CONTENTS: Williamson – Repo men; Another $1.2T; Ben Nelson + seven quit; OpenSecrets – campaign $; Voter ID – PA 934 (4 pieces and a February deadline); Guzzardi – issues & people for 2012; Newt (2 stories); Ron Paul (4 stories); WSJ – Mitt’s “vision thing”; Santorum hunts hawkeyes; A referendum on America; Muslim persecution of Copts; Michael Rubin – Kurdistan preps for war; Barry Rubin – Naïve dance in Tahrir
Announcements: p. 10 and at http://www.deadcatsandclippings.com/?page_id=394
“Iraq is gone” Michael Rubin, AEI, to Bill Bennett Tuesday morning.
“…the trajectory of Mr. Paul’s career shows that he and his closest political allies either wittingly or unwittingly courted disaffected white voters with extreme views as they sought to forge a movement from the nether region of American politics, where the far right and the far left sometimes converge.” Rutenberg & Kovaleski http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/us/politics/ron-paul-disowns-extremists-views-but-doesnt-disavow-the-support.html?_r=2&hp
“‘It’s really a choice of two futures,’ Ryan added. ‘We owe it to the country to let them choose what kind of country they want to be and what kind of people they want to be.’”
“A Gallup poll Tuesday indicates why Mr. Holder is trying so hard to gut ballot security measures. Mr. Obama trails in all swing states. Democrats fear they can’t win next year unless they cheat.” Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Tribune http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/12/27/why_americans_support_voter_id_laws_112546.html
Kevin Williamson, NRO: “Repo Men”
“…In a world of $600,000 cars (consult your local Maybach dealer) and $4,300-a-night whores (consult Eliot Spitzer), it’s no big deal to buy a president, which is precisely what Wall Street did in 2008 when, led by investment giant Goldman Sachs, it closed the deal on Barack Obama….”
“…With unemployment still topping 9 percent, the catastatic world economy teetering on the brink of another, even larger financial catastrophe, and trillion-dollar U.S. deficits as far as the green-shaded eye can see, let’s hear it for Obama’s first National Economic Council director, Lawrence Summers (of hedge-fund giant D. E. Shaw and venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz), who has had some nice paydays courtesy of Lehman Bros., JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup. Let’s hear it for Citigroup’s Michael Froman, deputy assistant to the president and deputy national-security adviser for international economic affairs, for Hartford Financial’s Neal Wolin, deputy Treasury secretary, for JPMorgan’s William Daley, Obama’s chief of staff, and for his predecessor, Rahm Emanuel of Wasserstein Perella. Let’s hear it for Fannie Mae’s Tom Donilon, national-security adviser. (No, seriously: One of the luminous interstellar geniuses who brought Fannie Mae to its current aphotic state of affairs, upside down to the tune of trillions of dollars, is running national security, and the former director of the White House Military Office, Louis Caldera, was on the board of IndyMac when it finally went toes up — sleep tight, America!) And, lest we forget, let’s have three big, sloppy cheers for economic-transition team leaders Robert Rubin (Goldman Sachs, Citigroup) and folksy tax enthusiast/ghoulish billionaire vulture Warren Buffett.
“That’s a pretty fantastic lineup, from Wall Street’s point of view, but the real bonus turned out to be Treasury secretary Tim Geithner…”
Reuters: Budget … Another $1.2 Trillion
(Reuters) – The White House plans to ask Congress by the end of the week for an increase in the government’s debt ceiling to allow the United States to pay its bills on time, according to a senior Treasury Department official on Tuesday.
“The approval is expected to go through without a challenge, given that Congress is in recess until later in January and the request is in line with an agreement to keep the U.S. government funded into 2013.
“The debt is projected to fall within $100 billion of the current cap by December 30, when the United States has $82 billion in interest on its debt and payments such as Social Security coming due. President Barack Obama is expected to ask for authority to increase the borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion, part of the spending authority that was negotiated between Congress and the White House this summer…”
John Bresnahan, Politico: Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) Hangs It Up
“Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced his retirement from the Senate Tuesday, delivering a serious blow to Democratic efforts to hold on to the majority in the chamber next November.
“There’s much more that needs to be done to keep America strong. And while I relish the opportunity to undertake the work that lies ahead, I also think it’s time for me to step away from elected office, spend more time with my family, look for new ways to serve our state and nation. Therefore, I am announcing today that I will not seek reelection,” Nelson said in a video posted on YouTube, titled “What’s Next.” “Simply put, it’s time to move on.”
