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Bangla: At least 50 feared dead in sepoy mutiny
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Page 6: Politix
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Home Front: Politix
Not even Olympia Snowe can stomach Obama's tax plan
Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), one of President Obama's most important Republican allies, is skeptical about his plan to raise a variety of taxes to reduce the budget deficit.

Obama's advisers have told lawmakers that they would like to fund a $634 billion healthcare proposal over the next 10 years by scaling back tax deductions for the nation's highest income earners.

"Maybe he's got the cart before the horse," Snowe said of Obama's proposed tax increases.

Specifically, Obama would like to reduce how much earners in the top bracket, who pay 35 percent income tax, may deduct. The president would like to limit the deductions of top-bracket earners to the same level as Americans in the 28 percent bracket.

Under this plan, top earners would no longer accrue $3,500 in tax savings for every $10,000 deducted. The benefit would be limited to $2,800 -- the percentage of benefit available to taxpayers further down the income scale.

Snowe has concerns that Obama's new plan will only add to the complexity of the tax code.

She believes Congress should tackle the bigger job of restructuring the entire tax code in a simpler way. "I would prefer tax reform," Snowe said Thursday after Obama's budget hit the Hill. "I don't know why we can't do it. I don't know why they can't set up a working group, a collaborative process between Treasury and Congress, House Ways and Means and Senate Finance and start that process because we have a serious problem with the tax code."

Snowe said she told Obama that she would like tax reform pursued during the 111th Congress.

The centrist Republican said now is the time to act because Congress will have to soon deal with the expiration of income tax cuts passed during former President Bush's first term and the expiration of a one-year freeze of the Alternative Minimum Tax. "I'm saying we should have tax reform in the next two years, just like we did in '84. We had two years of a lot of debate and a lot of contentiousness but worked it through between Treasury, House and Senate."

Snowe was the only Republican on the Senate Finance Committee to vote for the Democratic-crafted tax portion of the $787 billion economic stimulus package. Obama's Make Work Pay tax credit, which provided tax relief up to $400 for individuals and $800 for couples, was the centerpiece of that proposal.

Snowe was one of only three Republicans to vote for the entire stimulus package, the first major priority of Obama's first term. Centrist GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Arlen Specter (Pa.) also voted for it.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 02/26/2009 16:11 || Comments || Link || [336096 views] Top|| File under:

#1  She'll buckle in the end. Snowe has almost never met a tax she didn't like.
Posted by: Iblis || 02/26/2009 17:11 Comments || Top||

#2  "Olympia, we've already established what you are, now we're just dickering over price"

Posted by: Frank G || 02/26/2009 19:51 Comments || Top||

#3  Tax plan didn't give enough money for folks to make the switch to those HDTVs you forced on us Olympia?
Posted by: 3dc || 02/26/2009 20:13 Comments || Top||

Obama's Budget: Almost $1 Trillion in New Taxes Over Next 10 yrs, Starting 2011
President Obama's budget proposes $989 billion in new taxes over the course of the next 10 years, starting fiscal year 2011, most of which are tax increases on individuals.

1) On people making more than $250,000:

$338 billion - Bush tax cuts expire
$179 billlion - eliminate itemized deduction
$118 billion - capital gains tax hike

Total: $636 billion/10 years

2) Businesses:

$17 billion - Reinstate Superfund taxes
$24 billion - tax carried-interest as income
$5 billion - codify "economic substance doctrine"
$61 billion - repeal LIFO
$210 billion - international enforcement, reform deferral, other tax reform
$4 billion - information reporting for rental payments
$5.3 billion - excise tax on Gulf of Mexico oil and gas
$3.4 billion - repeal expensing of tangible drilling costs
$62 million - repeal deduction for tertiary injectants
$49 million - repeal passive loss exception for working interests in oil and natural gas properties
$13 billion - repeal manufacturing tax deduction for oil and natural gas companies
$1 billion - increase to 7 years geological and geophysical amortization period for independent producers
$882 million - eliminate advanced earned income tax credit

Total: $353 billion/10 years
Posted by: Steve White || 02/26/2009 14:46 || Comments || Link || [336078 views] Top|| File under:

We must gain the attention of Washington immediately to avert this disaster from forver changing our nation. I propose a National Strike. On an agreed upon date, not very far off, every opponent of this administration and it's insane socialist agenda should simply fail to go to work. A national Blue Flu. No demonstrations, no violence, no civil disobedience, just millions of people not working that day! And when they drive, headlights on! Let the politicians in Washington get a sense of the aner and frusration the actual producers of American feel at being robbed to pay or bailout those who don't contribute to our national prosperity but who would take ours by force of law.
Posted by: CALL to ACTION || 02/26/2009 16:08 Comments || Top||

#2  I just took a look at the summary. The budget projects out to 2019. Deficits shrink to $533 billion for 2013. They start to rise again thereafter.

$533 billion is the lowest annual deficit projected for the next 10 years.

The budget also assumes that nominal GDP is flat for 2009, up 3.4% in 2010, and averages 5.0% growth from 2011 to 2019.

The Budget is entitled "A New Era of Responsibility" and the first chapter is "Inheriting a Legacy of Misplaced Priorities".
Posted by: DoDo || 02/26/2009 16:26 Comments || Top||

#3  The number that matters isn't the annual deficit, it's the cumulative debt.

