Today, Kevin reveals exactly how he would fix America if he were elected to office. Find out which programs he would cut, what he would make legal and illegal, what he would expose, and what laws he would demand!
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March 12, 2012
By Eric Blair
“Is it time to impeach Obama? The signing of the NDAA should be enough to get him out of office.” –KTRN
Since 2005, Veterans for Peace and others have been calling for the impeachment of the sitting president for war crimes. After their demands to lawmakers to uphold the rule of law against Bush were largely ignored, they renewed their effort to impeach Obama once he continued to bomb sovereign nations without congressional approval. Now, lawmakers seem to have finally decided to take the rule of law and Separation of Powers seriously.
Obama will face impeachment over his failure to seek congressional authorization before launching offensive military action in Libya last year. Official impeachment proceedings have now been filed in both the House and Senate.
Last week, North Carolina Representative Walter Jones filed an Impeachment Resolution in the House H.CON.RES.107.IH stating “Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”
“Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”
February 16, 2012
The Raw Story
By Stephen C. Webster
Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a tea party favorite, said Wednesday in a speech to the U.S. House of Representatives that his colleagues in the Democratic Party engage in “the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today.”
“Our party firmly believes in the safety net,” West said. “We reject the idea of the safety net becoming a hammock. For this reason, the Republican value of minimizing government dependence is particularly beneficial to the poorest among us. Conversely, the Democratic appetite for ever-increasing redistributionary handouts is in fact the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today, and it does not promote economic freedom.”
The comment, though startling, is not unusual for West, who’s collected a litany of critics with his often over-the-top rhetoric.
He’s particularly fond of attacking Democrats with analogies to “slavery,” and once called himself “the modern-day Harriet Tubman” for his efforts to lead black voters off the “21st-century plantation,” which he thinks is run by “certain black leaders, who are nothing more than the overseers of that plantation.”
February 10, 2012
By Activist Post
If the Food and Drug Administration has its way, thousands of supplements will be removed from store shelves. We’ve heard this cry before, but this time it is very true. Supplements that you and I might take for granted – like resveratrol, L-GABA, curcumin, bioperine, and many more – which have not hurt a soul but only helped the health of millions, are slated for oblivion because the outlaw FDA thinks that it alone can decide whether they are safe or not. It might seem like a joke, but the FDA is dead serious.
Ignoring the law passed by Congress back in 1994, the FDA wants all new dietary ingredients (i.e., those on the market from October 15, 1994 on) to jump through regulatory hoops that Congress never intended for them. More specifically, the FDA’s draft Guidance for Industry on New Dietary Ingredients (issued last July) would subject these “new” supplements to expensive, drug-like testing requirements for safety that will effectively eliminate thousands of supplements because it simply will not be cost-effective for companies to spend the millions of dollars on each dietary-supplement ingredient. Sales will not justify the expense and the products will be dropped like hot potatoes.
The NHF’s Answer
Immediately upon hearing the news last July about the FDA’s latest power grab, the National Health Federation (NHF) decided that the FDA should get a taste of its own medicine. Through the astute work of NHF’s lobbyist Lee Bechtel in Washington, D.C., that reflexive thought has taken substance in the form of a new bill introduced last October in the House of Representatives by freedom-oriented Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN). Called the “Dietary Supplement Protection Act” (H.R.3380), the DSPA moves the defining date of October 15, 1994, to a more realistic and recent date of January 1, 2007. In this one simple act, the bill encompasses within that previous grandfathering clause all of the “new” dietary-supplement ingredients that have appeared in that 13-year interval and that would otherwise be subject to the onerous requirements of the FDA Guidance.
January 16, 2012
By Stephen Dinan
It’s official: Congress ended its least-productive year in modern history after passing 80 bills — fewer than during any other session since year-end records began being kept in 1947.
Furthermore, an analysis by The Washington Times of the scope of such activities as time spent in debate, number of conference reports produced and votes taken on the House and Senate floors found that Congress set a record for legislative futility by accomplishing less in 2011 than any other year in history.
The Senate’s record was weakest by a huge margin, according to the futility index, and the House had its 10th-worst session on record.
Of the bills the 112th Congress did pass, the majority were housekeeping measures, such as naming post office buildings or extending existing laws. Sometimes, it was too difficult for the two chambers to hammer out agreements. More often, the Senate failed to reach agreement within the chamber.
That left much of the machinery of the federal government on autopilot, with the exception of spending, where monumental clashes dominated the legislative session.
“Absent unified party control with a bolstered Senate majority, I think it’s just very hard to get things done, particularly in a period when revenues aren’t growing and the decisions are how to cut, and how to cut in the long term,” said Sarah Binder, who studies Congress as a Brookings Institution scholar and professor at George Washington University. “Congress just isn’t very good at solving long-term problems.”
