Source: Examiner Today's losers losing their homes are Republican districts. At least according to the Center for Responsible Lending, who has just issued a new report that shows nine of the top ten districts with the most foreclosures are Republican and most likely to receive the bulk of any homeowner bailout, and thus, at least according to one On Air editor of a major cable network, fit the definition of "losers". Things look a little better further down the list. However, only six of the 22 districts with more than 10,000 foreclosures projected are represented by Democrats, and only two of those have served a full term. So 20 of the 22 have been in Republican hands until very recently. In other words, "Since the Rick Santelli's of the world have been complaining about how the people who would be helped by this bill are so 'irresponsible' and are really just a bunch of 'losers.' .... Rick Santelli's 'losers' may turn out to be the people who are supposedly his ideological fellow travelers." LinkHere
Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis thinks the Republican party must undergo a painful and potentially dangerous and irreversible procedure to prevent itself from reproducing.Or, something like that. Calling for a GOP "ideological vasectomy" on Thursday night's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the occasional Hill pundit blogger seemingly felt those words needed a little extrapolation, so he took to the Internet the following morning. "Yes, it’s time for Republicans, if they want to survive as a viable political party, to cut off the far-right voices like Rush Limbaugh and Tom DeLay, move their party more to the left (or in their case, closer to the center), and come up with real ideas and solutions that don’t make the American people think that Republicans are completely out of touch with reality or living in an alternative universe," he wrote on The Hill's pundit blog.
BOSTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told law students Friday there could be an opening on the Supreme Court soon but didn't hint at who might be leaving. Ginsburg, who spoke at New England Law's annual "Law Day," said the nine justices only take pictures together when a new member is added. "We haven't had any of those for some time, but surely we will soon," she said. She did not elaborate and declined to take questions from reporters at the event. Court watchers suggest Ginsburg, 88-year-old John Paul Stevens and 69-year-old David Souter are the most likely to retire. Stevens has repeatedly said he still enjoys his work and has hired law clerks for the term that begins in October. LinkHere
Rep. Bachmann Claims To Have Taken No-Pork Pledge, But Actually Requested $3 Million In Earmarks In 2008
On Fox Business yesterday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) joined the long paradeofmembersof Congresswho rail against earmarks while requesting their own. But Bachmann took her hypocrisy a step further, claiming that she has signed an anti-pork pledge: CLAMAN: How about a no-pork bill? Will that ever be a reality? BACHMANN: I think it is possible. I took a pledge in my own district. I have not taken earmarks in the last three years that I have been in Congress because the system is so corrupt. It’s possible to make that pledge.
In fact, according to Legistorm, Bachmann has requested 7 earmarks in Fiscal Year 2008 costing tax payers a total of $3,767,600. Some examples:
$335,000 for Equipment Acquisition for Northland Medical Center-
$803,000 for Replacement Small Buses, St. Cloud Metro Bus
As MSNBC’s David Shuster noted, Bachmann indeed signed the Club for Growth’s ‘No Earmark’ pledge back in 2008. While she clearly broke this pledge, Bachmann’s name is curiously absent from the list of lawmakers making the same pledge for 2009. LinkHere
You Be Da Man! Michelle Bachmann Soils Herself in Public While Steele Cringes
Keith Olbermann vs. Congresswomen Michele Bachmann
Lawyer seeks to prosecute Bush for torture, bar him from Canada
Even out of power and away from the White House, former President George W. Bush seemingly cannot get away from calls for his prosecution. The latest outcry comes from a Canadian attorney with Lawyers Against the War, who said she will file a suit against Bush and bar his entry to Canada over alleged war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Former President Bush plans a visit to Canada on March 17 for a speaking engagement at Calgary, on invite from the city's chamber of commerce. "In a letter to the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] war crimes section and copied to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and other federal ministers and opposition MPs, the Lawyers Against the War group claims that Bush is 'inadmissible to Canada . . . because of overwhelming evidence that he has committed, outside Canada, torture and other offences' as detailed in Canada's War Crimes Act," reported Canada.com. The letter (PDF link) asks the mounted police to "begin an investigation of George W. Bush for aiding, abetting and counseling torture between November 13, 2001 and November 2008 at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Bagram prison in Afghanistan and other places." "The letter also alleges that Bush has engaged in 'systematic or gross human rights violations, or a war crime or a crime against humanity' under subsections 6(3) to 6(5) of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act," reported Straight.com. Lawyers Against the War has been pursuing similar tactics for years. The group's Web site, which appears to have not been updated in the last five years, carries prior letters the organization has posted to Canadian officials. LinkHere
NEW YORK — Jon Stewart hammered Jim Cramer and his network, CNBC, in their anticipated face-off on "The Daily Show," repeatedly chastising the "Mad Money" host for putting entertainment above journalism. "I understand that you want to make finance entertaining, but it's not a ... game," Stewart told Cramer, adding in an expletive during the show's Thursday taping. The episode was scheduled to air at 11 p.m. EDT on Comedy Central. It was perhaps the hardest lashing Stewart has given to a TV commentator since 2004 when he called Tucker Carlson and his then co-host Paul Begala "partisan hacks" on CNN's "Crossfire," the since canceled political commentary program.