As debt goes up, interest payment consume an increasing proportion of revenues, leaving progressively less to be spent on other things.

High debt levels give governments a vested interest in inflation and the need to keep interest rates artificially low.

I can't find an estimate of interest rates paid by the gov in future years, but I doubt they are realistic and hence these projections probably meaningless.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/26/2009 17:37 Comments || Top||

#4  On an agreed upon date, not very far off, every opponent of this administration and it's insane socialist agenda should simply fail to go to work.

Don't worry, the productive people will stop working soon enough.
Posted by: AzCat || 02/26/2009 18:40 Comments || Top||

#5  It's call three card monty. Here's the point.

"The “top 2%” includes a family of two earners making $250,000 per year … but it also includes the super rich such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. $250,000 to $40 billion. That’s a pretty big gap for a space of just 2%. Of course, most of the uber-wealthy do not pay income taxes but rather pay capital gains taxes, generally because to become that rich you either inherited it, don’t actually make an ‘income,’ or own huge amounts of stocks and bonds and periodically sell. Those types of disbursements - set up by very top of global wealth - are generally taxed at a 15% capital gains rate and it’s why Warren Buffett is wrong on taxes when he says he “pays less than his secretary.”

Amid the frenzy to be “fair” and have the “rich” pay more, let’s remember one thing: income taxes are paid by those who make an income. In other words, they work. The majority of the highest income tax payers in America aren’t the Forbes 400, but rather successful businesspeople and small business owners who take an income and not stock, tax free municipal bonds, etc."

Let's destroy the means of production while we seize them. /sarcasm off
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/26/2009 18:47 Comments || Top||

#6  Don't worry, the productive people will stop working soon enough.

Or find ways to make sure they are about 10k or so under the cutoff line (which will probably be less than the proposed 250k.)
Posted by: Cornsilk Blondie || 02/26/2009 18:56 Comments || Top||

#7  And I suspect that sort of thing will be a lot easier in flyover country than on the coasts Blondie.
Posted by: Thing From Snowy Mountain || 02/26/2009 19:32 Comments || Top||

#8  How to make money off of any resulting shifts that might cause, I don't know.
Posted by: Thing From Snowy Mountain || 02/26/2009 19:33 Comments || Top||

#9  Better learn to enjoy recession, we're going to be in one for a LONG time.
Posted by: DMFD || 02/26/2009 19:57 Comments || Top||

#10  Where did I hear it all before?
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 02/26/2009 20:27 Comments || Top||

#11  I note the static analysis used for these "estimates". They are not estimates at all, they are wishful thinking.

Tax collections depend disproportionately on reported income by high-income earners. This is extremely volatile. The CBO estimates on reported income are by their nature obsolete, based on previous years high levels of reported income. We certainly won't see that again for a long time. The CBO made the same gross errors in their revenue estimates for the 2001-2003 recession.

And then there is the fact that tax increases suppress reported earnings (and tax cuts increase them), so a tax increase NEVER collects as much as a static analysis implies.
Posted by: buwaya || 02/26/2009 21:00 Comments || Top||

#12  video showing how he's better then us peons
Posted by: 3dc || 02/26/2009 21:11 Comments || Top||

The Chinagate/Buddhist temple cash skeletons in Gary Locke's closet
H/T Michelle Malkin. I'm glad BHO won't be using lobbyists in his administration. /s
Is it possible for Barack Obama to pick a Commerce Secretary nominee who'll actually make it past first base? Bill Richardson withdrew in the midst of a pay-for-play scandal. Judd Gregg withdrew in the midst of a humiliating power play over the Census and porkulus bill.

Now, former Democrat Gov. Gary Locke -- a lawyer for international firm Davis, Wright, and Tremaine who specializes in China -- is rumored to be the next nominee for the post. The MSM is pulling for him. WaPo writes: "Locke is regarded as a safe choice by senior officials in the Obama administration given his long history in public life, his strait-laced reputation and his bipartisan governing credentials." Wishful thinking? Willful cluelessness? Probably a bit of both.

I covered Gary Locke when I worked at the Seattle Times. I dealt with his campaign and gubernatorial staffs. "Strait-laced" is not the adjective I'd use for my dealings with him and his people.

In response to my columns pressing Locke on his close ties to campaign finance crook John Huang, the governor's office first stonewalled. His standard Democrat smokescreen? Play the race card and play the victim.
From June 1999: Continued in extensive article....
Posted by: tipover || 02/26/2009 14:41 || Comments || Link || [336080 views] Top|| File under:

Sen. Tombstone's son is a mortgage deadbeat
Chicago Sun-Times is about the only investigative newspaper in the country right now ...
The son of embattled Sen. Roland Burris is a federal tax deadbeat who landed a $75,000-a-year state job under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich five months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Blagojevich's administration hired Roland W. Burris II as a senior counsel for the state's housing authority Sept. 10 -- about six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his South Side house.
I'm just guessing here but I wonder whether, if you went through each Democratic office-holder and their families around this country, if you would find more of these. Many more of these.
A spokeswoman for the Illinois Housing Development Authority indicated Wednesday there was nothing improper about Burris II's employment by the agency, whose mission includes overseeing mortgage programs for low-income home buyers and anti-foreclosure initiatives.
"He's an expert!"
Burris II's hiring, however, raises more questions about Sen. Burris' interactions with Blagojevich and his inner circle at a time when the governor was soliciting Sen. Burris for campaign contributions and Burris was angling to have Blagojevich appoint him to the Senate seat once held by President Obama. Blagojevich appointed Burris to that seat in late December after Blagojevich was charged with trying to sell the vacancy to the highest bidder.
More and more you wonder what the payoff was supposed to be ...
Sen. Burris, 71, is fending off calls for his resignation and is the subject of a Senate ethics probe and a perjury investigation by the top prosecutor in Downstate Sangamon County. Those probes stem from conflicting testimony Sen. Burris provided to the House panel that drafted impeachment charges against Blagojevich, who was removed from office Jan. 29.

