December 29, 2011

Ann Coulter Endorses Rick Santorum (Update: Santorum Ran on E-Verify in 2006)

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:04 pm

RickSantorum1211RomneyNo0808(Note: I’m interrupting the “So Much Material, So Little Time” series showing relatively recent reasons why Mitt Romney is an unacceptable and objectively unfit presidential candidate to respond to Ann Coulter’s disgraceful column yesterday.)

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Meet your guy, Ann Coulter. He’s pictured on the right.

Note that your guy is NOT the guy whose image is crossed out on the left — where he most definitely belongs because of his issue positions and track record).

Your guy is the other guy, Rick Santorum.

You endorsed him yesterday in your latest column.

Oh, you think you endorsed Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney, but I will prove that you really endorsed Santorum.

Here we go. (Update: A briefer version is here.)

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Coulter’s December 28 column, entitled “Only One Candidate Is Right on the Two Most Important Issues,” was meant to be a process-of-elimination exercise performed on the remaining contenders for the GOP presidential nomination (I’m going to exclude Jon Huntsman, because he, unlike the six others, has never been more than a cipher in any poll).

Her column is an epic fail on the facts.

Coulter starts out strongly by identifying what she believes are the two most critical issues we face:

In the upcoming presidential election, two issues are more important than any others: repealing Obamacare and halting illegal immigration. If we fail at either one, the country will be changed permanently.

I would throw the economic Armageddon coming at us if we don’t do something about the federal debt and deficit situation (as I’ve noted several times, I’m not convinced that we’ll be able to reach November 2012 or January 21, 2013 without hitting a financial wall first). It just so happens to be the number one issue on voters’ minds. But if you want to contend that any one of the remaining credible contenders would do a passable job in these matters if armed with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, fine.

After articulating why her two issues are of all-encompassing importance, Coulter commits her first obvious unforced error, one which was proven to be an error literally just yesterday as the ink was drying (or the electrons were cooling) on her column (bolds are obviously mine throughout this post):

All current Republican presidential candidates say they will overturn Obamacare. The question for Republican primary voters should be: Who is most likely to win?

If you go to every candidate’s website, I’m sure you’ll find a pledge to “repeal Obamacare.” In fact, even Mitt Romney is promising to do that (“Our next president must repeal Obamacare and replace it with market-based reforms that empower states and individuals and reduce health care costs.”). But the question, using Ann’s word, is who will “overturn” it?

Mitt Romney is absolutely NOT promising to “overturn” Obamacare, Ann.

One of Obamacare principal features — in fact, it has been described as the feature on which the viability of the entire abominable law depends — is the individual mandate, i.e., the government requirement that each and every citizen have and (unless you’re in poverty) buy health insurance.

To demonstrate how unpopular the individual mandate is, Ohio voters just eight weeks ago hardwired an amendment into the state’s constitution declaring that no citizen shall be required to participate in a health insurance plan, and that no citizen shall be required to purchase health insurance. Buckeye State voters did so by passing Issue 3 by a 66%-34% margin.

But it goes way beyond popularity to constitutionality at the federal level, and to the relationship between government and its citizens at all other levels. As Mark Steyn said in his guest-hosting role on Rush Limbaugh’s program today (paraphrasing), if the government can force you to buy health insurance, there really is no practical constraint on what else it can force you to do in virtually any major or minor aspect of your life. At the federal level, such a mandate is plainly unconstitutional; at the state level, it’s authoritarianism at its worst. Regardless of who’s imposing the requirement, it negatively and probably irretrievably changes the nature of the relationship between the government and its citizens forever.

A video playing all over the place from Wednesday demonstrates that Mitt Romney, the creator of RomneyCare in Massachusetts, still supports the individual mandate, and would clearly want to see states incorporate an individual mandate into any form of replacement for Obamacare. Roll tape (Direct YouTube; HT Hot Air):

Here’s the perfect-pitch reaction of Erick Ericksen at RedState:

TODAY, December 28, 2011, Mitt Romney Calls Obamacare “Conservative”

This isn’t a flash back. This is today. Mitt Romney is again declaring the foundation of Obamacare, the individual mandate, “conservative.”

To be sure, it is conservative that one takes responsibility for their own healthcare. But the conservative solution is not to force Americans to buy a product. Forcing Americans, through penalty of law, into purchasing or refraining from purchasing a product is not and will never be conservative.

(Aside: It must really sting to see a core contention of a column you’ve just written debunked — by your guy — in virtually real time.)