The program opened in mock hype of the confrontation, which caught headlines through the week as each snipped at the other over the air. The show announced it as "the weeklong feud of the century."
Watchdog Group Criticizes House Speaker for Travel Perks, but Records Don't Agree
The treasure trove of documents obtained by Judicial Watch from the Department of Defense regarding Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's use of military aircraft doesn't seem to prove the organization's allegation that Pelosi has made "unprecedented demands" for the flights.
In fact, it appears that Pelosi uses military aircraft less often than her predecessor, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. The documents cover the period from January 2007 to November 2008 and show that Pelosi made the equivalent of 20 round-trips between Washington (Andrews Air Force Base) and San Francisco. That's an average of less than one round-trip per month. In contrast, former Speaker Hastert traveled home to his Illinois district virtually every weekend and, his former aides tell ABC News, he would almost always travel on military aircraft. Like Hastert, Pelosi also occasionally leads Congressional delegations on foreign trips (the documents show six foreign trips: one to Asia, three to the Middle East and two to Europe).
Meghan McCain, the 24-year-old daughter of Senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, has thrust herself deep into the struggle for the future of the Republican party. She argued in a lengthy interview on "The Rachel Maddow Show" that the GOP, a party which she "loves," needs to become more moderate and reach out more, especially to younger voters. LinkHere
While former President George W. Bush has kept a low profile since vacating the Oval Office, many of his closest allies have been workinghard to “set the record straight” about a presidency recently ranked by historians as one of the worst ever. Last month, all 20 Texas Republicans in the U.S. House backed a bill to rename a federal courthouse in Midland, TX in Bush’s name. Now, their colleagues in the state legislature plan to further the cause with a resolution calling Bush a “dynamic Texan” and honoring him for his dedication to “the safety and prosperity of his fellow citizens”: The Texas House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a resolution this week that honors former President George W. Bush.
Obama calls out lawmakers who rail against earmarks but defend their own.
Obama on hypocritical porky lawmakers
As ThinkProgress has observed, conservative lawmakers such as Sens. David Vitter (R-LA), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) have slammed the omnibus spending bill for including earmarks — despite the fact that many of those earmarks were their own. In a speech today on earmark reform, President Obama called out legislators for having this double standard: OBAMA: Now, let me be clear: Done right, earmarks give legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their district, and that’s why I have opposed their outright elimination. I also find it ironic that some of those who railed the loudest against this bill because of earmarks actually inserted earmarks of their own – and will tout them in their own states and districts. LinkHere
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama invoked his grandmother, single mother and two young daughters on Wednesday in creating a White House panel to advise him on issues facing women and girls. Obama, standing with prominent members of his administration and with his wife sitting nearby, signed an executive order creating an across-the-government council designed to help Cabinet agencies and departments collaborate on ways to make sure women were provided opportunities offered to men. "I sign this order not just as a president, but as a son, a grandson, a husband and a father because, growing up, I saw my mother put herself through school and follow her passion for helping others," Obama said. "But I also saw how she struggled to raise me and my sister on her own, worrying about how she'd pay the bills and educate herself and provide for us." He said he signed the order to honor all the women who came before him, such as his grandmother who was a bank vice president but was denied promotions because of her gender. He said the fight for gender equality is far from over. Late Wednesday afternoon, after Barack Obama announced the creation of a White House Council for Women and Girls, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama presented the State Department's Award for International Women of Courage to "seven female activists from Afghanistan, Guatemala, Iraq, Malaysia, Niger, Russia and Uzbekistan who have fought to end discrimination and inequality." Secretary Clinton, by way of introduction, applauded Michelle Obama's "grace and wisdom" and called her "an inspiration to women and girls not only in the United States but around the world," and then reminded the audience that "the status of women and girls is a key indicator of whether progress is possible in a society."