Separately, federal authorities have been investigating hiring decisions by Blagojevich's administration. Authorities, however, have not expressed any interest in Burris II, Housing Development Authority spokeswoman Rebecca Boykin said. "Roland Burris II was hired by the Illinois Housing Development Authority's Legal Department based on his qualifications in response to a published job posting," Boykin stated. "As an employer, it is not IHDA's practice to request financial information from applicants."
Much too embarrassing to do that ...
Sen. Burris' office, Burris II and Sen. Burris' lawyer, Timothy Wright III, did not return telephone calls and e-mails seeking comment. Blagojevich's publicist also did not respond to questions about Burris II's hiring.

Burris II, 42, once worked at the same law firm as his father: Burris, Wright, Slaughter & Tom. That firm merged with another in the fall.
So Sonny pro'ly had a decent income ...
Burris II had resolved two federal tax liens in 2005 before being hit with the $34,163 lien in July. That lien against his property seeks unpaid taxes for 2004, 2005 and 2007.
Taxes are for little people, doncha know ...
A month after the IRS filed the lien, Burris II's lender filed its foreclosure suit. Since Burris II and his wife got the $372,000 mortgage on July 18, 2006, they've paid less than $3,000 on it, the suit alleges. The balance due is $406,685, including interest and penalties.
So in two and a half years they've made what, one, two mortgage payments? Three at the most? And he works for IHDA as a 'special counsel'.
The fact that Burris II faces foreclosure but is working at a housing-related state agency "reeks of hypocrisy," said state Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), who was the first to call on Sen. Burris to testify before the impeachment panel.

"It's probably not the area where he [Burris II] should be counseling Illinois citizens on how to stave off foreclosure," Durkin said. "I guess it just begs the question: Why was he placed there, and to what extent did Sen. Burris have conversations regarding the placement?"

Burris II built his home in the booming Bronzeville neighborhood on land he bought from the City of Chicago in 2000. City records show he paid $1 for the lot as part of an effort to clean up his once-blighted block.
And there's another problem. Bronzeville used to be pretty run down but in the last ten years it's cleaned up a lot. It sits on the south side between and west of Dearborn Park and Hyde Park. It had some terrible, terrible public housing but that was torn down (correctly so), and the area has been gentrifying with urban black professionals. It's close to downtown and it's a historic district. So how did Sonny get a $1 lot? Oh heavens, I can't imagine how ...
Posted by: Steve White || 02/26/2009 11:51 || Comments || Link || [336083 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And another exciting edition of ... Name That Party!
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/26/2009 13:25 Comments || Top||

#2  Chicago Sun-Times is about the only investigative newspaper in the country right now ...

On people they don't 'like'.
Posted by: Pappy || 02/26/2009 13:50 Comments || Top||

We're closing "Black Sites" and we'll make nice with Congress
CIA Director Leon E. Panetta says the relationship between the intelligence agency and Congress has "had a lot of problems" under the last administration and "has to be repaired," which he said is one of his top priorities.

Panetta, a former House member and top White House official who was sworn in Feb. 13, told a media roundtable Wednesday that the "relationship was badly damaged" and that he hopes "to restore the trust between this Agency and Capitol Hill."

"Frankly, I can't do my job unless I have their trust." he said. "And since I'm a creature of the Hill and understand what it means to be a member up there and have this kind of information, I'm prepared to try to do whatever I can to try to repair that relationship."
Too bad Valerie Plame quit, she'd be a natural as his Congressional liaison ...
Panetta made his comments at a meeting with two dozen reporters who were allowed into his conference room inside the agency's heavily fortified headquarters compound, the George Bush Center for Intelligence in Langley, Va. Plates piles with big cookies were in the center of a massive conference table in a room a few doors from the director's office.

The hall is lined with offices with secure doors opened with safe-like dials.

Facing a portrait of President Obama on the opposite wall, Panetta said that under the Bush administration, there was at times "a deliberate effort to not develop firm ground rules" about congressional notification "in order to be able to do this in a haphazard manner depending on what the issues were."
Flexibility is a bitch, what we need is a ponderous bureaucracy.
" I just think that's wrong," he said. "This country has to operate by a set of rules that are in line with our Constitution and in line with the laws of this country. ... We swear to support and defend that Constitution in taking these jobs. I think that, unfortunately, there wasn't a clear set of ground rules her ... in terms of how to deal with the Congress."

Panetta said that on some sensitive matters, the top congressional leaders (the "gang of four," in Hill paralance) were notified by the Bush administration, while other times the intelligence committees were included (the "gang of eight").