Ann, in case you haven’t figured it out, if you “repeal” Obamacare and “replace” it with something containing an individual mandate — what Erick properly characterized as “the foundation of Obamacare” — you have not “overturned” Obamacare. “Overturning” Obamacare is YOUR column’s benchmark, and Mitt Romney fails your first test. I suspect that many readers are tiring of my employment of the word, but the point is simply not arguable.

That leaves the remaining candidates to be tested against Coulter’s second standard: “halting illegal immigration.” Here’s Ann’s “analysis”:

Only Romney (already eliminated per the above — Ed.) and Santorum have won a statewide election in a blue state, making them our surest-bets in a general election. (This knocks out Michelle Bachmann, as Coulter later notes. — Ed.)

But if Santorum wins, we lose on the second most important issue — illegal immigration — and he’ll be the last Republican ever to win a general election in America.

… almost all Republican presidential candidates support some form of amnesty for illegals in order to appeal to the business lobby.

Among the most effective measures against illegal immigration is E-Verify, the Homeland Security program that gives employers the ability to instantly confirm that their employees’ Social Security numbers are legitimate. It is more than 99 percent accurate, and no employee is denied a job without an opportunity to challenge the records.

Although wildly popular with Americans — including Hispanic Americans — the business lobby hates E-Verify. Employers like hiring non-Americans because they can pay illegal aliens less and ignore state and federal employment laws.

Any candidate who opposes E-Verify is not serious about illegal immigration. If anything, E-Verify ought to be made mandatory to get a job, to get welfare and to vote.

Kowtowing to business (while pretending to kowtow to Hispanics), Paul, Perry and Santorum oppose E-Verify. As a senator, Rick Santorum voted against even the voluntary use of E-Verify.

There’s only one problem with Ann’s “logic.” Rick Santorum does NOT oppose E-Verify. A source within the Santorum campaign forwarded me the following concerning Rick’s position on E-Verify (internal links to roll call votes added by me):

Rick voted against the McCain / Kennedy Global Immigration bill on May 25th 2006. The bill passed 62 – 36. DeMint, Grassley, Coburn, Inhofe, Sessions, Thune (some of the most conservative Senators) all voted no. One of the cornerstones of the McCain/Kennedy amnesty immigration bill was the reauthorization of the E-Verify program. By opposing the overall bill, Rick in turn opposed the re-authorization of E-Verify program.

Actually, Rick supports the E-Verify program. Original E-Verify Program was known as the Basic Pilot Program Act. It was included in H.R. 3610, the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997. Rick voted for the entire bill on July 18, 1996 at 10:27am.

On 11/12/2003 the Basic Pilot Program Extension and Expansion Act of 2003 passed the US Senate by UC (if Rick opposed, he would have objected). Signed into law by President Bush on 12/3/2003. (“UC” stands for “Unanimous Consent” — Ed.)

The program was eventually reauthorized (Rick was out of Congress) till September 30, 2009. Then it was granted a one month reauthorization till October 31, 2009 (Rick was not in Congress). In October 2009, the Congress agreed to a three year extension of the E-Verify program.

Ann Coulter is trying to say that Rick opposes e-verify simply because he opposed John McCain’s liberal / amnesty immigration bill in 2006.

Concerning that 2006 vote mentioned in the email’s first paragraph:

  • Santorum had to oppose Kennedy/McCain even though it contained E-Verify, because the rest of the bill was so awful. He had a lot of sensible conservative company.
  • (You really can’t make this up, Ann — gotcha bigtime) Ann Coulter also opposed what the Senate did in her very next column on June 1, 2006. Specifically, she vehemently criticized “The ‘path to citizenship’ that Bush and the Senate are trying to pawn off on Americans …” Uh, so did Rick Santorum.

Thus, Ann Coulter is obviously wrong. What about “Rick supports the E-Verify program” don’t you understand, dear?

Okay, let’s recap based on actual facts and Ann Coulter’s requirements:

  • Romney — Out, because he won’t overturn Obamacare. (He’s not credible on any other issue, given his history of flip-flops, but one reason, especially this big of a reason, is enough.)
  • Gingrich — Out, partially because, in Coulter’s words, he has “never had to win votes beyond small, majority-Republican congressional districts.” Coulter also spent her entire December 21 column on reasons why Newt shouldn’t get the nomination. Her likely correct conclusion is that “Gingrich would be a disaster for everything they (newly active conservatives) believe in.” She also contends with historical support that (at least for a conservative or Republican) Newt “is almost certainly unelectable based solely on his having cheated on and divorced two wives.”
  • Perry — Out, for two reasons. First, his opposition to E-Verify. Second (again, Coulter’s take), Perry ran in an extremely red state that doesn’t “resemble the American electorate.”
  • Paul — Out, for the same two reasons as Perry (I’m sure there are others from her point of view, but that’s plenty for now).
  • Bachmann — Out, because, even though she meets Coulter’s issues benchmarks, “… 2012 isn’t the year to be trying to make a congresswoman the first woman president.”