In a clash between two of the loudest and most intrusive political talkers in the business, neither Chris Matthews nor former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer endeared themselves very well on Wednesday evening. The segment on MSNBC's Hardball seemed to extend well beyond its allotted time, and there was no shortage of notable fireworks. Fleischer called Matthews "shameful" for suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were the Bush administration's responsibility, since they occurred under "your watch." He called MSNBC "disingenuous," ridiculed Matthews for asking only partisan questions, and asked whether the cable host twisted every guest's words. LinkHere
Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.LinkHere
Road to war How the Bush administration sold the Iraq War to American people
Andrea Mitchell "Guilty" To Hurting Obama Staff With Gotcha Journalism (VIDEO)
Andrea Mitchell conceded Wednesday that the media is partially to blame for President Obama's staffing difficulties by contributing to a 'gotcha culture' that makes the White House worry over every minor flaw. On MSNBC Wednesday, Andrea Mitchell asked Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) about Thomas Friedman's New York Times column that morning, in which he called it "insane" that "dozens of key appointments at the Treasury Department" are held up over minor infractions. Frank agreed that "it's a problem." But, he continued, "for the media to blame that entirely on the Senate seems to me a little bit self-serving." LinkHere
"Executive Assassination Ring" Reported To Cheney, Says Sy Hersh
At a "Great Conversations" event at the University of Minnesota last night, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh may have made a little more news than he intended by talking about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an "executive assassination ring." Hersh spoke with great confidence about these findings from his current reporting, which he hasn't written about yet. LinkHere
Beckel Admits To Hannity: Fox's Health Plan Rejected Me
HANNITY: I'm on the Fox Plan and the AFTRA Plan. I have no clue what insurance I have. I don't have a special health care plan! I have the same plan that you do. BECKEL: No you don't. I don't have a health insurance plan. HANNITY: You work for FOX, you're on the FOX plan. BECKEL: I don't qualify for the Fox plan, because I have a pre-existing condition. And then, Hannity made light of people with pre-existing conditions, curing them all with ridicule, the best medicine. LinkHere
Jim Cramer Shorting Stocks, Manipulating Markets, Saying The SEC Doesn't Understand
In light of the current economic crisis, and with the hullabaloo ignited recently by Jon Stewart over the accuracy of CNBC's reporting, we thought it might be useful to revisit this shocking 2006 interview Jim Cramer gave to TheStreet.com's Aaron Task. In it, the host of Mad Money says he regularly manipulated the market when he ran his hedge fund. He calls it "a fun game, and it's a lucrative game." He suggests all hedge fund managers do the same. "No one else in the world would ever admit that, but I could care. I am not going to say it on TV," he quips in the video. He also calls Wall Street Journal reporters "bozos" and says behaving illegally is okay because the SEC doesn't understand it anyway. Here are some gems:
Stock Market Manipulation - Jim Cramer
WATCH: Jon Stewart Rips Jim Cramer, Whole NBC Family
By Anna Driver HOUSTON, March 11 (Reuters) - Allen Stanford, the billionaire Texan accused of an $8 billion fraud by U.S. regulators, has refused to cooperate in the government's probe, a court filing showed on Wednesday. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Stanford, two of his top aides and three of his companies with operating a long-running fraud involving high-yield certificates of deposit. He is also accused of misappropriating $1.6 billion in investor funds. "I hereby assert my privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and and decline to testify or provide an accounting, and will continue to decline to testify, provide an accounting or produce any documents related to the matters set forth in the Commission's complaint," he said in a document dated March 9 that was filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas. In a prior court filing, Stanford's attorney Charles Meadows has said the SEC's claims were false. Stanford Chief Financial Officer James Davis, who is also accused of the fraud, has said he would not cooperate with the government's civil investigation. LinkHere
Despised financial fraud Bernie Madoff may have one last scam in him. And this one may be the biggest and most infuriating of all. He may sleaze his way out of rotting away his last days in prison. Loud bells and whistles went off that that could happen when Madoff suddenly dropped any pretense of a court fight and said he'd plead guilty to every fraud, perjury, and embezzlement charge that the Feds could slap on him. For the official record Madoff will be hit with an 11-count indictment. The maximum penalty is 150 years in prison. But that's just on paper. Bells sounded louder that Madoff could evade his full prison due when U.S. District Judge Denny Chin who presumably will sentence Madoff said that he'd sharply limit the number of Madoff victims who get to shake their fist in the swindler's face and tell him what a rat he is during an upcoming court hearing. Bells sounded even louder when Chin said that he would take weeks maybe even months to sentence Madoff. Meanwhile Madoff will continue to piddle about in his $7 million dollar Manhattan penthouse. But the Madoff bells really went off the decibel chart when prosecutors said that they'd tap Madoff for $170 billion in criminal forfeitures. That sounds impressive but it may not be anywhere near the amount of money that Madoff stole, squandered, or stashed away in vaults and mattresses, in dummy accounts, and with friends, associates, wives and mistresses. If Madoff does indeed dupe the government hangman, it won't be much of a surprise.
