Daily Archives: May 18, 2012

Paul Philosophy Gains Steam with GOP Establishment

Libertarian ideas of smaller government, cutting domestic spending and a balanced budget not only run in the Paul family, but are starting to take a hold with mainstream Republicans as well.

Just ten years ago, the budget and domestic spending would not have been as high of a priority to many within the party other than Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky) father, Senator Ron Paul (R-Texas).

When the younger Paul proposed his latest take on the FY 2013 United States Budget, it was seen as the “most radical” of today’s four proposed Republican budgets by many on the left. But it was also seen as a refreshing change by many on the right.

Most surprising about the Paul Budget is not that it made it to a vote at all, but that 17 of the Senate’s 47 Republicans voted for a budget that was supposedly too radical.

Today’s vote got a ‘yea’ from Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator John Thune (R-SD) just to name a few.

The Paul budget most notably called for the elimination of the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is seen as a large step by mainstream conservatives in getting the nation’s finances back on track.

According to the American Spectator, the Paul budget will also reduce federal spending by $11 trillion relative to President Obama’s budget, reduces discretionary spending to 2008 levels, and reduces foreign aid at $5 billion per year.

Theoretically, the Paul budget will not only balance the federal deficit in five years, but it would actually achieve a $111 billion surplus by 2017. If that wasn’t juicy enough for most conservatives, the Paul Budget would also repeal Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements.

Super committee defense spending sequesters would also be ended, and the Federal government would also be required to end ownership of any failed private sector companies and stop bailing corporations out.

Despite the spending cuts that will be seen as ‘hefty’ by those on the left, the Paul budget sets out to prove that many items can be cut without touching entitlements.  A separate bill addressing Medicare has yet to be drafted.

None of the senators were available for comment.

Source:  Paul Philosophy Gains Steam with GOP Establishment.

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Chris Hedges: A Victory for All of Us

Iraq War veteran Sgt. Shamar Thomas leads a demonstration in New York’s Grand Central Station to call attention to a law signed by President Barack Obama that granted extraordinary powers to the military.

Posted on May 18, 2012
By Chris Hedges

In January, attorneys Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran asked me to be the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that challenged the harsh provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We filed the lawsuit, worked for hours on the affidavits, carried out the tedious depositions, prepared the case and went to trial because we did not want to be passive in the face of another egregious assault on basic civil liberties, because resistance is a moral imperative, and because, at the very least, we hoped we could draw attention to the injustice of the law. None of us thought we would win. But every once in a while the gods smile on the damned.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, in a 68-page opinion, ruled Wednesday that Section 1021 of the NDAA was unconstitutional. It was a stunning and monumental victory. With her ruling she returned us to a country where—as it was before Obama signed this act into law Dec. 31—the government cannot strip a U.S. citizen of due process or use the military to arrest him or her and then hold him or her in military prison indefinitely. She categorically rejected the government’s claims that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to bring the case to trial because none of us had been indefinitely detained, that lack of imminent enforcement against us meant there was no need for an injunction and that the NDAA simply codified what had previously been set down in the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act. The ruling was a huge victory for the protection of free speech. Judge Forrest struck down language in the law that she said gave the government the ability to incarcerate people based on what they said or wrote. Maybe the ruling won’t last. Maybe it will be overturned. But we and other Americans are freer today than we were a week ago. And there is something in this.

The government lawyers, despite being asked five times by the judge to guarantee that we plaintiffs would not be charged under the law for our activities, refused to give any assurances. They did not provide assurances because under the law there were none. We could, even they tacitly admitted, be subject to these coercive measures. We too could be swept away into a black hole. And this, I think, decided the case.

“At the hearing on this motion, the government was unwilling or unable to state that these plaintiffs would not be subject to indefinite detention under [Section] 1021,” Judge Forrest noted. “Plaintiffs are therefore at risk of detention, of losing their liberty, potentially for many years.”

The government has 60 days to appeal. It can also, as Mayer and Afran have urged, accept the injunction that nullifies the law. If the government appeals, the case will go to a federal appellate court. The ruling, even if an appellate court upholds it, could be vanquished in the Supreme Court, especially given the composition of that court.

Read more: Chris Hedges: A Victory for All of Us – Chris Hedges’ Columns – Truthdig.

Katzenberg Tied to Chinese Corruption

https://i0.wp.com/freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/AP110601068635-540x412.jpg

May 18, 2012 11:52 am
BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff

The New York Times reports today on the rise of China’s “princelings,” the children of the Communist Party’s former and current leadership, who have taken control over many of that country’s most profitable businesses.

The New York Times reveals that Katzenberg’s silent Chinese partner in the deal is Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Communist Party leader and Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

What the New York Times does not reveal is that Katzenberg is the largest donor to President Obama’s Super PAC Priorities USA at $2 million and a major bundler to the Obama campaign, having raised more than $500,000 for the President’s reelection campaign.

Also not revealed by the New York Times, Katzenberg and his studio are currently under SEC investigation for bribing Chinese officials in order to obtain access to the Chinese market.

The Dreamworks deal has raised questions about pay for play on the American side as well. The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation notes that Katzenberg’s deal was made possible with help from the Obama administration, which arranged a meeting for Katzenberg with Chinese Vice President and heir apparent Xi Jingping after his White House visit in February. Xi traveled from the White House to Los Angeles to sign the deal with the major Obama donor.

The Sunlight Foundation asks if “Katzenberg’s support for Obama fast-track[ed his] movie deal with China?” But Dreamworks would not respond to on-the-record questions from the good government watchdog group.

Vice President Biden also personally engaged in the negotiations with the Chinese government in advance of Katzenberg’s deal that effectively raised the number of U.S. films that could be released in the Chinese market each year—an agreement that made the Katzenberg deal significantly more valuable.

Earlier this month, President Obama embraced Katzenberg just days after the SEC announced its investigation. “I want to thank Jeffrey (Katzenberg) not just for this evening, but for his tenacious support and advocacy since we started back in 2007. He has consistently been there for me, through thick and through thin,” Obama said.

“The only person I don’t have to remind [of how difficult the 2008 campaign was] is Jeffrey because he was there, through all the ups and downs, and occasionally he would call, and he would say, ‘Barack, I don’t think that things are working the way they’re supposed to.’”

Source

You Might Not Realize How Awful This Market Is

by Joe Weisenthal

The benchmarket S&P 500 index is not really down by that much from its highs. The decline is on the order of 7%, which is significant, but not a massacre.

However, there are massacres happening in this market if you look at the right places, and especially if you look at some areas which are very economically sensitive.

Check out a chart of BP, which is getting hit by the double whammy of a slowing economy and falling oil.

We’re talking about a third of the company gone.

Read more:  You Might Not Realize How Awful This Market Is – Business Insider.

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