Durbin Says Illegal Alien Could Be President, Official Site Omits Comment

Durbin Says Illegal Alien Could Be President, Official Site Omits CommentSenate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), in his opening remarks at the Senate hearing on the controversial DREAM Act, asked all the “DREAMers” — adolescents who would be eligible for citizenship under the Act — attending the hearing to stand. Then, he made the following statement:

“When I look around this room, I see America’s future. Our doctors, our teachers, our nurses, our engineers, our scientists, our soldiers, our Congressman, our Senators and maybe our President.”

The statement was caught on video, which can be viewed below. However, the transcript for Durbin’s opening remarks, which is available on his website, reads:

“When I look around this room, I see the future doctors, nurses, scientists, and soldiers who will make this country stronger.”

As noted on Real Clear Politics, which broke the original story, Article II, Section 1, clause five of the Constitution reads: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

Yet Another War? U.S. Drones Attack Somalia

A source revealed Wednesday that a United States drone aircraft recently fired on two Somali militant leaders with ties to al-Qaida, making Somalia the sixth known country where the U.S. is conducting military attacks.

The Washington Post said their source, a senior U.S. military official familiar with the operation, said the attack apparently wounded the two, which were reportedly senior members of al-Shabab.

The other countries that have reportedly been attacked by U.S. drone aircraft are Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Yemen.

While the White House has not responded to questions about the operation, the article drew attention to a recent counterterrorism strategy speech by White House aide John O. Brennan.

“As the al-Qaeda core has weakened under our unyielding pressure, it has looked increasingly to these other groups and individuals to take up its cause, including its goal of striking the United States,” said Brennan, Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser. “From the territory it controls in Somalia,” he said, “al-Shabab continues to call for strikes against the United States.”

“The airstrike appears to be one piece of a larger effort to step up offensive action against al-Shabab militants with ties to al-Qaeda in Somalia. Somali media have reported numerous rumors in recent months of U.S. airstrikes on militant camps,” the article read.

North Korea To Chair U.N. Conference On Disarmament

A Geneva-based United Nations watchdog group, UN Watch, called on the United States and the European Union Thursday to strongly protest the United Nations’ appointment of North Korea as the President of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament.

“Bare months after the U.N. finally suspended Libya’s Col. Muammar Qaddafi from its Human Rights Council, North Korea wins the propaganda coup of heading the world’s disarmament agency,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said in a statement. “It’s asking the fox to guard the chickens, and damages the U.N.’s credibility.”

“In his initial address to the Conference as president, So Se Pyong of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that he was very much committed to the Conference and during his presidency he welcomed any sort of constructive proposals that strengthened the work and credibility of the body,” read the U.N. press release about the appointment.

North Korea’s appointment occurred based on the Conference’s rules, which dictate that each member nation be given the leadership position for a four-week period on a rotating basis.

“While the U.N. will likely defend North Korea’s appointment as simply an automatic rotation,” said Neuer in the UN Watch statement, “no system should tolerate such a fundamental conflict of interests. It’s common sense that a disarmament body should not be headed by the world’s arch-villain on illegal weapons and nuclear proliferation, notorious for exporting missiles and nuclear know-how to fellow rogue regimes around the globe.”

California Passes Internet Sales Tax Law, Amazon Ends Ad Deal With State Affiliates

A new California law, Assembly Bill No. 28, requires sellers with a significant presence in the State to charge sales tax. This includes “(a)ny retailer entering into an agreement or agreements under which a person or persons in this state, for a commission or other consideration, directly or indirectly refer potential purchasers of tangible personal property to the retailer, whether by an Internet-based link or an Internet Web site, or otherwise.”

In other words, small businesses that have affiliate advertising programs with online retailers, such as Amazon.com, are now required to charge sales tax.

“Amazon has already emailed its termination of its affiliate advertising program with 25,000 websites,” The Orange County Register reported. The article quoted the termination letter, which read, in part: “We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.”

The article also reported that experts said A.B. 28, which took effect immediately upon passage, would “immediately cut small-business website revenue 20 percent to 30 percent.”