Newsweek: Don't Blame Liberals: How The Wealthy Waged War On Each Other
PHOTOS: Who Is To Blame? There are plenty of people who contributed to the sad state of our economy. But when it comes to bad decision making, these seven folks arguably deserve the bulk of the blame. (Want to add to this hall of shame? Follow the e-mail link at the end of this gallery.) LinkHere
45 percent of world's wealth destroyed: Blackstone CEO
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Private equity company Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) CEO Stephen Schwarzman said on Tuesday that up to 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed by the global credit crisis. "Between 40 and 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half," Schwarzman told an audience at the Japan Society. "This is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetime." LinkHere
Taxpayers Paying $211 Million In Banking Fees For Auctions That Never Occurred
Taxpayers Billed $211 Million in Auction-Rate Failure (Update2)
March 10 (Bloomberg) -- From Carnegie Hall in New York to the Los Angeles bus and subway system, American taxpayers are paying investment banks millions of dollars in fees for bond auctions that never happened. State and local governments will spend about $211 million this year for the failed sales, based on the 0.25 percent average annual fee charged on the $84.5 billion of outstanding securities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bonds - - long-term debt with interest rates reset through auctions every 7, 28 or 35 days -- typically require issuers pay their bankers even if auctions fail. Taxpayers continue paying fees to investment banks for the 80 percent of auctions still failing more than a year after the collapse of the market. In February 2008, the banks that supported the market for 20 years abruptly pulled out, sending interest costs as high as 20 percent. Local governments aren’t demanding that fees be eliminated, even though they face a cumulative $47.4 billion budget deficit this fiscal year before receiving federal stimulus funds, the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures estimated last month. “Fees are going to continue until we find a permanent solution,” said Whit Kling, director of the Louisiana Bond Commission. LinkHere
One in 50 American children is homeless and the economic crisis hitting the United States will make the problem worse, a report released Tuesday said. "Without a voice, more than 1.5 million of our nation's children go to sleep without a home each year," said the "America's Young Outcasts" report by the National Center on Family Homelessness. The child homelessness crisis is the worst since the Great Depression, says the report, which looked at the years 2005-06 -- or before the economic slump had fully hit the United States. Children without homes are twice as likely to go hungry, more than twice as likely as middle class children to have health problems, and run twice the risk of other children of repeating a grade at school, being expelled or suspended, or not finishing high school, the report said. "At least 25 percent have witnessed violence, and 22 percent have been separated from their families," the report says of homeless children. "About half of all school-age children experiencing homelessness have problems with anxiety and depression, and 20 percent of homeless preschoolers have emotional problems that require professional care," it said.
Today, the earmark’s sponsor, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) explained his rationale in a tense interview with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly, who accused Bennett of abusing federal funds for pet projects. “Why is it an earmark to begin with?” she pressed. Bennett fired back at Kelly: “Okay, will you calm down for a minute?” The Utah senator then took a shot at McCain:
The Pentagon allegedly endangered U.S. soldiers by implementing and covering-up dangerously toxic waste-incineration practices at Balad Airbase in Iraq during years past, as revealed in a leaked Air Force memo [PDF].Raw Story, which first reported the leak, writes this: The document, written by an environmental engineering flight commander in December of 2006 and posted on Wikileaks on Tuesday, details the risks posed to US troops in Iraq by burning garbage at a US airbase. It enumerates myriad risks posed by the practice and identifies various carcinogens released by incinerating waste in open-air pits.
NEW YORK — In a courtroom surprise, it was revealed Tuesday that Bernard Madoff will plead guilty Thursday to securities fraud, perjury and other crimes, knowing that he could face up to 150 years in prison for one of the largest frauds in history. The revelation came as prosecutors unveiled an 11-count charging document against the 70-year-old former Nasdaq chairman, and as his lawyer, Ira Sorkin, told a judge that Madoff planned to plead guilty this week without a plea deal. Madoff has been under house arrest in his $7 million Manhattan penthouse since he was arrested in early December after authorities said he confessed to his family that he had carried out a $50 billion fraud. In court documents filed Tuesday, prosecutors raised the size of the fraud to $64.8 billion, an amount recounted in apparently false statements from November 2008. Authorities reviewing the finances of Madoff's business say the actual loss was more likely much less and that higher numbers reflect false profits he promised investors. So far, authorities have located about $1 billion for jilted investors. LinkHere
Obama told the Times' scribes. "I did think it might be useful to point out that it wasn't under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks."
"This is not an Obama recession," he said. "He inherited all of this. He inherited a $1 trillion dollar debt.He inherited the recession. He inherited the lousy stock market.All of this was inherited. The guy has been in office a little over a month and what he has tried to do is listen to every economist he could listen to. And he put in place some opportunities to get people to work quickly through the transportation bill portion of it, to help the banks, and to help the real estate industry. And it is going to take time."
Greg Sargent notes that in the National Journal today, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) “offered an unusually blunt description of the Republican strategy right now.” Dropping any pretense that his party’s opposition to Obama’s agenda is based on anything other than politics, McHenry explained that House Republicans’ only goal right now is to “bring down approval numbers for Pelosi and for House Democrats”: “We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., an outspoken conservative who has participated on the GOP message teams. “Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.” Despite how “blunt” McHenry’s pronouncement may be, it is a widely held view among House Republicans. In fact, McHenry is echoing the sentiments of the House Republican leadership. Steve Benen explains the implications of such positions, writing, “If we take McHenry at his word, Republicans can’t be constructive, they necessarily have to be destructive.”
Report: Slain US Nazi hated Obama, had parts for 'dirty bomb'
Claim: Depleted uranium purchased over the Internet from an American company
Trust fund millionaire James G. Cummings, an American Nazi sympathizer from Maine who was slain by his wife Amber in December, allegedly had the radioactive components necessary to construct a "dirty bomb," a newly released threat analysis report states.
The man, allegedly furious over the election of President Obama, purchased depleted uranium over the Internet from an American company.
"According to an FBI field intelligence report from the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center posted online by WikiLeaks, an organization that posts leaked documents, an investigation into the case revealed that radioactive materials were removed from Cummings’ home after his shooting death on Dec. 9," reported the Bangor Daily News.
"Amber (Cummings) indicated James was very upset with Barack Obama being elected President," reported the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center (PDF link). "She indicated James had been in contact with 'white supremacist group(s).' Amber also indicated James mixed chemicals in the kitchen sink at their residence and had mentioned 'dirty bombs.'"
On Fox News this afternoon, Karl Rove insisted that “this crew” in the White House has caused the collapse of the market, faulting the Obama administration for the economic crisis. He blamed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in particular, saying Geithner could not point fingers at the previous administration because he was one of the three people who made the decision to bail out the banks in the first place, with last fall’s TARP.
In fact, Rove declared that only three people made the decision about the bank bailout — and none of them were then-President Bush:
Look, Geithner was sitting in the room, last year. Three people made the decision about the bank rescue package: Geithner, Ben Bernanke, and Hank Paulson, the Treasury Secretary.
Rove added that those three “unanimously made those decisions about the bank rescue.” Apparently they simply informed then-President Bush of their decision to give $700 billion to banks after the fact. Watch it: LinkHere
Obama Orders Officials Not To Rely On Bush Signing Statements
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has ordered a review of his predecessor's signing statements which often told officials how to implement laws, the Associated Press reports. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that Obama has sent memos to federal agencies directing them to review former President George W. Bush's signing statements. When signing legislation, Bush often would use such statements to direct officials to ignore parts of the law he thought were incorrect or restricted the administration's constitutional powers. Read the full memo:
THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release March 9, 2009 March 9, 2009 MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
Presidential Signing Statements
For nearly two centuries, Presidents have issued statements addressing constitutional or other legal questions upon signing bills into law (signing statements). Particularly since omnibus bills have become prevalent, signing statements have often been used to ensure that concerns about the constitutionality of discrete statutory provisions do not require a veto of the entire bill.
