Friday, March 30, 2012

GOP Primary Round-Up: Part 2 - Santorum

Last week I did Part 1 on Romney. Today is Part 2 on Santorum.

Back in early February, Capt. Ed of HotAir stated his choice for Rick Santorum. Tina Korbe at HotAir also strongly favored Santorum.

Santorum, throughout the campaign, has labeled Romney as the worst candidate to go after Obama & ObamaCare, and explained why.

Rick then went on to win Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. HotAir and RedState analyzed the results. Creative Minority Report also chimed in here and here.

Romney had to out-spend Santorum something like 6-to-1 in order to squeak out a 3% win in Michigan (his home town, and the state where his dad was a famous governor).

Santorum then took on Obama.

Santorum explained his Economic Freedom Agenda:

America's budget process is broken. Our economy and American families are struggling, and the country needs bold reforms and major restructuring, not tinkering at the margins. Obamanomics has left one in six Americans in poverty, and one in four children on food stamps. Millions seek jobs and others have given up.

Meanwhile, my opponent in the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney, had a last-minute conversion. Attempting to distract from his record of tax and fee increases as governor of Massachusetts, poor job creation, and aggressive pursuit of earmarks, he now says he wants to follow my lead and lower individual as well as corporate marginal tax rates.

It's a good start. But it doesn't go nearly far enough. He says his proposed tax cuts would be revenue neutral and, borrowing the language of Occupy Wall Street, promises the top 1% will pay for the cuts. No pro-growth tax policy there, just more Obama-style class warfare.

By contrast, in my first 100 days as president, I'll submit to Congress and work to pass a comprehensive pro-growth and pro-family Economic Freedom Agenda. Here are 10 of its main initiatives:

Unleash America's energy. I'll approve the Keystone Pipeline for jobs and energy security, and sign an order on day one unleashing America's domestic energy production, allowing states to choose where they want to explore for oil and natural gas and to set their own regulations for hydrofracking.

Stop job-killing regulation. All Obama administration regulations that have an economic burden over $100 million will be repealed, including the Environmental Protection Agency rule on CO2 emissions that's already shut down six power plants. I'll review all regulations, making sure they use sound science and cost benefit analysis.

A pro-growth, pro-family tax policy. I'll submit to Congress comprehensive tax policies to strengthen opportunity in our country, with only two income tax rates of 10% and 28%. To help families, I'll triple the personal deduction for children and eliminate the marriage tax penalty.

Restore America's competitiveness. The corporate tax rate should be halved, to a flat rate of 17.5%. Corporations should be allowed to expense all business equipment and investment. Taxes on corporate earnings repatriated from overseas should be eliminated to bring home manufacturing. I'll take the lead on tort reform to lower costs to consumers.

Rein in spending. I'll propose spending cuts of $5 trillion over five years, including cuts for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. I'll propose budgets that spend less money each year than prior years, and I'll reduce the nondefense-related federal work force by at least 10%, without replacing them with private contractors.

Repeal and replace ObamaCare. I'll submit legislation to repeal ObamaCare, and on day one issue an executive order ending related regulatory obligations on the states. I'll work with Congress to replace ObamaCare with competitive insurance choices to improve quality and limit the costs of health care, while protecting those with uninsurable health conditions. In contrast, Gov. Romney signed into law RomneyCare, which provided the model for ObamaCare. Its best-known feature is its overreaching individual health-care mandate. But it shares over a dozen other similarities with ObamaCare and has given Massachusetts the highest health-care premiums in the nation, and longer waits for health care.

Balance the budget. I'll submit to Congress a budget that will balance within four years and call on Congress to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution which limits federal spending to 18% of GDP.

Negotiate and submit free trade agreements. Because many Americans work for companies which export, I'll initiate negotiations in the first 100 days and submit to Congress five free trade agreements during my first year in office to increase exports.

Reform entitlements. I'll cut means-tested entitlement programs by 10% across the board, freeze them for four years, and block grant them to states—as I did as the author of welfare reform in 1996. I'll reform Medicare and Social Security so they are fiscally sustainable for seniors and young people.

• Revive housing. I'll submit plans to Congress to phase out within several years Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's federal housing role, reform and make transparent the Federal Reserve, and allow families whose mortgages are "underwater" to deduct losses from the sale of their home in order to get a fresh start in difficult economic times.