Board of Equalization Member George Runner told the paper, “Even as Governor Jerry Brown lifted his pen to sign this legislation, thousands of affiliates across California were losing their jobs. The so-called ‘Amazon tax’ is truly a lose-lose proposition for California. Not only won’t we see the promised revenues, we’ll actually lose income tax revenue as affiliates move to other states.”

 

Iraq: Monthly Combat Death Toll For U.S. Soldiers At 3-Year High

On Thursday, the United States military announced that three more American soldiers in Iraq had died this week, bringing the combat-related monthly death toll in the Iraq War up to a three-year high.

“The deaths occurred Wednesday in southern Iraq, and the military did not disclose details on how the soldiers died. A military spokesman confirmed that they were killed by enemy attack,” The New York Times reported. “Recently, the increase in casualties has been attributed to rocket or mortar attacks on American bases by Shiite militias. American convoys have also come under increasing threat from improvised explosive devices.”

Military officials say that the increased casualties, which are occurring as the U.S. coordinates the withdrawal of all forces by the end of the year, are the result of “militants’ stepping up attacks so as to claim credit for pushing the Americans out,” the article read.

According to the newspaper, 15 American soldiers have been killed in June, 14 in hostile incidents. The article reported that this was the highest number of combat-related deaths “since June 2008, when 23 soldiers and Marines were killed.”

“According to the security agreement between Iraq and the United States, American forces are severely restricted in their ability to act unilaterally to face threats, a fact that has ratcheted up the anxiety — and the anger — among troops who find themselves under attack but unable to respond,” the article read.

Greece Passes Austerity Measures, Riots Continue

On Wednesday, lawmakers in Athens, Greece approved an austerity package for the country, bowing to the demands of international lenders. The 155-138 vote passed as riots and protests continued in the nation’s capital.

“Greek riot police fired round after round of tear gas to keep small crowds of protesters away from Parliament in the run-up to the vote and as lawmakers one by one said ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’” read a CNN.com article. Police told the news outlet that at least 19 officers were injured Wednesday, and “dozens” of Greek citizens have gone to hospitals with breathing problems from the tear gas.

“Unions oppose the austerity package, but its backers say it is essential to the stability of the Greek economy, the euro, and the global financial system,” CNN reported. Experts say this austerity package should clear the way for Greece to receive its fifth installment of a bailout from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and other lenders.

Obama’s Ratings Continue To Fall

Obama's numbers keep slipping.According to the results of the Harris Poll, President Barack Obama has lost points not only in his overall rating, but also in areas including the handling of jobs, education and healthcare.

In February, about 30 percent of Americans gave president Obama positive ratings on his handling of jobs. Now, that number has dropped below one-quarter, and nearly half of Americans gave the President a rating of poor, the poll’s lowest score.

The President is even lacking in partisan support, as only 42 percent of Democrats gave him positive ratings on the issue of jobs, and only 19 percent of Independents gave positive marks.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, unemployment applications have remained above 400,000 for 12 straight weeks. Although they fell to 375,00 in February, a level that can sustain job growth, they peaked in April at 478,000 and have shown only slight improvement since.

In order for the economy to even keep up with population growth, it needs to generate at least 125,000 jobs per month. At least twice this number is needed to bring down the unemployment rate, the news source stated.

Web-Based Businesses Fear New California Tax Law Will Be Crushing

Many web-based companies will be harmed by recently passed legislation in California.On Thursday, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed ABX1 28, a bill that allows California to collect sales tax from out-of-state, web-based retailers.

But according to the Performance Marketing Association, instead of additional revenue for the state, Brown’s signature led to the immediate loss of income for thousands of California small businesses.

Even before the bill was signed, retailers outside of the State started terminating their advertising agreements with California website owners, knowing that the signature was imminent, according to the association.

While similar legislation has been seen in other States, it was rejected after elected officials agreed that it would not generate any additional sales tax revenue, and could negatively affect small business income.