"One of the things I'd like to do, frankly, is set some ground rules as to when we do notify the Congress and who we do have to notify," he said. "Do we notify the gang of eight; do we notify all of the members plus their staffs ... so that we all know the rules that we're operating by."
Let's tell Leaky Leahy everything.
At his confirmation hearing, Panetta vowed "a clean break" from some controversial Bush-era polices. He told the reporters: "If we stand by our ideals, if we stand by the beliefs that we have about what this country is all about, I think it makes us stronger, not only here but throughout the world."
There are no sharks in the ocean, only "Charlie the Tuna". Lalalala
For one thing, he said, "We are closing black sites," a reference to secret prisons abroad used to hold and question suspected terrorist combatants.
That makes me feel safer.
The phrase "war on terror," a hallmark of President George W. Bush's White House, is rarely used in the Obama administration, but Panetta that "there's no question this is a war."
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 02/26/2009 06:54 || Comments || Link || [336098 views] Top|| File under:

#1  What black sites? Or do we have no need to know?
Posted by: Thing From Snowy Mountain || 02/26/2009 9:00 Comments || Top||

#2  “We are closing black sites,” a reference to secret prisons

The term of reference "black" NFD, in the context used by the DCI, may not be limited to "secret" terrorist hold sites. What we may be seeing is a reduction of all clandestine intelligence activities that were developed post 9/11, and a return to the pipe smoking, academic approach to intelligence of the Carter years. The mention of "black programs" or "sites" by the DCI is ominous.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/26/2009 9:30 Comments || Top||

#3  Closing black sites? Does Sharpton know about this?
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/26/2009 10:25 Comments || Top||

#4  I wonder if there are any "right thinking" members of the CIA that will start to "share" information with the "right thinking" press like the Ivy League Leftist Cabal in the CIA did with WaPo/NYT/LAT? It will be interesting to what revelations will come out about the Obama CIA versus the Bush CIA. I say there will not be much difference just disappointment to his adoring public.
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 02/26/2009 10:58 Comments || Top||

#5  "This country has to operate by a set of rules that are in line with our Constitution and in line with the laws of this country"

Does anyone in Washington even know what the Constitution says anymore? I thought is just said whatever they wanted it to say. So clearly the CIA actions are as Constitutional as they want them to be.
Posted by: Glenmore || 02/26/2009 13:26 Comments || Top||

#6  black sites is also a term for a defense related institution with no external internet contact.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 02/26/2009 14:03 Comments || Top||

#7  I call BS ... the Intel Committee was in the loop about ... well, everything during the past 8 yrs. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds. We are sooo screwed.
Posted by: William Marcy Tweed || 02/26/2009 18:22 Comments || Top||

#8  So, if there is another 911 (God forbid), is the current administration going to blame George Bush?
Posted by: JohnQC || 02/26/2009 18:51 Comments || Top||

#9  Why of course, their Black God cannot be at fault, no way, no way indeed, how dare you even suggest such a thing. (Etc)

PROOF, watch this vanish into the moderator chasm of dislike.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/26/2009 18:56 Comments || Top||

#10  Rednek Jim Redneck Jim you may have missed the message yesterday, you need to add the "c" back into your name handle. That's why you lost your comment count.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 02/26/2009 21:02 Comments || Top||

Potential intel pick peddled Saudi-funded textbook accused of bias
(JTA) -- The Obama administration's reported pick for a top intelligence post helped peddle a Saudi-funded school study guide decried by Jewish groups and educators for having anti-Jewish biases.

Charles "Chas" Freeman, the U.S. envoy to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, is slated to chair the National Intelligence Council, according to The Cable, a blog at Foreign Policy magazine that has been unerring in reporting Obama administration national security appointments.

Sources acquainted with Freeman and his putative boss, Adm. Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, confirmed to JTA that Freeman is under consideration, but say that nothing is final. An acquaintance of Freeman's in the Middle East policy community says the appointment largely derives from the close friendship between Blair and Freeman.

Spokesmen for Freeman and for the White House declined to comment.

Freeman is president of the Middle East Policy Council, a Saudi-funded think tank. A JTA investigative series in 2005 exposed how the council, led by Freeman, joined with Berkeley, Calif.-based Arab World and Islamic Resources in peddling the "Arab World Studies Notebook" to American schools. In the version examined that year by JTA staff, the "Notebook" described Jerusalem as unequivocally "Arab," deriding Jewish residence in the city as "settlement"; cast the "question of Jewish lobbying" against "the whole question of defining American interests and concerns"; and suggested that the Koran "synthesizes and perfects earlier revelations."

Posted by: Fred || 02/26/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336077 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This guy is the worst possible pick for this job. He's an arabist, and a jew-hater (I know, same thing).
Posted by: Parabellum || 02/26/2009 7:55 Comments || Top||

#2  This guy has been president of the Saudi funded org. Middle East Policy Council since late 1997 or early 1998. His predecessor was George McGovern.

He is also CEO of something called Projects International Inc. which 'arranges' international partnerships.
Posted by: mhw || 02/26/2009 9:39 Comments || Top||

#3  He is also CEO of something called Projects International Inc. which 'arranges' international partnerships.

