practice they created a panic that spread around the world. Sound familiar?

The really crucial lesson of 1931, however, was about the dangers of policy abdication. Stronger European governments could have helped Austria manage its problems. Central banks, notably the Bank of France and the Federal Reserve, could have done much more to limit the damage. But nobody with the power to contain the crisis stepped up to the plate; everyone who could and should have acted declared that it was someone else’s responsibility.

The problem is, the action that Krugman advocates, while fitting his ideological bent, will not work because it has not worked - ever. What Krugman advocates effectively is nothing more than more of the 'ponzi scheme' that we've been subscribing to as we ignore spending and debt.
So, because governments are not spending enough to get economies out of the doldrums, the pain of unemployment goes on and on, as Krugman puts it. We have to embrace inflation. It will erode the real value of all debt, including mortgages and, even better, government bonds. Let governments borrow and spend enough to push prices up at a significantly higher rate, to generate inflation of 4% or perhaps even 5% a year.

He writes that government debt likely “won’t have to be paid off quickly, or indeed at all,” with enough inflation. Of course this is what folks have suspected for a while, hence the popularity of gold as an investment. Krugman comes right out and says what officials tend to obscure, namely the temptation to destroy the purchasing power of the currency through inflation, thereby shrinking the government’s liabilities. He’s all for falling into the temptation.

Yes, let's return to 1979-1980 - with the double digit (11-14%) annual inflation rate, prime interest and mortgage rates of 18-20%. After all, as many ideologues contend, the 2008-2009 recession was far worse than that experienced between 1980-81.

As Victor Davis Hanson notes in his latest read it all essay, 'Is the Country Unraveling?' -
As we see in New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin, the cure for the present economic malaise is not rocket science — a curbing of the size of government, a revision of the tax code, a modest rollback of regulation, reform of public employment, and holding the line on new taxes. Do that and public confidence returns, businesses start hiring, and finances settle down. Do the opposite — as we see in Mediterranean Europe, California, or Illinois over the last decade — and chaos ensues.

Obama took a budding recovery in June 2009, and through massive borrowing, the federal takeover of health care, new expansions of food stamps and unemployment insurance, the curtailing of oil and gas leasing on public lands, new regulations, and non-stop demagoguery of the private sector, slowed the economy to a crawl. His goal seems not to restore economic growth per se but to seek an equality of result, even if that means higher unemployment and less net wealth for the poor and middle classes. Obama hinted at that in 2008 when he said he would raise capital gains taxes even if it meant less revenue, given the need for “fairness.” Indeed, equality is best achieved by bringing the top down rather than the bottom up. Nowhere is the Obama model of massive borrowing, vast increases in the size of the state, more regulations, and class warfare successful — not in California or Illinois, not in Greece, Spain, or Italy, not anywhere.

How many people recall that this recession technically ended June 2009?

VDH also makes another interesting observation regarding the Obama Presidency when he looks at the appointments this President has made...
Appointments? Where does one find the like of an Anita Dunn (her hero was Mao), the truther Van Jones, or Al “Crucify” Armendariz? Do we remember guests to the Bush White House being photographed flipping off portraits of Bill Clinton? Usually Treasury secretaries are models of tax probity, not tax violators themselves. Why is the secretary of Labor issuing videos inviting illegal aliens to contact her office when lodging complaints against employers? Even John Mitchell did not violate so many ethical standards as has Eric Holder, who sees nothing wrong in appointing an Obama appointee and Obama campaign donor to investigate possible Obama administration legal violations. Why was grilling Alberto Gonzalez not racism, but doing the same to Eric Holder supposedly is? From where dids“Shut the f— up” National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon appear? Fannie Mae and K Street? Do Commerce secretaries usually drive Lexuses as they promote U.S. industry?
'How's that Hopey Changey Thingy working out for ya?'

With all of this, let's not forget our 'friend' in the Far East - which is reading the US as weak - and taking advantage of it...
This outcropping has been claimed by both China and the Philippines because of the rich fishing beds that surround it and the possibility of drilling for oil.