Even companies as large as Amazon will feel the effects of this bill, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to The Journal, Amazon stock is down slightly less than 1 percent, and has said it will cut ties with California affiliates, as it has done with States who have passed similar laws.

“This legislation is counterproductive and will not cause our retail business to collect sales tax for the state,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s global-policy vice president, said in a recent statement.

GOP Holds Firm On No Tax Hikes In Debt Debate Despite Obama Bluster

John Boehner has continued to fight tax hikes.President Barack Obama had some harsh words for legislators in a recent press conference centering on the debt issue, however, GOP lawmakers were not swayed to adopt tax hikes.

Republicans have refused to allow increases in taxes to be part of the debt ceiling talks, according to Fox News. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said that if the ceiling is not raised by Aug. 2, the country could default on its obligations.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that the Republicans have been the party that has been serious about solving the financial situation that the United States is currently in, not the Democrats and Obama.

“His Administration has been burying our kids and grandkids in new debt and offered no plan to rein in spending,” Boehner said. “Republicans have been leading and offering solutions to put the brakes on this spending binge. The president has been AWOL from the debate.”

The government has so far been unable to offer much help to the country during its worst financial situation since the Great Depression, with the unemployment rate currently sitting at 9.1 percent.

Some Indian Parents Forcing Daughters To Become Sons

In India, officials are concerned about a disturbing trend: parents forcing their daughters to become sons through sex change operations.

“Madhya Pradesh state government is investigating claims that up to 300 girls were surgically turned into boys in one city after their parents paid about £2,000 (more than $3,000) each for the operations,” read an article on The Telegraph’s website.

The issue of preferring boys to girls is a serious one in India, where “India’s gender balance has already been tilted in favour of boys by female foeticide — sex selection abortions — by families who fear the high marriage costs and dowries they may have to pay. There are now seven million more boys than girls aged under six in the country,” the article read.

“The surgery, known as genitoplasty, fashions a penis from female organs, with the child being injected with male hormones to create a boy,” the article read. Doctors are accused of wrongly conducting the surgery, which should only be performed in cases where a child is born hermaphroditic (having both male and female genitalia), on normal girls.

“People don’t want to share their property or invest in girls’ education or pay dowries. It’s the greedy middle classes running after money. It is just so shocking and an outright violation of children’s rights,” Ranjana Kumari, of the Centre for Social Research and one of India’s leading campaigners against female foeticide, told the newspaper. “In India we say God resides in that house where there’s a woman but that has evaporated because of all this greed.”

New Mexico Fires Threaten Nuclear Facility, Show Importance Of Disaster Preparedness

One should be prepared for a nuclear crisis.Firefighters in New Mexico recently battled wildfires that threatened a government nuclear facility in Los Alamos.

The threat of a potential nuclear crisis is real, as the recent disaster in Japan showed, and it is important to be prepared for any eventuality.

Those who live close to nuclear facilities should be prepared in case a crisis occurs, but those who live farther away should also be ready for any situation.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the most serious threat posed by a nuclear disaster is exposure to radiation.

FEMA says that there are three important factors to keep in mind when attempting to limit one’s exposure to radiation: distance, time and shielding. One wants to get as far away from the disaster site as quickly as possible and keep as many heavy materials between oneself and the source of the radiation as he can.

The Federal agency also says that if one is told to evacuate, he should be sure to keep the car windows and doors closed. Those who are advised to remain indoors should not use the air conditioner and should go into the cellar, if possible.

If one believes he has been exposed to radiation, he should remove his clothes, place them in a bag, seal it, place it out of the way and then take a thorough shower.

Independence Now, And Independence Forever

On June 7, 1776, the Continental Congress met at Philadelphia and received Richard Henry Lee’s resolution urging a declaration of independence from English rule. Five days later, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston were appointed to a committee to draft a declaration.

Committee members urged Jefferson to draft a document for the committee’s review; and 16 days later, the committee’s draft was read before Congress.

On July 1, 1776, Congress began debating and revising the document that it would adopt on July 4, 1776.*

As the debate began, Adams said: “Before God, I believe the hour has come. My judgement approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment. Independence now, and Independence for ever!”