Richard Pollock, PJM: Nelson One of Seven Democrat Senators
“Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) caused a bit of a stir when he announced he was not seeking re-election. Frank, a high-visibility member of Congress for more than 30 years, is in one of the safest Democratic districts in the nation. Yet he is not alone: there are several other Barney Franks fleeing the 112th Congress. Eight other veteran House Democrats who reside in safe congressional seats are throwing in the towel.
“The problem isn’t merely in the House. Just this week, U.S. Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska announced he won’t seek re-election this coming November. Nelson is one of seven Senate Democrats who have decided to “voluntarily” retire ahead of the 2012 elections. This is a repeat of the 2010 elections when a flood of Democrats decided to retire rather than face certain defeat…”
Open Secrets: The Money Chase
“The first 2012 presidential primaries and caucuses may still be months away, but potential contenders are already crisscrossing the country in bids to boost their political profiles and raise money. Presidential candidates are required to file campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission each quarter this year, and each month beginning in 2012. Here OpenSecrets.org highlights how the candidates are stacking up in the money chase, as they build massive political war chests to get their messages out to voters…”
Voter ID: PA House Bill 934
Eric Holder has ordered his staff not to meddle with cases of voter fraud that involve minorities (J. Christian Adams has written widely about such cases), Salina Zito (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) predicted that PA in November ‘12 will go according to the Philadelphia suburbs, ACORN has both a record for voter scams and new sites in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, our State Attorney General is stepping aside, and there is little public information about Mayor Nutter’s views on this matter. Meanwhile, there is an early February deadline from our Governor as Republicans in the PA legislature attempt to define a list of acceptable IDs and Democrats cry that minorities and old people can’t handle this demand. I smell more fraud from a bunch already known nationally for fraud and a February deadline invites some deliberate lapse by the D’s …
Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Why Americans Support Voter ID Laws, December 27th, 2011
“Laws requiring photo IDs suppress minority voting, Democrats charge. The facts say otherwise. In Georgia, black voter turnout for the midterm election in 2006 was 42.9 percent. After Georgia passed photo ID, black turnout in the 2010 midterm rose to 50.4 percent. Black turnout also rose in Indiana and Mississippi after photo IDs were required.
“Concerns about voter identification laws affecting turnout are much ado about nothing,” concluded researchers at the universities of Delaware and Nebraska after examining election data from 2000 through 2006…”
Daryl Metcalf, Morning Call: Electoral Integrity (June 18, 2011)
Metcalf is a Republican from Butler County (north of Pittsburgh)
“Pennsylvania has a long and ongoing history of documented voter fraud — pre-dating even the frequently forged signature of Mickey Mouse to at least the election of 1918.
“Of course, no statewide analysis of voter fraud would be complete without briefly documenting the deeply rooted influence of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
“For starters, in May 2009, a six-month FBI investigation led to forgery and election fraud charges against seven Pittsburgh area ACORN employees. In October 2008, Philadelphia’s deputy city commissioner submitted approximately 8,000 fraudulent ACORN-collected voter registration forms for investigation.
“Also in October 2008, another ACORN canvasser was arrested in York County for, according to new reports, submitting more than 100 fraudulent voter registrations ‘on at least 19 applications he randomly picked names out of the phone book and registered them…’
“Expert testimony presented to the House State Government Committee earlier this spring confirmed that requiring valid photo ID at the polls, as provided for by H.B. 934, can prevent the four most widely documented types of voter fraud: impersonation at the polls, fictitious registrations, double voting, and voting by illegal aliens.
“These conclusions coincide with the bipartisan findings of the 2005 Commission on Federal Elections headed by President Jimmy Carter and Secretary of State James Baker: “The electoral system cannot inspire public confidence if no safeguards exist to deter fraud or to conform the identity of voters. Photo IDs currently are needed to board a plane, enter federal buildings, and cash a check. Voting is equally important…”
Marc Levy, AP: PA Voter ID, December 12, 2011
“HARRISBURG, Pa. — Republicans continued Monday to press legislation to require Pennsylvanians to show photo identification before they vote, despite resistance from Democrats who say it is intended to suppress turnout of poor and black voters and Republicans acknowledging they lack proof of voter fraud.
