"41 Obama White House aides owe the IRS $831,000 in back taxes"
Privacy laws prevent release of individual tax delinquents' names. But we do know that as of the end of 2009, 41 people inside Obama's very own White House owe the government they're allegedly running a total of $831,055 in back taxes. That would cover a lot of special chocolate desserts in the White House Mess.
In the House of Representatives, 421 people owe a total $6,524,892. In the Senate, 217 owe $2,774,836. In the IRS' parent department, Treasury, 1,204 owe $7,670,814. At the Labor Department, where Secretary Hilda Solis' husband had some back-tax problems before her confirmation, 463 owe $7,481,463. Eighty-one workers for the Federal Reserve System's board of governors owe $1,076,733.
Over at the Justice Department, which is so busy enforcing other laws and suing Arizona, 1,971 employees still owe $14,350,152 in overdue taxes.
Then, we come to the Department of Homeland Security, which is run by Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona who preferred to call terrorist acts "man-caused disasters." Homeland Security is keeping all of us safe by ensuring that a Dutch tourist is aboard every inbound international flight to thwart any would-be bomber with explosives in his underpants.
Within that department, there reside 4,856 people who owe the tax agency a whopping total of $37,012,174. . . .
For a list of other nominees see this piece in the Washington Times:
• First HHS Secretary nominee and former Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota who filed over $140,000 in back taxes and interest in January after failing to disclose more than $300,000 in income, including the use of a car and driver. His violations of the tax code remain the most impressive and lead to his removing his name for consideration.
• Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner failed to pay more than $40,000 in payroll taxes when he worked for the International Monetary Fund, correcting the error before the Senate voted on his nomination.
• The husband of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis paid around $6,400 prior to her nomination vote for tax liens on his Los Angeles auto repair business dating from 1993. The White House said Ms. Solis and her husband were unaware of the lien.
• Chief Performance Officer nominee Nancy Killefer withdrew her nomination in the wake of the Daschle tax disclosures after it came to light that she had a $947 tax lien filed against her by the District of Columbia in 2005 for failing to pay compensation taxes for a domestic employee. District records show she owed $298 in unemployment compensation, $48.69 in interest, and $600.00 in penalties that she paid five months later. . . .
There was also Health and Human Resources Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: "$7,040 in back taxes and $878 dollars in interest and penalties for minor amendments to their 2005-2007 tax returns."
Does Obama ever get tired of so relentlessly attacking Republicans
President Barack Obama used a rare news conference Friday to criticize Republicans for obstructing the country’s economic recovery, but he also lamented his failure to change the tone of the political discourse in Washington.
He called on Republicans to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans, accusing the GOP of “holding middle-class tax relief hostage because they're insisting we’ve got to give tax relief to millionaires and billionaires.”
“We came into office with a different view," he says. “We believe in cutting taxes for middle-class families and small-business owners. We've done that.”
During the 75-minute session, Obama also fielded a series of sensitive questions relating to Islam, including queries about a Florida pastor’s plans to burn Qurans and the proposal to build a mosque near ground zero in New York, where the World Trade Center towers once stood. As he answered with a call to heed the American tradition of religious tolerance, Obama also went out of his way to emphasize his own belief in Christianity — a faith polls show many voters seem to doubt.
But much of the president’s solo outing in the East Room was dominated by the economy, and Obama’s efforts to fix it with just eight weeks until midterm elections where his party could take a shellacking, possibly losing the House and even the Senate. He talked up his latest economic proposals — $180 billion in tax breaks and infrastructure spending — but sidestepped a question on whether it amounted to a second “stimulus.” . . . .
Environmental jobs don't do very well
Noticeably absent from President Obama's latest economic-stimulus package are any further attempts to create jobs through "green" energy projects, reflecting a year in which the administration's original, loudly trumpeted efforts proved largely unfruitful.
The long delays typical with environmentally friendly projects - combined with reports of green stimulus funds being used to create jobs in China and other countries, rather than in the U.S. - appear to have killed the administration's appetite for pushing green projects as an economic cure.
After months of hype about the potential for green energy to stimulate job growth and lead the economy out of a recession, the results turned out to be disappointing, if not dismal. About $92 billion - more than 11 percent - of Mr. Obama's original $814 billion of stimulus funds were targeted for renewable energy projects when the measure was pushed through Congress in early 2009.