Like the other Founders, Adams understood what he was doing would be considered treason by the British Empire. But he was willing to risk his life and all he owned for the cause of freedom. Should we do any less?

*From ushistory.org

 

Bienvenidos A Los Estados Unidos (Welcome To The U.S.)

Thanks to the Herculean efforts of some very patient teachers, I speak Spanish. Well, I speak high-school-distracted-by-the-hot-chick-in-front-of-me-in-class Spanish. All right, I speak well enough to ask directions to the bathroom, and I can order paella without the waiter delivering a gang of picadors to the table. I’m sure I sound about as fluent to the good people of Madrid as the Scandinavians who have developed an affinity for visiting my town: “Yes, please, I am asking to directions to the River Street, and you are thank you telling me?”

But I learned a smattering of Spanish because I already had finished seven years of Latin, and my parents thought it might be worthwhile for me to learn a language spoken outside the Vatican. I learned Spanish so I could order dinner in places where English was only good for curse words and baseball. Lately, I’ve noticed I might need to start brushing up on the Español, even when I’m at home.

But I live in the United States of America. Why in the hell should I have to learn anything but English? No one asks the people in Barcelona, Spain, to learn English; they choose to. Granted, it’s a wise choice, since there’s no way they’re going to convince their neighbors to spend €5 on some colorful trinket which was lovingly handcrafted by the kindly old woman down the street… in Taiwan.

As the Democratic-led U.S. Senate again tries to push through the amnesty-for-illegal-aliens DREAM Act, more and more often I’m noticing a sizable number of people who struggle with English the way I struggle with Spanish. And while no special powers of observation are required to understand the Democrats’ reasons for wanting to grant a vote to every Tomas, Ricardo and Jorge who manage to swim, tunnel or dodge his way across the border, perhaps the rest of us should consider the endgame in a country of more than 300 million souls which has abandoned a lingual standard.

Just a few weeks ago, Principal Crespin Esquivel delivered the commencement address to the graduating senior class of Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nev. Actually, Esquivel delivered the address twice: once in English, y una vez en Español (and once in Spanish). Esquivel said: “I think it’s important for me to make sure all the families feel comfortable.”  I have no objection to Esquivel’s manners, but I think his logic is severely twisted. By offering “comfort” to those who have yet to learn Inglés, he’s reinforcing the idea that their comfort at a commencement ceremony takes precedence over their comfort on job interviews. Letting the Nation’s youths come of age without a common tongue allows for a grim outcome. The prospect is about as appealing as it would be to serve as Chris Matthews’ designated driver after Obama gets his clock cleaned in the 2012 election. The Nation would fall into Tower of Babel-type chaos, and we would all look forward to living in blessed paradise – much like the countries our Spanish-only friends fled for our shores.

We have already seen what that looks like. Last weekend, the U.S. Soccer team lost a match to Team Mexico. Given our track record on the international soccer scene, that’s not stunning. The fact that the crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Mexico shouldn’t necessarily turn too many heads, either. And I suppose it’s not too bizarre that the officials conducted the post-match ceremony in Spanish — except that the game was played in Los Angeles (yes, L.A. is still technically in the U.S.).

People in Spanish-speaking countries learn English because it helps to speak the language of the tourists without whom they would be selling colorful trinkets from Taiwan to each other. Also, while the French might be more famous for their disdain of Americans’ mangling of their language, no one really enjoys Los Gringos’ tendency to butcher languages the way President Obama butchers the memories of fallen soldiers. I’m not suggesting Americans are blameless in this cultural equation. I think learning to speak more than one language is worthwhile, especially if you want the hedges to be straight or you want to figure out which woman Ed Schultz hates the most today.

However, here at home, English is still the lingua franca of success. Should we fail to reinforce that success, then vaya con Dios, Los Estados Unidos (“Go with God, the United States).

