Posts Tagged Obama
MAY 16, 2013
REPUBLICANS AGREE TO STOP USING WORD “SCANDAL” IN EVERY SENTENCE IF OBAMA RESIGNS
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Arguing that the American people are sick and tired of hearing the word “scandal,” a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers said they would stop using the word “scandal” in every sentence if President Obama resigns from office immediately.
“Mr. President, for the past week, the American people have heard nothing but scandal,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California). “Scandal, scandal, scandal, and more scandal.” “You have called for investigations to get to the bottom of these scandals,” he added. “But the American thing to do is to quit.”
Agreeing that America was suffering from “scandal fatigue,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S. Carolina) said, “If even one of these scandals turns out to be real, it will be bigger than the creation of the universe,” adding that he and his fellow Republican senators were prepared to take turns standing in the well of the Senate chanting the word “scandal” until President Obama steps down.
“Rand Paul has personally offered to say the word ‘scandal’ for eleven hours,” he said.
On Fox News Channel, host Sean Hannity said that the American people were weary of hearing “nothing but scandal, scandal, scandal,” noting that Fox personalities had used the word “scandal” no fewer than thirty thousand times in the past four days.
“The only way President Obama can bring these scandals to a satisfying resolution is by resigning from office. Otherwise, he’s subjecting the American people to the ugly spectacle of scandal upon scandal upon scandal,” he said, adding, “Upon scandal.”
- Top Official Resigns Over IRS Scandal (huffingtonpost.com)
- IRS Acting Commissioner Resigns (Updated) (pjmedia.com)
- House Democratic Leader Defends Obama In IRS Scandal (huffingtonpost.com)
- In Two Hours Obama Destroys the GOP’s Benghazi and IRS Scandals (politicususa.com)
- US tax chief resigns amid scandal (bbc.co.uk)
- Boehner on IRS Scandal: Who’s Going to Jail? (breitbart.com)
- Will Republicans Let Obama Have His Scandal? – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Boehner reacts to IRS scandal: ‘Who’s going to jail over this?’ (theblaze.com)
- Obama fires IRS acting chief over ‘inexcusable’ tax targeting scandal (guardian.co.uk)
- IRS: 2 ‘Rogue’ Employees Responsible For Targeting Of Conservative Groups (newyork.cbslocal.com)
Obama goes wobbly
By Eugene Robinson, Published: May 2
President Obama had the opportunity this week to make an irresponsible Congress face the consequences of its own dumb actions. For reasons I cannot fathom, he took a pass.
Rather than use the veto pen that must be gathering dust in some Oval Office drawer,Obama signed legislation that cushions air travelers from the effects of the crude, cruel budget cuts known as the “sequester.” The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now allowed to shuffle funds around to avoid furloughing air-traffic controllers — thus avoiding flight delays.
At his news conference Tuesday, Obama said he agreed to sign the measure because the alternative was to “impose a whole bunch of delays on passengers.” That’s true — and it’s precisely why the president should have vetoed this quick-fix bill.
Remember how we got here. Republicans in the House refused to compromise on a far-reaching budget deal, insisting that there had to be deep spending cuts but no new revenue. Both sides agreed to across-the-board cuts that were designed to be unacceptable. This Damoclean sword was supposed to provide an incentive for reaching a comprehensive deal. But the gambit failed.
Obama said he would not go along with attempts by Congress to selectively ameliorate the effects of sequestration. After all, the whole point was to make both sides so uncomfortable that they would fall into one another’s arms in a desperate embrace of deal-making. The incentive disappears if either side is allowed to alleviate its sharpest pains.
A few weeks of long flight delays, frequent cancellations and crowded airports full of angry, frustrated voters might have concentrated the minds of even the most anti-government Republicans on Capitol Hill. But now, no worries.
Meanwhile, Congress is offering no emergency legislation to restore Head Start funds for preschoolers. Nor is an urgent remedy being designed for poor people who will have to go without their Section 8 housing subsidies. The president could have told Congress that he will agree to make travel more convenient for their jet-set constituents, all right — if and when they send him a companion bill restoring needed benefits for low-income citizens.
Obama noted Tuesday that even in terms of air travel, the FAA bill was “not a solution.” The money that will keep the controllers on the job was originally slated for airport improvements. If these projects are not undertaken, the president said, those who use our aging airports will suffer congestion and delays in the future.
But he signed the thing anyway. Sigh.