You would think that the Philippines would have the better claim, having built a lighthouse and planted its flag there in the 1960s. The shoal is only 140 miles west of Luzon, the main Philippine island, well within Manila's 200-mile "exclusive economic zone" as recognized under international law. It is 750 miles from the Chinese landmass.

Nevertheless, China is trying to assert its sovereignty over nine-tenths of the South China Sea based on tendentious historical "evidence" ranging from purported trips by Chinese explorers 2,000 years ago to a 1947 map issued by China's Nationalist government and recognized by no other state.

However unconvincing its claims, China is attempting to make good on them by sending fishing vessels and paramilitary patrol boats into disputed waters.
The response by the Obama Administration - effectively, crickets chirping...  The article goes on to contrast this response of the small island nation of Palau - which was far more effective than the non-action of the U.S.

Today in History

1876 – 600 troopers of the 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer, enter the Little Bighorn Valley overlooking a camp of more than 10,000 Native Americans. One of the leaders of the Sioux, Sitting Bull organized a defense of the camp, while the majority of the warriors, led by Crazy Horse engaged the 7th Cavalry. Elements of the 7th were separated by the attacks, with Custer and about 210 of his men engaged by over 3,000 Native Americans on what became known as ‘Last Stand Hill’.   Custer and all of his men were killed in the attack – the most decisive victory for the Native Americans in the Plains War. The US government responded by increasing their efforts to subdue the tribes. Within 5 years, almost all the Sioux and Cheyenne would be confined to reservations.

1942 – Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower takes command of US Forces in Europe and arrives in London, England.

1950 – Armed forces from communist North Korea smash into South Korea igniting the Korean War. The United States responded by pushing a resolution through the U.N.'s Security Council calling for military assistance to South Korea. (Russia was not present to veto the action as it was boycotting the Security Council at the time.) With this resolution in hand, President Harry S. Truman rapidly dispatched U.S. land, air, and sea forces to Korea to engage in what he termed a "police action."

1973 – White House Counsel John Dean admitted that President Richard Nixon took part in the Watergate cover-up.

1998 – Microsoft releases Windows 98

2009 - Michael Jackson dies

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quick Hits - June 24, 2012

Fast and Furious:  

'This is Watergate - - with three hundred dead bodies...'

Bill Whittle, in his latest 'Afterburner' video blog post, makes a very convincing case that the primary motivator for the DoJ and Obama Administration towards launching Fast and Furious was to create the 'justifications' needed to sway public opinion to support the Administration enacting draconian gun control laws throughout the United States. I think that Mr. Whittle's case is very compelling.

Former US Attorney, Andrew C. McCarthy details what we do know about Fast & Furious, the information that we do know which demonstrates a cover-up is underway, why there is the need for a cover-up, and the implications of the executive privilege declaration in an effort to protect President Obama - and to a lesser extent, Attorney General Holder.

Read it all - where there's smoke - there's fire.

Thursday afternoon, appearing on Hugh Hewitt's national syndicated talk radio program, Mark Steyn noted that President Obama and AG Holder have 'blithe contempt' for the United State constitutional system of checks and balances...

“I’m not surprised — I think there is a kind of blithe contempt that Obama and Eric Holder in particular, have for the checks and balances,” Steyn said. “And by the way, I don’t attach a lot of significance to the sort of niceties of checks and balances. But I would say that as a general rule in free societies, the restraints on power are as much social as anything. They depend on those in power observing a kind of etiquette and deference to codes and conventions. And if you hold, basically, the entire history of the United States until you took power in contempt, which is what Eric Holder and Barack Obama do, I believe, then they don’t have that deference and discretion towards the codes and conventions, and the result is what we’ve seen in the last few days.”

Appearing today on the Sunday morning news programs, Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee said he expects bipartisan support in the House for the contempt vote on Attorney General Holder this week.  If so that would reflect a major point of view change by the House Democrats who usually embrace a lockstep approach to provide support for embattled Democrats.

As I've noted, there are increasing examples of coordination of efforts between the White House / Obama Campaign and major media elements.  Politico, for example, is seeing a major drop in visits to their site as they have become far more partisan in the actions - with their WH correspondent being suspended from his position by Politico for his tweets.  This latest report details another effort by the WH and Washington Post to coordinate an anti-Romney attack...