Goldman Sachs Firing In U.S., Hiring In Singapore

Goldman Sachs is cutting jobs in the United States so it can expand in Singapore. The company, which received $10 billion in preferred stock purchases from the Federal government under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, alerted Washington to the move first, in order to avoid controversy.

“Goldman is so concerned about the potential for criticism that the firm’s representatives have been alerting staffers of lawmakers in Washington of the hiring spree in recent weeks as a way to mollify any concerns they may have about previously undisclosed plans to add 1,000 jobs to the firm’s Singapore office, according to people in Washington with direct knowledge if the matter,” read an article on FoxBusiness.com, which broke the news. “Goldman is concerned about criticism because it is adding those jobs while it is planning what could be a significant retrenchment in its U.S. workforce, these people say.”

The firm reportedly plans to slash $1 billion in costs during the upcoming year, with most of the cuts coming from its U.S. operations. The article suggested the move is indicative of Wall Street’s negative view of the current regulatory environment.

“Firms like Goldman have to conform to a plethora of new and costly regulations that came as a result of the 2008 financial collapse, and the massive government bailout of the big financial firms that followed,” the article read. “Those regulations, found primarily in the Dodd/Frank financial reform bill… have forced banks to hold higher capital reserves to protect against losses, and also forced them to exit some lucrative businesses like proprietary trading.”

 

Bachmann Says ‘Scare Tactics’ Are Being Used In The Debt Ceiling Debate

Bachmann recently weighed in on the debt ceiling debate.Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said those warning of economic disaster if the debt ceiling is not raised are using “scare tactics.”

The Congresswoman, who recently announced her intention to seek the Republican nomination for the Presidency, said that if the United States paid down the interest on its debt, it could avoid defaulting on its obligations. However, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Small Business Committee that such a solution is “unworkable.”

Some government officials say that if the debt ceiling is not raised beyond its current standing at $14.3 trillion by Aug. 2, the economic consequences of an American default could be profound.

However, Bachmann said on CBS’ Face the Nation that such claims were false.

“It isn’t true that the government would default on its debt.” The Representative later said, “It is scare tactics.”

Republicans and Democrats have reached an impasse in their negotiations as the GOP balked at the White House’s suggestion that tax hikes might be necessary to solve the budget issue.

“Throwing more tax revenue into the mix is simply not going to produce a desirable result, and it won’t pass,” Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told CNNMoney.

RINOS To The Left Of Me

Recently, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-The Tanning Bed) played golf with President Barack Obama (D-George Soros’ pocket). In and of itself, a little time on the links is hard to criticize. We all know the old saw: A day on the golf course is better than a day listening to Obama read Alinskyite babble off the nearest teleprompter. I say that with the expectation that Obama probably sandbags the hell out of his opponents: from each according to his proximity to scratch, to each according to his 20+ handicap.

But Boehner has been playing a lot more than golf with Obama; and instead of a foursome, he’s been playing in a huge scramble with the Democrats. The tide of conservatism (created at least in part by a rising taxpayer recognition that the Democrats’ only plan for the nation appears to involve embittered rhetoric and assignation of blame) gave Boehner his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Yet Boehner is developing a far cozier relationship with the people who drove the nation into the ditch than he is with the people who have to winch it out. Whether it’s a vote against defunding the war in which Obama has not embroiled the United States (honest!) or dithering on raising the debt ceiling, Boehner seems to be ignoring the reality that 2010 was not a national referendum on Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, but a referendum on the increasingly unhinged liberalism of Pelosi, Obama and the Democratic Party.