Something like the Kissinger Foundation, Chinese connection, say?
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/26/2009 9:45 Comments || Top||

#4  Well he is certainly upsetting the "intellectual NY East Side" jewish community led by TNR's Marty Peretz who along with the other 78% of jews voted for Obama. They just can't believe Obama would put Israel at risk. What with a Paleo kissing SecState, you didn't see this coming?
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 02/26/2009 11:01 Comments || Top||

#5  In Atlas Shrugged, we were warned about a gov't that had State Dept types named "Dickie" and "Chas".

For what's it's worth, I once had a car I called "Chas"... it was a piece of , too.
Posted by: Clavish the Scantily Clad9900 || 02/26/2009 14:11 Comments || Top||

#6  Chas is the publisher (not author) of The Israel Lobby. See here for more details.
Posted by: Mike || 02/26/2009 14:24 Comments || Top||

Two Obama Cabinet Members Added Earmarks to Omnibus Spending Bill
Two of President Obama's Cabinet members authored a variety of earmarks in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill the House is poised to pass Wednesday to keep the government running through Oct. 1.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis were both House members when appropriators began to forge this legislation last year. However, a stalemate between President Bush and congressional Democrats forced the sides to punt the rest of the spending provisions until now.

New transparency rules ordered up by Democrats two years ago require lawmakers requesting earmarks to write a letter expressly asking Congress to dedicate money for a given project. And as one scours the omnibus spending bill, it's easy to find specific appeals from people who are no longer in office, like LaHood and Solis.

In LaHood's case, the former Republican Illinois congressman wrote a March 19, 2008, letter asking Congress set aside funding to move the "Jacksonville bandstand" from one of the House office buildings to the National Museum of American History in Washington. LaHood also earmarked funds for police radio upgrades, agriculture research and equipment at a planetarium in Peoria, Ill.

As a Democratic congresswoman from suburban Los Angeles, Solis asked for the federal government to cover the cost of police equipment in Covina, Monterey Park and Baldwin Park, Calif.

As Cabinet secretaries, LaHood and Solis will continue to have significant sway over Washington policy decisions. But because the omnibus bill is a holdover from last year, dozens of lawmakers who either retired or lost re-election are still legislating from the political grave.

After surviving a tight race in 2006, Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, decided not to seek re-election in 2008. But the House Wednesday will approve Pryce's request to fund after school programs at the YWCA. Former Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., was one of the most-vulnerable freshman Democrats to win a House seat in 2006. She didn't survive a 2008 challenge from Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins. But Boyda's earmark to "identify and trace food-borne zoonotic diseases" lives on.

Former Rep. Tom Allen failed to unseat Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine last fall. Still, Allen earmarked money for "Lowbush Wild Blueberry Research" and potato cloning programs at the University of Maine.

Posted by: Fred || 02/26/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336098 views] Top|| File under:

#1  So did Obama. These are the leftovers from 2008 budget that they didn't have time to scam the American Public. Some of these are actually overlapping earmarks in Porkulus/Stimulus ARRA bill just passed. A billion here, a trillion there, pretty soon we will all be Zimbaweans.
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 02/26/2009 11:03 Comments || Top||

Congress Should Cut Military Spending, Says Democrat Barney Frank
Congress should cut U.S. military spending by $160 billion, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, proposed at a press conference Tuesday.

That same day, however, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who controls the House floor schedule, distanced himself and the majority leadership from Frank's proposal -- and both the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services declined to endorse Frank's plan.

"It's absurd to talk about reducing the deficit while giving a pass to the military budget," Frank told reporters. "We can reduce military spending without in any way undercutting our national security."

Frank's plan, according to a document released by his office, would reduce military spending by a total of $160 billion, with $100 billion of the savings coming from money currently being spent on the Iraq War. Other cuts would include a reduction of about 75 percent in the funding requested by the Bush administration for "nuclear forces," as well as deep funding cuts for the development of controversial weapon systems, including a tilt-rotor aircraft (V-22 Osprey) and stealth fighter jet (F/A-22 Raptor.)

For fiscal year 2008, President Bush requested $481.4 billion for Defense Department spending and an additional $145.2 billion to fund the "global war on terror," which he requested as emergency supplemental spending.

"No one is denying that America should be by far the strongest country in the world," said Frank. "But we are talking about by how many multiples we have to be the strongest nation in the world, and whether or not there is some money to be saved in doing that."
Posted by: Fred || 02/26/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336082 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "It's absurd to talk about reducing the deficit while giving a pass to the military budget," Frank told reporters. "We can reduce military spending without in any way undercutting our national security."

Conversely,it would be absurd to pass a .75 trillion spending bill without including a prime core government function, defense.

Truly amazing and breathtaking garbage, in Franks standing before microphones and declaring defense needs to be cut after overspending everywhere else.

And it is no wonder the democrat house leadership will not include spending cuts for defense, especially after planning to increase every other part of the federal budget.
Posted by: badanov || 02/26/2009 0:19 Comments || Top||

#2  yeah cut defense spending while we are at war on 2 fronts moron, and a 3rd coming up on the texas border
Posted by: rabid whitetail || 02/26/2009 0:46 Comments || Top||

#3  how bout cutting his balls off would that suffice
Posted by: rabid whitetail || 02/26/2009 0:47 Comments || Top||

#4  Nah cut spending as he asked, defund his office, salary and pension.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/26/2009 1:39 Comments || Top||

#5  Frank told reporters "We can reduce military spending without in any way undercutting our national security." This is the same guy who refuted Republican efforts to better regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie by proclaimming they were "financially sound" and well run.