That leaves Rick Santorum as Ann Coulter’s only supportable candidate, based on her December 28 column’s benchmarks. Specifically, Santorum:

  • Will overturn Obamacare.
  • Supports E-Verify.
  • Is electable, having “won a statewide election in a blue state” — twice. (Mitt Romney only won once, and was a fairly good bet to lose had he run for reelection.)

You can pretend to be Mitt Romney’s gal all you want, Ann Coulter, but by your column’s benchmarks, Rick Santorum is your guy. I’m sure he’s grateful for your well thought-out endorsement. You should be grateful that I’ve straightened you out.

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UPDATE: Santorum ran on his support of E-Verify in his 2006 race against prolife pretender Bob Casey. Specifically (bolds other than headings are mine) –

No Amnesty
Giving blanket amnesty, approving guest worker programs masked as amnesty, or charging nominal fines to become an American citizen mocks and demeans the sacrifices of legal immigrants. Illegally crossing our border and breaking our immigration laws must carry real and serious consequences. Rick Santorum will not vote for any immigration bill that includes amnesty.

… Reform the System and Defend American Culture
Rick Santorum supports an improved worker verification program to protect American taxpayers from fraudulent benefit payouts. He is pushing to make temporary workers just that — temporary, not citizens.

“An improved worker verification program” means “an improved E-Verify.”

Rick Santorum is quite serious about illegal immigration.

Really Ann, I’m supposed to believe that you didn’t know ANY of this?

UPDATE 2:Stacy McCain Notes Rick Santorum Calling Out Ann Coulter”

CNBC’s Joe Kernen Rips John Harwood’s Knee-Jerk ‘Global Warming’ Reaction to Mild Winter

CNBCsquawkboxPic122911After the news portion of a “Warmer Weather Hurting Retail” segment on the impact of the mild winter on retail sales thus far appearing early this morning on CNBC, Joe Kernen and John Harwood got into it over the relevance and influence of so-called “global warming” (I guess Harwood didn’t get the memo that it’s “climate change” now).

Picking up at the 2:10 mark of the video:

Courtney Reagan: Now while the temperatures have begun to drop in many areas of the country, it could be too late for seasonal apparel sales. It’s going to be hard to sell gloves in February when we’re already past most of winter.

John Harwood: This global warming is a killer.

Courtney Reagan: I knew you were going to say that and I wasn’t going to go there!

Joe Kernen: You say that (women panel members, especially Michelle Caruso Cabrera, give it the “oh no, here we go” treatment), but no no no, wait a minute, John. (We have) the same, the same carbon concentration last year as this year. Last year we were just talking about the record frigid temperatures. How do you have the variability from last year and this year based on the same carbon? Why wasn’t it warm last year like this year because we had the same carbon concentration?

John Harwood (in a kidding tone): You don’t have any empathy for retailers, do you?

(after crosstalk)

Kernen: But the great thing for the climate change people is that they attributed the snow last year also to global warming. So you have a frigid, freezing winter with lots of snow — global warming. You have a warm … (inaudible) … Doesn’t that tell you something?

The conversation then went to the continued popularity of Uggs.

In a subsequent segment on the Italian debt situation, a guest humorously referred back to the global warming discussion, saying that “things are going to melt down there a lot sooner than they do everywhere else.”

Nice job by Kernen in asking the logical questions which really can’t be answered by the warmist crowd.

Separately in a later interview, Harwood gave away his leftist lean when he took the position that a Mitt Romney win in Iowa’s caucuses might turn the Republican race for the presidential nomination into a short-term rout for the former Massachusetts governor, who has been the fave of the establishment press all year. On what planet, John? Not the one which has South Carolina in it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Unemployment Claims: Up to 381K SA, 490K NSA

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:32 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending December 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 381,000, an increase of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 366,000. The 4-week moving average was 375,000, a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 380,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 490,364 in the week ending December 24, an increase of 69,261 from the previous week. There were 525,710 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

Business Insider’s email predicted 375K. So did Bloomberg.

The drop in the 4-week average is nice, but to keep dropping, it’s going to need to come in consistently below 375K. As noted last week, the fact that covered employment is still seven million below where it was before the recession began has to considered when benchmarking an acceptable ongoing weekly level, which I think think is in the 350K range or lower.