Even some of the administration's liberal allies have expressed skepticism over the original stimulus package's use of green investments as a way to spur quick employment growth at home.
"Spending on renewables is slow to get out of the door. Leaks to foreign companies is an inadequate driver of jobs and growth and may not create a strong exporting industry," said Samuel Sherraden, an economic analyst at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based progressive think tank.
Only about $20 billion of the allotted funds have been spent - the slowest disbursement rate for any category of stimulus spending. Private analysts are skeptical of White House estimates that the green funding created 190,700 jobs.
The Department of Energy estimated that 82,000 jobs have been created and has acknowledged that as much as 80 percent of some green programs, including $2.3 billion of manufacturing tax credits, went to foreign firms that employed workers primarily in countries including China, South Korea and Spain, rather than in the United States. . . .
Castro says that Cuban model doesn't work any more
HAVANA – Fidel Castro told a visiting American journalist that Cuba's communist economic model doesn't work, a rare comment on domestic affairs from a man who has conspicuously steered clear of local issues since stepping down four years ago.
The fact that things are not working efficiently on this cash-strapped Caribbean island is hardly news. Fidel's brother Raul, the country's president, has said the same thing repeatedly. But the blunt assessment by the father of Cuba's 1959 revolution is sure to raise eyebrows.
Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, asked if Cuba's economic system was still worth exporting to other countries, and Castro replied: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore" Goldberg wrote Wednesday in a post on his Atlantic blog.
He said Castro made the comment casually over lunch following a long talk about the Middle East, and did not elaborate. The Cuban government had no immediate comment on Goldberg's account. . . .
Missouri burglar wishes that he had broken into another business
A shop owner who slept in his Jefferson County auto sales store grabbed his revolver when he heard the door rattle and glass breaking early Friday, then shot a burglar to death, police say.
The shooting happened about 2:15 a.m. Friday at Justice Auto Sales, 5821 U.S. Highway 61/67. The owner confronted the burglar at the door, then fired two shots from his revolver. The burglar staggered back and fell in the parking area outside, said Sgt. Perry Tindall of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. He died at the scene.
Tindall said the shop owner called police and is cooperating with investigators. He is not in custody. Detectives will be presenting their evidence to the prosecutor's office.
Police say the burglar is likely tied to a series of other break-ins and robberies. . . .
Thanks to Anthony Troglio for the link.
Obama's federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predicts that Obamacare will raise costs
The health-care overhaul enacted last spring won't significantly change national health spending over the next decade compared with projections before the law was passed, according to government figures released Thursday.
The report by federal number-crunchers casts fresh doubt on Democrats' argument that the health-care law would curb the sharp increase in costs over the long term, the second setback this week for one of the party's biggest legislative achievements.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that insurance companies have proposed rate increases ranging from 1% to 9% nationwide that they attribute specifically to new health-law coverage mandates.
Democrats signaled they would ratchet up pressure on the companies. "Insurers are using the consumer protections in health reform as a cover for their own greed," said Rep. Pete Stark (D., Calif.), chairman of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee. . . .
Regardless of the health law, national health spending has been rising in recent years and economists expect that to continue. In February, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projected that overall national health spending would increase an average of 6.1% a year over the next decade.
The center's economists recalculated the numbers in light of the health bill and now project that the increase will average 6.3% a year, according to a report in the journal Health Affairs. Total U.S. health spending will reach $4.6 trillion by 2019, accounting for nearly one of every five U.S. dollars spent, the report says. . . .
After looking at those figures, note this:
Health insurers say they plan to raise premiums for some Americans as a direct result of the health overhaul in coming weeks, complicating Democrats' efforts to trumpet their signature achievement before the midterm elections.
Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits required under the law, according to filings with state regulators. . . .
Take an example. Out of pocket expenditures such as co-payments decline, but there is a reason that insurance companies have co-pays. Getting rid of them will raise costs as the insured are less careful about the health care that they buy. That raises costs.
UPDATE: Obama gives a lame explanation for why the costs have increased. 1) The uninsured aren't covered yet. 2) Covering people with health insurance was supposed to lower costs.
President Obama on Friday defended the Democrats' healthcare law, saying the enormous expansion of insurance coverage made an increase in healthcare spending inevitable.
"As a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people healthcare, at the margins that's going to increase our costs — we knew that," the president told reporters during a White House press conference.
"We didn't think that we were going to cover 30 million people for free."
