White House

Jon Stewart on Obama’s kill list

Many conservatives like to knock Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, as a liberal that like to pick on them and their views. While it’s true that he does poke fun at them at times, Stewart has also criticized President Barack Obama for abuse of executive power, his lack of transparency, his military crusade in Libya, the Solyandra scandal, and the Summer of Wreckovery.

On Wednesday, Stewart again criticized Obama, this time on the “kill list” that the White House put together. He also laid into some of the critics of the intelligence leak, who insist that it came from the White House because it makes Obama “look good.”

Watch Stewart’s reaction to this and more below:

Obama invoked in White House biographies

There is always ego involved in politics, there is no denying that. Some elected officials may say that they are public servants or what have you, but that’s a talking point more than anything else, so a certain amount of arrogance and narcissism is expected when dealing with elected officials. But what you don’t expect is a president to go through White House biographies of their predecessors to invoke themselves:

Many of President Obama’s fervent devotees are young enough not to have much memory of the political world before the arrival of The One. Coincidentally, Obama himself feels the same way—and the White House’s official website reflects that.

The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography on www.whitehouse.gov, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t—it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford). Here are a few examples:

River of red ink continues to flow from Washington

Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the White House both predicted in separate reports that taxpayers could expect to see $1+ trillion budget deficit for the fourth consecutive year. Even though it’s to be expected that we’re going to see yet more red ink this year, the latest numbers from the CBO on the first half of the fiscal year are still astounding (emphasis mine):

The federal government racked up a deficit of $777 billion in the first half of fiscal 2012, the Congressional Budget Office said in an estimate released Friday.

The shortfall is the latest sign that the government is well on its way to compiling at least a $1 trillion deficit for the fourth consecutive year.

But as CBO noted on Friday, the deficit is also a $53 billion reduction from the same period in fiscal 2011.

The budget scorekeeper said that most of the $46 billion jump in revenues — a 4.5 percent increase — was due to corporations making higher tax payments or receiving a smaller refund.

CBO also said that spending in a variety of areas — Medicaid, education and unemployment insurance, among others — also fell during the first six months of the fiscal year.

The budget office’s release comes as budget deficits are poised to play a key role in this year’s election, and weeks after CBO estimated that the 2012 deficit would be roughly $1.2 trillion.

The 2012 deficit is now expected to be some $93 billion higher than earlier expected, in large part because of the extension of the payroll tax cut for workers.

Jay Carney tastelessly slams Paul Ryan over energy cuts

As you know, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) dropped his budget for FY 2013 on Tuesday. And unsurprisingly, the White House and Democrats are whining about the proposed spending cuts and reform measures. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took it a step further yesterday by hurling insults Ryan’s way because he is proposing cuts to President Barack Obama’s pet energy programs:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn’t pull any punches in his attack on Paul Ryan’s budget, as he declared that supporters of the budget — and by extension, Ryan himself — are “aggressively and deliberately ignorant” about the need for green energy and other programs slated for cuts.

“You have to be aggressively and deliberately ignorant of the world economy not to know and understand that clean energy technologies are going to play a huge role in the 21st century,” Carney said after decrying the clean energy spending cuts in Ryan’s plan. “You have to have severely diminished capacity to understand what drives economic growth in industrialized countries in this century if you do not understand that education is the key that unlocks the door to prosperity,” he added.

Carney concluded that “the budget proposed by Chairman Ryan and supported overwhelmingly already by Republicans suggests that those problems” — aggressive ignorance and diminished comprehension — “exist in the minds of the supporters of that plan.”

Well, that’s classy.

Will we have action on gas prices or more talk?

Gas prices have no doubt been on the minds of Americans as they travel to and from work and pick up their kids from school. They’re looking for relief, but they’re not getting any answers from the Obama Administration.

As we’ve mentioned before, the White House pays lip-service to the issue, but there has been no real action. In fact, the only real action that we’ve seen is the rejection of Keystone XL, which Obama personally lobbied to kill. Obama and his apologists claim that oil production from inside the United States has increased during his administration. However, that argument is dubious.

Their goal has been to drive the price of oil by dragging their feet on drilling inside the United States. Energy Secretary Steven Chu made it clear in 2008, before he assumed office, that the goal was to drive gas “to the levels in Europe,” where the price per gallon can exceed $6. Of course, Chu now renounces that view, at least while the economy is moving as such a sluggish pace.

Obama lobbies to kill Keystone XL

It looks like the economy is rebounding, though the recovery is missing many Americans. And while the good economic news is a boon for President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election, rising gas prices are a sticking point for many voters.

The White House has stood in the way of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would not only create thousands of jobs and make oil more readily available for production. But an effort by Senate Republicans yesterday to approve the pipeline was defeated after President Obama lobbied Senate Democrats to kill it:

Thursday’s squeaker of a Senate vote on the Keystone XL pipeline serves both as a warning to President Barack Obama that a majority of both houses of Congress supports the pipeline and as encouragement to Republicans to keep pushing the issue.

Obama had personally lobbied Senate Democrats with phone calls urging them to oppose an amendment to the highway bill that would fast-track the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline. And as it turned out, he needed every bit of their help.In all, 11 Democrats joined 45 Republicans to support the pipeline. Only the fact that 60 votes were needed for passage saved the White House from an embarrassing defeat.
The 11 Democrats who crossed party lines to support the amendment were Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Jon Tester of Montana and Jim Webb of Virginia.