In recent years, there has been considerable public discussion and criticism of the use of signing statements to raise constitutional objections to statutory provisions. There is no doubt that the practice of issuing such statements can be abused. Constitutional signing statements should not be used to suggest that the President will disregard statutory requirements on the basis of policy disagreements. At the same time, such signing statements serve a legitimate function in our system, at least when based on well-founded constitutional objections. In appropriately limited circumstances, they represent an exercise of the President's constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and they promote a healthy dialogue between the executive branch and the Congress. With these considerations in mind and based upon advice of the Department of Justice, I will issue signing statements to address constitutional concerns only when it is appropriate to do so as a means of discharging my constitutional responsibilities. In issuing signing statements, I shall adhere to the following principles:
1. The executive branch will take appropriate and timely steps, whenever practicable, to inform the Congress of its constitutional concerns about pending legislation. Such communication should facilitate the efforts of the executive branch and the Congress to work together to address these concerns during the legislative process, thus minimizing the number of occasions on which I am presented with an enrolled bill that may require a signing statement.
2. Because legislation enacted by the Congress comes with a presumption of constitutionality, I will strive to avoid the conclusion that any part of an enrolled bill is unconstitutional. In exercising my responsibility to determine whether a provision of an enrolled bill is unconstitutional, I will act with caution and restraint, based only on interpretations of the Constitution that are well-founded. more
3. To promote transparency and accountability, I will ensure that signing statements identify my constitutional concerns about a statutory provision with sufficient specificity to make clear the nature and basis of the constitutional objection.
4. I will announce in signing statements that I will construe a statutory provision in a manner that avoids a constitutional problem only if that construction is a legitimate one. To ensure that all signing statements previously issued are followed only when consistent with these principles, executive branch departments and agencies are directed to seek the advice of the Attorney General before relying on signing statements issued prior to the date of this memorandum as the basis for disregarding, or otherwise refusing to comply with, any provision of a statute.
This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.
President Barack Obama is applauded by members of Congress, and others, after signing an Executive Order on stem cells and a Presidential Memorandum on scientific integrity, Monday, March 9, 2009, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. - Ron Edmonds /AP Photo
President Obama is delivering remarks and signing an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for stem cell research as well as a memorandum on scientific integrity. Obama's full remarks, as prepared for delivery: Today, with the Executive Order I am about to sign, we will bring the change that so many scientists and researchers; doctors and innovators; patients and loved ones have hoped for, and fought for, these past eight years: we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research. We will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research. And we will aim for America to lead the world in the discoveries it one day may yield.
Do you approve of Obama lifting restrictions on federally funded embryonic stem cell research?
"Ronald Reagan must be turning over in his grave," said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which sponsored the three-day conference to explore ways of leading conservatives out of the wilderness. "But the American people will soon discover that Obama is no FDR or JFK, but a 21st century reincarnation of Marx and Lenin who is determined to lead the nation down the path of socialism." Funeral services will be held on Wall Street next week.
The Republican Party, America's second oldest political party and a force in American politics and government since the time of Abraham Lincoln, died on March 1. It was 155 years old. Death apparently resulted from injuries suffered during a violent mugging by 67 millions voters last November, when Illinois Democrat Barack Obama handily defeated Arizona Republican John McCain and Democrats increased their majorities in both the House and Senate. However, police did not rule out the possibility of suicide. Washington, D.C. Police Chief Kathy Lanier cited numerous reports that the victim had been severely depressed in recent months after suffering its worst defeat since 1964, when another GOP candidate from Arizona, Barry Goldwater, lost in a landside to President Lyndon Johnson. Chief Lanier said the Grand Old Party's battered body was found in an alley next to the Omni Sheraton Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the victim was attending a Conservative Political Action Committee conference, after hearing a bleak forecast of its future by congressional leaders and conservative talk show hosts. The time of death was uncertain, but Lanier said it probably occurred shortly after several witnesses heard the victim declare, "If Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Ron Paul represent my future, I'll kill myself." Nevertheless, Lanier said she is investigating evidence of possible foul play following a tip that two top Democrats, House Speaker Nancy "Women Can Play Hardball Too" Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry "High Roller from Vegas" Reid, and Obama White House chief of staff, Rahm "Don't Take It Personally, It's Just Business" Emanuel, were seen making threatening gestures toward the victim in recent weeks. Lanier also said two top Republicans, House Minority Leader John "Tom DeLay Taught Me Everything I Know" Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch "At Least We Carried Kentucky" McConnell, are considered possible suspects because of their grudging support for GOP presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. "There are a lot of potential suspects who wished the victim ill will," she declared.