A veto would have allowed Republicans to claim that the president was gratuitously making the American people suffer so he could score political points. But the gratuitous harm was done long ago, when both sides agreed to this whole sequestration nonsense. It is truly absurd that our highest elected officials would agree to impose measures that they knew were not in the public interest. But that’s what they did, and all who had a hand in making this uncomfortable bed should be forced to lie in it.
By agreeing to keep the planes flying on time, Obama keeps public opinion on his side, which should be an asset. But I see no indication that the Republican Party really cares what the public thinks.
About 90 percent of Americans support near-universal background checks for gun purchases, according to polls, but that legislation — a modest reaction to the horror of Newtown — couldn’t even make it out of the Senate, thanks mostly to GOP opposition. Even prospects for immigration reform, which is clearly in the Republican Party’s interest, are uncertain in the House. At the moment, the typical Republican officeholder cares more about avoiding a primary challenge from the Looney Tunes right than doing what the public wants and needs.
Looking and sounding like the one reasonable man on a ship of fools is good for Obama’s political standing, I suppose. But he’s no longer running for anything. Somehow, he has to govern until January 2017. In his quest to find a way to work with a hostile Congress, he might consider trying something new.
The next time Congress tries to undo one of the sequestration cuts, Obama should just say no. Let the Republicans jump up and down and call him names. Tell them to sit down and negotiate a proper budget deal, even a grand bargain — or else live with the pain.
The president should find that forgotten veto pen. And he should use it.
- Eugene Robinson: Could 1 life have been saved at Newtown? (goerie.com)
- Eugene Robinson: Thatcher embodied feminism, like it or not (goerie.com)
- Matthews Goes After ABC’s Jonathan Karl For Asking ‘Jock Question’ About Obama’s Waning Political ‘Juice’ (mediaite.com)
- EUGENE ROBINSON: US inaction is better than intervention (tauntongazette.com)
- Eugene Robinson: Say ‘never again’ to gun violence (goerie.com)
- Okay, who tried to cloak the president with “a fog of ambiguity”? (bokertov.typepad.com)
- Obama dithering on Syria keeps press minions in knots (bizpacreview.com)
- Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson unsure how anyone can determine who is crazy and who isn’t (theblaze.com)
- The drone issue is real, it is urgent (lissakr11humane.com)
- Obama Goes Wobbly (truthdig.com)
Republicans: Obama Must Take Action in Syria So We Can Criticize Action He Took in Syria : The New Yorker
APRIL 29, 2013
REPUBLICANS: OBAMA MUST TAKE ACTION IN SYRIA SO WE CAN CRITICIZE ACTION HE TOOK IN SYRIA
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A growing chorus of Republican lawmakers are demanding that President Obama take some action in Syria so that they can attack whatever action he took in Syria.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) laid out the situation in stark terms: “The time for President Obama to do something in Syria that we can eviscerate him for is long overdue.”
Arguing that there are a variety of options available to Mr. Obama for dealing with Syria, Sen. Graham said, “The President needs to choose one of those options so that we can immediately identify it as a catastrophic choice and demand that he be impeached.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) used an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to express impatience with Mr. Obama’s “steadfast refusal to give us something new to rake him over the coals for.”
“The American people have grown weary of my nonstop criticism of the President’s handling of Libya,” he said. “They are ready to hear me incessantly berate him for his handling of a different country.”
At the end of his television appearance, Sen. McCain seemed to draw a line in the sand, making a direct challenge to Mr. Obama: “Mr. President, we are sick and tired of attacking you for your inaction. The time has come for us to attack you for your action.”
- Republicans: Obama Must Take Action in Syria So We Can Criticize Action He Took in Syria (newyorker.com)
- GOP Congressmen Spent Sunday Morning Urging Obama To Take Action In Syria (businessinsider.com)
- Lawmakers Press Obama to Take Action on Syria (socyberty.com)
- Lawmakers: Syria chemical weapons could menace US (news.yahoo.com)
- Syria Chemical Weapons Could Menace US, Say Lawmakers (theepochtimes.com)
- John McCain Calls for Obama to Act in Syria (theroot.com)
- U.S. lawmakers weigh Syria’s chemical weapons conundrum (dailystar.com.lb)
- Lawmakers ponder role for U.S. in Syria (firstread.nbcnews.com)
- Let Me Start: Pressure mounts on Obama (tv.msnbc.com)
- McCain: Putting US troops in Syria the ‘worst thing America could do right now’ (thehill.com)
The economic whodunit
By E.J. Dionne Jr.,
And since last week saw a cross-party celebration of the opening of George W. Bush’s presidential library, I’d add a second mystery: Why is it that conservative Republicans who freely cut taxes while backing two wars in the Bush years began preaching fire on deficits only after a Democrat entered the White House?
Here is a clue that helps unravel this whodunit: Many of the same conservatives who now say we have to cut Social Security to deal with the deficit supported Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security — even though the transition would have added $1 trillion to the deficit. The one thing the two positions have in common is that Bush’s proposal also would have reduced guaranteed Social Security benefits.
In other words, deficits don’t really matter to many of the ideological conservatives shouting so loudly about them now. Their central goal is to hack away at government.
This goes to the larger argument about jobs and deficits. For a brief time after the Great Recession hit, governments around the world, including President Obama’s administration, agreed that the immediate priority was restoring growth. Through deficit spending and other measures, the 20 leading economies agreed to pump about $5 trillion into the global economy.
Obama and Democrats in Congress enacted a substantial stimulus. The package should have been bigger, but Obama — thinking he would have another shot later at boosting the economy — kept its size down to win enough votes to get it through Congress.
The second chance didn’t come because conservatives stoked anti-government deficit mania — and never mind that the deficit ballooned because of the downturn itself, and that the stimulus needed to reverse it and those fiscally improvident Bush-era decisions.
Then along came academic economists to bless the anti-deficit fever with the authority of spreadsheets. In a 2010 paper cited over and over by pro-austerity politicians, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff argued that when countries reached a debt level above 90 percent of their gross domestic product, they almost always fell into slow growth or contraction.
Financial Times columnist Philip Stephens compactly takes the story from there: “The implication was that deep retrenchment was the only route back to prosperity. Now, economists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst say the results reflected a data ‘coding error’ and some questionable aggregation. The assumption that high debt always equals low growth is not sustained by the evidence.”
While Reinhart and Rogoff acknowledged their error, they dismissed the controversy in a New York Times op-ed as an “academic kerfuffle” and insisted that their findings had often been “exaggerated or misrepresented” by, among others, politicians. (They also complained about the “hate-filled, even threatening, email messages” they received. I’d be happy to share my e-mail with them. Friends, if you have the good fortune to be engaged in public debates, you get a lot of angry missives these days.)
The two economists would have added to their credibility by showing a bit more humility about their data problem. But the damage was done. Europe and the United States moved prematurely to austerity. Tens of millions of people have suffered from joblessness or lower real incomes. Reinhart and Rogoff didn’t force these decisions, but they abetted them.
Now, through the “sequester” cuts, we are compounding the problem. It’s outrageous that Congress and the administration are moving quickly to reduce the inconvenience to travelers — people fortunate enough to be able to buy plane tickets — by easing cuts in air traffic control while leaving the rest of the sequester in place. What about the harm being done to the economy as a whole? What about the sequester’s injuries to those who face lower unemployment benefits, who need Meals on Wheels or who attend Head Start programs?
Instead, we should be using this period of low interest rates to invest in our infrastructure. This would help relieve unemployment while laying a foundation for long-term growth. But anti-government slogans trump smart-government policies. For reasons rooted in both ideology and the system’s bias against the less privileged, we hear nothing but “deficits, deficits, deficits” and “cuts, cuts, cuts.”
To paraphrase a French statesman from long ago, this is worse than a crime. This is a mistake. Its costs are being borne by good people who ask only for the chance to do productive work.
- The economic whodunit: E.J. Dionne Jr. (oregonlive.com)
- E.J. Dionne Jr: The economic whodunit (wickedlocal.com)
- E.J. Dionne Jr: The economic whodunit (metrowestdailynews.com)
- The Economic Whodunit (truthdig.com)
- E.J. Dionne: The end of majority rule? – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Misdiagnosing A.D.H.D.; cheap clothes from Bangladesh: Opinion roundup (oregonlive.com)
- The economic whodunit (washingtonpost.com)
- E.J. DIONNE: Apologist for Criminals, Propagandist for Statism (directorblue.blogspot.com)
- Week In Politics: Jobs Numbers, President Obama’s Budget (npr.org)
- E.J. Dionne: Get facts before you judge (goerie.com)
Still Far Apart on Budget, Obama and House G.O.P. Meet
Published: March 13, 2013
WASHINGTON – President Obama headed back to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to win over his loudest critics in Congress: the restless and resistant House Republican majority.
After his session Tuesday with Senate Democrats, the president was to spend an hour with Speaker John A. Boehner and the 231 other House Republicans, who have regularly tangled with the White House and Senate Democrats over tax and spending policy. The fight is being renewed this week as House Republicans unveiled their budget, calling for a repeal of the new health care law and a major overhaul of Medicare.
Senate Democrats prepared to release their own plan on Wednesday, which would raise new revenues through tax increases and call for new public investment.
As some Republicans left the meeting early, they were not exactly sounding optimistic about a grand compromise.
“Well, he doesn’t want to balance the budget in 10 years, and he wants tax increases and he wants new spending,” said Representative Darrell Issa of California. “But other than that we’re close.”
Mr. Obama spoke for about 25 minutes, before taking questions. Representative Howard P. McKeon, Republican of California, said that military spending did not come up, though he wished it had, and that the president talked about tax reform and said balancing the budget within 10 years was not his top priority.
Other issues that came up, attendees said, included immigration, guns, Israel and the Keystone XL pipeline. Republicans said they left the meeting with the impression that the president was nearing a decision on the pipeline.
A topic on which the group seemed able to reach at least a modicum of compromise was entitlement reform. “He said he’s willing to look at them, without any specifics, if we’re willing to give him what he wants,” said Representative John Carter, Republican of Texas.
White House officials described the meeting as a good one that provided the president a face-to-face opportunity to call on Republicans to compromise on the budget and other issues.
Aides said Mr. Obama was blunt about what has been called his “charm offensive” with Republicans, telling the House Republicans that there is a need to build trust between the two parties.
But he also told lawmakers that he believed there was an opportunity for the White House and Congress to reach agreement on some big, contentious issues, including taxes, immigration and gun control.
White House officials said the president made no new offers on taxes and spending. Instead, he repeated his push for a “grand bargain” that would include tax increases and more spending cuts.
At one point during the meeting, a member of the White House staff interrupted and handed the president a note informing him that a new pope had been chosen. Someone shouted out, “Does this mean White House tours are open?” To which the president responded, “Vatican tours are.”
Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, sounded cautiously optimistic.
The president, he said, “did himself some good.” Mr. Ryan, walking out of the meeting, then joked that the real question he wanted answered was who the new pope was.
The competing budgets and the Republican refusal to entertain additional tax revenues seemed to raise new questions in the president’s mind about whether a broad budget deal was achievable, even before his talk with the House Republicans.
“Ultimately, it may be that the differences are just too wide,” the president said in an interview with ABC that was broadcast Wednesday morning. “It may be that ideologically, if their position is, ‘We can’t do any revenue,’ or, ‘We can only do revenue if we gut Medicare or gut Social Security or gut Medicaid,’ if that’s the position, then we’re probably not going to be able to get a deal.”
In the interview, Mr. Obama also disputed an assertion that has become dogma among House Republicans: that the country faces a debt crisis and must balance its budget. The new House plan sets out to balance the budget within 10 years.
But Mr. Obama played down the idea that the federal debt was crippling the nation.
“We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt,” Mr. Obama said. He also said that failure to get a big deal would not send the economy into a tailspin.
“That won’t – that won’t create a crisis,” he said on ABC. “It just means that we will have missed an opportunity. I think that opportunity is there and I’m going to – make sure that they know that I’m prepared to – work with them.”
Republican lawmakers quickly disputed the president’s contention that the debt did not represent a crisis, as budget hearings got under way in both houses of Congress.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to say he was “shocked” at the president’s words.
Across the Rotunda in the House, Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, a Republican member of the House Budget Committee, said that if Democrats would not agree to bring the budget into balance, there could be no deal.
“The problem is we have no one to compromise with,” Mr. Duffy said. “If they won’t give us a proposal to balance it, there’s no room for negotiation.”
In a sign of just how different Democratic and Republican priorities are on the budget, House Republicans on Tuesday, led by Mr. Ryan, released their spending plan for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. But it would balance the budget primarily by wiping out some of Mr. Obama’s biggest legislative achievements, like his hard-fought victory to require that all Americans have health insurance.
At the same time, Senate Democrats were preparing to lay out their budget on Wednesday, a plan that rejects the Republican vision for greater austerity and includes $100 billion in new stimulus spending.
- Obama Begins Meetings With Lawmakers (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Hagel Prevails in Senate After Bruising Bout With G.O.P. – NYTimes.com (coralvillecourier.typepad.com)
- Paul “PX 90″ Ryan’s Budget Plan Unveiled: It Looks Very Familiar!!! (theobamacrat.com)
- Analysis: ‘Grand bargain’ a tough sell in Congress (news.yahoo.com)
- BETTER LATE THAN … Senate Dems Release First Budget in Four Years (foxnews.com)
- As budget battles resume, Republicans hope Obama ‘sincere’ in compromise efforts (givemeliberty01.com)
- Obama to meet with House GOP (politico.com)
- Two sides still far apart in budget proposals – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
- On Capitol Hill, budget vs. budget (theneteconomy.wordpress.com)
- Republicans hope Obama ‘sincere’ in compromise efforts (godgutsandoldglory.wordpress.com)
Making Sense, by Michael Reagan
America’s got some serious problems to solve.
Our Obama Economy is still stuck in a ditch by the side of the road.
Rick McKee / Augusta Chronicle
Our campaigner in chief is running around the country pushing for higher taxes and no spending cuts and crying, “The federal sky will fall!” if Congress doesn’t stop the puny 10 percent sequester from happening.
In Washington the incompetents and cowards in Congress can’t get our fiscal house in order, and they’re too stupid or self-serving to realize they are wrecking the greatest economic machine humans have ever created.
We have a budget to balance and an immigration problem. We’re spending trillions we don’t have and promising tens of trillions more in benefits our grandchildren can never repay.
And what are many of my fellow Republicans and conservatives in Washington — and the media — doing while America is being towed down the road to Greece?
They’re thrashing around in the political weeds, wasting their breath complaining about petty political things that may boost the ratings of talk shows but are otherwise meaningless.
For example, one of the outrages of the week involves the White House being accused of selling access to President Obama in exchange for $500,000 donations to his latest pet advocacy group.
Are these Republican and conservative friends of mine kidding? Were they born yesterday?
The parties in power in Washington have been selling access to their powers and privileges forever.
That’s why libertarians want to keep the federal government as small, weak and limited as possible, so that when Washington politicians are bought off, they can do as little harm to the country as possible.
Another example this week of Republicans making a partisan mountain out of a molehill is their attack on former Obama press mouthpiece Robert Gibbs for not telling reporters what he knew about the administration’s secret drone program.
Conservatives looking for dirt on Obama and liberal commentators like Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart went to town over Gibbs’ silence.
But it was just another petty complaint du jour. The White House doesn’t tell reporters everything it’s doing or planning. It never did, whether it was the date for D-Day, our U-2 flights over the USSR or the raid to kill Osama.
My father invaded Grenada and didn’t tell Congress in advance. He even forgot to tip off his buddy Margaret Thatcher, whose airspace had to be crossed by our warplanes.
The most ridiculous complaint of the week made by people on our side of the political fence was their reaction to Michelle Obama’s appearance on the Oscars broadcast Sunday night.
They acted like it was an impeachable offense. But the first lady handing out a best-picture award at an Oscar ceremony is not something Republicans should waste a second of their time on.
It’s not new and not a Democrat thing. On Jan. 20, 1985, Ronald Reagan — who, if I recall, was a Republican — performed the opening coin toss for the Super Bowl game via television from the White House.
The first lady’s appearance at the Oscars was something my father and my mother — his first wife, Academy Award-winning actress Jane Wyman — would have applauded, not booed.
It’s time for Republicans and conservatives to get serious. The country is burning down like ancient Rome, but we’re wasting our time and energy attacking Democrats for petty or nonexistent crimes that do nothing but hike TV ratings and give partisan bloggers fresh ammunition to shoot in the air.
It’s time for us to start fighting about the things that really matter. It’s time to come out of the weeds and start concentrating on the stuff that matters to the guy with no job or the business owner with high taxes, not the stupid stuff like Michelle Obama’s “Oscar Moment.”
- Michael Reagan: Mr. Obama Arrogance Isn’t the Answer (conservativeread.com)
- Michael Reagan cites air traffic controller strike: ‘Let the sequester happen’ (twitchy.com)
- Michael Reagan: Relax, my father’s childhood homes are safe from Obama’s library (twitchy.com)
- Michael Reagan: If It Was a GOP President the Headlines Would Be “Republicans Vote to Raise Your Taxes” (Video) (thegatewaypundit.com)
- Michael Reagan to keynote county GOP Lincoln Day dinner (sj-r.com)
- Michael Reagan: Waiting for the Sequel (conservativeread.com)
- Michael Reagan: Republicans need leader to follow (naplesnews.com)
- Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – ” Waiting for the Sequel (mbcalyn.com)
- Ronald Reagan by Michael Schaller (collectedmiscellany.com)
- Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – ” Junk Laws (mbcalyn.com)
The pre-sequester illegal immigrant release: Is Obama playing politics?