White House predicits $1.33 trillion budget deficit

Nearly two weeks ago, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a report on the budget outlook for this year, noting that taxpayers can expect yet another trillion dollar deficit — $1.08 trillion, to be exact, under President Barack Obama. But a new estimate from the White House from the yet to be released budget proposal shows a slightly higher deficit — $1.33 trillion — than the CBO, showing that the Obama Administration has no intention of reducing the red ink flowing out of Washington:

President Obama’s Monday budget request to Congress will forecast a fiscal year 2012 deficit of $1.33 trillion and will include hundreds of billions of dollars in proposed infrastructure spending, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The projected deficit is higher than 2011’s $1.296 trillion deficit and slightly higher than the Congressional Budget Office’s roughly $1.15 trillion projection released last week. The budget, according to draft documents viewed by Dow Jones Newswires and The Journal, will forecast a $901 billion deficit for fiscal 2013, which would be equivalent to 5.5 percent of gross domestic product. That is up from the White House’s September forecast of a deficit of $833 billion, or 5.1 percent of GDP, the newspaper said.

According to The Journal, the White House’s projected 2012 deficit would be about 8.5 percent of GDP.

Gingrich: Arrest judges that make unpopular decisions

In an attempt to fire up conservatives as his poll numbers fall, Newt Gingrich told reporters this past weekend he would ignore decisions he disagreed with, notes the Los Angeles Times:

Newt Gingrich says as president he would ignore Supreme Court decisions that conflicted with his powers as commander in chief, and he would press for impeaching judges or even abolishing certain courts if he disagreed with their rulings.

“I’m fed up with elitist judges” who seek to impose their “radically un-American” views, Gingrich said Saturday in a conference call with reporters.

In recent weeks, the Republican presidential contender has been telling conservative audiences he is determined to expose the myth of “judicial supremacy” and restrain judges to a more limited role in American government. “The courts have become grotesquely dictatorial and far too powerful,” he said in Thursday’s Iowa debate.

As a historian, Gingrich said he knows President Thomas Jefferson abolished some judgeships, and President Abraham Lincoln made clear he did not accept the Dred Scott decision denying that former slaves could be citizens.

Relying on those precedents, Gingrich said that if he were in the White House, he would not feel compelled to always follow the Supreme Court’s decisions on constitutional questions. As an example, he cited the court’s 5-4 decision in 2008 that prisoners held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had a right to challenge their detention before a judge.

“That was clearly an overreach by the court,” Gingrich said Saturday. The president as commander in chief has the power to control prisoners during wartime, making the court’s decision “null and void,” he said.

House GOP pushes the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act

Since taking control of the House of Representatives after the 2010 mid-term election, Republicans have been looking for ways and presenting plans to deal with the budget crisis by cutting spending and avoid tax hikes that could further slowdown our economic recovery. Unfortunately, those proposal have largely done ignored by the White House and Senate Democrats, who still control the majority in that chamber.

But Republicans are undeterred by the insistance of Democrats to impose more regulation and taxes in this very tough economy and are still pushing new ideas. In a recent op-ed at the Chicago Tribune, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) explains the latest legislative fixes offered by the House GOP that would make Congress accountable for the budget, promote transparency, and require the CBO to look at the consequences of spending:

Earlier this year, House Republicans presented a budget to the Congress that would cut nearly $6 trillion in spending, reform the tax code and improve and strengthen programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. We drafted, debated and passed a plan to put our nation on a path to prosperity. President Barack Obama, along with Democrat leaders on Capitol Hill, responded with demagoguery while offering no credible plan of their own — no plan to pay off the debt and no plan to save and strengthen health and retirement programs for seniors.

Elected leaders should not be able to avoid their responsibilities in such a cavalier manner. And yet, under the broken budget process in Washington, they have been able to get away with doing nothing as the debt piles even higher.

Former Obama economic advisor on Cash for Clunkers

Austan Goolsbee, who until recently served as Obama’s chief economic advisor, says that he wouldn’t have backed the failed “Cash for Clunkers” program if he had to do it all over again:

Former Obama administration economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said Thursday that if given a second chance he would not have backed the Cash for Clunkers program or the home buyer tax credit passed in 2009 to stave off further economic distress.

“Because we didn’t know if [economic recovery was] going to be short or long,” the Obama administration tried measures to address both scenarios, Goolsbee explained on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“If you look at Cash for Clunkers or the first home buyer tax credit, they were geared to trying to shift [recovery] from 2010 into 2009. Given it’s taken this long [to recover], I don’t think you would do that short-run stuff,” Goolsbee added.

Goolsbee, the former chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said the administration misjudged how quickly the country could recover from the economic damage of the 2008 economic collapse.

“It has proved a longer, tougher ride than we thought at the time,” Goolsbee said. “At the time we come in, it’s an awful, awful moment. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month and the economy is in a tough spot. There was a debate, and it continues now, of ‘Can we come back quickly from this?’”

While many apologists of President Barack Obama still defend Cash for Clunkers program, it’s clear that it was a failure and has had adversed effects; including driving up the cost of used cars on the market.

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