I'll work with Congress and the American people to once again create an economic environment where hard work is rewarded, equal opportunity exists for all, and families providing for their children can once again be optimistic about their future.

Rick went on to win Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota on Super Tuesday. He lost a 1% squeaker in Ohio (where, again, he was out-spent 6-to-1). Newt won his home state of Georgia (with only 47% of the vote, the worst percentage for a home state primary win by a candidate in a long time).

Romney took his home state of Massachusetts, Idaho (with its heavy Mormon population), Alaska (by only 4%), and Virginia (where only Romney and Ron Paul were on the ballot, and Romney still only got 60% of the vote).

Santorum then took on the so-called environmental issue of "the dangers of carbon dioxide."

THEN there was the whole kerfluffle about the media's misinterpretation of Santorum's comments about Romney. As stated in a link earlier in this post, Rick always stated throughout the campaign that Romney was the worst candidate to go up against Obama in regards to the issue of ObamaCare and RomneyCare. Of course, the media tried to take this out of context.

Read these links here, here, here and here. Rick even took a reporter to task for it:

Sarah Palin praised him for metaphorically punching back and calling it what it truly was... B.S.

Through all of this, Santorum did a sweep of Kansas, Alabama and Mississippi.

Romney pandered for a win in Puerto Rico, and then took Illinios.

Finally, Santorum came back strong with a big win in Louisiana.

Next up is Wisconsin this Tuesday. Polls show Santorum behind by 7%, but he has come back from that far behind quite a few times. It is a winner-take-all state, and could be a must-win for him (along with his home state of Pennsylvania, which votes three weeks later). Several caucuses occur in between these two dates (including one in Wyoming).

The reason why Wisconsin and PA is so important for momentum is because May brings to the forefront the following: Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia on May 8; Arkansas and Kentucky on May 22; and Texas on May 29. All are pretty much Santorum strongholds.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Our new puppy, Luna. An Aussie (Australian Shepherd). We got her last week. In this pic she's 10 weeks old, and looking up at my wife.

Ain't she a cutie? :-)

Friday, March 23, 2012

ObamaCare Round-Up...

$200 million of taxpayer dollars was spent by the Obama Administration for ObamaCare propaganda.

Even doctors are not thrilled with ObamaCare.

A list of companies, corporations, unions, organizations, and event states (Maine has an exemption; Louisiana is the 9th state requesting to be exempt) that got exemptions from ObamaCare from the administration - as of early January this year. ("Government mandates for thee but not for me," huh?)

Judges and Courts across America (26 states, actually) ruled that ObamaCare is unconstitutional.

The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. They took the case. More info here. Next week begins oral arguments. Of interesting note is this info about Justice Kagan. More info here:

"...calling on Justice Elena Kagan to disqualify herself in the ObamaCare litigation because of her role, as Solicitor General, in preparing its constitutional defense. These calls have intensified with the release of recent emails. Justice Kagan’s supporters respond that she testified in her confirmation hearings that she had nothing to do with ObamaCare.

First, her phraseology was much more precise. She said she would only recuse herself from any case in which she “officially formally approved something,” or “served as counsel of record” or “played any substantial role.” But the statute requires disqualification if Kagan, as a federal employee (she was the former Solicitor General) “participated” as an “adviser” on a matter, even if she did not give any formal advice. She also must disqualify herself if her impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

In March of 2010, there are a series of emails to or from Kagan; the subject line of all of them is “Health care litigation meeting.” The DOJ refused to disclose these emails because they discuss legal arguments for the “expected [health care] litigation.” If Kagan hermetically sealed herself from discussions on shaping defenses for ObamaCare litigation, why is she repeatedly sending and receiving emails shaping defenses for ObamaCare litigation? The Government refuses to release these emails, on grounds of a litigation privilege, while claiming that it erected such a solid wall around Kagan that she never would send or receive such emails. This wall must have more holes than Swiss cheese. If we can read theses emails, we will learn if the legal theory developed in those meetings is the legal theory that Kagan adopts when she rules on the case.

A week after the president announced her nomination to the Supreme Court, a DOJ press officer emailed the Deputy Solicitor General and asked if Kagan had been involved in the preparations for health care litigation. Notwithstanding these earlier emails, he responded, a minute later: “No she never has been involved in any of it. I've run it for the Office, and have never discussed the issues with her one bit.” A few minutes later, he forwarded that email to Kagan.