Posted by: GK || 02/26/2009 4:09 Comments || Top||

#6  Is this the same Bawney Fwank that played clutch butt with Herb Moses, Executive of Fanny May Fannie Mae? Nah, it couldn't be, he's beyond reproach, We can trust him. NOT
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 02/26/2009 6:19 Comments || Top||

#7  He can start by cutting the $900m just approved for Hamas rearming rebuilding.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/26/2009 7:32 Comments || Top||

#8  Bawney should stick to interior decorating. His knowledge of military matters is about as deep as my knowledge of color coordination.
Posted by: Parabellum || 02/26/2009 7:58 Comments || Top||

#9  First we cut all the port from the defense budget that's been added by the Massachusetts delegation.

Then we close all the bases in Massachusetts.

Then we see what's left.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/26/2009 9:47 Comments || Top||

#10  There's a lot of garbage in the procurements part of the defense budget. We could use another Senator Truman, to be honest.

Instead, we've got Barney Frank, Jack Murtha, and the rest of their sort, who are just interested in clearing a space at the trough by knifing some of their fellow swine.

I tell you what, how about we start with anything with Murtha's fingerprints all over it?
Posted by: Mitch H. || 02/26/2009 10:16 Comments || Top||

#11  Rush calls him the Banking Queen and Shanklin made a parody song out the old ABBA hit. This is just the beginning of losing our officer and seasoned NCO corp and turning the remaining members over to the Obama Re-education Corp.
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 02/26/2009 11:05 Comments || Top||

#12  There's not a helluva lot of military bases left up here to close. Hanscom AFB, Westover and Otis (AFReserve bases), Natick Labs, and some various small Coast Guard bases. One or two of the minor coastie bases might be in Barney's district, but that's about it.
It might be fun to do something like threaten to cut back on AIDS research, just to see how pissed off that would get him.
Posted by: tu3031 || 02/26/2009 13:45 Comments || Top||

#13  Hell, why don't we just cut ALL the military spending? Imagine all the money THAT would save! I mean, now that The One is in charge, everybody loves us, right?

Freakin' dumbass.....
Posted by: Cornsilk Blondie || 02/26/2009 15:32 Comments || Top||

#14  Actually, the ongoing knife fight among the Dems over military spending is going to be fun to watch. Remember, the Pentagon and defense contractors have spent years putting plants in every major district; with the recession going on, Congress critters will fight to the death to keep those plants open and running -- high paying jobs with good benefits. Some of the really expensive high tech programs like the F-35 might take some hits, but the bread and butter programs like the vehicle replacement program will not be cut; as a matter of fact, I expect to see programs like that actually increased to "replace all the equipment wasted by Bushitler in his illegal wars" (actual statement from one of the Congress critters concerned).
Posted by: Shieldwolf || 02/26/2009 16:38 Comments || Top||

#15  Bwany, you are a friggin genius. How about Massachusetts getting a real Congressman?
Posted by: JohnQC || 02/26/2009 18:54 Comments || Top||

House Approves $410 Billion Spending Bill
The Democratic-controlled House approved $410 billion legislation Wednesday that boosted domestic programs, bristled with earmarks and chipped away at policies left behind by the Bush administration.

The vote was 245-178, largely along party lines.

Republicans assailed the measure as too costly -- particularly on the heels of a $787 billion stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed last week. But Democrats jabbed back.

"The same people who drove the economy into the ditch are now complaining about the size of the tow truck," said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., pointing out the large increase in deficits that President George W. Bush and GOP-controlled Congresses amassed.

From the GOP side, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas said the legislation was "going to grow the government 8.3 percent ... but the family budget which has to pay for the federal budget only grew at 1.3 percent last year."

The debate occurred one day after Obama told Congress in a prime time television address that he intends to cut deficits in half over the next four years, and one day before he submits tax and spending plans for the coming year. Given the extraordinary costs of the financial industry bailout and the stimulus, the White House projects this year's budget shortfall will be $1.5 trillion, triple the previous record of $455 billion in 2008.

In a symbolic bow to the recession, Democrats included in the spending measure a prohibition on a cost-of-living increase for members of Congress for the year.

Overall, the legislation would provided increases of roughly 8 percent for the federal agencies it covered, about $32 billion more than last year.

The bill is intended to allow smooth functioning of the government through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. The Senate has yet to vote on its version.

After persuading lawmakers to keep earmarks off the stimulus bill, Obama made no such attempt on the first non-emergency spending measure of his presidency. The result was that lawmakers claimed billions in federal funds for pet projects -- a total of 8,570 earmarks at a cost of $7.7 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. Majority Democrats declined to provide a number of earmarks, but said the cost was far smaller, $3.8 billion, 5 percent less than a year ago.

Among the earmarks was one sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., who secured $200,000 for a "tattoo removal violence outreach program" in Los Angeles. Aides said the money would pay for a tattoo removal machine that could help gang members or others shed visible signs of their past, and anyone benefiting would be required to perform community service.

Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said the bill included at least a dozen earmarks for clients of PMA Group, a lobbying company now at the center of a federal corruption investigation.

"It's simply not responsible to allow a soon-to-be-criminally indicted lobbying firm to win funding, all borrowed, in this bill," he said. No charges have been filed against the firm or its principals, although the company's offices were raided earlier this month, and it has announced plans to disband by the end of the month.