Zero Hedge is pessimistic as usual (“After One Month Respite, Pink Slips Are Flying Again”), but I don’t want to conclude anything about the general direction of things based on a quirky week during the Christmas shopping season. The one to really watch will be the report three weeks from now the for week ended January 13, which will be the first week containing five business days after the New Year.

Is the Obama Administration Politically Manipulating the Poverty Data?

How Obama could abuse a new set of poverty statistics.

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Note: This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday.

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The Census Bureau’s recently created “Supplemental Poverty Measure” (SPM) looks like a ruse to artificially show economic and poverty-reducing improvement in time for the 2012 presidential election. Longer-term, it appears to be a rigged mechanism for demonstrating how ObamaCare, assuming it survives legal challenges and attempts at repeal, is a resounding success.

If I’m right, the press is doing a really good job of playing along. A recent Associated Press item which gained an usual amount of traction in the center-right blogosphere with an unfortunate shortage of skepticism told us that “1 in 2 Americans are now poor or low income.” SPM, which is indeed what AP cryptically referenced, radically redefines what it means to be “low income,” in the process adding almost 40 million more people to that category in 2010 compared to the number in the bureau’s official income and poverty report.

Though there are many technical and conceptual problems with the bureau’s traditional poverty measurements, the only problem that matters to Barack Obama and his reelection team is the political impact of the official poverty rate. During the supposed era of Hope and Change, the rate has stubbornly and sharply increased. In 2007, the year before the arrival of what I have been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy since mid-2008, that official rate was 12.5%, about the same as the previous four years. After increasing to 13.2% in 2008, it zoomed to 14.3% in 2009. When it hit 15.1% in 2010, it meant that the administration’s supposedly brilliant set of Keynesian policies had essentially taken us back to where we were in the early 1990s. The official poverty rate seems virtually assured to increase yet again when the bureau releases its results in September 2012, at which point the rate will likely be higher than at any time since the mid-1960s.

To be clear, the problem from Team Obama’s perspective isn’t that more and more people are living in economic misery (Please, with hundreds of dead bodies resulting from the Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious and the president’s 2009 advice to a daughter that her elderly mother should have been “taking painkillers” instead of having life-extending surgery, to name just two examples, spare me the garbage about Obama’s and his administration’s alleged compassion). The real problem is that the American people have learned that more and more of their fellow citizens are economically miserable. Even worse, they will have that message reinforced less than two months before Election Day 2012 — unless something is done about how poverty is measured and reported.

Enter SPM. The irony of its creation is more than a little hard to take. After decades during which leftists ridiculed conservatives and others who validly criticized official poverty measurements for excluding obvious items like the value of non-cash government benefits such as food stamps and traditional welfare from available resources, all of a sudden effective in 2009 the administration tasked the Census Bureau with developing SPM, which incorporates those and similar items into its measurement base.

But SPM, based on a study which had been gathering dust since the mid-1990s, additionally and arbitrarily deducts a number of expenses from income to arrive at a new “resource measure” which supposedly represents what is available to pay for “a basic set of goods that includes food, clothing, shelter, and utilities (FCSU), and a small additional amount to allow for other needs (e.g., household supplies, personal care, non- work-related transportation).” SPM then compares that new “resource measure” to a clearly higher poverty threshold than the bureau has officially used for almost 50 years (if you really have to know, SPM’s poverty threshold is “The 33rd percentile of expenditures on FCSU of consumer units with exactly two children multiplied by 1.2″).

So what are the expenses SPM deducts from income? Astute readers will begin to grasp the underhanded cleverness of the new measurement when they see the list: taxes (while adding back tax credits like the Earned Income Credit), work expenses, and medical out-of-pocket expenses.

Now let’s look at the bureau’s graph comparing where Americans fall under the official and SPM definitions:

CensusPovertyCompOfficialand SPM2010

Since “low income” is defined as anyone whose “resource measure” is above but less than twice the defined poverty level, the SPM portion of the chart provides the support for AP’s assertion that 48% of Americans (rounded to “1 in 2″ for dramatic headline purposes) are either poor or low income.

SPM’s consideration of taxes will help Obama’s reelection campaign if (and I believe it’s more like when) the Census Bureau surprises everyone and releases its related report in October of next year instead of November, as it did this year, and attempts with media help to give it greater credibility than the official measurement. By far the largest tax low-income families pay is the payroll tax. In 2011, that tax was reduced by two percentage points. As a result, when next year’s SPM report comes out, millions of Americans will no longer be “low income” under its framework. I can imagine the campaign verbiage already: “Who first broached the idea of eliminating part of the payroll tax? Why, it was Barack Obama, who singlehandedly moved millions into the middle class in one bold move, undoing much of the damage of the past decade’s misguided policies.”