One would think, if Kagan’s Deputy was correct, that Kagan would simply say, “of course,” or, perhaps nothing. But that is not what happened. Less than two minutes later, Kagan wrote: “This needs to be coordinated. Tracy [the DOJ press officer], you should not say anything about this before talking to me.” What is there to “coordinate”? Why would Kagan suggest that they have to get their stories straight? And why “talk” instead of using emails (which leave a paper trail)?"

Whether or not she'll recuse herself (as well she should) will be known on Monday. I'm not holding my breath.

The recent CBO report on the projected cost of ObamaCare. It's twice as expensive as projected by the Obama Administration. Annnnnd 20 million extra people will lose their private healthcare coverage because of it.

RomneyCare (the precursor from you-know-who as governor of Massachusetts) spending is shown here. In November, Romney refused to walk away from his own failing healthcare initiative, which was the model for ObamaCare on a national level. He still won't do a mea culpa.

Romney's brown nosed supporter, Ann Coulter, gets taken to task here about it. Obama stated recently that RomneyCare isn't really that different than ObamaCare.

"... a 2009 op-ed Romney wrote for USA Today has recently surfaced in which he urged President Obama to adopt his program, including an individual mandate, for his federal healthcare makeover. The Obama administration has claimed it used Romneycare as its model for Obamacare."

His advisors/staff specifically helped the Obama Administration to draft ObamaCare from the RomneyCare model.

BTW, RomneyCare now funds free abortions.

Ultimately, the question will hinge on whether the Commerce Clause has any limits. If the federal government can compel a private citizen, under threat of a federally imposed penalty, to engage in a private contract with a private entity (to buy health insurance), is there anything the federal government cannot compel the citizen to do?

If Obamacare is upheld, it fundamentally changes the nature of the American social contract. It means the effective end of a government of enumerated powers — i.e., finite, delineated powers beyond which the government may not go, beyond which lies the free realm of the people and their voluntary institutions. The new post-Obamacare dispensation is a central government of unlimited power from which citizen and civil society struggle to carve out and maintain spheres of autonomy...

Rarely has one law so exemplified the worst of the Leviathan state — grotesque cost, questionable constitutionality and arbitrary bureaucratic coerciveness.

10 am Monday it starts. The official court ruling will be made know probably in late June (after the GOP primary elections are finished).

UPDATE: BTW, I've heard the argument that the government can mandate auto insurance coverage, so why not health insurance, too. Ummm... first of all, it's the states that mandate auto coverage, not the federal government. Second, you are required to only have coverage for others and their property if you are at fault in an accident. You are not required to have coverage on yourself. And you are only required to have coverage on your own vehicle if you are still making car payments, and don't own the car outright (it's a required coverage not by the state but buy the financier of the vehicle to protect against any potential loss).

The same with home owner's insurance. You are only required to buy it if you still have a mortgage to pay (it's, again, a requirement of the bank to protect against a potential loss). If you own your home outright, you're free to not have HOI.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

GOP Primary Round-Up: Part 1 - Romney


Erick at RedState is pretty much resigned to the fact that Romney's will be the Republican nominee. The delegate math certainly is in his favor after Illinois (although Louisiana this Saturday is trending big for Santorum). It's possible that there could end up being a brokered convention. Stranger things have occurred (remember the 2000 main election fiasco???).

Below are a few links to Romney-related stuff. The next post will focus on ObamaCare (and RomneyCare). The third post will be Santorum-related info.


Leon at RedState asked in early February, "What is wrong with Romney?"

Romney says that Obama has "fought against religion".

Michael Medved "wants a different conservative base" (says Erick at RedState).

Gateway Pundit says Romney will have a hard time exciting people to vote for him versus Obama come November.

Romney complained that Santorum was trying to get Democrat voters to vote for him in the Michigan primary (which was open) to influence the race. Yet, Romney did the same thing. And the whole Reagan coalition in the 80s included what has always been termed "Reagan Democrats". BTW, Romney won that state, where he grew up and where his dad was a successful governor, by only 3%. And he won Ohio by only 1%. Both states he had to out-spend Santorum by 6-to-1.

The possible Ron Paul/Mitt Romney alliance. A study proved that in over 20 debates, Ron Paul attacked his rivals 39 times... except for Romney, whom he attacked a grand total of ZERO times.