The people want a conservative partner in Washington, not necessarily a Republican partner. That’s an important distinction, my friends. While Boehner has occasionally demonstrated a backbone, he has also too often run with the RINO herd. Before any of my dear readers respond with condemnations of my refusal to search for across-the-board bipartisanship, allow me to preempt your indignation:

  1. The 2010 turnover had nothing to do with bipartisanship. Voters went to polls across the Nation and told the Democrats (to paraphrase the President): “Sit down and have a Slurpee.” Recent polls indicate voters have even less faith in the Democratic Party now than they did then.
  2. I couldn’t help but notice bipartisanship suddenly became enormously important just moments after the Democrats in the House started having to beg for legislative scraps at the back door.
  3. The Democrats define bipartisanship strangely. As our own Chip Wood pointed out in his column Tossing Grandma off the Cliff and Other Democratic Lies, as opposition to Obamacare solidified, the liberal Democrat group Agenda Project produced a charming TV ad claiming the Republicans were planning the political equivalent of a mob hit on Medicare. The spot in question crossed a new Rubicon in the Democrats’ race to the bottom of the barrel. It depicted a reasonably well-groomed young fellow (whom we know to be a soulless conservative, since he’s wearing a suit, his hair is combed and he appears to have bathed) taking a wheelchair-bound old lady for a leisurely stroll — and pushing her off a cliff. If insinuating that conservatives are out to whack grandma is a Democrat’s idea of bipartisanship, then I’ll pass on the next Congressional love-in, thanks. It is worth noting that the Democrats are the ones pushing Obamacare’s death panels. And while they seem comfortable accusing conservatives of Medicare/Grandmama-cide, I can’t help but wonder where their plan to save Medicare might be. Maybe it fell off a cliff. Their rhetoric has grown exponentially more hysterical as their position has become more tenuous. I suppose hurling hate-filled tirades beats formulating a budget, a coherent foreign policy or a plan for improving the fortunes of people who don’t dine with Oprah Winfrey.

While Boehner and some members of the GOP have been putting from the Democrats’ rough at the Congressional level, another RINO has pushed to the front of the Presidential herd. Ambassador Jon Huntsman has left his post as the Nation’s envoy to the People’s Republic of China to challenge his boss for the big boy chair in the Oval Office. A former Governor of Utah, Huntsman is a well-connected, politically astute and telegenic candidate. While he remains an unknown quantity to many Republican voters (thanks in no small part to a campaign that started more slowly than my mother backing the truck out of the barn), he has access to some well-heeled financiers. And his pre-campaign hype was louder than a Who concert. (For the kiddies who don’t know who The Who is, think Lady Gaga with real instruments, real talent and real… clothing.)

Huntsman is an interesting study in the Revenge of the RINOS, if only because the hype surrounding his will-he, won’t-he, will-he campaign (he will, as it turns out) was generated without any real backing from any identifiable conservatives. In fact, the highest profile endorsement I heard directed toward Huntsman was offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.): “…if I had a choice, I’d favor Huntsman” (And if I had a choice, Senator Reid, you would be making little stick figures of Sharron Angle while your ghostwriter worked on your memoirs.) While Huntsman served as Ambassador to China at the pleasure of the President of the United States, he did so not under President George W. Bush, but under President Obama. Given our increasingly lopsided relationship with the ChiComs, I hardly think that serving as the Beijing mouthpiece for Obama’s appeasement-at-all-costs-unless-you-look-like-an-easy-win foreign policy is much of a resume highlight for someone trying to convince voting Republicans that he’s the right man for the Oval Office.

Meanwhile, the man who would come in second in the “Harry Reid Endorsement Sweepstakes” is dragging his own RINO baggage. Say hello to Governor Mitt Romney, who still leads in the increasingly tight race for the GOP Presidential nomination. Romney is hardly the standard-bearer for the wave of conservatism which swept the nation in 2010. In 1994, Romney said: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.” Romney now says his position has changed, of course. But he’s in his second race for the White House. My Bravo Sierra detector has an odd tendency to light up like a Christmas tree (how non-p.c. of me, apologies) — Winter Solstice tree — every time a RINO like Romney starts professing his passage to the right side of the political spectrum. Granted, Romney is to Obama as the Four Seasons is to the Super 8. Of course, in Obama’s America the rest of us can’t afford the Super 8 — and we can’t even get in the door of the Four Seasons (Mrs. Obama doesn’t like the riffraff getting too close, you know). But Romney has touted his adherence to the global-warming dogma, and there’s that nagging little matter with Obamacare’s older brother. It strikes me that the same conservative revolution which gave candidates like Romney a chance against Obama can do better than candidates like Romney.

“Better than candidates like Romney” excludes a certain former Speaker of the House. Newt Gingrich is astute, shrewd and easily the best debater of the GOP candidates. But it’s hard to vouch for the conservative credentials of a guy who plays footsie with a parasite like Al Sharpton. And while he was the more attractive of the two people in that “together we can solve it” global-warming promo he did with Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-California Society of Plastic Surgeons), the fact that he did the spot speaks volumes. Tell you what, Mr. Speaker, you and Nancy go solve “it.” Let someone else handle the real issues.

It’s a bit early for me to offer an endorsement in the GOP’s 2012 horse race. Also, no one actually asked me. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m still mildly depressed that neither former Representative Tom Tancredo (R-really not Mexico) nor Governor Chris Christie (R-Joisey) came out of the gate this time around. But there are some roses among the candidate thorns. Herman Cain continues to impress me, although evidently he dents Bob Schieffer’s memory less deeply. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-liberal nightmares) has proven herself early on to be a candidate to watch, and her Tea Party Caucus leadership bespeaks the kind of sound conservative thinking the Nation desperately needs. As an added bonus, she makes liberals do that spit-when-they-talk thing; that always gives me a chuckle. Now, if someone could just get her to stop mistaking the Duke and the Killer Clown, she could really open for business.

Governor Sarah Palin (R-the Grizzly Den) has that same effect on liberals, and she may well be the most unfairly maligned political figure in recent memory. But sometimes, I can’t tell if Palin’s kidding. Of course, I keep hoping that Obama has been kidding for the past few years. And then, there’s Representative Ron Paul (R-Grassroots America). I know I am going to suffer a few slings and arrows (again) from his rather… er… spirited supporters, but I don’t see a President when I see Ron Paul. I see the economics professor I wish Obama had had in college instead of whichever Keynesian moron he listened to. I sincerely hope the Republican who wins in 2012 names Paul Secretary of the Treasury to replace Secretary “Turbo-tax™” Geithner. Paul may oppose punitive and overly Byzantine taxes, but at least we know he pays them.

The 2012 Presidential campaign has a long way to go. In the meantime, it’s a jungle out there, kids. Let’s not mistake the RINOs for the elephants.

Bank of America Close To Paying Historic Settlement

Bank of America Corp. may soon agree to pay an $8.5 billion settlement to investors who lost money in the housing collapse, which would be the largest such settlement by a financial-services firm to date.

“A settlement would end a nine-month fight with a group of 22 investors who hold mortgage-backed securities originally valued at $105 billion, including the giant money manager BlackRock Inc., the insurer MetLife Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The dispute between Bank of America and the mortgage investors began last fall when they alleged in a letter to the bank that securities they scooped up before the financial crisis from Countrywide Financial Corp. were full of loans that didn’t meet sellers’ promises about the quality of the borrowers or the collateral.”

The newspaper reported that such a huge settlement could endanger the job of the corporation’s chief executive officer, Brian Moynihan. “Mr. Moynihan told analysts in October that he wasn’t interested in a large lump-sum payment to make the mortgage-repurchase issue go away. But in December, Mr. Moynihan reversed course and decided to begin settlement talks,” the article read.

“If Bank of America goes ahead with the plan,” the article read, “it would hand $8.5 billion in cash to Bank of New York Mellon Corp., which acted as the trustee for the bondholders and would distribute the funds to the investors.”

Obama: At Some Point, Congress Needs To Do Its Job

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama gave his first press conference since March, speaking from the East Room of the White House. Lasting just over an hour, the press conference’s question-and-answer session covered a wide range of topics, but seemed to focus on criticizing Congress.

Speaking initially about the economy, the President discussed currently stalled bills that he believes Congress should pass, including bills on patent reform, funding for construction jobs, trade agreement reform and extending payroll tax cuts.

Asked about the deficit talks, the President suggested Republicans are unwilling to compromise, while Democrats and the Pentagon have offered up their own “sacred cows.” Of the Republicans, Obama said: “They don’t want a balanced approach.” He went on to stress that entitlements are on the table, but Republicans must accept tax cuts for the wealthy and big businesses.

Of the War Powers Resolution and American involvement in Libya, the President maintained his position that the “operation” is not a war, saying that he does not even have to address the question of Constitutionality. He said that United States troops are not in danger in the Libyan operation, and the controversy is merely Congress’ “cause célèbre”of the moment. He did not clearly address whether he believes the War Powers Act itself to be unConstitutional.

Later, speaking again about the debt negotiations, Obama said, “I’m very amused when I hear, ‘The president needs to show more leadership on this.’” The President then suggested that if the members of Congress cannot reach an agreement about the deficit by the end of the week, then they should stop taking weekend breaks and recesses, saying “I’ve been here.”

“(The members of Congress) need to do their jobs. Now’s the time to go ahead and make the tough choices. That’s why they’re called leaders,” Obama said.

Wrapping up his speech, the President referenced the letters he receives from citizens every day, and their accounts of the difficulties facing the average American: “They’re losing their homes; they’ve lost their businesses… Some have not been able to find work for months, maybe a year, maybe a year and a half.”

“Every minute of every day, that weighs heavily on me,” Obama said. “These people are counting on us. They desperately want to believe their leadership is thinking of them.”

Senate Minority Whip Says Treasury May Extend Aug. 2 Deadline

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the Federal Government could, through various accounting maneuvers, avoid going into default after the United States breached its current debt limit of $14.3 trillion in May. However, he said the accounting hoodoo could work only until Aug. 2 at the latest, and he urged lawmakers to vote to extend the debt limit as soon as possible.

On Tuesday, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said he heard that the Treasury may soon announce its ability to extend that deadline. Kyl made the remarks to reporters following a weekly Republican policy luncheon, Fox News reported.

An unnamed House Republican leadership aide cautiously confirmed the rumor to the news outlet: “We know for sure they are going to update the deadline (Friday)… We have heard from those who watch this type of thing that it’s likely they will move it back, but we have not heard from Treasury that it is definitely going back. So I guess we’ve heard that, but not from Treasury, which is the only group that actually knows when we’ll run out of cash.”

However, Treasury spokeswoman Colleen Murray told the website in a statement, “We will provide an update on the debt ceiling outlook at the beginning of July, as we have done at the beginning of each month this year, but it is unlikely that the date will move by more than a day or two — if at all.”

 

U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds Individual Mandate

On Wednesday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that nearly all individuals must buy health insurance.  The three-Judge panel, which included two Republican nominees, ruled 2-1 in favor of the law’s Constitutionality.

“The district court held that the minimum coverage provision falls within Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause for two principal reasons: (1) the provision regulates economic decisions regarding how to pay for health care that have substantial effects on the interstate health care market; and (2) the provision is essential to the Act’s larger regulation of the interstate market for health insurance,” read the Court opinion, drafted by Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr.

“We find that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause and therefore affirm the decision of the district court.”

This decision is the first in which a Republican-nominated Judge has ruled in favor of the mandate, according to POLITICO. Judge James L. Graham, a Ronald Reagan nominee, partially dissented, writing: “It is difficult to see what the limits on Congress’s Commerce Clause authority would be” if the mandate were upheld.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Sale Of Violent Video Games To Minors

The Supreme Court determined that minors could buy violent video games.Citing the 1st Amendment, the United States Supreme Court struck down a California law that prohibited the sale of violent video games to children.

The New York Times reports that the court voted 7-2 in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. The law that was struck down called for a $1,000 fine for stores that sold violent video games to minors.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for five of the justices in the majority.

"Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world)," he wrote. "That suffices to confer [1st] Amendment protection."

The news source reports that the video game industry was happy with the ruling.

The decision was just the latest by the Supreme Court that protected 1st Amendment rights. Earlier this year, the high court determined that funeral protests, like those staged by the Westboro Baptist Church, are protected by the Constitution.