Archive for January 2009
The Republican National Committee has picked Michael Steele, a black man from a traditionally Democratic state, to be the new face of the party as the GOP forges a revival following a second straight electoral drubbing.
Steele, a former Maryland lieutenant governor, won the chairmanship Friday after six rounds of voting in which five candidates were competing. He becomes the first black chairman of the Republican Party just days after President Obama became the nation’s first black president.
Steele delivered a rousing speech after winning the race, pledging to re-establish the Republican presence in the northeast and win elections in regions across the country.
“It’s time for something completely different, and we’re gonna bring it to them,” he said. “Get ready, baby. It’s time to turn it on.”
Steele said he would work to build the party to an unprecedented level and warned: “For those of you who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked down.”
Outgoing Chairman Mike Duncan dropped his bid for a second term after the third round of voting. South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson had emerged as Steele’s top challenger, but Steele won with 91 votes to Dawson’s 77.
Voting lasted for hours because no candidate was able to rack up the majority of votes necessary. A candidate needs 85 of 168 votes to win, which Steele eventually attained.
Ken Blackwell, Ohio’s former secretary of state, and Saul Anuzis, Michigan GOP chairman, dropped their bids before the final round of voting.
Steele ran unsuccessfully for Senate in Maryland in 2006, and later headed up GOPAC, the Republican recruiting arm. He is a frequent media commentator, on FOX News and other outlets, and has touted that experience as one of his credentials. In a recent interview with FOXNews.com, he also said his political upbringing in a liberal stronghold of Maryland had toughened him.
The results in the early rounds Friday signaled that many Republicans were eager for new leadership, after suffering double-digit losses in congressional elections for the second time in a row in November and losing the White House. Steele lagged Duncan by just six votes in the first round Friday, but the second round had them tied and Steele led Duncan 51-to-44 votes in the third round, after which Duncan dropped out.
“Obviously the winds of change are blowing,” Duncan said as he withdrew from the race and got a standing ovation. The Kentucky Republican thanked former President George W. Bush and said of his two-year tenure: “It truly has been the highlight of my life.”
Another candidate, former Tennessee GOP Chairman Chip Saltsman, dropped out of the race on Thursday with little explanation, saying only in a letter to RNC members: “I have decided to withdraw my candidacy.”
Saltsman, who ran former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s failed presidential campaign last year, was considered a long-shot candidate who several Republican officials said likely wouldn’t have had enough support even to be formally nominated had he continued his bid.
It faltered in December after he drew controversy for mailing a 41-track CD to committee members that included a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” by conservative comedian Paul Shanklin and sung to the music of “Puff, the Magic Dragon.”
Steele had criticized Saltsman for the mailing.God Bless, The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie
A rising chorus of GOP leaders are protesting that the blockbuster Democratic stimulus package would provide up to a whopping $5.2 billion for ACORN, the left-leaning nonprofit group under federal investigation for massive voter fraud.
Most of the money is secreted away under an item in the now $836 billion package titled “Neighborhood Stabilization Programs.”
Ordinarily, neighborhood stabilization funds are distributed to local governments. But revised language in the stimulus bill would make the funds available directly to non-profit entities such as ACORN, the low-income housing organization whose pro-Democrat voter-registration activities have been blasted by Republicans. ACORN is cited by some for tipping the scales in the Democrats’ favor in November.
According to Fox news, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., could appear to be a “payoff” for community groups’ partisan political activities in the last election cycle.
“It is of great concern to me,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., tells Newsmax. “I think our government has stayed strong because we’ve had a two-party system, we have had robust debate, people have felt that it was one man-one vote. They are privileged and grateful that they have that ability to cast that vote. And when something is done to belittle or diminish that, it is of great concern to me.”
Regarding ACORN, Blackburn added, “Additional funds going to these organizations that have tried to skew that system, it causes me great concern and I believe that it causes many of my colleagues great concern.”
The three-term congressman stopped short of suggesting the “neighborhood stabilization” money is a power grab by Democrats seeking partisan political advantage. But radio talk giant Rush Limbaugh did not.
Limbaugh warned his listeners Tuesday: “I’ll tell you what’s going on here: We, ladies & gentlemen, we’re funding Obama and the Democrats’ army on the street. We are funding the forces of the Democrat party’s re-election.”
Blackburn echoed the concerns of Republican leaders who object that the bloated package lacks the short-term stimulus a cut in payroll or sales taxes would provide.
According to Matthew Vadum of the Capitol Research Center, the stimulus package now under consideration includes:
– $1 billion stashed away in Community Development Block Grant money that ACORN often vies for successfully.
– $10 million to develop or refurbish low-income housing, a specialty of ACORN’s.
– $4.19 billion to stave off foreclosures via the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Vadum states the current version of the bill would allow nonprofits to compete with cities and states for $3.44 billion of the money. Some $750 million, however, would be exclusively reserved for nonprofits such as ACORN, which is actually an umbrella organization for over 100 progressive organizations.
Regarding the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Vadum writes in American Spectator: “Although ACORN operatives usually get their hands on such funds only after they have first passed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or state and local governments, the new spending bill largely eliminates these dawdling middle men, making it easier to get Uncle Sam’s largess directly into the hands of the same people who run ACORN’s various vote fraud and extortion rackets. And the legislative package provides these funds without the usual prohibition on using government money for lobbying or political activities.”
The charges of partisan political payback appear to be resonating in part due to Obama’s longstanding association with partisan get-out-the-vote operations. He was endorsed by ACORN, and during the campaign paid an ACORN affiliate $832,600 to get-out-the-vote assistance. Early in his career, he led a voter drive for an ACORN-affiliated group called Project Vote.