By Peter Weber | The Week – 8 hrs ago
Immigration officials have released hundreds of pending deportees, citing sequestration-related belt tightening. Republicans say they smell a rat
The Republicans arguing that the upcoming $85 billion in cuts to the federal budget are no big deal are facing their first big test. On Tuesday, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE)confirmed that it has released hundreds of immigrants awaiting deportation trials over the past few days to prepare for the sequestration slated to kick in March 1. “As fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible sequestration, ICE has reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget,” explained ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen.
The released detainees are “noncriminals and other low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal histories,” ICE says, and they will still be monitored through mandatory visits, ankle bracelets, or other supervised release while they await their court dates. But some Republicans smell a rat. “It’s abhorrent that President Obama is releasing criminals into our communities to promote his political agenda on sequestration,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. And even as he was urging senators to collectively get “off their ass” and pass a sequester-replacement bill, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told CBS News it is “very hard for me to believe that they can’t find cuts elsewhere in their agency.”
I frankly think this is outrageous, and I’m looking for more facts, but I can’t believe that they can’t find the kind of savings they need out of the department short of letting criminals go free…. I think that the administration is trying to play games — play games with the American people, scare the American people. This is not, this is not leadership. [CBS News, via Politico]
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whose department includes ICE, issued a sort of prebuttal on Monday. “Look, we’re doing our very best to minimize the impacts of sequester, but there’s only so much I can do,” she said. A sudden 5.3 percent cut in the budget is a lot of money, and “I’m supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration. How do I pay for those? We want to maintain 22,000-some odd Border Patrol agents. I got to be able to pay their salaries.”
But even supporters of easing America’s immigration laws say the mass release of detained immigrants is “unusual,” especially “as the sequester won’t even take effect until March 1,” says Suzy Khimm at The Washington Post. Politically motivated or not, “immigration advocates welcomed the news, having long been frustrated with a detention policy they consider draconian and wasteful.” The 30,773 people in ICE detention are each costing the government between $122 and $164 a day, according to the National Immigration Forum, and alternative, effective forms of detention, like ankle bracelets, cost between 30 cents and $14 a day. “It shouldn’t take a manufactured crisis in Washington to prompt our immigration agencies to actually take steps towards using government resources wisely or keeping families together,” said Carolina Canizales at the immigration reform group United We Dream.
None of that will stop Republicans from insisting “that this is some kind of publicity stunt by Obama to make ‘his’ sequester look bad to put pressure on the GOP to cave into his ‘unreasonable’ demands,”says Justin Rosario at Addicting Info. Well, welcome to “the Law of Unintended Consequences.” The GOP “gives a lot of lip service to ‘smarter government spending’ as well as cutting government spending,” and you might think they’d applaud Obama doing both in one fell swoop. But of course immigration hits a nerve with Republicans. They played with fired by pushing for big spending cuts. They’re getting burned.
The illegal immigrant release is “a great political move on the part of the White House,” says Mark Krikorian at National Review. Yes, Obama “achieves two goals in one fell swoop,”agrees Allahpundit at Hot Air, ”turning up the heat on the GOP to cave on cuts, yes, but also tossing the amnesty fans in his base a bone by reducing border enforcement.” But it could come back to bite him if it scuttles the delicate negotiations on an immigration overhaul bill. Still, Obama’s big preemptive strike “makes me more enthusiastic about the sequester, just because now I’m curious to see how derelict he’s willing to be in his duties to in the name of putting political pressure on the GOP. Next up: Suspending TSA checkpoints at America’s airports, maybe?”
“On its face, this is a brazen, outrageous move, indeed,” says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. But when you read the details, you have to wonder why Obama didn’t just do this earlier. His administration has drastically ramped up the number of deportees, and some of them spend years in detention, in what amounts to legal limbo.
This isn’t a “supervised” release; it’s a supervised release. The use of electronic monitoring and other safeguards actually makes good sense as an alternative to incarceration for all sorts of minor criminals, much less those waiting to adjudicate immigration disputes. It’s massively cheaper and more productive. Not to mention less cruel.