Obama was responding to questions about new cost projections, crunched by economists at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), revealing the nation's healthcare spending, as a share of the economy, will be 0.3 percentage points higher in 2019 than estimated before the law was passed.
That CMS report, published Thursday in the journal Health Affairs, also revealed healthcare spending will grow by an average of 6.3 percent each year over the next decade, whereas pre-reform projections pegged annual growth at 6.1 percent.
Republicans have latched onto the figures as evidence that the new reform law has failed in one of its central purposes: to bend the health cost curve down to sustainable levels.
But Obama rejected those criticisms, arguing his pitch for reform included warning that the process would be a long one.
"I said at the time it wasn't going to happen tomorrow, it wasn't going to happen next year," Obama said. "It took us decades to get into a position where our health care costs were going up 6, 7, 10 percent a year. And so our goal is to slowly bring down those costs." . . .
During the campaign, Obama promised this:
Washington Times Editorials on the Stimulus
The special-interest president: Obama introduces new giveaways for Wall Street and Big Labor
Killing jobs with stimulus spending: Europe teaches America a lesson about fiscal restraint
Democrats coming out against Obama's tax changes
Despite President Obama's accusation Wednesday that Republicans are holding middle class income tax cuts "hostage" by tying them to an extension of tax cuts for wealthier Americans, the reality is several Democratic senators also oppose allowing President Bush's tax cuts for higher earners to expire.
Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut have each publicly expressed concern about the impact of raising taxes, even on the well-to-do, during an economic downturn.
"The general rule of thumb would be you don't want to do tax changes, tax increases...until the recovery is on more solid ground," Conrad said recently, summarizing their view.
Each has said the tax cuts should be extended at least temporarily. . . .
Zandi has been a cheerleader of the Democrat plans all along. This can't be good that they have lost even him on this. Even former Obama budget director Peter Orszag has jumped ship.
Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi has called on Congress to extend all of the tax cuts for a year, and former Obama budget director Peter Orszag this week said all of the tax cuts should be extended for two years as part of a compromise. In a column in The New York Times, Orszag wrote that Congress should then end all of the Bush-era tax cuts. . . . .
California Planned Parenthood over bills government by $692,388.35
Two former Planned Parenthood employees-turned-whistleblowers have made stunning allegations regarding the abortion provider's accounting practices. In a case now pending in federal court P. Victor Gonzalez alleges that he saw millions in fraudulent overbilling to state and federal governments when he worked as Chief Financial Officer for Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles (PPLA).
Gonzalez alleges that after he reported the problems internally he was fired. While Gonzalez was still working for PPLA the state of California launched audits of various Planned Parenthood affiliates, and uncovered more than $5.2 million in overbilling at a single affiliate based in San Diego. Gonzalez claims that Planned Parenthood lobbyists intervened to stop other audits that were still pending statewide.
In his court filings, Gonzalez has outlined several transactions he alleges show illegal activity. For example, in one year Gonzalez says PPLA paid $225,695.65 for Ortho Tri-Cyclen birth control pills, yet billed the government $918,084 - for a profit of $692,388.35.
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) says billing guidelines were unclear, and that nothing illegal or improper happened. According to PPAC, "The allegations in the lawsuit are false and were addressed by the State of California long ago." PPAC adds, "the California State Legislature passed a law in 2004 making it clear that the billing practices at issue in the case are completely permissible."
The law referenced by PPAC was sponsored by then-Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson, and allows Planned Parenthood to continue to bill at inflated rates. Jackson has said she was persuaded by Planned Parenthood that it could not survive absent the mark up for reimbursement, and she considered the issue one of "access." . . .
Robber surprised by guns in Cafe
A would be robbery in Kanawha County had the tables turned when he went to hold up a video-lottery parlor early Wednesday morning.
Kanawha County Deputies say the suspect had his face covered with a bandana and was armed with a shotgun when he burst into Theresa's Cafe in Pinch, ordering everyone to the floor and demanding money.
"As soon as the patrons hit the floor, one employee retrieved a .44 caliber and quickly stood up firing a shot striking the subject in the arm and torso area," said Kanawha County Chief Deputy Johnny Rutherford. "The suspect then immediately fled the store, apparently quite surprised."
Rutherford said the employee and the suspect exchanged more gunshots in the parking lot before he fled in a vehicle.
Deputies arrived moments later and began their investigation. In a short time, Charleston police notified deputies a patient had come to the CAMC emergency room with a gunshot wound.