As to the ObamaCare gambit: State-run health care will very visibly and quickly remove most medical out-of-pocket expenses from millions of Americans. In return, of course, we know from experience in other countries that they’ll have longer waits for care, be subject to rationing, receive lower quality care, and see a virtual end to medical innovation. But those things won’t be as immediately visible. Thus, ObamaCare will in its early years appear to almost painlessly move millions more from SPM’s “low income” category into the middle class. Again, thanks to artifice, Obama will look like a hero.

It must be nice to be able to create your own customized measurement to arrive at the conclusions you want. Don’t be deceived, and don’t let your friends be fooled.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (122911)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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A graph from Political Calculations found at Townhall of home prices vs. median income would indicate that home prices have further to drop. It didn’t have work out like this, but the Democrat-driven disasters at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack and recent Obama administration policies have made it this way. As seen at the graph, median income has been heading backwards since the arrival of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy 3-1/2 years ago.

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The IRS gets permission from a federal judge to go on a fishing expedition.

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As noted at Josh Mandel’s Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this month, a private-sector union official’s description of President Obama’s Keystone Pipeline delay (“The administration chose to support environmentalists over jobs. Job-killers win, American workers lose”) applies equally to the federal government’s decision to suspend oil and gas leases on three thousand acres of federal land in Ohio.

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Sad but true, because it doesn’t have to be this way, from Steve Deace:

The more Rudy McRomneys the Republican Party serves up, the more popular someone like (Ron) Paul will become. Frustrated voters will use Paul as a blunt instrument, or maybe even a sharp object, to attack a failed system with.

The Republicrats deserve Ron Paul. The ruling class created the Ron Paul phenomenon by its own actions. And the more they persist in being tone-deaf to voters’ angst, the more likely they are to suffer at his hands.

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Must-Read, via Amy Oliver and Michael Sandoval — “Green Technology that Pollutes the Planet”

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Governors Journal, which appears to be nonpartisan, has selected Scott Walker as the 2011 Governor of the Year.”

Positivity: NYC Parents Bring Home Miracle Baby In Time For Christmas

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From New York’s CBS 2 (video at link):

December 22, 2011 11:59 PM

This Christmas will be was extra special for one New York City family. After months of round-the-clock vigil in the Intensive Care Unit, they are finally bringing their baby home just in time for the holidays.

Five-week-old Oscar Rowe may look like an average healthy newborn now, but his parents say it took a Christmas miracle.

“It’s the best possible present in the purest sense of the word,” Oscar’s mom, Sylvia Rowe, told CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown.

Parents Ian and Sylvia were thrilled when they learned they were expecting a child, but devastated to find out their baby had a birth defect. His major organs — including the liver, bowels and stomach — were growing outside his body. It was a condition called an omphalocele.

“We were trying to be strong and be calm throughout this whole process,” Sylvia said. “We always said if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to bring him home by Christmas.”

Doctors delivered Oscar via C-section last month and immediately handed him off to teams of specialists, who rushed him into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Dr. Robert Cowles performed a risky, four-hour surgery on Oscar several days later, literally tucking each of his organs back into his body.

“Sometimes there’s not enough space and in his case, luckily, we did have enough space to fit everything on the inside,” Cowles said. “On occasion we don’t.”

Oscar’s anxious parents had to wait 10 excruciating days, but finally got to hold him for the first time on Thanksgiving Day.

“That was just…that was a great Thanksgiving gift,” Ian said.

Oscar spent the first five weeks of his life in the NICU, but this week he got to see it from the outside for the first time. Arriving at his new home, Oscar’s big sister, Camille, was there to greet him. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

‘Rizzoli and Isles’ Episode’s Arsonist Fireman Blames Boston ‘Budget Cuts’ Which Don’t Exist in Real Life

RizzoliAndIslesDec2011I know, we’re supposed to give TV shows and the like a bit of dramatic license to push a plot line. But doesn’t it seem that an awful lot of the license taken tends to be pro-big government and left-leaning?

One pretty obvious example came along Monday night during the Season 2 finale of TNTs’ “Rizzoli & Isles” (which ran again late tonight). The plot of “Burning Down the House” centered around the death of a Boston fireman in a major warehouse blaze. Ultimately, the perpetrator ended up being a fireman who was upset by “budget cuts,” which were mentioned twice during the episode:

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