Federal prosecutors are investigating PMA Group's founder and president, Paul Magliochetti, who is a former top aide to Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds defense programs.

In remarks on the House floor, Republican leader John Boehner urged Obama to veto the legislation, citing earmarks.

At the White House, press secretary Robert Gibbs responded only in general terms whether that was possible.

"There is great concern in this building and by the president about earmarks," Gibbs said.

"Without having looked specifically at a piece of legislation, I'm hesitant to throw out that four-letter word, `Veto."'

After eight years without control of the White House, congressional Democrats also used the legislation to target several policies of former President Bush.

Under the bill, Mexican-licensed trucks are banned from operating outside commercial zones along the border with the United States. The Teamsters union, which supported Obama's election last year, had sought the move. The Bush administration backed a pilot program to permit up to 500 trucks from 100 Mexican motor carriers access to U.S. roads.

Bush administration restrictions on travel to Cuba were loosened in the legislation, to permit more frequent visits and expand the list of family members permitted to make trips to see relatives on the Communist nation-island.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., took aim at a provision that he said would vastly broaden the government's ability to invoke the threat of climate change to halt economic development. "Most all of the shovel-ready projects on the trillion-dollar stimulus bill would in fact be at risk," he said.

Nominally, the provision halts implementation of a Bush-era regulation that lists the polar bear as a threatened species, and Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said it would merely give the new administration 60 days to decide its fate.

Democrats also inserted a provision into the bill to end a program that allows students in the District of Columbia to use federal funds to attend private schools of their choice. Boehner, who helped establish the program as part of a political bargain several years ago, called the move "hideous."

Posted by: Fred || 02/26/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336087 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Among the earmarks was one sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., who secured $200,000 for a "tattoo removal violence outreach program" in Los Angeles. Aides said the money would pay for a tattoo removal machine that could help gang members or others shed visible signs of their past, and anyone benefiting would be required to perform community service.

Now that's a damn good idea.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/26/2009 1:41 Comments || Top||

#2  Spending is the Problem.
Posted by: newc || 02/26/2009 6:01 Comments || Top||

#3  Here's a potential tatoo removal customer.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/26/2009 7:26 Comments || Top||

#4  quote from website
“I always wanted one from the first time I saw one. I thought of other stuff, but I’m a young person who’s interested in politics and what’s going on, and … I thought, ‘Why not
Answer, because you've now branded yourself both Democat and loser (When the next election comes around and the Democratic party Vanishes from the political Stage)

Good enough reason? Don't think It'll happen, ask the Whigs.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/26/2009 9:04 Comments || Top||

#5  IIUC, removing or otherwise defacing a gang stamp is severly punished and/or death penalty.

If the plan is indeed to fix the economy, its like watching 3am drunk Jenga.

I would like to see the President required to sign each and every earmark and addition to every bill. Get some old WWF commentators for CSpan to broadcast the President signing 8,570 times. "As we know the President cannot sign bills under the new law until the beginning of the next month and only has 6 hours to sign them all with 2 30 minute breaks and 3 10 minute time-outs, but I don't know Mean Gene this one's a bigger than a square of Andre's toilet paper, looks like he's getting tired, hand is starting to cramp - uh oh he switched to the other hand..is that even a legal move? The sweat is pouring and we aren't even a third of the way through this bill." That would definately stimulate the beer and pretzel industry out here.
Posted by: swksvolFF || 02/26/2009 12:50 Comments || Top||

#6  To paraphrase Evert Dirkson, "A trillion here, a trillion there... pretty soon it adds up to real money". The Dems or really something. In just 30 days, a trillion dollars has become chump change.
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 02/26/2009 17:36 Comments || Top||

House Kills Move to Examine Earmark-Campaign Contribution Axis
House Democrats killed a resolution Wednesday that called for an ethics committee inquiry into the relationship between campaign contributions and earmarks. The resolution, drafted by Jeff Flake , R-Ariz., cited recent reports of a federal investigation into the campaign finance activities of a lobbying firm, The PMA Group, which has been a major contributor to lawmakers’ campaigns and a successful advocate for earmarked federal dollars for its clients.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland moved to table, or kill, Flake’s resolution, and the House voted, 226-182, to do so. The move prevented a direct vote on whether to refer the matter to the ethics committee.

Only two Republicans voted with the Democratic majority. Seventeen Democrats voted with Flake, and 12 lawmakers — six from each party, including nine of the 10 members of the ethics panel — voted “present.”

Rep. Tim Holden , D-Pa., who presided over the House during the vote, received more than $57,000 in campaign contributions from PMA’s political action committee between 2001 and 2008. Holden secured $3.2 million in earmarks for clients represented by The PMA Group in the fiscal 2008 Defense appropriations law (PL 110-116), according to a database constructed by the nonprofit watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.

The PMA Group, which had its offices raided by the FBI last year, is closing its lobbying operation, and many of its employees have left to join or form other companies.