“The Senate State Government Committee voted 6-5 to lengthen the list of acceptable photo IDs beyond those included in a more restrictive bill passed by the state House of Representatives in June.
“That bill would have required voters to show a government-issued photo ID. With the amendment, it now would allow some expired government IDs, as well as IDs issued by accredited Pennsylvania colleges and universities and nursing and personal care homes, but it still would substantially toughen state law in Pennsylvania and add it to a short list of states that require photo ID.
“Senate State Government Committee Chairman Charles McIlhinney said he has seen no proof that people are casting illegal ballots, but he also said he’s seen no proof that tightening the requirements would deny anyone the right to vote. He called the requirement a ‘security check.’
“‘It was put upon us and asked for by the governor and by the House, who passed the bill, and they asked me to take it up,’ McIlhinney, R-Bucks, said after the committee vote. ‘I made the changes based upon what I felt I would accept to come out of the committee.’
“McIlhinney and five other Republicans voted for the bill, while one Republican — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman of Centre County — and all four Democrats opposed it.
“‘There’s not been anyone, including the governor, who has presented to us a crisis of fraudulent voting,’ said Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, who added that he couldn’t recollect Gov. Tom Corbett prosecuting a voter fraud case while he was attorney general…”
Lauren Rodgers, Ballotpedia, December 15, 2011
Harrisburg, PA: A bill that would require Pennsylvania voters to show photo identification won’t be considered until 2012. In its original form, the bill required all voters to show government-issued photo identification when casting their votes. It was later amended to allow for nursing home ID cards, college IDs, and select expired IDs to be used at the polls.
As in most states that have considered either similar legislation or ballot measures, the issue is highly polarized in Pennsylvania. Opponents of the bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Committee of Seventy, argue the bill hurts minority, low-income and senior voters. Proponents cite the need to combat voter fraud and view a photo ID mandate as the best solution.
The United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, has recently denounced similar laws that have been passed in South Carolina and Texas “that require registered voters to show state-issued photo identification before casting a ballot.” Election laws in those states, however, are subject to greater scrutiny than in Pennsylvania. Under the Voting Rights Act, “Southern states with a history of racial discrimination must seek approval from Washington before putting new election laws into effect.”
Back in Pennsylvania, the House version of the bill passed with a 108-88 vote in June. The State Government Committee of the state Senate approved the measure with a 6-5 vote, but as the legislature’s session came to a close earlier this week the Senate did not consider a vote on the bill. The chamber may take up the bill in January 2012 when it reconvenes after the winter holidays.
A spokesperson for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett indicates the governor supports the bill. According to the Associated Press, if the bill makes it to the governor’s desk “by the beginning of February,” the changes in ID requirements would be in place for next year’s general election.”
Bob Guzzardi: 2012 Issues and Candidates for US Senate
Winning Elections with Winning Ideas
Jonathan Karl, ABC: Newt, ‘06 – “We agree entirely with Gov. Romney”
“To conservatives, the biggest strike against Mitt Romney is the health care plan he put in place in Massachusetts, but Newt Gingrich lavished praise on Romney’s plan after it was passed in 2006.
“‘We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans,’ Gingrich wrote in 2006.
“And, Gingrich wrote, the key to achieving that goal was doing what Romney did in Massachusetts: Requiring everybody who could afford it to buy health insurance. In fact, Gingrich makes an impassioned case for the so-called individual mandate — which is also at the center of President Obama’s health plan — on conservative grounds…”
Mullins & Adamy, WSJ: Gingrich Applauded Romney’s Health Plan
“…”The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system,” said an April 2006 newsletter published by Mr. Gingrich’s former consulting company, the Center for Health Transformation.
The two-page “Newt Notes” analysis, found online by The Wall Street Journal even though it no longer appears on the center’s website, continued: “We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100% insurance coverage for all Americans.”
Byron York, Washington Examiner: … Ron Paul & “Mischief” Voters
When does “mischief voting” become voter fraud?
“Ron Paul is surging in the Republican presidential race. Just not among Republicans.
“The Texas congressman is leading some polls in Iowa and is in a tie for second in New Hampshire. A candidacy once dismissed as sideshow is now being taken very seriously; the front page of Monday’s Des Moines Register featured a huge spread under the headline “COULD RON PAUL WIN?”
“Given Paul’s views on the Fed, the gold standard and social issues, not to mention his isolationist foreign policy, the polls have left some politicos wondering whether Republican voters have somehow swerved off the rails. But there’s another question that should be asked first: Who are Ron Paul’s supporters? Are they, in fact, Republicans?