It’s not the first time ACORN has been entangled in a bailout controversy. In September, House Republicans objected that the original $700 billion bailout package included $100 million for ACORN – a tiny fraction of the sums for ACORN now being considered in the stimulus package.God Bless, The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie
Via (The Hill)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she didn’t come to Washington to be “bipartisan”, one day after shuttling through an $819 economic stimulus bill without a single Republican vote.
“I didn’t come here to be partisan, I didn’t come here to be bipartisan,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference. “I came here, as did my colleagues, to be nonpartisan, to work for the American people, to do what is in their interest.”
Pelosi expressed no regrets over passing the stimulus measure without any GOP support. Republicans followed their leaders in objecting to the bill on the grounds that it was put together without GOP input, and that it would not do enough to stimulate the economy.
Repeating the term “nonpartisan” on more than one occasion in describing the bill, the Speaker said her goal was to put President Obama’s vision on paper for the good of the country regardless of the type of support it garnered.
“The president’s agenda is reflected in this legislation,” the Speaker said. “People vote for what they believe in. Clearly, Republicans did not believe in [that] agenda … I think they probably voted their conscience.”
And she quickly defended her handling of the bill, which was criticized by Republicans and some Democrats as too one-sided.
“We reached out to Republicans every step of the way, and they know it,” Pelosi said. “They know it.”
“They were part of the original bill,” she added. “Some of the tax provisions were their suggestions. They had what they asked for in terms of committee markups. They had a rule on the floor that gave them plenty of opportunity to make changes. They just didn’t have the ideas that had the support of the majority.
“When you can’t win on policy, you always turn to process, and then you turn to personalities,” Pelosi said.
In contrast to her claim that her intent was to take a nonpartisan approach to passing the stimulus bill, a top aide to the Speaker struck a sharply partisan tone earlier in the day when he accused the GOP of acting in a “partisan and irresponsible manner” in objecting to the bill.
“There’s a pattern here of Republican economic mismanagement and Democrats stepping up to do what’s needed for the good of the country while Republicans acted in a partisan and irresponsible manner,” Brendan Daly, Pelosi’s top spokesman, wrote in a memo distributed to reporters Thursday morning.God Bless, The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie
Obama Agrees to Trim Alternative Minimum Tax; Lobbies Rush for Cut of the Pie
WASHINGTON — The U.S. economic stimulus package neared $900 billion in the Senate, as President Barack Obama wooed Republicans ahead of an expected House vote Wednesday.
The rare trip by a president to Capitol Hill revealed the urgency in Congress and the White House over a cure for the souring economy. More than 70,000 layoffs were announced this week and fresh data showed unemployment last month rose in all states.
The day was marked by Democratic deal-making. The Obama administration indicated it would agree to a $69 billion Senate proposal to shield tens of millions of middle-income Americans from the so-called alternative minimum tax, a priority of Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. The panel later folded the change into the Senate bill.
White House officials also spread the word that Mr. Obama was willing to drop a proposed expansion of contraceptive coverage under Medicaid that has become a symbol for Republican critics. Late Tuesday, Democratic leaders agreed to drop that provision, as well as another measure providing support for refurbishing the capital’s National Mall, ahead of the final vote on the House floor Wednesday. Both measures had been lampooned by Republicans.
The magnitude of the spending bill, and its urgency, drew a swarm of lobbyists seeking money and tax breaks. The concrete and asphalt industries battled over how the government should spend billions proposed for road and bridge repairs, while dairy and beef cattle producers butted heads over talk that the government might buy up dairy cattle for slaughter to drive up depressed milk prices. Unions backed infrastructure spending. States sought budget bailouts.
“When you’ve got 800-plus billion dollars to spend, you’ll have an equal number of opinions on how it should be spent,” said Chris Galen, spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation, the dairy industry’s main lobbying group.
The economic stimulus package proposed by Democratic House leaders totals $825 billion and includes three broad pieces: a $365.6 billion spending measure for such brick-and-mortar projects as highways and bridges; a $180 billion measure to boost jobless benefits and Medicaid, among other things; and a $275 billion tax-relief package, which includes a plan to give a $500 payroll tax holiday to all workers, a proposal from Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign.The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie
Via (Homeland Security News)
AL-Qaeda last night issued a chilling video threat to Britain — on YouTube.
Rants by key henchmen of Osama bin Laden are accompanied by footage of a black-clad gunman riddling the Union Flag with bullets.
The Stars and Stripes is also peppered — along with Israel’s flag.
Fanatic Abu Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi — a former Guantanamo Bay inmate — vents his fury at the West while fondling an automatic rifle and brandishing a grenade.
The recording was posted on YouTube, which attracts up to 100million visits a day.
It was also downloaded to a number of extremist websites with hundreds of thousands of members.
Analysts said last night the message meant Britain is a revenge target for Israel’s war in Gaza.
Terror expert Chris Dobson warned: “Al-Qaeda is clearly taking aim at Britain. This makes it obvious, if there was any doubt, we rank alongside the US and Israel at the top of their hate list.”
Online terror investigator Neil Doyle added: “There has been a noticeable increase in chatter about attacks at the UK.”The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie
Washington (AP) – The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police officers have leeway to frisk a passenger in a car stopped for a traffic violation even if nothing indicates the passenger has committed a crime or is about to do so.
The court on Monday unanimously overruled an Arizona appeals court that threw out evidence found during such an encounter.
The case involved a 2002 pat-down search of an Eloy, Ariz., man by an Oro Valley police officer, who found a gun and marijuana.
The justices accepted Arizona’s argument that traffic stops are inherently dangerous for police and that pat-downs are permissible when an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the passenger may be armed and dangerous.
The pat-down is allowed if the police “harbor reasonable suspicion that a person subjected to the frisk is armed, and therefore dangerous to the safety of the police and public,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.God Bless, The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie