Obamacare exempts millions–prisoners, illegals, welfare recipients.

Obamacare exempts millions–prisoners, illegals, welfare recipients

October 31, 2012 | 11:50 am 
Paul Bedard
Photo - Mock Obamacare tax form from critic Americans for Tax Reform.
Mock Obamacare tax form from critic Americans for Tax Reform.

In just 14 months, Americans will be required to prove that they have federally “qualified” health insurance or face an Obamacare tax of $695 to $2,085. That is unless you are in prison, below the poverty line, or are an undocumented immigrant, according to the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform.

When added together, those three groups total up to one-sixth of the nation’s population of 314 million: 218,929 are in federal prisons, 12 million are illegals and 42 million are below the poverty line and eligible for welfare, though some fit into all three categories, according to federal reports.

ATR highlighted the groups eligible from the mandate to get health insurance in a mock Internal Revenue Service form they developed to show the extra paperwork Americans will be required to fill out once the full Obamacare law kicks in, January 2014. It is based on testimony from the IRS given in September that said, “taxpayers will file their tax returns reporting their health insurance coverage, and/or making a payment.”

Based on other IRS requirements, ATR said that Americans will have to show that they have health insurance “qualified” by the Department of Health and Human Services. They will also have to disclose if they were covered by a qualifying plan during the year and for how long. And they could be subject to penalties and interest on unpaid Obamacare taxes for periods they were not covered.

Their mock form includes groups qualifying for exemptions from the Obamacare health insurance mandate and tax. “Classes of individuals who are exempt from the mandate include but are not limited to: those serving sentences in the federal penitentiary system; those persons not legally able to work in the U.S.; welfare recipients (since they are below the poverty line); and those qualifying for an HHS-granted religious exemption,” said ATR, citing section 1501 of the Affordable Care Act that also exempts many others, including native Americans.

The anti-tax group had some fun with the mock tax form, calling theirs “Form OBMA.”

Quarter-billion-dollar stimulus grant creates just 400 jobs

Quarter-billion-dollar stimulus grant creates just 400 jobs

Bankrupt energy business joins list of federally-backed flops

By Jim McElhatton

The Washington Times

Monday, October 29, 2012

Battery maker A123 Systems vowed thousands of new jobs when it received a nearly quarter-billion-dollar stimulus grant in late 2009, but federal job-tracking figures show only a few hundred positions were created before the company joined a growing list of federally backed energy businesses that ended in bankruptcy.

The latest quarterly report on file with a federal stimulus tracking database shows just seven positions created through the grant from April to June this year. Previous quarters’ job reports contained anywhere from a handful of positions created to more than 100 new jobs.

But even when the quarterly reports are combined, a total of 408 new positions were reported under the stimulus program since 2009, amounting to more than $300,000 spent for each new job reported.

A123 has been struggling for some time. Was the company struggling when the Energy Department decided to award it a federal grant? Did the Energy Department perform enough due diligence before making this award?” Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota said when they recently pressed Energy Department officials to explain the selection process.

The company’s bankruptcy has spawned renewed scrutiny on the Energy Department after it backed several other businesses now involved in high-profile bankruptcies, including Solyndra LLC, the California-based solar panel manufacturer that went broke after burning through a half-billion dollars in federal money.

Energy Department officials say the job creation numbers are misleading, noting that the jobs verified by The Washington Times through the government database don’t include many other positions that were created but not reported on the federal Recovery.gov tracking website.

“Recovery.gov reflects a small portion of the total employees working on our projects — serving as a quarterly snapshot of only those workers paid directly with Energy Department funds,” department spokeswoman Jen Stutsman wrote in an email.

A123’s manufacturing facilities are employing hundreds of workers on site in Michigan — plus workers up and down the supply chain — building advanced batteries here in the U.S.”

The Massachusetts-based battery maker received a $249 million grant in December 2009 through President Obama’s stimulus program, of which the company received about $129 million before it went bankrupt this month. Like all other recipients of stimulus loans or grants, A123 Systems was required to report job creation statistics to Recovery.gov.

Officials also say the grant was used for manufacturing equipment, so the jobs reported included workers responsible for installing the factory equipment, but not those who would later use that equipment during the assembly process.

The company declined to discuss how it reported jobs through the stimulus program.