More than 100 members of the House sought and obtained earmarks for clients of The PMA Group, the leading defense-centered lobbying firm in Washington, in that fiscal 2008 Defense appropriations law, according to a CQ study of the TCS database. Those same members received more than $1.8 in campaign contributions to their political committees from PMA sources between 2001 and 2008, CQ found.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/26/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336080 views] Top|| File under:

#1  whores the lot of them.
Posted by: 3dc || 02/26/2009 20:14 Comments || Top||

Locke's China work complicates bid for commerce secretary
President Barack Obama on Wednesday tried for the third time to fill the vacant commerce secretary position, tapping former Washington Gov. Gary Locke for a Cabinet post that two previous nominees have backed away from.

But Lockes post-gubernatorial efforts to drum up business for an array of companies in the rapidly expanding Chinese market may require steps to reconcile with the administrations ethics policy.
Just another seedy politician ...
It didn't hurt Hillary.
At a late morning press conference, Obama called Locke "the right man for this job" and asserted Lockes background equips him to be "a tireless advocate for our economic competitiveness, and an influential ambassador for American industry who will help us do everything we can -- especially now -- to promote it around the world."
...and that's why he's my third choice.
What's good for Microsoft is good for America ...
Indeed, Lockes personal story as the son of immigrants, his leadership of trade-dependent Washington State and his private sector work makes him tailor-made to head the Commerce Department.

The problem is that Locke, a partner in an international law firms China division, has advocated for Microsoft, Starbucks, and banking, timber and shipping interests in recent years, raising potential conflicts for him as head of a department charged with promoting U.S. trade around the globe.

One of Obamas first acts as president was to sign an executive order barring executive branch officials from working on issues "directly and substantially related" to their former clients or employers for two years.
Which he's already had to pull back a couple times ...
Yet if hes confirmed as commerce secretary, Chinese trade issues -- including some with direct impact on the companies he went to bat for -- are likely to be high on the agenda for Locke, who is the first Chinese-American governor.

Software piracy issues would rank among them. Microsoft and other software developers have lobbied both the U.S. and Chinese governments to crack down on profit-draining practice. On a similar front, Starbucks recently won a trademark lawsuit against a Chinese company using its logo.

An administration official brushed off questions about what steps, if any, would be necessary to ensure Locke complied with Obamas ethics policy. Instead, the official said that Locke didnt act as a lawyer for the companies named in this story, with the exception of Microsoft. The other companies likely were clients of Lockes law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine, suggested the official, who did not respond to requests to release a full list of the clients Locke represented in the last two years.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/26/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || [336082 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How bad would it be were the position not filled for a few years?
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/26/2009 0:41 Comments || Top||

#2  Michelle Malkin was a reporter in the Seattle area and has the skinny on this guy.

Posted by: tipover || 02/26/2009 1:22 Comments || Top||

#3  Discloser: I live in Olympia, WA. I have a close relationship with people who know and worked with Locke. I am not a Dem. I have never worked for the State or Feds except as a lowly US Navy sailor.

Locke is by all reports a amazing brainiac and a man that most people would call a overachiever. He is, of course, a social liberal though not a ideologue. He could also be described as a fiscal realist, perhaps not a fiscal conservative but he can identify waste and within the limits of our screwed up system, he will try to improve things. Several people I know and trust feel he is as clean as its possible to be in our political system.
About China: Here in WA, trade with the Pacific Rim is very important, it's also important to the US as a whole. Even though he can't speak chinese, being about 110% assimilated, he is well known throughout the Rim area. He has lot of experience with the high tech industry here in WA. This is not a negative when we need to export ourselves out of this hole we are in.
In my opinion, Obama has blundered into a wise choice for the US.
Extra credit! I have not seen a recent photo but he also a hot looking wife.

Posted by: Dogsbody || 02/26/2009 1:42 Comments || Top||

#4  Sorry people, the last line should read,
He also has a hot looking wife.

As much as I admire M Malkin, a tough woman indeed, she has dredged up a bunch of crud that was hashed and rehashed by the local press and never went anywhere. I would suggest that if she wants to work over a WA politician she should fixate on that lowlife traitor Jim McDermott(D WA). If she wants to catch a pol stealing a red hot stove, I suggest she keep a eye on Ron Sims (D WA), from Seattle. I think he was recently appointed to a job at HUD.
Posted by: Dogsbody || 02/26/2009 2:50 Comments || Top||

#5  You can't say "a hot looking wife" without a pic.
Posted by: bman || 02/26/2009 10:55 Comments || Top||

#6  somebody named Kushibo has a pic on his blog that may be Locke's wife.
Posted by: mhw || 02/26/2009 11:26 Comments || Top||

#7  That be her! But only a full length photo will do her justice.
Posted by: Dogsbody || 02/26/2009 12:01 Comments || Top||

#8  So now we are judging people by the hotness of their spouse? (But she is damn cute :)

As I recall Locke at one time went to tour the schools in China to see 'what we can learn from them'. At a different time they discovered bats in the attic of the Governor's mansion. (talk about bats in the belfry...).

My impression is that Locke isn't quite as bad as some of the Pols around here in the Peoples Republic - like Ron Sims.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 02/26/2009 12:26 Comments || Top||

#9  The problem is that Locke, a partner in an international law firms China division, has advocated for Microsoft, Starbucks, and banking, timber and shipping interests in recent years, raising potential conflicts for him as head of a department charged with promoting U.S. trade around the globe.

The fact that he worked for American interests in China, instead of Chinese interests in America, would seem to be a plus.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 02/26/2009 20:08 Comments || Top||

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