The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports that Republicans think they've found a "loophole" in the reconciliation process that would allow them to block a vote on health care legislation:
Republicans say they have found a loophole in the budget reconciliation process that could allow them to offer an indefinite number of amendments.
Though it has never been done, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says he's prepared to test the Senate's stamina to block the Democrats from using the process to expedite changes to the healthcare bill.
Another option for Democrats would be to seek a ruling by the parliamentarian that Republicans are simply filing amendments to stall the process. But such a ruling could taint the final healthcare vote and backfire for Democrats in November.
DeMint said he's ready to try anything.
"You'll see Republicans do everything they can to delay and stop this process," DeMint said. "They need to get the message the track they're on is the wrong track."
Let me get this straight: Republicans may uffer an "indefinite number of amendments" simply to "test the Senate's stamina" and "block the Democrats from using the process" -- but if Democrats seek a parliamentarian's ruling on whether the Republicans are simply trying to "stall the process," the tactic may "backfire" on the Democrats and "taint" the vote?
Put another way: DeMint directly says Republicans will "do everything they can to delay and stop this process" -- but The Hill thinks the Democrats would be out of line if they ask the parliamentarian to rule on whether the Republicans "are simply filing amendments to stall the process." What?!? Republicans are bragging that they're stalling the process!
Just a quick note about how another favorite point of pushback from conservatives in the wake of James O'Keefe's arrest New Orleans has been that the nasty, liberal media erroneously reported that there was a judge-issued gag order attached to the case, which would suggest O'Keefe shouldn't be talking about his arrest.
It's all a pack of lies, claim O'Keefe and his mentor, Andrew Breitbart.
But why would anyone have (mistakenly?) thought there was a gag order surrounding the case and that O'Keefe shouldn't discuss it with anyone? Maybe because the defendants were telling people that.
In an article about O'Keefe and his infiltration pals, the AP interviewed a New Orleans friend, Johnny Angel [emphasis added]:
Angel said he asked the guys if what the newspaper was saying was true: Did they really try to mess with Landrieu's phones?
"They said they couldn't talk about it, that the judge said they couldn't discuss the case," Angel said. The fourth person arrested, Robert Flanagan, 24, of New Orleans, the son of the Shreveport-based acting U.S. attorney for Louisiana's Western District, also has been silent.
If you're getting the feeling you can't believe anything O'Keefe and Breitbart say, you are not alone.
From Ben Shapiro's February 3 syndicated column, headlined "Obama's Philosophically Fascist State of the Union Address":
There sure is something different about President Obama. Usually, the State of the Union address is a laundry list of proposals spiced with sycophantic applause and dipped in an admixture of boredom and bravado. It is rarely a statement of basic philosophy. Not for President Obama.
President Obama's State of the Union address was the greatest American rhetorical embrace of fascist trope since the days of Woodrow Wilson. I am not suggesting Obama is a Nazi; he isn't. I am not suggesting that he is a jackbooted thug; he isn't (even if we could be forgiven for mistaking Rahm Emanuel for one).
President Obama is, however, a man who embodies all the personal characteristics of a fascist leader, right down to the arrogant chin-up head tilt he utilizes when waiting for applause. He sees democracy as a filthy process that can be cured only by the centralized power of bureaucrats. He sees his presidency as a Hegelian synthesis marking the end of political conflict. He sees himself as embodiment of the collective will. No president should speak in these terms—not in a representative republic. Obama does it habitually.
It would be pointless to discuss at length the dictatorial, demagogic nature of much of Obama's address—the attacks on the banking system; the unprecedented personal assault on the Supreme Court justices; the dictatorial demands ("I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay"); the scornful looks and high-handed put-downs directed at his political opponents. It would be even more pointless to discuss the incomprehensible stupidity of Obama's policy proposals. (Export more of our goods? Why didn't anyone else think of that?)
It is worth examining, however, the deeper philosophy evident from Obama's address. From the outset, his speech was an ode to himself.
We are not he. The American spirit is not the Obama spirit. America is not defined by our collective desire to bring about political utopia through abdication of representative democracy to a body of "wise pragmatists." America is defined by Americans—individuals fighting to support their families, to preserve their values and their freedoms. And that Americanism stands in direct opposition not only to the Obama agenda, but also to Obama's vision of himself.
From a February 2 Politico article, headlined, "Rush: 'Thank God' for Obama woes":
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh says he thanks God "every day" that he sees problems for President Barack Obama.
In an interviewing [sic] airing Wednesday on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," Limbaugh said the country has lucked out each time one of Obama's initiatives has failed.
"The fact that his agenda has totally failed this year is the best thing that could have happened to this country," Limbaugh said. "I thank God every day that it is going down the tubes."
Limbaugh added that he was thankful that "this Massachusetts election happened," referencing Republican Scott Brown's win in the Senate special election there last month.
Limbaugh said that he watched Obama deliver his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress last week, but "gave up after 50 minutes."
"I heard it all before. There was nothing new in it. The only difference was the tone," Limbaugh said, belittling Obama "a young inexperienced guy, who is just mad."
"This is the first time in his life there is not a professor who can turn his C into an A, or to write the law review article for him he can't write. He is totally exposed. There is nobody to make it better," Limbaugh said.