The last quarterly report on file, from March to June 2012, lists seven jobs created, but it also hinted at other challenges, with the company acknowledging “operational challenges and quality assurance issues.”

In a quarterly report released months earlier, the company cited a weakening market and other factors for “negatively impacted” production levels.

The language contained in the stimulus reports stands in sharp contrast to the optimistic talk of company officials less than two years earlier.

“Over the next several years, we expect to create thousands of jobs in Greater Detroit and plan to continue our expansion in the area as we do our part in helping the U.S. emerge as a global leader in the production of advanced lithium ion batteries,” company President David Vieau said after the company opened a factory in Livonia, Mich., in the fall of 2010.

The company’s seemingly bright prospects also got the attention of the White House.

“There’s A123, a clean-energy manufacturer in Michigan that just hired its 1,000th worker as demand has soared for its vehicle components,” the president said in July 2011.

Earlier this month, Mr. Grassley and Mr. Thune pressed Energy Department officials to explain whether the department performed “due diligence” before awarding the company so much money.

“The bankruptcy raises the prospect that taxpayers will get little or no return on their investment in A123 and will lose millions of dollars,” they wrote, adding that the “administration needs to answer for this. The taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize poor investments in failed energy companies.”

Mr. Thune called the A123 stimulus package “another example of President Obama gambling with taxpayer dollars and picking winners and losers in the green energy world.”

“There were clear warning signs that A123 was having financial problems even as the administration continued pouring millions of taxpayer dollars into this failing company,” he said.

OBAMA ACCEPTS ‘OSAMA BIN LADEN’ DONATIONS

 

WND EXCLUSIVE

OBAMA ACCEPTS ‘OSAMA BIN LADEN’ DONATIONS

No block to foreign money – not even from dead terrorists

OSAMA BIN LADEN

WASHINGTON – Using a Pakistani Internet Protocol, or IP address, a disposable credit card and a fake address, “Osama bin Laden” has successfully donated twice to Barack Obama’s presidential re-election campaign.

The “Bin Laden” donations, actually made by WND staff, included a listed occupation of “deceased terror chief” and a stated employer of “al-Qaida.”

“Bin Laden” is currently set up on the official campaign website to contribute more to Obama’s campaign. The name is also registered as a volunteer.

Since the “foreign” contribution was sent, “Bin Laden’s” email address has received several solicitations from Obama’s campaign asking for more donations.

 

The apparently foreign-based contributions were conducted as a test after a flurry of media reports described the ability of foreigners to donate to the Obama campaign but not to Mitt Romney’s site, which has placed safeguards against such efforts.

The acceptance of foreign contributions is strictly illegal under U.S. campaign finance law.

One $15 donation was made at BarackObama.com using a confirmed Pakistani IP address. In other words, as far as the campaign website was concerned, the donation was openly identified electronically as coming from Pakistan.

Upon clicking the “donate” button, WND staff selected the $15 amount and were taken to a page on the campaign website asking for a first and last name, city, state, zip code, email address and phone number.

The information submitted was: “Osama bin Laden, 911 Jihad Way, Abbottabad, CA 91101.”

While the website only has options for U.S. states and zip codes, there is no mechanism in place on Obama’s website to verify the individual is actually located in that state or zip code, or even in the U.S.

The Obama campaign refuses to release the identification of donors who give less than $200

In the case of this donation, the 91101 zip code is real but corresponds to Pasadena, Calif., and not Abbottabad, the Pakistani city in which bin Laden was found holed up in a compound.

For a requested phone number, WND inputted the White House information line of (202) 456-2121.

The email address used to set up the donation account was osama4obama2012@gmail.com.

After clicking “next,” the website asked for an employer, occupation and a password to set up future donations. WND staff entered the occupation as “deceased terror chief” and the employer as “al-Qaida.”

The transaction was made last Friday with the use of a disposable credit card. The website did not require the card’s security code.

Screenshot from BarackObama.com

Screenshot from BarackObama.com

The campaign website immediately accepted the contribution even though it was made from a Pakistani IP address and despite the nonexistent street name and city information.

An automated email was immediately sent from Rufus Gifford, national finance director of Obama for America, thanking “Osama” for the contribution. The email contained a note that said, “There may be a minor delay in the processing of your contribution as it will be subject to review.” However, “Osama bin Laden’s” foreign donation evidently passed the Obama campaign’s “review.”