"We have established the subject at the hospital with a gunshot wound is the same subject who entered the business and tried to rob it," said Rutherford.
Twenty-nine year old Chad Wherley of Clendenin will face charges of armed robbery and wanton endangerment when he's released from the hospital. The employee who fired the shot will not be charged. . . .
Government pressure forces Apple to Change its App Policy
In an uncharacteristic about-face, Apple Inc. loosened its control over software development for its iPhones and iPads as the company feels heat from a U.S. antitrust investigation and rising competition from mobile devices powered by Google Inc.'s Android software.
The move gives software developers more freedom to decide how to build their applications, or "apps." It will relax restrictions Apple introduced in the spring that had effectively blocked use of programming technology from Adobe Systems Inc. and potentially impeded Google's AdMob ad network from serving ads to Apple apps.
The concession comes after the Federal Trade Commission launched an inquiry around June to determine whether Apple had violated antitrust laws with the earlier policy. It isn't clear if Apple's move Thursday was in response to the FTC's investigation, but it will likely be carefully scrutinized by the regulatory agency, said people familiar with the situation.
An Apple spokeswoman didn't respond to requests for comment about the FTC probe. The FTC declined to comment. . . .
Newest piece at Fox News: Another Proposal From Obama to Throw Your Money Down the Drain
After focusing on health care and various regulatory bills for over a year, Democrats are trying to convince voters that they do care about the economy and the high unemployment rate. With the November elections looming (only 55 days away) and Congress set to adjourn on October 8, this is the week for Democrats to push new stimulus proposals. They're doing this although we already have had the $814 billion giant stimulus package last fall and the recent $26 billion in aid for state and local government workers. The various new proposals would increase spending to well over another $200 billion.
The centerpiece of today’s speech in Cleveland is to announce changes in the tax law. President Obama may never have managed a business, but he is sure making up for that lack of experience since becoming president. He is now making lots of business decisions for hapless firms as his new stimulus bills pick what firms should invest in and what product lines will get tax subsidies.
Obama talks tax cuts, but he wants to raise the marginal income taxes that small business owners pay and then give them back some of that money only if they make business decisions that his administration approves of. . . .
Even a beloved TV star takes an approval hit when he pushes Obamacare
Who should play Ronald Reagan in Biographical Movie on the 40th President
Pay offs Australian Style
CANBERRA -(Dow Jones)- Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard has extended an olive branch to the sole independent lawmaker who chose not to back her minority government, promising to fund a range of projects in his electorate even without his parliamentary support.
In a sign the prime minister is aware of the fragility of an alliance with other non-party lawmakers that saw her center-left Labor government returned to power by just one lower house vote, Gillard has agreed to prioritize a number of projects in independent Bob Katter's electorate.
They include transmission lines to connect renewable energy projects to the national grid and a A$350 million government grant for the construction of a large-scale solar generation plant along the Townsville to Mt. Isa transmission line in north Queensland state. . . .
More examples of pay offs. LYNE’S independent MP Rob Oakeshott got the following benefits:
A Labor minority government will support the expeditious construction of the Pacific Highway from Hexham to the Queensland border, and will:
a) Accelerate planning work on the 37.8 kilometre section of the Pacific Highway from Kempsey to Port Macquarie with an additional investment of $35 million over three years towards property acquisition, geotechnical work and site preparation that is necessary to get this project 'shovel ready'.
b) Develop a more reliable cost estimate for the project so that a budget allocation can be made to accelerate major construction work, based on the accelerated planning work.
A Labor minority government supports the establishment of a multi-partner university campus on the mid north coast of NSW, and will:
a) Provide $20 million in seed funding from and following a Regional Priority Round of the Eduction Investment Fund.
b) Funding for this project will be subject to EIF board approval, and will be fully offset consistent with Labor's fiscal rules.
A Labor minority government supports the expansion of the Port Macquarie Base Hospital in NSW, and will:
a) Fund the fourth pod for the Port Macquarie Base Hospital, at an estimated cost of around $75 million.
b) Funding for this project will be subject to HHF board approval, and will be fully offset consistent with Labor's fiscal rules.
A minority Labor government will facilitate discussion of future tax reform as follows:
a) Convene a public forum of experts on taxation and its economic and social effects to discuss the Henry Review, with that meeting to be held before June 30, 2011.