Jeff Poor, DailyCaller: “The Foreign Policy Views of Jeremiah Wright”
“Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul’s foreign policy outlook isn’t so dissimilar to that of President Obama’s long-time pastor and mentor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, says Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane.
“On ‘Fox News Sunday,’ Lane made the ideological connection between Paul and Wright, who claimed after the 9/11 attacks that “America’s chickens” had come home to roost.
“‘Well, I think one of the amazing things that this all shows that this is the Republican Party might be about to crown the winner of the Iowa caucuses, somebody with the foreign policy views of Jeremiah Wright,’ Lane said. ‘Remember that? I mean, Ron Paul goes around blaming the United States for 9/11, etc., etc. So it is obvious he’s not going to be the nominee.’
“According to Lane, a Paul win in Iowa would likely knock Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum out of the presidential race, since they’re so vested in the outcome of the Iowa caucuses.
“I think it’s a plus for Romney, it’s a plus for Gingrich,” Lane said of a possible Paul victory.
Jeffrey Shapiro, BigGovernment: Ron Paul – Wouldn’t have interfered in the Holocaust
“On the evening of Sept. 16, 2009, I was invited to a function for Rand Paul’s U.S. Senate campaign at the headquarters of Americans for Tax Reform.
“I had been invited by a friend of mine via Facebook who was a passionate supporter of Ron Paul. Within minutes of arriving, I saw Rep. Paul enter the room, followed by an entourage of several college students.
“I immediately walked up to Paul and introduced myself, and Paul smiled at me and shook my hand. I told him that I had always wanted to ask him a question, and that it was a hypothetical question, but I would appreciate his answer nonetheless. Paul smiled, and welcomed the question. At this point there were about 15 people surrounding us, listening.
“And so I asked Congressman Paul: if he were President of the United States during World War II, and as president he knew what we now know about the Holocaust, but the Third Reich presented no threat to the U.S., would he have sent American troops to Nazi Germany purely as a moral imperative to save the Jews?”
“And the Congressman answered:
“‘No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t risk American lives to do that. If someone wants to do that on their own because they want to do that, well, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t do that.’
“Paul then looked at me, and I politely thanked him for his time. He smiled at me again and nodded his head, and many of his young followers were also smiling, and nodding their heads in agreement. Clearly, I was the only one in the room who was disturbed by his response.
“When I first presented the story of Paul’s comments about the Holocaust to major news media outlets two years ago, they were so stunned they were afraid to publish my story, and as a result it has remained unpublished until now…”
Jonah Goldberg, NRO: “The Trouble with Ron Paul’s Defense”
“The New York Times has an interesting front page piece on Ron Paul’s relationship with the racists, anti-Semites and neo-Nazis in his coalition (sorry, but whatever you think of Lew Rockwell, Stormfront and David Duke certainly deserve such labels).
“His three defenses are:
1) He didn’t have direct knowledge of the really bad things and cannot remember anything when people provide evidence that he did.
2) He won’t disavow support from neo-Nazis and white supremacists because their endorsement of him doesn’t imply or suggest his endorsement of them. “If they want to endorse me, they’re endorsing what I do or say — it has nothing to do with endorsing what they say.”
3) Last he believes that his continued reliance on their support can be justified because he’s championing the cause of liberty. “I’ll go to anybody who I think I can convert to change their viewpoints — so that would be to me incidental,” he said. “I’m always looking at converting people to look at liberty the way I do.”
“All of these are deficient…”
Rago & Gogott, WSJ: “On Taxes, ‘Modeling,’ and the Vision Thing”
“Does Mitt Romney have a governing vision, a dominating set of political principles? It’s the big question many voters say they have about the GOP presidential candidate. So when the former Massachusetts governor visited the Journal editorial board this week, we put it to him squarely, if perhaps tendentiously.
“Voters see in him a smart man, an experienced executive, plenty of managerial expertise, great family—but they also see someone with the soul of a consultant who has 59 economic proposals because he lacks a larger vision of where he’d take the country. What does he think of that critique?…”
Robert McCain, AmSpectator: Santorum Goes Hawkeye Hunting
“IOWA CITY, Iowa — Rick Santorum bagged at least four pheasants during his hunting trip Monday at Doc’s Hunt Club. Those four birds were just the “clean kills” that he was certain were the result of his own marksmanship — a conservative count, Santorum emphasized to the crowd of reporters who showed up at the hunting club in Adel, west of Des Moines.