As of today, the $15 was debited from the disposable card.

To test if the first donation was an oversight, a second donation of $5 was made the following day using the “Bin Laden” account and the same Pakistani IP address.

WND has received confirmation from the credit card company that the purchase went through and the $5 was deducted from the disposable card.

From the time of the first donation until today, the Obama campaign sent nine more emails to the bin Laden Gmail account soliciting more donations.

One email sent Saturday reads, “Thanks so much for your donation of $5.00. Please take 10% off your next purchase of $10 or more at our online store.”

Another, signed by Michelle Obama, was titled “Barack is getting outraised.”

“You’re one of the campaign’s most committed supporters,” Michelle Obama writes in the automated email to “bin Laden.”

“Please make a donation of $19 or whatever you can today.”

The donations from a Pakistani IP address are sure to raise further questions about the measures in place to block such donations.

Cleta Mitchell, a Republican campaign finance attorney, told WND there were many documented cases of illegal foreign contributions to the Obama campaign in 2008 that were “wholly ignored by the Federal Election Commission and the Obama Department of Justice.”

“I have been hearing the same stories from many sources during this campaign as well,” she said. “Every other campaign has safeguards against these illegal transactions – every campaign except the Obama campaign.”

Mitchell told WND it’s “abundantly clear that the Obama campaign is raising and accepting illegal contributions – and is being protected from investigation by his politicized Department of Justice.”

“It is high time that this was investigated and all illegal funds disgorged – and those responsible be prosecuted,” she asserted.

In 2008, WND reported two Palestinian brothers inside the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip donated $29,521.54 to Obama’s first presidential campaign. After the report, the campaign reportedly returned the donations.

Last week, the New York Post reported a British citizen, Chris Walker, was able to make two $5 donations through Obama’s campaign website, while a similar attempt to give Mitt Romney online funds was rejected.

The Post noted how the Federal Election Commission posted data showing Obama’s campaign took in more than $2 million from donors who provided no ZIP code or incomplete ZIP codes.

Michael Czin, an Obama campaign spokesman, told the Post that FEC data was the result of “a minor technical error.”

“All the ZIP codes and numbers are real and can be verified,” Czin said.

However, if all zip codes are real, Czin has some explaining to do after the “Bin Laden” donation from a zip code based on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

The non-profit Government Accountability Institute recently released a report alleging Obama’s campaign had solicited foreigners for political donations through its social media websites.

As the Daily Caller reported, a statement accompanied the GAI’s report from former U.S. Attorney Ken Sukhia noting that 68 percent of traffic to BarackObama.com comes from foreign users, all of whom are redirected to a fundraising page operated by the president’s re-election campaign.

The GAI report further documented how Obama.com was registered in September 2008 to Robert Roche, an Obama campaign bundler living in Shanghai, China.

WND is preparing an affidavit for the Federal Elections Commission and the FBI on the illegal donation accepted by the Obama campaign.

Top 10 Things I Want For My Birthday.

10.  That it takes 6 wins to sweep the World Series so the Giants could win it before the home crowd.

9.   The View forced to move to the Oprah Network.

8.   Pizza starts causing weight loss.

7.  Al Gore is forced to stop talking for the sake of global warming.

6. Donald Trump offers me 5 million dollars for my college transcript and passport applications.

5. Nancy Pelosi is fired first and then she reads it.

4. The Raiders go professional.

3. Joe Biden gets a jobs.

2. Yankees sold to the Philippines and renamed the Manila Folders.

1. Barrack Obama is elected president of Kenya.

Obama supporter throw roofing nails at Tea Party Rally.

The Tea Party faithful gathered Saturday for a loud and enthusiastic rally aimed at getting out the vote on Nov. 6 and putting Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the White House.

The Racine Tea Party’s “Rally for Jobs” kicked off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday inside the old Sam’s Club at 6200 Regency West Drive.

Before the event could get under way, though, organizers say a truck affixed with “Obama” stickers drove through the parking lot and dumped quantities of nails.

“We went outside and picked up what we could,” said Lou D’Abbraccio, holding a cup filled with nails. “But this was just wrong.”

Lora Halberstadt, a Tea party member, said the group did call the Racine Police Department to file a report.

Patch asked two RPD officers outside the venue if they could confirm the report, but they only said they couldn’t comment about a truck.