- Illegal immigrants released before sequester (abclocal.go.com)
- DHS releasing illegal immigrants before sequester (amresolution.com)
- DHS releasing illegal immigrants before sequester ()
- Detained Illegal Immigrants Released (huffingtonpost.com)
- Decision to release illegal immigrants because of sequester slammed by GOP (thehill.com)
- DHS releasing illegal immigrants before sequester (news.yahoo.com)
- Gov. Brewer ‘appalled’ by illegal immigrant release (azfamily.com)
- DHS releasing illegal immigrants before sequester – Newsday (newsday.com)
- Illegal immigrants being released by DHS before sequester (oregonlive.com)
- DHS Releases Illegals, Blames Cuts (foxnews.com)
A Tax to Pay for War
By R. RUSSELL RUMBAUGH
Published: February 10, 2013
NOW that Congress has discarded the idea that taxes can never be raised, we must change how we pay for the wars we ask our military to fight. We should institute a war tax.
With leading officials calling for action in Syria, and the American military providing support for France’s intervention in Mali, the need for such a tax is urgent. And President Obama’s call for tax reform as the next round of budget negotiations begins offers a perfect opportunity to enact it.
Military spending has been declining since 2009, easing the conflict between pursuing our national security interests and solving our fiscal crisis. But if we undertake new military interventions, that tension will come roaring back.
Those who look at our military spending as a percent of gross domestic product and argue that we could spend more are right. At our current level of $646 billion, we are spending roughly 4 percent of G.D.P. on national defense, well below cold war averages. The missing part of their argument is whether we can afford to pay for it now or would have to borrow, adding to the national debt. After all, war spending — like all government spending — wrecks public finances only when more money is spent than is brought in.
This simple equation is nothing new. Three years ago, the Senate Budget Committee adopted a bipartisan amendment requiring that wars be paid for. The Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction commission and Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, both proposed doing much the same thing. None of these proposals resolved the question of whether to pay for future wars through spending cuts or raising more revenue. Now that Congress has finally passed legislation letting taxes increase, we must make a choice and require a tax surcharge to pay for any military operation.
War traditionally has motivated major changes in tax policy. The Civil War brought the first income tax. World War I made the federal income tax permanent. World War II brought tax withholding. In 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, the United States ran a budget surplus because of a tax surcharge Congress forced President Lyndon B. Johnson to accept.
Today’s budget negotiations offer a similar opportunity to make a surcharge permanent. President Obama called for counting as savings the money that will not be spent as the war in Afghanistan winds down. Many decried the scheme as playing with funny money because he plans to exit Afghanistan in 2014 anyway; the savings only exist because of an accounting trick in Congressional budgeting. But if those savings were associated with an actual policy change, they would start looking more real.
Since the Budget Control Act already caps military spending, there is an easy way to implement the surcharge: any spending over the caps would require it. If we felt the need to use the military and could do so under the spending caps, as the Obama administration did in 2011 responding to the earthquake in Japan and the uprising in Libya, no surcharge would be necessary. But if military action required supplemental financing, any amount over the caps would be offset with new revenue raised by an automatic surcharge on taxes.
By tying military action to additional revenue, the president would actually have a freer hand in deciding when to use force. Every argument the Obama administration makes for military action would explicitly include a call for increased taxes, forcing the question of whether the stakes in the military situation are worth the cost. If the American people agree they are worth it, the president will get both the political support and financing he needs.
Syria is the most immediate example. We now know that some top officials have argued for arming the rebels, as the secretaries of state and defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff did last year. Others argue for an even more robust military response, while detractors insist that we should learn from Iraq and not get involved at all.
Such decisions should not be divorced from economic considerations, but neither should we allow our finances to prevent us from pursuing vital American security interests. Putting in place a permanent tax surcharge to pay for wars would ensure that we could achieve our interests throughout the world without further worsening our finances.
If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth our treasure, too — not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American.
- A Tax to Pay for War (dailyqueernews.wordpress.com)
- President Delivers a New Offer on the Fiscal Crisis to Boehner – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Stabilization Won’t Save Us – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Congress inaction on budget could affect raises, benefits for military (stripes.com)
- How will he pay for it? Fiscal realities put Obama agenda in question – NBCNews.com (blog) (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
- Tax rules change, but advice remains the same (cantonrep.com)
- War Addiction Default: America’s Political Dysfunction at Root is an Unwillingness to Cut War Spending (nationofchange.org)
- The GOP’s Defense Spending Problem (anirrationalviewoftheirrational.wordpress.com)
- Spoiled Brat Syndrome (safehaven.com)
- Obama’s War on the Troops (freebeacon.com)
JANUARY 23, 2013
OBAMA URGED TO RESIGN OVER BEYONCÉ SCANDAL
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – A rising chorus of congressional Republicans are calling on President Obama to acknowledge that the pop singer Beyoncé lip-synched during his inaugural festivities on Monday and resign from office, effective immediately.