While the former Pennsylvania senator was pleased with his outing, most of the reporters who showed up were more interested to know if Santorum had bagged even bigger game during this political season — the endorsement of his hunting companion, Iowa Rep. Steve King. But the conservative Republican congressman said he wasn’t quite ready to make that commitment.
“You know, I came here today to shoot some pheasants with my friend Rick Santorum and we’re having a great day,” King told the reporters assembled for Monday’s press conference. “So I’m going to deliberate on all of this and I’ve got a few days yet before a decision has to be made.… I’m leaving that open.”
Jason Mattera, Human Events: Ryan – 2012 A Referendum on the American Idea
“Yes, Barack Obama brings added definition to the word disaster, as his presidency has overseen more people trapped below the poverty line than ever in modern history.
But is 2012 about defeating Obama only?
“Paul Ryan doesn’t think so. The Wisconsin Republicans says that the eventual GOP nominee must make the 2012 election much broader in scope.
“‘ [The election] is a referendum on the American idea, not on Barack Obama and his handling of the economy,’ Ryan told HUMAN EVENTS. ‘It is, ‘Do you want to reclaim the founding principles that made us exceptional and great, an opportunity society with a circumscribed safety net? Or do you want the cradle-to-grave welfare state?’’
“‘It’s really a choice of two futures,’ Ryan added. ‘We owe it to the country to let them choose what kind of country they want to be and what kind of people they want to be.’”
Raymond Ibrahim, RightSide: Muslim Persecution of Christians
Thanks Harrison. Michael Savage opened this morning’s show with a rant of thanks to Carter and Mika’s dad as well as to George Soros and Anderson Cooper – a fan of the youth with cell phones and wearing dungarees – and, Hillary, of course. He could also have mentioned Samantha Power, her husband, Cass Sunstein, and her staff escort, Huma…You should also know that Coptic Christians have a family that predates Mohammed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copts#Foundation_of_the_Egyptian_Christian_Church …
“Arab regimes not overthrown by the “Arab Spring” are under mounting international pressure; these include the secular Assad regime of Syria, where Christians, who comprise some 10% of the population, are fearful of the future, having seen the effects of democracy in neighboring nations such as Iraq, where, since the fall of the Saddam regime, Christians have been all but decimated.
“Meanwhile, it was revealed that “Christians are being refused refugee status [in the U.S.] and face persecution and many times certain death for their religious beliefs under [Islamic] Sharia [law], while whole Muslim communities are entering the U.S. by the tens of thousands per month despite the fact that they face no religious persecution.”
“Categorized by theme, November’s batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed according to theme and in alphabetical order by country, not necessarily severity…
Michael Rubin, Kurdistan Trib: Kurdistan Ready for US-Iran War?
“Tension between Iran and the United States is at a peak. On October 11, Attorney General Eric Holder accused the Islamic Republic of plotting an attack on American soil. “ “‘Today, the Department of Justice is announcing charges against two people who allegedly attempted to carry out a deadly plot that was directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign ambassador here in the United States,’ he announced.
“Over subsequent weeks, tension increased…”
Barry Rubin, PJM: “The Naïve Dance in Tahrir Square”
“Almost 80 percent of Egyptian Muslims in nine provinces voted for radical Islamist parties in the second round of Egypt’s election. Roughly 5 percent voted for a moderate Islamic party and about 15 percent voted for liberal parties.
“That says it all. In the overall vote — that is, including the Christian voters — 70 percent supported radical Islamists, 47 percent (4 million) supported the Muslim Brotherhood (86 of 180 available seats so far; they might win more), and 32 percent were for the Salafists (3.2 million; the Washington Post seriously underestimated their votes).
“The liberal (but not overtly anti-Islamist) Wafd won 1 million; the liberal Egyptian Bloc won almost 800,000; and the moderate Islamic Wasat Party got 370,000.
“Incidentally, the vice-chairman of the Wafd said in an interview last July that the U.S. government carried out the September 11 attacks and Anne Frank’s diary was a fake. At least he doesn’t like Iran, though he thinks it is right about the Holocaust being phony. And he’s the liberal…”
The Week’s Question
Why isn’t Janet Napolitano taking action to control port blockages by Occupy protesters?