According to the shift commander on duty Sunday morning, officers responded to the old Sam’s Club Saturday morning to take a report from event organizers.

“The report says that sometime between 9 and 11 a.m. someone threw roofing nails across the parking lot,” the lietenant told Patch. “There is no mention of a type of vehicle or ideas for who might have done this.”

Inside the venue, a crowd of around 1,000 grew to about 2,500, many of them waving signs or wearing t-shirts proclaiming their support for candidates on the Republican ticket.

The list of guest speakers was a Who’s Who of conservative leaders — including local Republican state legislative candidates Pam Stevens and Tom Weatherston; and state Rep. Robin Vos;  former Navy SEAL Chris Heben; U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson; Ryan’s brother, Tobin Ryan; former Gov. Tommy Thompson; Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey; and conservative talk show host Vicki McKenna.

Each speaker touched on points where they think President Barack Obama and his administration has failed, but their message also echoed that of the Democrats: take advantage of early voting and get everyone you know, and even those you don’t, to cast a ballot in what they called the most important election of our time.

As for the vandalism, Patch also has a message into the RPD public information officer, and we will update this story if any other details are available.

Green Bay bishop urges parishioners to vote against candidates who support abortion, gay marriage

Green Bay bishop urges parishioners to vote against candidates who support abortion, gay marriage

11:09 AM, Oct 26, 2012   |
 
GPG n Feast Day - Shrine 0816

Green Bay Bishop David Ricken is shown here at the outdoor mass for the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary in August. In a letter to parishoners this week, Ricken addressed the issues Catholics should consider when voting Nov. 6.
Written by
Press-Gazette

Bishop David Ricken, the leader of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, noted in a recent letter to parishioners that voting for candidates who support what he calls “intrinsically evil” positions, such as abortion and gay marriage, could “put your own soul in jeopardy.”

Ricken’s letter, dated Oct. 24, notes that the church has a responsibility to “speak out regarding moral issues, especially on those issues that impact the ‘common good.’” It goes on to note principles to keep in mind in the voting booth on Nov. 6, including abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and gay marriage.

“A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program that contradicts fundamental contents of faith and morals,” Ricken said in the letter. “Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party’s or their personal political platform. To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally ‘complicit’ with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

• Read Bishop David Ricken’s letter.

While Ricken’s letter does not specify who should get parishioners’ votes, Republican candidates typically oppose abortion rights while Democrats, to a large degree, support them.

On the abortion issue, for example, President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney have different views. The Democratic incumbent supports access to abortion without restriction, mandating free contraception for women and changing his mind this year to endorse gay marriage. Romney is socially conservative, opposing gay marriage and abortion rights and saying the government should not mandate free contraception.

Ricken’s guidance on these issues carry a lot of weight in this region — the diocese has 304,614 members in 16 counties. Across the state, Catholics make up more than 25 percent of the population, or 1.5 million people, according to the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies’ 2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study.

Jefferson County ‘Democrat Of The Year’ Convicted Of Felony Theft

Jefferson County ‘Democrat Of The Year’ Convicted Of Felony Theft.

October 26, 2012 5:54 PM
Estelle Carson (credit: CBS)

Estelle Carson (credit: CBS)

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The woman named “Democrat of The Year” this year by the Jefferson County Democratic Party has been convicted of felony theft by a Jefferson County jury for stealing from a developmentally disabled 71-year-old woman.

“The jury did right,” said Cindy Maxwell, an advocate for the victim.

On Thursday, a jury convicted 66-year-old Estelle Carson of felony identify theft and felony theft from an at risk adult for stealing checks from the woman and using them to pay her own cable, cell phone and internet bills.

The victim is partially blind, developmentally disabled, has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. She is on a fixed income of $596 per month according to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

Nearly as bothersome as the theft itself to Maxwell and other supporters of the victim, is the fact the Jefferson County Democratic Party was made aware of the ongoing criminal investigation and honored Carson anyway.

According to documents obtained by CBS4, in November of 2011, the Jeffco Democratic Party announced it planned to honor Carson for her activism on behalf of Democratic causes and her efforts to register voters.

But three days before the January 8 gala, advocates for the victim contacted the party via email and phone informing them of the criminal investigation.

One wrote “I am completely appalled,” to learn of the planned honor. The woman suggested the Democratic Party should “un-invite Estelle and not follow through with this honor.”

Cindy Maxwell told CBS4 she informed Democratic Party officials that Carson had already confessed to the theft as part of the investigation.

But Chris Kennedy, chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic party, dismissed the concerns saying there was not a conviction and bestowed the “Democrat Of The Year” honor on Carson.

In an email following the event, Kennedy wrote, “After much consideration, my decision was that the award being presented by my organization and the alleged financial exploitation need to be compartmentalized, one having no bearing on the other. Thus I decided to present the award to Estelle.”

“I thought it was outrageous,” said Maxwell, “I was appalled.”

Kennedy reiterated to CBS4 that he went ahead with the award because Carson had only been accused, not convicted.

“I did not have reason to believe it was true,” said Kennedy.

Now that Carson has been convicted, Cindy Maxwell is asking the Jefferson County Democratic Party to rescind the honor.

“I’d like to see her stripped of that award. I have been a Democrat my entire life. I’m disappointed they would allow something like that to happen,” said Maxwell.

CBS4 called Estelle Carson but her voicemail message said her mailbox was full. She is due in court in December for sentencing. She faces a maximum of nine years in prison for the two felony charges.
– Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com

Guess who refused to help the Americans in Benghazi?

Petraeus Throws Obama Under the Bus

6:05 PM, OCT 26, 2012    • BY WILLIAM KRISTOL

Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”

So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.

It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why—and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations—did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?

Read how the White House refuses to answer any questions.

(CNSNews.com) – The White House is declining to say when President Barack Obama first learned of three e-mails that the State Department sent to the White House on Sept. 11, 2012, directly notifying the Executive Office of the President that the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was under attack, that U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens was at the Benghazi mission at the time of the attack, and that the group Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit for the attack.

The White House also declined to say when the president first met with the National Security Council after the Benghazi attack.

“I have been asked by one of our spokespeople to relay ‘that we decline to comment,’” said White House National Security Staff aide Debbie Bird in a written response to CNSNews.com.

CNSNews.com had asked Bird: 1) “When did the President first meet with the National Security Council after the Benghazi attack on 9/11/12?” 2) “When did White House staff first discuss the substance of the e-mails that went to the White House with the President or with the National Security Advisor?”

Carney also took a question about the e-mails today during a press gaggle held aboard Air Force One at 9:34 a.m. A reporter asked: “Jay, there are some emails that have emerged, which suggest that the White House and other areas of the government were told within hours of the Benghazi attack that an extremist group had claimed responsibility. How is that compatible with the idea that it was a spontaneous attack?”

Carney downplayed the significance of the State Department emails.

“There were emails about all sorts of information that was becoming available in the aftermath of the attack,” Carney said. “The email you’re referring to was an open-source, unclassified email referring to an assertion made on a social media site that everyone in this room had access to and knew about instantaneously. There was a variety of information coming in.

“The whole point of an intelligence community and what they do is to assess strands of information and make judgments about what happened and who was responsible,” said Carney, “and I would refer you to what we’ve already said about, and what the DNI [Director of National Intelligence] has already said about, the initial assessments of the intelligence community, and the fact that throughout this process, I and others made very clear that our preliminary assessments were preliminary, that an investigation was underway, and that as more facts became available, we would make the American people aware of them.

“Again,” said Carney, “this was an open-source, unclassified email about a posting on a Facebook site. I would also note I think that within a few hours, that organization itself claimed that it had not been responsible. Neither should be taken as fact. That’s why there’s an investigation underway.”

The NSC is chaired by the president, and includes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. A NSC meeting would allow the leader of the intelligence community to communicate directly with the leader of the State Department in the presence of the president and for all of them to weigh any conflicting information.

The three emails in question, which were obtained by CBS News, were sent by the State Department to various government officials, including two officials in the Executive Office of the President, on Sept. 11, 2012, while the attack on the Benghazi was taking place and immediately after it had taken place.

The Astonishing Flip Flops of Barrack Obama.

 

 

 

“I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program”—Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama, June 2003.

“I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter”—President Obama, August 2009.

***

“Leadership means that the buck stops here. . . . I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit”—Sen. Barack Obama, March 2006.

“It is not acceptable for us not to raise the debt ceiling and to allow the U.S. government to default”—President Obama, July 2011.

***

“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages”—Obama questionnaire response, 1996, while running for Illinois state Senate.

“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage”—Sen. Obama, November 2008, while running for president.

“It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married”—President Obama, May 2012.

***

“We have an idea for the trigger. . . . Sequestration”—Obama Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew in 2011, as reported in Bob Woodward’s “The Price of Politics.”

“First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed”—President Obama, October 2012.

***

“If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election”—Sen. Obama, 2007.

“We’ve made the decision not to participate in the public financing system for the general election”—Sen. Obama, June 2008.

***

“I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign”—Sen. Obama, June 2008.

“The way Bush has done it over the last eight years is . . . [he] added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back. . . . That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic”—Sen. Obama, July 2008.

“I don’t remember what the number was precisely. . . . We don’t have to worry about it short term”—President Obama, September 2012, on the debt figure when he took office ($10 trillion) and whether to worry about today’s $16 trillion figure.

***

“[Sen. Hillary Clinton believes] that . . . if the government does not force taxpayers to buy health care, that we will penalize them in some fashion. I disagree with that”—Sen. Obama, Jan 2008, opposing the individual mandate for health insurance.

“I’m open to a system where every American bears responsibility for owning health insurance”—President Obama, June 2009, supporting the individual mandate.

***

“Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times when America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive”—President Obama, April 2009, in France.

“We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms”—President Obama, April 2009, in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing”—Barack Obama, October 2012, on whether he went on a global apology tour.

***

“The problem with a spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel”—Sen. Obama, September 2008.

“Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years”—President Obama, January 2010.

***

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them”—Sen. Obama, January 2008, on his plans to financially penalize coal plants.

“Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution”—Sen. Obama, August 2008.

“Here’s what I’ve done since I’ve been president. We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it’s been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment”—President Obama, October 2012.

***

“If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition”—President Obama, 2009.

“We’ve got a long way to go but . . . we’ve come too far to turn back now. . . . And that’s why I’m running for a second term”—President Obama, October 2012.

Don’t Mess With Texas

 

Texas sparks international row with election observers

By Julian Pecquet             – 10/25/12 03:04 PM ET

Texas authorities have threatened to arrest international election observers, prompting a furious response from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

“The threat of criminal sanctions against [international] observers is unacceptable,” Janez Lenarčič, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), said in a statement. “The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections.”

Lawmakers from the group of 56 European and Central Asian nations have been observing U.S. elections since 2002, without incident. Their presence has become a flashpoint this year, however, as Republicans accuse Democrats of voter fraud while Democrats counter that GOP-inspired voter ID laws aim to disenfranchise minority voters.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott further fueled the controversy on Tuesday when he sent a letter to the OSCE warning the organization that its representatives “are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place” and that it “may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance.”

The letter goes on to accuse the group of having met with liberal organizations that oppose Voter ID laws. The OSCE put out an interim report last week saying that “recent state-level legislative initiatives to limit early voting and introduce stricter voter identification have become highly polarized.”

“The OSCE may be entitled to its opinions about Voter ID laws, but your opinion is legally irrelevant in the United States, where the Supreme Court has already determined that Voter ID laws are constitutional,” Abbott wrote. “If OSCE members want to learn more about our election processes so they can improve their own democratic systems, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the measures Texas has implemented to protect the integrity of elections. However, groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) also weighed in, tweeting “No UN monitors/inspectors will be part of any TX election process; I commend @Txsecofstate for swift action to clarify issue.”

In letters to Abbott and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose State Department invited the 44 election observers, Lenarčič reiterated that the group is only there to observe the elections.

“Our observers are required to remain strictly impartial and not to intervene in the voting process in any way,” Lenarčič said in a statement. “They are in the United States to observe these elections, not to interfere in them.”

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland sought to tone down the controversy during her briefing Thursday. The department is eager to avoid giving the impression that the United States is unwilling to submit to the same scrutiny it demands of others when it comes to human and civil rights.

“Since the initial issue with Texas we’ve received a letter, both for Secretary Clinton and one for Texas authorities, from the OSCE assuring us and Texas authorities that the OSCE observers are committed to following all U.S. laws and regulations as they do in any country where they observe elections and they will do so as well in Texas,” Nuland said. “To my knowledge [Texas] is the only state that came forward and said ‘please reassure us that you’re going to follow our state electoral law.’ And they have now been reassured.”