A minority Labor government will also seek to prioritise the following local projects when considering funding allocations from the new $800 million Priority Regional Infrastructure Program or the Regional Infrastructure Fund:
a) Local roads and timber bridge replacement package in response to the Percy Allan Review into the roads maintenance back log at Greater Taree City Council.
b) The Mid North Coast Aviation Plan for business expansion and airport access expansion at Taree, Port Macquarie and Kempsey airports.
c) Upgrade the Bucketts Way at Krambach ? the main regional road between Gloucester and Taree.
A minority Labor government will also pursue the following other matters:
a) A referendum during the 43rd Parliament or at the next election on recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.
b) Develop a proposal for a pilot of the Industry Vocational Training and Employment Centres for priority funding through the 2011 round of the Indigenous and Industry Skills Centre.
c) Release a full response to the bi-partisan Coastal Erosion Report within three months of forming government.
d) Extend Priority Employment Areas, including regional job expos, through to 2013.
e) Establish a Parliamentary Committee to consider the ability of small businesses in regional Australia to access affordable credit. . . .
More on offers to Katter:
The Prime Minister has vowed to support renewable energy projects in the breakaway independent's electorate, in a sign Labor still wants to keep the north Queensland maverick on side. . . .
Some Democrats try to hide their past record on gun control
Democrat Robin Carnahan's official campaign bio catalogs her feats in flying (she's an instrument-rated pilot), endurance (five marathons) and farming (she runs the family cattle ranch).
Nowhere in the U.S. Senate hopeful's list of achievements are voters told about her efforts leading a group of underfunded advocates that took on — and defeated — one of Washington's most powerful special interests.
In a year when even veteran office-seekers such as Carnahan are running against the political establishment, such a David-versus-Goliath tale would make prime grist for an outsider's campaign narrative. . . .
Eleven years ago, Carnahan led the successful opposition to a statewide ballot issue backed by the NRA that would have changed Missouri law that, at the time, prohibited carrying concealed firearms. The victory was pivotal to Carnahan's political development, yet also short-lived: Four years later, the Legislature overturned the results of the vote.
Now, it seems, Carnahan would prefer to forget about her role in the fight altogether. She doesn't talk about it on the stump, cite it in campaign literature or mention it on her website. Her Republican rival has accused her of obscuring her stance on the Second Amendment. . . .
Thanks to Anthony Troglio for this link.
Appearing on Coast to Coast AM tonight for two hours
Some of the material related to what I will talk on from recent pieces that I have written for the Washington Times.
Obama's backdoor gun ban: Government is blocking sale of historic weapons
Gun owners dodge the bullet ban: Leftist attempt to undermine Second Amendment misses the mark
Here is something that I hope that we get to talk about on the economy.
More Bad Economic News, Yet Here Comes ANOTHER Wall Street Bailout
Believe It or Not, the U.S. Is In Worse Financial Shape Than Greece
Review of third edition of More Guns, Less Crime in the American Hunter
Man defends home against twenty five gang members, but the story seems to be about the gun that he used
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBS 2) — He was arrested for protecting his property and family.
But it’s how the Long Island man did it that police say crossed the line.
He got an AK-47 assault rifle, pulled the trigger and he ended up in jail, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.
George Grier said he had to use his rifle on Sunday night to stop what he thought was going to be an invasion of his Uniondale home by a gang he thought might have been the vicious “MS-13.” He said the whole deal happened as he was about to drive his cousin home.
“I went around and went into the house, ran upstairs and told my wife to call the police. I get the gun and I go outside and I come into the doorway and now, by this time, they are in the driveway, back here near the house. I tell them, you know, ‘Can you please leave?’ Grier said.
Grier said the five men dared him to use the gun; and that their shouts brought another larger group of gang members in front of his house.
“He starts threatening my family, my life. ‘Oh you’re dead. I’m gonna kill your family and your babies. You’re dead.’ So when he says that, 20 others guys come rushing around the corner. And so I fired four warning shots into the grass,” Grier said.
Grier was later arrested. John Lewis is Grier’s attorney.
“What he’s initially charged with – A D felony reckless endangerment — requires a depraved indifference to human life, creating a risk that someone’s going to die. Shooting into a lawn doesn’t create a risk of anybody dying,” Lewis said.
Grier said he knew Nassau County Police employ the hi-tech “ShotSpotter” technology in his area and that the shooting would bring police in minutes. Cops told Guzman he was very cooperative. . . .
