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US President Barack Obama accused Republicans of wanting to turn the United States into a "Third World" country as he rallied support for his reelection campaign.
The attack came a day after Obama savaged Republican budget plans and unveiled his $4-trillion deficit reduction drive that aims to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to preserve key social services.
The debate over fiscal policy will prove critical to the 2012 campaign and Obama sought to frame it as a "stark choice" between investing in the future or watching the country fall apart.
"Under their vision, we can't invest in roads and bridges and broadband and high-speed rail," Obama told a select group of the Democratic faithful at the second of three fundraising events in his hometown of Chicago.
"I mean, we would be a nation of potholes, and our airports would be worse than places that we thought -- that we used to call the Third World, but who are now investing in infrastructure."
Republicans plans to shrink the reach of government is "not a vision that's impelled by the numbers" but a "choice" to give a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the rich rather than ask those who've been "blessed" to "give a little more.". . .
What started as a simple squabble between two grown men turned into a major calamity Sunday when the OPP and the tactical team shut down a section of Hwy. 11 for the entire night.
Police responded to a 911 call after a man reported he had been assaulted by his roommate, Ron Woods, who is also the owner of the home on Hwy. 11 just north of Barrie.
The red flags went up when police learned Woods owned firearms.
Police shut down the highway between Line 5 and Line 9 and the tactics and rescue unit surrounded the area around midnight.
Soon the region’s emergency response ream and the canine unit joined in and the place was swarming with officers with machine guns.
The highway was reopened at 6 a.m. Monday after Woods, 51, who claims he had no idea of what was going on, surrendered to police and was taken into custody.
“They threw a flash grenade through my window,” said a battered and bruised Woods, as he limped out of court after being released on $4,000 bail. “They handcuffed me and dragged me out on my face.”
Outside of court he hugged family members who shook their heads and wept.
“We’re confused,” said one family member.
Turns out the weapons were properly registered, in gun cases, stored in a closet but police say the trigger-locks were not applied.
Woods was charged with five counts of improperly stored firearms and one count of assaulting his roommate. . . .
President Obama pledged Wednesday "to act boldly now" on the huge deficits. But alas his newly revealed budget for 2012 is no better at cutting the deficit than was his first attempt just two months ago.
Yes, we do indeed need to act boldly. With deficits accumulating to $4.3 trillion during over his first three years as president and another $10.4 trillion projected over the next decade, time is not on our side. As it is, the president not only pushed for the increased spending but also has fought budget cuts at each step along the way. And the initial efforts have been meager. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the so-called "$38 billion" spending cut bill over which the government was almost shut down actually only cuts $352 million from this year's budget.
The president announced Wednesday that the new proposal "builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed in my 2012 budget," making it sound as if he has already made the tough decisions fighting for fiscal discipline. Unfortunately, it isn't so. . . .
The Associated Press-GfK poll showed that support for Obama's health-insurance expansion has slipped to 35 percent, while opposition stands at 45 percent, and another 17 percent are neutral. Among seniors, support has dipped below 30 percent for the first time. . . . .
Recent studies have shown that the wage gap shrinks—or even reverses—when relevant factors are taken into account and comparisons are made between men and women in similar circumstances. In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts. . . .
The details on President Obama’s opening bid in his deal seeking an increase in the $14.3 trillion federal debt ceiling are emerging, and he is certainly leaving himself lots of room to negotiate.
The details reported thus far include:
--A tax increase on high earners
--A Social Security tax hike
--Reduced Defense spending
--Changes to Medicare and Medicaid payments to encourage savings
Not mentioned specifically is an oft-discussed initiative by the administration to raise tax receipts by closing loopholes on the corporate code and lowering the rate in a bid to get multi-nationals to allow more of their income to be taxed in the U.S. Whether this idea will be part of Obama’s Wednesday afternoon speech at George Washington University or tackled on its own is unclear.
There is a lot of potential money there, to be sure. But the sources of the funds are not likely to win many plaudits from Republicans.