The futility record could be short-lived. The full House returns from a monthlong Christmas break on Tuesday to begin the second session, but all sides expect election-year paralysis, meaning some of the usually routine bills may run into trouble.
January 11, 2012
By Marie Claire Jalonick
Congressional investigators looking into an outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe linked to 30 deaths last year found that third-party auditors who gave Colorado’s Jensen Farms a “superior” rating just before the outbreak largely ignored government guidance on food safety.
A bipartisan report released Tuesday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee quotes a representative of an auditing company that graded the facility two months before the outbreak as saying audits are not intended to help clients improve food safety standards. Retailers often rely on such audits to make sure food they buy is safe.
Democrats on the panel asked the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on such third-party auditors, who often are the only outside entities to inspect food facilities. A food safety law signed last year will boost FDA inspections of such facilities, but money to carry out those inspections is not guaranteed from Congress.
“Weaknesses in third-party auditors represent a significant gap in the food safety system,” the Democrats said. Republicans on the committee signed the report but did not echo the Democratic call for more oversight.
The FDA currently does not regulate third-party auditors. The food safety law requires the agency to improve third-party audits of food facilities abroad that export to the United States, but does not address domestic audits.
November 4, 2011
By JOE STEPHENS and CAROL D. LEONNIG
Republicans on a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel on Thursday overrode vigorous Democratic objections and took the apparently unprecedented step of authorizing subpoenas for internal White House communications related to a $500 million taxpayer loan guarantee for the failed solar company Solyndra.
Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado, ranking Democrat on the panel, called it a “sad day” for the committee and “an act of irresponsible partisanship,” stressing that the committee had never before subpoenaed the White House.
Republicans said they had hoped to avoid the step but that the committee’s long-running investigation had failed to get to the bottom of why Solyndra, which collapsed in August and is now under criminal investigation, was selected to receive the Obama administration’s first loan guarantee under the stimulus act. President Barack Obama last year visited the company’s California operation, whose biggest investors were venture capital funds linked to Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser, a major Obama fundraiser.
Some Republicans have questioned whether the administration rushed stimulus funding out the door to benefit its political supporters. On Oct. 14, the White House told the committee that it would not comply with a request for all internal White House communications regarding the Solyndra loan.
October 5th, 2011
The Washington Post
By: David Nakamura and Paul Kane
There is a noticeably more aggressive, confrontational President Obama roaming the country these days, selling his jobs plan and attacking Republicans for standing in the way of progress by standing up only for the rich.
In Texas on Tuesday, the president went after a leading Republican by name: “Yesterday the Republican majority leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now he won’t even let this jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives,” Obama said. “I would like Mr. Cantor to come here to Dallas and explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in, what exactly he is opposed to. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses or efforts to help our veterans?”
The emergence of this more pugnacious Obama has heartened Democrats, especially the most liberal ones, who spent the past few months dejected by what they saw as the president’s unwillingness to engage his opponents in political combat.
“We don’t see it as confrontation; we see it as leadership,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union. “We see the president exerting strong leadership to make the case to the country that everything we had to listen to during the debt debate was wrong.”
The president’s problems, even within his own party, remain formidable; only 58 percent of Democrats in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll believe that he will be reelected. Many supporters remain skeptical of his tendency to seek compromise with Republicans, and recently he angered some black supporters by urging them to stop complaining.
Still, in recent weeks, Obama has begun to blunt some of the criticism among Democrats that he is not up for the fight.
“The guy is mad,” said Peter Fenn, a longtime Democratic strategist. “I’d be mad, too. We went four months on the debt-ceiling nonsense. What positive result came of that? Zip.”
The new attack strategy is rooted in the political reality that Obama is 13 months from Election Day and faces a tough road. The poll shows that 61 percent of Americans disapprove of the way he is handling the economy.
Indeed, the only good news for Obama relates to his jobs plan and his Republican opposition. An even higher percentage of poll respondents, about 76 percent, say they disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling the economy. Given that dubious advantage, the president may have few options other than to attack.
Obama used a Labor Day speech in Detroit to launch his new offensive against the GOP opposition. With him on Air Force One that day was Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who gave Obama the text of a rousing speech delivered by Harry S. Truman on Labor Day 1948, also in Detroit. Truman was another deeply unpopular Democratic president in the midst of an economic recession; he won another term in 1948 by attacking the Republicans, earning the nickname “Give ’Em Hell Harry.”
A month later, other parallels are emerging. Facing sharp criticism from Democrats who say he capitulated to Republicans during the summer’s acrimonious debt-ceiling negotiations, Obama has embarked on a nationwide barnstorming tour to promote his plan to create jobs and try to reverse his ebbing political fortunes.
October 4, 2011
By David Stanway and Aileen Wang
* Beijing accuses U.S. senate of “politicising” trade issues
* Warns of trade war, says bill would violate WTO rules
* Forcing the yuan higher would damage world recovery
* Says bill will not address underlying economic problems (Adds analyst quote, Xinhua commentary, links)
An angry China warned Washington on Tuesday that passage of a bill aimed at forcing Beijing to let its currency rise could lead to a trade war between the world’s top two economies.
China’s central bank and the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs accused Washington of “politicising” currency issues and putting the global economy at risk after U.S. senators voted on Monday to start a week of debate on the bill.
The response suggested China sees a greater risk from the proposed bill than it has in the past when U.S. lawmakers attempted to put forward similar legislation to speed up the pace of appreciation in the yuan, or renminbi.
Beijing made similar remarks last year after the House of Representatives passed a currency bill that later failed to make any further progress in Congress.
Tuesday’s coordinated salvo and the central bank’s warning of a trade war and a slowdown in China’s exchange rate reforms indicated Beijing was taking the latest currency bill more seriously.
“It is very rare for three different ministries of the country to refute something so quickly and strongly, showing how deeply the Chinese government is concerned about the yuan bill,” said Wang Zihong, a researcher at the China Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank.
“The strong responses made by the Chinese government may also suggest that the possibility would be quite high this time that the United States will pass the final bill in the end and that Beijing is worried about the possible negative impact on China’s exports resulting from the legislation,” he said.
U.S. Senate vote opened a week of debate on the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011, which would allow the U.S. government to slap countervailing duties on products from countries found to be subsidising their exports by undervaluing their currencies.
U.S. lawmakers, eyeing 2012 elections, said keeping China’s currency undervalued had cost American jobs and that a fairer exchange rate would help cut an annual trade gap Washington puts at more than $250 billion.
“By using the excuse of a so-called ‘currency imbalance’, this will escalate the exchange rate issue, adopting a protectionist measure that gravely violates WTO rules and seriously upsets Sino-U.S. trade and economic relations,” foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement posted on China’s official government website (www.gov.cn) on Tuesday.
“China expresses its adamant opposition to this.”
Ma urged U.S. legislators to “proceed from the broader picture of Sino-U.S. trade and economic cooperation” and “forsake protectionism”.
He repeated Beijing’s position that it will continue to gradually reform its currency policy, “strengthening the flexibility of the renminbi exchange rate.”
China’s exchange rate has long been a bone of contention between Beijing and Washington. The yuan has appreciated some 30 percent against the dollar since it was revalued in 2005, although critics say it is still valued too low and gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage.
The emergence of China as the world’s fastest-growing major economy has led to often testy relations with the United States. The most recent tension was over U.S. plans for a $5.3 billion upgrade of the F-16 A/B fighter fleet of Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be a breakaway province.
CAN THE BILL PASS?
Monday’s vote bolsters prospects for the bill to clear the Democrat-run Senate later this week, but prospects for action in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives are murky.
If the bill did clear both chambers, it would present President Barack Obama with a tough decision on whether to sign the popular legislation into law and risk a trade war with Beijing, or veto it to pursue a more diplomatic approach.
“My colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, agree that China’s deliberate actions to devalue its currency give its goods an unfair competitive advantage in the marketplace,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
China has routinely denied claims that its policies are responsible for trade imbalances and a high rate of unemployment in the United States, saying that structural problems were to blame.
“It is widely understood that the renminbi exchange rate is not the cause of China-U.S. trade imbalances,” Ma said.
China’s central bank said in a statement that the bill failed to address the underlying issues in the U.S. economy.
“The yuan bill passed by the U.S. senate will not solve its problems, such as insufficient savings, high trade deficit and high unemployment rate, but it may seriously affect the whole progress of China’s reform of its yuan exchange rate regime and may also lead to a trade war which we would not like to see.”
Ma said Beijing would continue “proactive” and “gradual” reform of the currency and the central bank added Chinese inflation had already pushed the real yuan exchange rate further “towards the equilibrium.”
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said the United States was trying to pass on the blame for its own failings.
“Trying to turn domestic disputes onto another country is both unfair and in violation of standard international rules, and China expresses its concern,” he said in a statement issued on the ministry’s website.
The Senate move had to be viewed in the context of deepening economic and political uncertainties in the United States, as well as dwindling approval ratings ahead of next year’s elections, the state news agency Xinhua said in a commentary.
“U.S. politicians are using the pretext of creating jobs and playing the China currency card — the practice of diverting attention from domestic conflicts has almost become a political convention in recent years,” it said.
Shen said any move by the United States to force the yuan to appreciate would undermine joint efforts to revive global economic growth, which took another blow on Monday with data showing that global manufacturing shrank in September for the first time in over two years.
“It will weaken China-U.S. efforts to join hands and together promote global economic recovery,” he said. “The global economic is in a complex, sensitive and changeable period, and so even more needs a stable international monetary environment.”
U.S. critics of China’s currency policy have gained some traction as a weak economy keeps U.S. unemployment stuck above 9 percent and as 2012 presidential elections draw near.
Passage of the bill by the Democratic-controlled Senate would send it to the House, which is run by traditionally free-trade-friendly Republicans.
A China currency bill passed the House last year with 99 Republican votes, but lapsed because the Senate took no action. This year, the bill already has more than 200 House co-sponsors and this week supporters expect to reach 218, the number needed to pass it.
However, House Republican leaders have not shown a great appetite to pursue currency legislation, and it is unclear if the bill would ever face a vote in that chamber.
As with similar legislation in the past, the Obama administration has not taken a public stance on the bill, although White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday that the president shares “the goal it represents.”
The Senate decision was a sign that China was being made a scapegoat by struggling western economies, said Wang Jun, researcher at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges.
“Maybe the United States will not be the only and last country
September 19th, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Jim Kuhnhenn
Drawing a bright line with congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama is proposing $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue as part of his long-term deficit reduction plan, according to senior administration officials.
The president on Monday will announce a proposal that includes repeal of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers, nearly $250 billion in reductions in Medicare spending, $330 billion in cuts in other mandatory benefit programs, and savings of $1 trillion from the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, the officials said.
The plan includes no changes in Social Security and does not include an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, which the president had considered this summer.
The officials briefed reporters Sunday evening, but spoke on the condition of anonymity in advance of the president’s announcement.
All in all, the president’s plan is as much an opening bid as it is a political statement designed to draw contrasts with Republicans, who control the House of Representatives.
As such, it was not intended as a compromise and did not include agreements Obama had reached with House Speaker John Boehner during failed deficit reduction negotiations this summer.
The new taxes in particular have little or no chance of passing Congress as proposed. Republicans were already lining up against the president’s tax proposal before they even knew the magnitude of what he intended to recommend.
Key features of the proposal:
_$1.5 trillion in new revenue, which would include about $800 billion realized over 10 years from repealing the Bush-era tax rates for couples making more than $250,000. It also would place limits on deductions for wealthy filers and end certain corporate loopholes and subsidies for oil and gas companies.
_$580 billion in cuts in mandatory benefit programs, including $248 billion in Medicare and $72 billion in Medicaid and other health programs. Other mandatory benefit programs include farm subsidies.
_$430 billion in savings from lower interest payment on the national debt.
By adding about $1 trillion in spending cuts already enacted by Congress and counting about $1 trillion in savings from the drawdown of military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, the combined deficit reduction would total more than $4 trillion over 10 years, senior administration officials said.
Obama backed away from proposing sweeping changes to Medicare, following the advice of fellow Democrats that it would only give political cover to a privatization plan supported by House Republicans that turned to be unpopular with older Americans.
Administration officials said 90 percent of the $248 billion in 10-year Medicare cuts would be squeezed from service providers. The plan does shift some additional costs to beneficiaries, but those changes would not start until 2017, and administration officials made clear as well that Obama would veto any Medicare cuts that aren’t paired with tax increases on upper-income people.
The deficit reduction plan represents an economic bookend to the $447 billion in tax cuts and new public works spending that Obama has proposed as a short-term measure to stimulate the economy and create jobs. He’s submitting his deficit fighting plan to a special joint committee of Congress that is charged with recommending how to reduce deficits by $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
Republicans have ridiculed the war savings as gimmicky, but House Republicans included them in their budget proposal this year and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had agreed to count them as savings during debt ceiling negotiations with Obama this summer.
But the Republicans’ biggest objections will be with the president’s tax increases.
“Class warfare may make for really good politics but it makes for rotten economics,” GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman, told “Fox News Sunday.”
Ryan was commenting on Obama’s plan to propose a new minimum tax rate for taxpayers earning more than $1 million.
The measure – Obama is going to call it the “Buffett Rule” for billionaire investor Warren Buffett – is designed to prevent millionaires from taking advantage of lower tax rates on investment earnings than what middle-income taxpayers pay on their wages. At issue is the difference between a taxpayer’s tax bracket and the effective tax rate that taxpayer pays. Millionaires face a 35 percent tax bracket, while middle income filers fall in the 15 or 25 percent bracket. But investment income is taxed at 15 percent and Buffett has complained that he and other wealthy people have been “coddled long enough” and shouldn’t be paying a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than middle-class taxpayers.
Still, the White House considers passing the jobs bill far more pressing and Obama has been looking for every opportunity to bring it to the public’s attention.
In his Saturday radio and Internet address, Obama said he would lay down a plan that would show how to pay down the nation’s debt and pay for his employment legislation.
“But right now,” he said, “we’ve got to get Congress to pass this jobs bill.”
To that end, Obama on Thursday will be at a bridge linking Ohio and Kentucky – home states to Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. He will use the bridge as a prop to call for increased spending on infrastructure.