On the February 1 edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck attacked author Zack Exley during a segment in which Beck claimed that President Obama -- through an Organizing for America internship program -- was attempting to use the public schools to "indoctrinate" students. Exley responded on February 2 by saying: "Instead of 'hitting back,' which is what I would have done in the old days, I want to extend an invitation: Glenn: Come to Kansas City, share a meal with my family, let me introduce you to people here of all different political and religious persuasions who are working together to create a world that works for everyone."
From Exley's blog post, which embedded Media Matters for America video of Beck's attack:
I used to be just like Glenn Beck, only without the multi-million dollar TV show: I used to get attention by angrily, and humorously, attacking politicians. I'm ashamed of how I acted back then. And now, of all people, it's Glenn Beck who's attacking me on TV for it:
Instead of "hitting back," which is what I would have done in the old days, I want to extend an invitation:
Glenn: Come to Kansas City, share a meal with my family, let me introduce you to people here of all different political and religious persuasions who are working together to create a world that works for everyone. Every time I watch you on TV, you're calling someone "left-wing," "Marxist," "Fascist," or "anti-American." Last night, it was me! Why not come back out of the partisan bubble to the real America and get to know one of your "targets?" I really believe it could change the way you see America and help you to discover a new purpose for the enormous megaphone God has given you.
From the February 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
The New York Times detailed Reuters' withdrawal of an article that relied on falsehoods to claim that the Obama administration's budget plan includes "backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families." The New York Times' Richard Pérez-Peña wrote: "Some mistakes are about small matters and go unnoticed. Unfortunately for Reuters, reporting on the White House is not one of those things." Pérez-Peña added:
On Monday at about 4 p.m., Reuters.com, part of the giant news service, published an article about President Obama's budget, headlined "Backdoor taxes to hit middle class." It warned of a number of impending changes, focusing particularly on the expiration of the 2001 income tax cuts.
But in fact, Mr. Obama has proposed extending the 2001 cuts except for high-income taxpayers, and there were other inaccuracies in the article. The White House contacted Reuters to object to the story.
At 8:07 p.m., the news service posted an advisory saying that it had withdrawn the article, and the link on Reuters.com was disabled. On Tuesday at 1:35 p.m., Reuters posted another advisory calling the story "wrong."
"The story went out and it shouldn't have gone out," said Courtney Dolan, a Reuters spokeswoman, but she declined to say how the mistake had happened. "It definitely was not up to our standards. It had significant errors of fact."
Pérez-Peña also noted that the Drudge Report had picked up the Reuters article: "The article was not distributed on the main Reuters wire service subscribed to other media, limiting its exposure, but a headline linking to it was displayed throughout the day Tuesday at the top of The Drudge Report, the conservative news aggregation site. During the day, Drudge added a line saying 'Reuters pulls tax story,' with a link to the withdrawal, but it did not remove the original headline, though the link had long since been disabled." Pérez-Peña added that the Reuters story was picked up by "conservative bloggers, some of whom questioned the retraction" and by Rush Limbaugh, who said "Reuters has withdrawn the story because the truth is not to be tolerated in the Obama administration."
Indeed, as Media Matters senior fellow Eric Boehlert has noted, Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and Red State's Erick Erickson attacked Reuters following the retraction.
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Here are his February 2 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, today:
In a similar example of poor judgment, an undoubtedly delighted Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was told he had something called Miranda rights and could, if he so chose, cease talking about allegedly attempting to blow up a jetliner as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day. Abdulmutallab was Mirandized after just 50 minutes of interrogation and he, having probably seen more than his share of "Law & Order" episodes, promptly shut up.
Administration officials defend what happened in Detroit and assert, against common sense and the holy truth itself, that they got valuable intelligence -- and so what more would you want? But Abdulmutallab went silent before terrorism experts from Washington could get to him. It has been more than a month since he last opened his mouth, and even if he resumes cooperating -- a deal may be in the works -- he now knows just a bit more about the present-day location of various al-Qaeda operatives than does Regis Philbin.
CNN's Barbara Starr, moments ago:
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab ... has been talking to investigators since last week. According to this law enforcement official, he has been providing what is called useful, current and actionable intelligence.
Politico Breaking News email, moments ago:
The "underwear bomber" has begun cooperating with FBI counterterrorism agents and has provided "useful, current" intelligence, a law enforcement source told POLITICO. The source said: "It started last week, and has continued for several days. ... We have been following up. The intelligence is not stale."
The upcoming Newsmax cruise features the usual suspects as its "guest speakers" -- Christopher Ruddy, Dick Morris and Ronald Kessler among them. One name caught our eye, though: James Humes, who will give a talk about Winston Churchill.
Last March, Humes wrote a Newsmax column in which he asserted that President Obama said of a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office, "Get that goddam thing out of here." In fact, there's no credible record of Obama ever saying such a thing. Humes anted up with an ugly smear suggesting that Obama "took umbrage at Prime Minister Churchill's actions in 1953 of wiping out the Mau-Mau, the Kenyan terrorists who made a specialty of slitting throats of sleeping white and Black Kenyans."
After the fabrication was caught, Humes' column was quietly altered to concede that "the story was never fully substantiated, despite frequent repetition on radio talk shows." But Humes offered no evidence that any radio talk show forwarded the claim at all, let alone did so "frequently." (The Mau-Mau smear, meanwhile, remains intact.)
It says a lot about Newsmax that it has rewarded the purveyor of this kind of hate and mendacity with the honor of being a "guest speaker" on its cruise.