The false meme (according to the Washington Post's own 'fact checker' which gave the claim '4 pinochio's) is the accusation of Romney's 'outsourcing'...
The media coordinating with one another to create and control narratives that benefit Obama is in and of itself corrupt. After all, these outlets are all supposed to be in competition with one another and yet they all cover the same stories in the same way. Hmm…?There is something worse, though, and that's when the media coordinates with the Obama campaign, which is something the fallen Washington Post has been caught doing once again.

Is Jonathan Turley invoking his inner-FDR with his Op-ed calling for an increase in the size of the Supreme Court of the United States - saying that something as important as Obamacare's constitutionality shouldn't be decided on by just 9 people?

In 1938, after suffering several major defeats of New Deal legislation as the SCOTUS declared them unconstitutional, FDR announced a plan to 'stack' the SCOTUS - expand the size of the court with, of course, he picking the new justices...which coincidentally would create a new court that would rubber stamp his legislative initiatives.

Now with the real concern that today's SCOTUS will announce this week its decision to find Obamacare's individual mandate unconstitutional and perhaps invalidate the entire legislation by ruling the mandate could not be severed from the bill, Turley wants a larger, more progressive SCOTUS, to protect progressive legislation and overreach.

CNN political contributor Hilary Rosen got a much-needed education about voter ID laws from George Will on ABC's This Week Sunday.
When Rosen echoed the dishonest Democrat talking point that voter ID laws are considered "under the civil rights statutes" to be voter suppression, Will smartly replied, "Let the record show that the Supreme Court, with Justice John Paul Stevens, liberal Justice writing it, said that there is no Constitutional flaw in photo ID voter laws" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Now we’re getting to the real issue. This is why Republicans don't like Eric Holder because he has challenged voter ID laws under the civil rights statutes as voter suppression rules that they are. Because he has challenged the Arizona, you know, discriminatory immigration law. Because he has refused to implement the discriminatory anti-marriage law. So, you know, Eric Holder has shown a lot of backbone in the justice department and the Republicans hate it. So, what do they do? They call for his resignation. They throw him with document requests that are impossible to respond to. They just throw more and more stuff at him to distract him from doing the things that actually the president and the people hired him to do.

WILL: Let the record show that the Supreme Court, with Justice John Paul Stevens, liberal Justice writing it, said that there is no Constitutional flaw in photo ID voter laws.

ROSEN: You know, they’re going to have to review them in the courts. Thirteen states, George, have instituted new statutes since the Republicans took over those state legislatures in 2010 purely for the purpose of limiting voting.

WILL: To legal voters.

This is similar to the other very vapid argument made by progressives that Republican's oppose immigration...

During a discussion about President Obama's recent edict concerning young illegal immigrants not being deported, Clift said of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, "If he’s elected president, he will be leading a party that is largely anti-immigration."

Pethokoukis pounced, "No, I think they’re anti-illegal immigration. They’re not anti-immigration. They’re not anti-immigration. That’s a talking point. They’re pro-immigration. That’s just wrong."

The Egyptian electoral commission announced this morning that Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, won the Presidential election.

The real impact of this is yet to be seen as last week, the ruling military council substantially reduced the power of the elected President and the week before, the Egyptian highest court ordered Parliament dissolved because of electoral issues. The Muslim Brotherhood was the largest party in Parliament – which was controlled by the Islamists.

WH Statement issued by Jay Carney:

"The United States congratulates Dr. Mohamed Morsi on his victory in Egypt’s Presidential election, and we congratulate the Egyptian people for this milestone in their transition to democracy."

"We look forward to working together with President-elect Morsi and the government he forms, on the basis of mutual respect, to advance the many shared interests between Egypt and the United States. We believe that it is important for President-elect Morsi to take steps at this historic time to advance national unity by reaching out to all parties and constituencies in consultations about the formation of a new government. We believe in the importance of the new Egyptian government upholding universal values, and respecting the rights of all Egyptian citizens – including women and religious minorities such as Coptic Christians. Millions of Egyptians voted in the election, and President-elect Morsi and the new Egyptian government have both the legitimacy and responsibility of representing a diverse and courageous citizenry."

I wonder how that reconciles with Morsi's call for Jerusalem to be their new capital?

Turkey is calling for a NATO meeting after Syria downs a Turkish Air Force F4 aircraft flying in international airspace...

Turkey is saying that Syria gave no warning to the Turkish jet, and that this was a 'hostile act' by Syria.

Is this the incident needed to provide NATO with the reason to get militarily involved with Syria - and what will Syria's patron's - Russia, China, and Iran do?

Germany has told Greece to stop asking for more help and get on with implementing the reforms it has already promised as tensions mount before this week's crucial summit of European Union leaders...
In unusually blunt remarks, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said: “The most important task facing new prime minister [Antonis] Samaras is to enact the programme agreed upon quickly and without further delay instead of asking how much more others can do for Greece.”

His comments highlight Germany’s growing impatience with the eurozone’s problem nations in what is shaping up to be another significant week for the single currency bloc.

A formal request from Spain for up to €100bn (£80bn) of emergency funding for its banks is expected on Monday, while the week ends with a two-day summit in Brussels where German chancellor Angela Merkel is again expected to dig in her heels over the eurobonds championed by France’s new president, Francois Hollande. Such bonds would mutualise the debts of the 17 eurozone nations, effectively leaving Germany on the hook for more spendthrift members.

Writing in the Telegraph today, Liam Halligan makes a strong case that the Eurozone nations are stuck in a 'doom loop' - and that the Euro was a very bad idea yet fiscal union is far worse and will fail, but not before it spreads bitterness across Europe...
'These global economic problems have their roots in the fools’ paradise we all used to live in,” observed Lord Peter Mandelson on Friday, to a packed seminar at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

“Pretty much everyone borrowed and spent beyond their means and that’s now catching up with us,” continued the former Cabinet Minister. “And it’s the inter-twining of the sovereign debt and banking crises that makes any eurozone resolution extremely difficult.”

…The euro was a very bad idea yet fiscal union is far worse. If attempted, if will fail, but not before it spreads bitterness across Europe. The idea of fiscal union is, anyway, nothing but a fig-leaf for yet more ECB money-printing – an action that would spark another asset price “sugar rush”, but do nothing to solve bank and sovereign insolvency, nor address the fundamental contradictions at the heart of the eurozone.

Monetary union must be scaled back. Those peripheral countries that want to should exit and devalue. Then we clean up the mess, and we all move on.

Today in History

1314 – Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce defeat England’s King Edward II in the Battle of Bannockburn in Scotland.

1812 – Napoleon’s Grande Armee invades Russia – with 500,000 soldiers. Fewer than 100,000 would return to France.

1915 - On June 24, 1915, young Oswald Boelcke, one of the earliest and best German fighter pilots of World War I, makes the first operational flight of the Fokker Eindecker plane

1945 - On this day in 1945, Soviet troops parade past Red Square in celebration of their victory over Germany. As drums rolled, 200 soldiers performed a familiar ritual: They threw 200 German military banners at the foot of the Lenin Mausoleum. A little over 130 years earlier, victorious Russian troops threw Napoleon's banners at the feet of Czar Alexander I. Also on this day, British bombers destroy the ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’ – built by thousands of maltreated British and allied prisoners of war.

1948 – The Soviet Union blocks all road and rail traffic to and from West Berlin - For a few tense days, the world waited to see whether the United States and Soviet Union would come to blows. In West Berlin, panic began to set in as its population worried about shortages of food, water, and medical aid. The United States response came just two days after the Soviets began their blockade. A massive airlift of supplies into West Berlin was undertaken in what was to become one of the greatest logistical efforts in history.

1966 – Senate passes landmark National Traffic and Motor Safety Vehicle Act – creates the first mandatory federal safety standards for motor vehicles.

2010 – Apple releases the iPhone 4

Quick Hits - June 23, 2012

In a deplorable series of actions, gay activists invited by President Barack Obama to the White House, decide to 'flip the bird' to the portrait of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan - and promote those photos on their facebook pages with titles like 'Yeah, F*** Reagan'...

Last Friday, an attachĂ© of important gay people from Philadelphia made a trip to Washington D.C. as invited guests of President Barack Obama for the White House’s first-ever gay pride reception. There, they danced to the sounds of a Marine Corps band; they dined on crab cakes and canapĂ©s; they hand-delivered letters from concerned citizens like this 18-year old who has had four people close to him gunned down, and noted rhyming raconteur CA Conrad; and some of them took advantage of photo opportunities to give the late President Ronald Reagan the middle finger.

The White House has 'rebuked' these activists in a statement...
"While the White House does not control the conduct of guests at receptions, we certainly expect that all attendees conduct themselves in a respectful manner. Most all do," Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman, said. "These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn’t belong anywhere, least of all in the White House."
That's it? A rhetorical slap on the wrist? These classless morons need to be called out for the classless morons that they are - but the Administration probably needs their campaign donations too much to take a stronger stance against those juvenile acts. If nothing else, these acts reflect just what utter assholes these activists really are.

If this isn't desperation, I don't know what is...

I wonder if the President made this same request to the daughter of his close advisor, Valerie Jarrett, at her wedding a few weeks attended by the President, First Lady, and 200 members of the Chicago PD on security duties?

What do we expect from the ....

Speaking of gifts, I do like the birthday gift given by the Massachusetts GOP to Democrat senatorial candidate, Elizabeth Warren....
"Since Professor Warren has failed to come up with any evidence supporting her claims to Native American ancestry, we thought this account would make the perfect birthday gift," said Massachusetts GOP Executive Director Nate Little in a statement. "If she takes the time to log-in to her gift, Warren will see what has been abundantly clear to everyone else for months: she is not a Native American."
Using facts only confuses and angers them....

A jury convicted former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 45 counts related to child sex abuse, closing a dark chapter for Penn State.
No, not closed.  This is just the end of the phase where the people hold Jerry Sandusky accountable for his reprehensible actions.  Now he will spend the rest of his life in prison...before he rots in hell for all eternity.  What is still needed is to address the culture and actions of the University, and those at the University, which permitted this to take place over 15 years - and which rightfully tarnish the reputation of the University and those who knew, but didn't speak out until recently.

Wisconsin government workers abandon unions in droves....
Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - the state's second-largest public-sector union after the National Education Association, which represents teachers - fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011, according to a person who has viewed Afscme's figures. A spokesman for Afscme declined to comment. Much of that decline came from Afscme Council 24, which represents Wisconsin state workers, whose membership plunged by two-thirds to 7,100 from 22,300 last year.

A provision of the Walker law that eliminated automatic dues collection hurt union membership. When a public-sector contract expires the state now stops collecting dues from the affected workers' paychecks unless they say they want the dues taken out, said Peter Davis, general counsel of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. In many cases, Afscme dropped members from its rolls after it failed to get them to affirm they want dues collected, said a labor official familiar with Afscme's figures. In a smaller number of cases, membership losses were due to worker layoffs.

The Supreme Court of the United States is going to announce their decision on Obamacare (and on Arizona's SB1070 Illegal Immigration legislation) this coming week - the last in the 2011-2012 session. The announcement is expected either on Monday or Thursday.

Nancy Pelosi, of the 'you have to pass the bill to see what's in the bill' mantra, is now telling us that if the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional by the SCOTUS, the rest of the healthcare law will not work.

The Wall Street Journal details an aspect of this dreadfully bad economic recovery that rarely is addressed - but reflects one of the major fundamental issues that has this the worst of all post-World War II recoveries, the plight of the middle-aged job seekers...
Much of the attention during the prolonged U.S. employment crisis has been on high rates of joblessness among young people. Less noticed, but no less significant to many economists, has been the plight of the middle-aged. More than 3.5 million Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 were unemployed as of May, 39% of them for a year or more—a rate of long-term unemployment that is unprecedented in modern U.S. history, and far higher than among younger workers. Millions more have quit looking for work or, like Mr. Daniel, have taken part-time jobs to get by.