Asked on Sunday whether the Obama administration's budget proposal was, as posited by Sen. Lindsey Graham, a "scary" idea, OMB Director Peter Orszag did something unique for Democratic administrations: he cited Ronald Reagan. "Well, as Ronald Reagan once put it, there they go again," said the president's budget czar during an appearance on Face the Nation. "We've had eight years of one approach -- didn't work. We're offering a new approach. Let's look at what the Republicans are putting on the table. The senior Republican on the House Budget Committee has put forward a plan that includes $3 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, a Medicare program -- when you turn 65, you'd be handed a check for 80 percent of the cost of health care and then you're on your own -- and a Social Security plan in which your Social Security funds would be invested in the stock market. I'm not making this stuff up. That is their alternative plan. I think they should come on this show, offer a detailed alternative to what we're talking about and I'll let the American people evaluate the two ways forward." The calling out of the GOP for a lack of substantive budget proposal is something that Orszag repeated during an appearance on CNN, also on Sunday.
Ironically, around the same time Orszag was channeling the Gipper, conservative columnist David Brooks was appearing on ABC This Week, chastising Republicans in Congress for a damaging obsession with Reagan-era politics.
The Great Stimulus Debate
Bob Schieffer spoke with Budget Chief Peter Orszag about President Obama's stimulus package and its effect on the stock market. House Minority Leader John Boehner offered a Republican viewpoint. Boehner said that struggling American families "don't see government tightening its belt," and argued for a spending freeze because government, he said, should "lead by example."
It is All Obama's Fault: The Republican Twilight Zone
Bequeathing to the American people the worst economic crisis in generations upon leaving office, President Bush continued to blame his predecessor for his failures as he was walking out the door. He blithely ignored the inconvenient fact that he was president for the past eight years. Bush said: "I think when the history of this period is written, people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over a decade or so" before he became president.
The lead fairy-tale on Fox News on January 26: "The Democrats' Economic Plan is to Blame Republicans for Everything." The truly bizarre implication is that somehow that blame is not warranted. After Bush blamed everything on Clinton for eight years, the audacity of that story is beyond description. Truly breathtaking. The Republican attempt to blame Obama for Bush's failures is a new historic low. That is like the Vatican blaming Galileo for abuses of the Inquisition. That is like being pushed off a cliff and then being blamed for not solving the problem of flight before hitting the ground. The idea is offensively absurd at every level. The Republicans have lost their already tenuous grip on reality. They have lost the concept of shame. They have lost all pride, for nobody with any self respect could blame Obama for Bush's eight years of mismanagement. No wonder Rush Limbaugh has become the voice of the Republican Party. The patients have taken control of the Republican Asylum. LinkHere
Source: Washington Post When President Obama promised Wednesday to attack defense spending that he considers wasteful and inefficient, he opened a fight with key lawmakers from his own party. It was Democrats who stuffed an estimated $524 million in defense earmarks that the Pentagon did not request into the 2008 appropriations bill, about $220 million more than Republicans did, according to an independent estimate. Of the 44 senators who implored Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in January to build more F-22 Raptors -- a fighter conceived during the Cold War that senior Pentagon officials say is not suited to probable 21st-century conflicts -- most were Democrats. And last July, when the Navy's top brass decided to end production of their newest class of destroyers -- in response to 15 classified intelligence reports highlighting their vulnerability to a range of foreign missiles -- seven Democratic senators quickly joined four Republicans to demand a reversal. They threatened to cut all funding for surface combat ships in 2009. Within a month, Gates and the Navy reversed course and endorsed production of a third DDG-1000 destroyer, at a cost of $2.7 billion. LinkHere