You may think a person has the right to defend their home. But the law says you can only use physical force to deter physical force. Grier said he never saw anyone pull out a gun, so a court would have to decide on firing the gun.
Police determined Grier had the gun legally. He has no criminal record. And so he was not charged for the weapon. . . .
Krugman on the 1938 crash
Now, we weren’t supposed to find ourselves replaying the late 1930s. President Obama’s economists promised not to repeat the mistakes of 1937, when F.D.R. pulled back fiscal stimulus too soon. But by making his program too small and too short-lived, Mr. Obama did just that: the stimulus raised growth while it lasted, but it made only a small dent in unemployment — and now it’s fading out. . . .
I realize that someone such as Krugman might be unaware of Milton Friedman's work, but it might be useful if Krugman tries to look at these this work before he continues giving readers of his column the wrong impression. A simple discussion of what Friedman found is available here.
Washington Post Poll Shows Democrats in Trouble, But Say Republicans Aren't Offering Clear Alternative
Among all voters, 47 percent say they would back the Republican in their congressional district if the election were held now, while 45 percent would vote for the Democrat. Any GOP advantage on this question has been rare in past years - and among those most likely to vote this fall, the Republican advantage swells to 53 percent to the Democrats' 40 percent.
Voters were also asked whether they think it is more important to have Democrats in charge of Congress to help support the president's policies or to have Republicans in control to serve as a check on Obama's agenda. Here, 55 percent say they prefer Republicans, while 39 percent choose Democrats. The GOP's 16-point edge is double what it was in July.
Obama's overall job rating is at a new low in Post-ABC polling, with just 46 percent of all Americans giving him positive marks and 52 percent negative ones. On two big issues, disapproval of the president's performance has reached new highs: Fifty-seven percent now disapprove of his handling of the economy and 58 percent give him low marks on dealing with the deficit. . . .
Forty-five percent now consider the president's views on most issues "too liberal," another new high. In previous polls dating to early 2008, consistent majorities said they found Obama's positions "just about right" ideologically.
For the first time, a majority - 53 percent - of respondents say the president has not brought needed change to Washington, one of his major campaign promises.
The poll findings highlight one of the most significant problems for Obama and Democrats heading into fall: a steep erosion in support among independent voters. In 2008, Obama won independents by eight percentage points. In 2006, independents broke for Democratic House candidates by an unprecedented 18-point margin.
Independents' disapproval of the president has reached an all-time high, with 57 percent giving him negative marks. About 61 percent of independents say Obama has not brought change to Washington. Nearly half now consider him "too liberal" ideologically. . . .
Negative views of the federal government have jumped higher this year, with 78 percent of voters saying they are dissatisfied or angry about the way Washington works. . . .
Fifty-three percent say the economy is in "poor" shape, the first time a majority has said so since early April. . . .
The wacky fringes of politics
There’s the 32 percent of Democrats who blame “the Jews” for the financial crisis. There’s the 25 percent of African-Americans who believe the AIDS virus was created in a government lab. There’s support for state secession, which may have been higher among liberals in the Bush era than among Republicans in the age of Obama. And there’s the theory that the Bush White House knew about 9/11 in advance, which a third of Democrats endorsed as recently as 2007. . . .
I think that it is too easy to be overly optimistic about the November elections at this stage
Privately, some Democratic pollsters say that they are routinely seeing districts where Democratic incumbents are running only even with relatively unknown GOP challengers. In other districts where the Republican challengers are reasonably well known, the incumbents are often running 5-10 points behind, a rather extraordinary development at this point.
In the Senate, while the odds still favor Democrats holding on to a narrow majority, it is not only mathematically possible for the GOP to capture a majority this year, but it has become plausible. The odds of Democrats capturing even one currently Republican-held seat appear to be getting longer. Meanwhile, Republicans are running ahead or roughly even in 11 Democratic-held seats, one more than necessary for control of the Senate to flip. It's still a tall order but not crazy to say that Republicans will win the Senate. . . .
Obama "vowing to find new ways to stimulate" economy
Vowing to find new ways to stimulate the sputtering economy, President Barack Obama will call for long-term investments in the nation's roads, railways and runways that would cost at least $50 billion.
The infrastructure investments are one part of a package of targeted proposals the White House is expected to announce in hopes of jump-starting the economy ahead of the November election. Obama will outline the infrastructure proposal Monday at a Labor Day event in Milwaukee.
