June 12, 2015

Politico Pair: White House Reax to Trade Bill Setback ‘Implausible’; President Obama ‘Rapidly Approaching Lame-Duck Status’

Even the leftist apparatchiks at the Politico seem to have a limit to their tolerance for the doublespeak the White House and President Obama routinely disseminate.

Reporters Edward-Isaac Dovere and Sarah Wheaton appear to hit that limit this afternoon after Obama’s effort to pass Trade Adjustment Authorization (TAA) went down in flames by a shocking margin of 126-302. Since TAA had to pass for the vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to have any meaning, TPA’s 219-211 “Yes” margin in a later vote was virtually meaningless. The pair used a headline whose lineage traces back to the Vietnam War era, and even asserted that Obama is “rapidly approaching lame duck status” (bolds are mine):

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Zero Hedge on Bogus May Retail Sales Increase: ‘Is The US Already Applying “Double” Seasonal Adjustments?’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:13 pm

Great question, echoing my post yesterday:

To show just how much of an outlier May 2015 was compared to May in prior years, here is the seasonal “adjustment ratio” for the month of May for every year from 2008 to 2015, by which we define the ratio of “seasonally adjusted” to “unadjusted” retail sales. Spotting the outlier should be easy enough.

Michelle Malkin on Trade Deal: ‘What part of ‘Stop selling out America!’ does D.C. not understand?’ (See Update)

First few and final two paragraphs from Michelle Malkin’s column today:

Constitutional conservatives don’t like it. Trade unions abhor it. Obama critics hate it. Environmentalists despise it.

Outside the Beltway bubble, a broad coalition of voters from the left, right and center opposes the mega-trade deal getting rammed through Congress this week by the Republican establishment on behalf of the White House. Here’s why.

The Obama administration, House GOP leader John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have sold out American sovereignty.

… Here is what those of us against the GOP-Obamatrade bills can all agree on: Both political parties in Washington are screwing over our country. American citizens are sick and tired of the permanent ruling class subverting the will of the people in the name of “bipartisanship.” We’ve had enough of Big Business betrayals and Big Government collusion.

What part of “Stop selling out America!” does D.C. not understand?

Locally, Boehner, Steve Chabot and Mr. COAST himself, USA Brad Wenstrup, voted yesterday to enable fast-track trade authority to narrowly clear a procedural hurdle, bringing it closer to reality. Northern Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie opposed it. Shame on them; good for him.

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UPDATE: At RedState

If you don’t like GOP opposition to TPA and TPP, thank Leadership

So at this point, conservatives are being asked to accept that Republicans must vote for TPA, so that the TPP can pass. Oh, and they’re being asked to accept that TPP is probably a good thing, despite us having to pass TPA to find out what’s in TPP, but even if it weren’t, it wouldn’t pass. Except, see above. We’ve seen time and again Republicans make show votes, after casting the Cloture vote that really decided whether the bill would pass.

It comes down to trust. And the GOP establishment has consistently failed to show any backbone when it comes to fighting Obama. They’re constantly telling us that the good, responsible thing is to pass this bill, but we’ll fight the next time. Only, next time never comes.

Exemplifying this point, I just got off the phone with an official from an outfit which generally supports trade agreements, and asked why his group hadn’t taken a position on TPA, the authorization bill. The answer was essentially that they don’t know what’s in it, so it’s impossible to know where to stand.

That’s leadership’s fault. Until the American people know what’s involved, TPA must be rejected to force it out into the open so it can be properly evaluated.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (061215)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Court ruling means Texas abortion clinics won’t meet safety standards

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From New Orleans:

Jun 11, 2015 / 06:02 am

Pro-life advocates welcomed a federal appellate court’s Tuesday decision upholding a Texas law that increased safety regulations for abortion clinics and abortionists.

“Texas women and their preborn children will no longer be subjected to the grotesque reality inside Texas abortion facilities,” Emily Horne, senior legislative associate with Texas Right to Life, said June 9.

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, who defended the law against legal challenges, also praised the ruling.

“Abortion practitioners should have no right to operate their businesses from sub-standard facilities and with doctors who lack admitting privileges at a hospital,” he said.

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the law to be applied across most of Texas. It recognized as legitimate the legislature’s stated purpose for the law. In the court’s words, the law aimed “to provide the highest quality of care to women seeking abortions and to protect the health and welfare of women seeking abortion.”

Because some abortion clinics cannot afford upgrades to meet the stronger safety standards, the law could mean that as many as 13 clinics will close. That would leave eight abortion providers in the state, the New York Times reports.

The law requires all abortion clinics to follow ambulatory surgical facility standards for their building, equipment, and staffing.

Some backers of the law cited the case of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who in 2013 was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter as a result of negligent practices. The grand jury report in the case said that surgical facility standards for Gosnell’s clinic, like wider hallways for paramedic access, could have saved the life of one young woman who died.

The federal appellate court largely upheld the 2013 Texas law’s requirement that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. On this point the court allowed an exemption for a doctor who performs abortions in McAllen, Texas, on the grounds that in this case the requirement would create an unconstitutional burden on women seeking abortions there.

The same Texas law bans abortions after 20 weeks, on the ground that an unborn baby at that age can feel pain. This provision has not faced legal challenge. …

Go here for the rest of the story.