"I think it was clear from the context of his remarks that Santorum was not expressing his own thinking, but expressing the thinking of general election voters. And I think he is absolutely right, which is also why I think Romney makes such a bad nominee...

"Right now Mitt Romney has higher negatives with independent voters than Hillary Clinton did in 2008. Add in the Etch-A-Sketch comment and he is ripe to be painted as the next iteration of the Massachusetts flip-flopper no one can trust.

"I think Santorum was spot on in describing how voters would see the race in November. Why would they want to give up a guy many of them like, but who don’t much care of his job performance, for a guy they don’t like whose own campaign admits is like an Etch-A-Sketch."

And Romney rules out Santorum as a running mate. Says he (Santorum) is "too liberal".

Friday, March 09, 2012

Gibson Guitar Update...

Click here for the other posts about the government raid of Gibson Guitars.

NRO has a really good article on the situation here.

Hot Air followed up late last month. Still no government charges a year after the raid.

Red State also reports.

Economic Roundup...

Earlier this year, S&P lowered the credit ratings for eight European countries, including two notches down for Italy, Spain and Portugal, one notch down for France & Austria. And Italy and France are on "negative outlook". And we all know the mess that Greece is in (Ireland, too).

Gas prices are spiking... again. Out here in my neck of the woods, one of the cheapest gas stations (an Arco close to my home) has 87 octane at $4.27/gallon. It's up approximately 72-82 cents since Christmas day.

And how is the MSM treating the reporting of the gas price issue today vs. eight years ago under Bush? Interesting:

The Business and Media Institute analyzed broadcast network news references to gas or fuel prices between Jan. 20 and Feb. 20, 2012 and from March 24 and April 24, 2008. BMI found that in the 2008 period there were more than 4 times as many gas prices stories, news briefs or news headlines on ABC, CBS and NBC as there were in 2012 (97 to 21).

Coverage during the time periods differed not only in quantity, but in tone as well. During Bush’s tenure, gas prices were a huge economic threat and cause of suffering. The networks also used the high gas prices to attack the administration. In 2012, the networks aired mostly matter-of-fact stories on the rising gas prices, and worried primarily that they would hinder the economic recovery, not that they are making people suffer.

Thew fake unemployment numbers are out. The non-seasonally adjusted Gallup poll suggests it's actually a bit higher. The real numbers show something else. Include those who no longer get unemployment benefits, and those who have stopped looking for work, and the rate is 9.8%. Add people who have only part-time jobs, and want full-time jobs, and the rate is 14.9%.

Then factor in those who are working full-time and who have had to take pay cuts, and those whose monthly outlays are higher than they used to be, and... well... you know.

Wholesale inventory numbers aren't good, either.

Housing Round-Up...

2011 was not a good year for the housing market.

Fewer Americans bought new homes in December. The decline made 2011 the worst year for new-home sales on records dating back nearly half a century.

The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell 2.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.

About 302,000 new homes were sold last year. That's less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making last year's sales the worst on records dating back to 1963. And it coincides with a report last week that said 2011 was the weakest year for single-family home construction on record.

The new fee is a minimum of one-tenth of 1 percent on Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed loans, and is likely to go much higher. It will be imposed for the next 10 years on most mortgages and refinancings and it lasts for the life of the loan. For every $200,000, it amounts to an extra $15 dollars a month. The $35.7 billion collected in fees won’t go into the Social Security fund to replace the lost payroll tax. It goes to the general treasury where Congress can spend it however they please.
That mortgage settlement helps the citizens, right? Ummm, not so much. Read about it here.

And of course, Fannie Mae has its hands out for more money (to the tune of $4.6 billion) after losing $2.4 billion the last quarter of 2011.

Fannie Mae the biggest source of money for U.S. home loans, said on Wednesday it would seek $4.6 billion in additional federal aid after reporting a fourth-quarter loss.

Earlier on Wednesday, the government-controlled mortgage finance company posted a loss of $2.4 billion for the quarter ended December 31. That pushed Fannie Mae's loss for 2011 to $16.9 billion from $14.0 billion a year earlier, the company said.

Fannie Mae's pre-2009 book of soured loans and declining home prices continue to make it difficult for the company to turn a profit.

And mortgage rates are near record lows again, stagnating given the nature of the housing market.