While the proposal calls for investments over six years, the White House said spending would be front-loaded with an initial $50 billion to help create jobs in the near future.
The goals of the infrastructure plan include: rebuilding 150,000 miles of roads; constructing and maintaining 4,000 miles of railways, enough to go coast-to-coast; and rehabilitating or reconstructing 150 miles of airport runways, while also installing a new air navigation system designed to reduce travel times and delays. . . .
Veterans having their guns taken away
Last month, at my VA med visit ,they asked me exactly the same questions [posed to a friend] and I asked them why they never asked them before and their answer was that it is a new policy that they must ask all vets!
From a Vietnam Vet and retired Police Officer:
I had a Doctor’s appointment at the local VA clinic yesterday and found out something very interesting that I would like to pass along. While going through triage before seeing the doctor, I was asked at the end of the exam, three questions:
1. Did I feel stressed?
2. Did I feel threatened?
3. Did I feel like doing harm to someone?
The nurse then informed me, that if I had answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions, I would have lost my concealed carry permit as it would have gone into my medical records and the VA would have reported it to Homeland Security.
The first two questions seem like absurd reasons for losing a permit. Even the third seems problematic. There is a big difference between feeling like harming someone and actually thinking about doing it.
Now it appears as if local media around the country are reporting on examples of other reasons that veterans are having their guns taken away.
Sgt. Wayne Irelan re-enlisted in the Army National Guard after September 11th.
He was severely injured in Iraq and awarded the Purple Heart. But now his second amendment rights have been taken away.
"I really feel betrayed," Sgt. Irelan told 5NEWS.
A year ago the Irelan's began receiving a small stipend from Veterans Affairs because Lana had to take over the family's finances.
"How many husbands do you know in America that pay the bills? There's not very many," Lana Irelan told 5NEWS.
The V.A. declared Wayne Irelan incompetent and now his right to own a gun is gone.
"It's wrong. Laws need to be changed. They need to look at individuals and not stereotype them as some sort of mad man," Sgt. Irelan said.
Irelan has post traumatic stress disorder from the Iraq war, but his wife says he has never been violent. Lana Irelan told 5NEWS his diagnosis is not a legitimate reason for his gun rights to be taken away.
"I was there when they gave him his purple heart for fighting for that right to bear arms, and they are stripping it away," Lana said, her eyes tearing up.
The couple didn't know Wayne's gun rights had been terminated until they went to get a gun out of pawn. Days later Wayne got a letter from the Arkansas State Police saying his concealed carry permit had been revoked. The ATF has told the Irelans that they could go to jail if a firearm is found in their home. . . .
Obama let the R&D tax credit expire in 12/31/09, now says that it is important for recovery
So how is this supposed to be paid for? With other tax revenue.
The "pay-for" as reported by the Times, taxing multi-national corporations overseas' income to afford the 10-year credit, has already been used -- at least $9.8 billion worth for the $26b state aid bill that the president recently signed.
As taken from Politifact, here's what the recent "pay-for" did: from "rules to prevent splitting foreign tax credits from the income to which they relate" (worth almost $4.3 billion in newly captured revenue) to "denial of foreign tax credit with respect to foreign income not subject to United States taxation by reason of covered asset acquisitions" (worth more than $3.6 billion), to the "limitation on the amount of foreign taxes deemed paid with respect to section 956 inclusions" (worth $704 million).
Several senior Senate GOP leadership aides also told Fox News that Republicans are not likely to accept any proposal that raises revenue in other sectors to pay for a tax cut. . . .
Not one Democrat in House running ads saying they supported Obamacare
At least five of the 34 House Democrats who voted against their party’s health care reform bill are highlighting their “no” votes in ads back home. By contrast, party officials in Washington can’t identify a single House member who’s running an ad boasting of a “yes” vote — despite the fact that 219 House Democrats voted in favor of final passage in March.
One Democratic strategist said it would be “political malfeasance” to run such an ad now.
Democrats have taken that advice to heart; it appears that no Democratic incumbent — in the House or in the Senate — has run a pro-reform TV ad since April, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) ran one.
Most of the Democrats running ads highlighting their opposition to the law are in conservative-leaning districts and considered the most endangered. They’re using their vote against the overhaul as proof of their willingness to buck party leadership and their commitment to watching the nation’s debt. . . . .