The Republican budget plan, meanwhile, comes without tax increases and finds its biggest savings by making cuts. Medicaid, a welfare program for poor Americans, would become a block grant system operated solely by states. Medicare, an entitlement program for senior citizens, would become a subsidy program that helps seniors buy private insurance.
Obama’s modest counteroffer reinforces the notion that Democrats mean to use the Republican plan as a blunt object in 2012. . . .
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney surprised donors this morning at the Harvard Club in New York with an ambivalent answer to the question of whether America is ready to seriously alter its large entitlement programs.
Romney, speaking to more than 100 donors and supporters at the private breakfast, responded to a question from his supporters on the issue.
"I don't know," he replied, according to a source in the room, before going on to warn that Social Security and Medicare are -- in the source's paraphrase -- "basically the third rails in politics and he doesn’t know if we’re going to be able to actually make a dent in reforming them."
"It was really soft rhetoric, definitely not the kind of tough talk that’s going to be necessary in a Republican primary," the source said.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, however, said in an email that Romney's not ambivalent about entitlements. . . .
Stephen Harper's Conservatives have gained a massive 21-point lead over Michael Ignatieff's Liberals, according to a new COMPAS Research poll obtained exclusively by QMI Agency.
In Ontario, the Liberals trail their Conservative opponents in every area of the province except Toronto — although Harper leads in the city's suburbs. . . .
"Falling short of a Kim Campbell-style shellacking, the Liberals nonetheless face the prospect of a historic shutout in French Quebec and being limited to islands of support in Atlantic Canada, English-speaking Montreal, the City of Toronto, parts of southern and eastern Ontario, and parts of Vancouver," a poll analysis says. . . .
Virginians can carry firearms into churches and other places of worship while services are being conducted, but churches also have the right to ban guns from their premises, according to an advisory opinion from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli issued the opinion late last week in response to a state legislator's inquiry about a Virginia law that prohibits individuals from carrying firearms into religious services without "good and sufficient reason." Violation of the law is a misdemeanor.
"It is my opinion that carrying a weapon for personal protection constitutes a good and sufficient reason under the statute to carry a weapon into a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held there," Cuccinelli wrote in the April 8 opinion. "It is further my opinion that places of worship can restrict or ban firearms from their premises." . . .
Hitwise analyzed the traffic to the New York Times website before and after the paywall went up on March 28. Already, it’s taken a hit. Aside from a spike on Saturday — which Hitwise suspects was due to the potential government shutdown — there has been a decrease in overall visits between 5% and 15%, or roughly six million visitors per month. Page views also saw a significant decline, falling between 11% and 30%. . . .
In 2006, then-Sen. Obama cast a “no” vote on extending the debt ceiling to signal his seriousness about addressing runaway entitlement and military spending — along with tax breaks for the wealthy — problems he’s long identified as the country’s principal fiscal ills.
On Monday, Carney said Obama now views that as a “mistake,” and cast an apocalyptic picture if the upcoming vote, which will likely take place next month, failed. . . .
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer has joined President Obama in conceding he blundered by voting against raising the federal government's debt ceiling.
“I have voted against the debt limit in the past. That was a mistake,” Hoyer (Md.), the second-ranking House Democrat, said in an unprompted admission to reporters on Tuesday.
His comment came two days after White House adviser David Plouffe said Obama made a mistake by voting against raising the debt ceiling as a senator. . . .
But some of the worst-sounding trims are not quite what they seem, and officials said they would not necessarily result in lost jobs or service cutbacks. In several cases, what look like large reductions are actually accounting gimmicks.
The legislation includes $4.9 billion from the Justice Department’s Crime Victims Fund, for instance, but that money is in a reserve fund that wasn’t going to be spent this year. Crime victims would receive no less money than they did before the deal.
The bill contains some policy provisions, including language preventing Guantanamo Bay detainees from being transferred into the United States for any purpose. And it eliminates funding for four Obama administration “czars”: the “health care czar,” “climate change czar,” “car czar” and “urban affairs czar.” But those positions are already vacant, and Democrats beat back a GOP effort to defund other “czar” positions. . . .
Of the $38 billion in overall reductions in the budget that funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year, about $20 billion would come from domestic discretionary programs, while $17.8 billion would be cut from mandatory programs. The latter cuts, known as “ChIMPS,” affect permanent programs protected by law. The money they lose this year could be put back in their budgets next year. . . .
In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency, long a target of conservatives, will see a $1.6 billion cut, representing a 16 percent decrease from 2010 levels. At the Department of the Interior, affected agencies include the Fish and Wildlife Services ($141 million cut from last year), the National Park Service ($127 million cut from last year) and “clean and drinking water state revolving funds” ($997 million cut from last year). . . .
Another cut, $3.5 billion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, would affect only rewards for states that make an extra effort to enroll children. But officials with knowledge of the budget deal said that most states were unlikely to qualify for the bonuses and that sufficient money would be available for those that did. . . .
The historic $38 billion in budget cuts resulting from at-times hostile bargaining between Congress and the Obama White House were accomplished in large part by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.
Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs - Pell grants for poor college students, health research and "Race to the Top" aid for public schools, among others - from Republican knives, according to new details of the legislation released Tuesday morning. . . .
Instead of sharply cutting the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, both agencies would get increases under the legislation as they gear up to implement last year's overhaul of financial regulation. . . .
As a candidate, Obama promised to deal with the exploding deficit — so committed to tackling the underlying issue of entitlement reform that he told The Washington Post he’d make the “hard decisions … under my watch” shortly before his inauguration almost 27 months ago. . . .
He set up a blue-ribbon deficit commission last year — even promised its report wouldn’t gather dust on the shelves — then promptly distanced himself from it. His State of the Union speech mentioned debt reduction, but focused on stimulating job growth and funneling new funding to education, infrastructure development and green energy projects. And he adopted a political strategy that seemed to be based on Republicans making the first move on presenting a plan for the deficit.
That’s all changed. Last week’s release of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s controversial plan to privatize Medicare and a looming vote to raise the debt limit has forced the White House to unveil its own plan in a speech planned for George Washington University Wednesday afternoon. . . .
A senior administration official told POLITICO that Obama’s speech would break new ground, and not simply serve as a forum for Obama to restate his previous arguments for addressing the deficit.
But the expectations aren’t high for a highly specific proposal, likely to be more a white paper than a spreadsheet. . . .
White House officials were tight-lipped about specifics, but experts say the proposal is almost certain to focus on using key elements of his health reform law to cut costs for Medicare and Medicaid, drawing the contrast with Ryan’s plan to replace public programs with private vouchers. . . . Obama also is expected to target wasteful health care spending, redundancies and fraud, a mainstay of all reform plans for years. . . .
Debt disaster behind US budget squabble
After a ramshackle budget and being brought to the brink of shutdown over trifling disagreements, the world had better start paying attention to the US government's inability to govern.
Is President Obama really the Deficit-Cutter-in-Chief? After so obviously racking up massive deficits through his various stimulus programs, President Obama is now trying to portray himself as a leader in the effort to solve this problem. Time after time on yesterday’s Sunday morning talk shows, White House senior adviser David Plouffe said that Obama’s 2012 budget already proposes to reduce the deficits over the next decade by $1 trillion. Surprisingly, not a single host challenged him on his math.
Plouffe asserted: “Well, first, on the 2012 budget, that would be $1 trillion of deficit reduction over the next decade and lowest level of domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower. And he said it in the State of the Union, that was just a start.” He told this to Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace, and he repeated it almost word for word on NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour.
These assertions of bold deficit-cutting are absurd. . . .
"There is no issue that irritates the White House more than the birther issue," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.
"They view it as a symbol for those who refuse to acknowledge Obama as a legitimate president," he said. "The fact that someone as prominent as Trump is bringing this up is a source of real frustration."
The White House stopped just short of dismissing Donald Trump as a clown Sunday - calling him a "sideshow" act with "zero chance" of becoming president.
Chief Obama adviser David Plouffe unleashed a barrage of stinging comments on Trump, who has recently trafficked in fringe conspiracy theories about Obama's place of birth while taunting America with hints of a presidential run.
"There is zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people," President Obama's chief adviser David Plouffe told ABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour."
Plouffe noted Trump's surprise second place showing in a recent poll of New Hampshire voters with glee.
"I saw Donald Trump kind of rising in the polls and given his behavior and spectacle the last couple of weeks, I hope he keeps rising," Plouffe said. . . .
President Barack Obama has come to praise his Republican challengers - and to bury them.
Over the last few weeks, Obama and his top allies couldn’t seem to stop applauding several of the GOP’s potential 2012 contenders.
To listen to them tell it, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a health care visionary and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is a loyal foot soldier of the administration.
The political calculus behind that praise is straightforward: by wrapping their arms around some of the GOP’s most credible and deep-pocketed potential challengers, Democrats undermine the party’s attempt to win over its conservative base in the primary.
Obama aides deny that they’re wading into the Republican contest, but they’ve sought to intervene in GOP politics in the past, if on a smaller scale. Part of the benefit of sending Huntsman to Beijing was the hope that it would remove a moderate and wealthy Republican from the 2012 field, just as appointing Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y) as Secretary of the Army and attempting to place Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) in the administration would have freed up GOP-held seats. . . .
PLOUFFE: Well, first, on the 2012 budget, that would be $1 trillion of deficit reduction over the next decade and lowest level of domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower. And he said it in the State of the Union, that was just a start. We're going to have to do more.
MR. PLOUFFE: Well, let me say what the president has done and, and will say. His budget he just put out for next year would reduce $1 trillion over the next 10 years. It would bring domestic spending to the lowest level since President Eisenhower . Many of the debt commission 's and deficit commission 's suggestions were in the president's budget. . . . [The Republican proposal] cuts our energy investments at a time we're dealing with high gas prices by 70 percent. So we're obviously not going to sign on with that approach. But what's clear is, like on any issue in Washington, we have divided government. So we're going to have to bring leaders together and figure out where we can find compromise.
PLOUFFE: If you look at his budget for 2012, which he announced around the state of the union. It would actually reduce the deficit a trillion dollars in the next 12 year, it would bring ,spending down to the lowest since dwight eisenhower. The president's commitment to spending reduction is absolutely firm. But how we do that, we've got to make sure that we are not hurting our ability for our people to get the education they need to compete with people in beijing and bangalore that we're investing in research and , development, that we're investing in infrastructure, so that's going to be his approach going forward.
Look, his budget for next year, which he laid out around the State of the Union, would reduce the deficit by over $1 trillion in the next decade, bring spending to the lowest level since Eisenhower. . . .
Nearly 200,000 Ohioans have been issued a license to carry a concealed handgun since the state’s concealed carry law took effect in April 2004.
Here in Lorain County, since 2004, a total of 5,416 concealed carry licenses have been issued. In 2010 alone, the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office issued 852 new licenses, according to data provided by the Attorney General’s Office and Sgt. Diana Nicholl. In 2009, 798 licenses were issued. The number of new applicants has grown annually since 2006.
Neighboring Huron County issued 234 licenses in 2009, and Erie County’s sheriff issued 1,058.
“I think the consensus is that folks want them so they can, if they so desire, carry a concealed handgun to protect themselves, their loved ones or acquaintances,” Erie County Sheriff Capt. Paul Sigsworth said.
When the law first went into effect, opponents argued there would be more crime and weapons assaults. That has largely proven to not be the case, Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti said.
“We haven’t had any big problems since the law took effect in 2004,” Stammitti said.
Sigsworth said Erie County hasn’t had any major problems either.
“We have had very few issues with the folks issued licenses through our agency,” Sigsworth said. “And the vast majority appear to be law abiding ...” . . .
The federal debt increased $54.1 billion in the eight days preceding the deal made by President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) to cut $38.5 billion in federal spending for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, which runs through September.
The debt was $14.2101 trillion on March 30, according to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and $14.2642 on April 7.
Since the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2010, the national debt has increase by $653.4 billion.