"I try not to think that this is the end and I'm just going to have to shut everything down," Mr. Daniel says. "My mind doesn't work that way. I think that if I can get up I'll find something. I've got to keep moving."

The two decades between 40 and 60 are meant to be workers' prime years for earning and building wealth, the period when they buy homes, send children to college and save for retirement. Unemployment, especially for an extended period, can short-circuit that process. The effect can span generations, because middle-age workers are more likely to be supporting retired parents, sending their children to college or supporting adult children.

…Those between 45 and 64 take almost a year on average to find a job, more than two months longer than workers between 25 and 44.

As expected, the new Greek coalition government seeks to extend the austerity deadlines Greece is expected to achieve by 2 years...
While pledging to stick to the country's bailout agreement with other European countries and the International Monetary Fund, all three parties had said they would seek to renegotiate certain terms of the loan agreement.

Greece is mired in the fifth year of a deep recession, and has seen unemployment spiral to above 22 per cent. Widespread anger with rapidly falling living standards led to a massive increase in support for anti-bailout parties in the last two elections.

The new government will aim to extend by at least two years the deadlines for it to impose tough fiscal reforms “to support demand, development (and) employment,” it said.

“This way the final fiscal target can be achieved without further cuts to salaries and pensions or the public investment program, but through curbing waste and the targeted fighting of corruption, tax evasion” and the black economy.

The key issues in Europe remain, for now, Greece and Spain. The Greeks want more time, and the Germans are calculating which is worse - funding the Greeks with more time and more bailout funds or letting Greece default (leave the Euro as a currency / voting member of the EU). The other decision for Germany is if, when, and how to get Spain the more than $400 billion they need to fix their banking system and regional debt issues. Do the Germans really want to run Madrid from Berlin? One question that has to be resonating is - how long can this continue if the underlying structural problems in the Euro-socialist model are really addressed? Addressing them by a new federal bureaucracy or replacing national sovereignty with an EU sovereignty doesn't fix the structural problems or the fact that too many nations in Europe are running out of other people's money.

It seems as if we will shortly be adding France to the list of 'most troubled European nations' - joining Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus, and Italy. This comes from French President Francois Hollande going the 'full Obama' in his plan for French economic 'growth' - which is trebling down on more of the same euro-socialist tax, spend, and entitlements.

This is one of the better recaps of the 'Fab Four' meeting that took place this week in Rome...the meet and fail...
The euro is significantly closer to failure and Europe is closer to a meltdown after the leaders of the four biggest eurozone leaders met in Rome and made no progress whatever. The “Fab Four” (Spain’s Mariano Rajoy, France’s Francois Hollande, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Italy’s Mario Monti) reaffirmed a pre-existing agreement to make some mostly symbolic adjustments to European policy, whomping up an air souffle that the Club Med countries plus France can claim is a “growth” package, but it is mostly made of old money and spin.

Other than that, they seem to have just wasted time repeating the stale old things they have been saying to one another for more than two years. The Latin caucus told Germany how very nice it would be if Germany would pay more money to reduce their borrowing costs and Germany thanked the Latins for the advice but declined to share its ATM card and PIN with its hungry friends.

In other words, nothing.

Wrapping up today is a headline / link that just about completely summarizes the effectiveness of the Obama Administration...

The Environmental Protection Agency (our government) is actively fining people for not using a product that they have mandated, but does not exist.

Today in History

1902 – ‘Mercedes’ is registered as a brand name.

1956 – Gamal Abdel Nasser is elected as the first President of the Republic of Egypt. 99.95% of the ballots cast voted for Nasser. Nasser had toppled Egypt’s monarchy in a 1952 military coup.

1972 – President Richard Nixon signs into law the Higher Education Act which includes the groundbreaking Title IX legislation – barring discrimination in higher education programs. Also – Nixon and WH CoS H.R. Haldeman discuss a plan to use the CIA to obstruct the FBI’s Watergate investigation. One of the main charges of a likely impeachment of the President in 1974 was obstruction of justice - which this was.