“By lip-synching the national anthem, Beyoncé has cast a dark cloud over the President’s second term,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). “The only way President Obama can remove that cloud is by resigning from office at once.”
While many in the media have blamed Beyoncé for the lip-synching controversy, Mr. Paul said, “We must remember that this happened on President Obama’s watch.”
Mr. Paul said that the White House’s refusal to comment on the Beyoncé crisis “only serves the argument that this President has something to hide.”
“If Beyoncé lip-synched the national anthem, how do we know President Obama didn’t lip-sync his oath of office?” he said. “If that’s the case, he’s not legally President. But just to be on the safe side, he should resign anyway.”
Mr. Paul also blasted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her testimony on Benghazi before the Senate today: “Her tactic of answering each and every question we asked her didn’t fool anyone.”
- Obama Urged to Resign Over Beyonce Scandal : The New Yorker (newyorker.com)
- You Can’t Be Serious: GOP Wankster Wants President Obama To Resign Over Beyoncé Lip Sync Scandal? (bossip.com)
- Beyoncé lip-synching scandal,Obama urged to resign (mosvinbami.com)
- Seriously? GOP Demands Obama Resign After Beyonce’s Alleged Lip-Synching (myhoustonmajic.com)
- Seriously? GOP Demands Obama Resign After Beyonce’s Alleged Lip-Synching (woldcnews.com)
- Seriously? GOP Demands Obama Resign After Beyonce’s Alleged Lip-Synching (newsone.com)
- President Obama Is Not Being Asked To Resign Over Beyonce’ Incident (wreg.com)
- Is Rand Paul Really Urging Obama To Resign Over BeyoncĂŠ Scandal? Twitter Users Fall For New Yorker Magazineâs Joke (sfluxe.com)
- Seriously? GOP Demands Obama Resign After Beyonce’s Alleged Lip-Synching (newstalkcleveland.com)
- President Obama Being Urged To Resign… Because Beyonce Lip Synced? (soletschat.net)
JANUARY 13, 2013
OBAMA FURIOUS HE WASTED WEEK POSING FOR COIN
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—President Barack Obama was “totally furious” he spent a week of his time posing for a trillion-dollar platinum coin that would never be minted, a White House source confirmed today.
“The President is a super-busy man, so it’s understandable that he’d be mad,” the source said. “It’s not like he has time to sit still for hours on end for a coin that’s not going to happen.”
Mr. Obama devoted much of last week to posing for the trillion-dollar coin on the assurances of outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who told Mr. Obama that the coin had “a way better than fifty percent chance” of being minted.
Based on Mr. Geithner’s advice, Mr. Obama carved hours out of his schedule to pose for the ill-fated coin, even cutting short meetings with world leaders such as Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
But even as he posed for it, Mr. Obama seemed “fidgety and skeptical” that the platinum coin would ever see the light of day.
“He was like, ‘Look, I’ve got things to do. Is this coin really going to happen, because if not, this whole thing is really messed up,’” the source said.
When Mr. Geithner delivered the news to the President that the coin idea had been scrapped, according to the source, “to say that things got ugly would be a massive understatement.”
The coin fiasco behind him, Mr. Obama has now apparently learned his lesson, the source said: “If this coin idea ever comes up again, he’s going to make Biden pose for it.”
- US Will Not Mint Trillion-Dollar Coin in Debt Ceiling Ploy (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Obama Trillion-Dollar Coin Rejected By White House, Must Cut, Default or ‘Violate Constitution’ (princevega.com)
- Can We Avert The Coming Debt Ceiling Crisis With A Magic Coin? (mbcalyn.com)
- “An Inane Idea”: With A Trillion Dollar Coin, President Obama Can Fight Dumb With Silly (mbcalyn.com)
- Treasury: Trillion-dollar coin would not be legal (hosted.ap.org)
- Treasury: No $1 trillion coin (cbsnews.com)
- US Treasury won’t mint platinum coin to avoid debt ceiling (todayonline.com)
- Is a one trillion dollar coin the solution for debt? (reuters.com)
- White House nixes idea for trillion-dollar coin (ktvb.com)
- Obama Administration Rejects Platinum Coin Debt-Ceiling Solution (huffingtonpost.com)