Archive for March, 2011


Sarah Palin may have slipped in popularity among potential Republican presidential candidates in one poll, but she’s winning the Facebook race against her possible rivals and sits in second place on Twitter.

As of March 27, Palin – the former Alaska governor – had more than 2.8 million friends on Facebook and more than 462,000 followers on Twitter.

No other prospective 2012 GOP presidential contestant had more Facebook friends than Palin as of March 27. However, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich beat Palin on Twitter by a long shot, with more than 1.3 million followers. Gingrich had nearly 120,000 friends on Facebook.

However, popularity on Facebook and Twitter doesn’t necessarily translate into popularity at the ballot box.Writing recently on OhMyGov.com, Mark Malseed noted that a successful modern-day campaign must include “a hefty presence on social media.” However, he said it remains to be seen how important collecting lots of Facebook fans and Twitter followers will be in the GOP primary battle.

Here are the social media totals as of March 27 for other potential Republican contenders for the White House:

• Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – More than 830,000 friends on Facebook, nearly 31,000 followers on Twitter.
• Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee – Nearly 555,000 friends on Facebook, nearly 140,000 followers on Twitter.
• U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas – Nearly 315,000 friends on Facebook, nearly 38,000 followers on Twitter.
• U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota – Nearly 114,000 friends on Facebook, more than 39,000 followers on Twitter.

Here’s a sampling of the politicians’ recent tweets:

Huckabee, March 23 – “Today, Pres. Obama’s healthcare monster turns one year old. Let’s stop it from turning two.”

Romney, March 11 – “An unspeakable disaster in Japan has led to enormous suffering. Ann and I have the people there in our thoughts and prayers.”

Palin, March 13 – “Pres is mistaken. Again. Claims we control 2% world’s oil & he ‘boosts production’? Who advises him? Who writes his stuff? Why won’t press ask?”

Gingrich, March 24 – “Had a great time meeting everyone at the Greenville Republican Women’s Club event today. Thx for the tie w/ Palmetto state emblem.”

Paul, March 21 – “extremely pleased w/ #SCOTUS decision in favor of #Fed transparency. Eagerly await release of info so we finally get some answers.”

Bachmann, March 25 – “The President has failed the first test of leadership by not defining how our vital national interests are at stake in Libya.”

Gallup Poll results released March 25 showed Huckabee topping a long list of potential GOP presidential, with 19 percent of Republicans indicating they were most likely to back him. That gave Huckabee a slight edge over Romney (15 percent). Palin stood at 12 percent after receiving 16 percent support in three previous Gallup polls.

Gingrich was the only other potential Republican candidate who registered double-digit support (10 percent) in the most recent Gallup Poll. Next in line was Paul (6 percent), followed by Bachmann (5 percent).

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Vice President Joe Biden L'68

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This just goes to show you how much this current administration HATES the 1st amendment rights bestowed to all Americans. They deliberately violated this reporters rights……

Scott Powers, a veteran political reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, was designated as the “pool” journalist to cover a £300-a-head events for 150 guests to raise money for the re-election campaign of Senator Bill Nelson.

But aides to Mr Biden decided that Powers was only entitled to listen to the vice-president’s speech and should not be given access to guests gathering beforehand at the home of Alan Ginsberg, a wealthy developer in Winter Park, Florida.

To enforce this, Powers was ushered into a cluttered storage closet with a Biden staffer standing watch outside the door to prevent him emerging from what his newspaper described as a “temporary prison”.

He was not given any of the food that the guests enjoyed – caprese crostini with oven-dried mozzarella and basil, rosemary flatbread with grapes, honey and Gorgonzola cheese, grilled chicken Caesar and garden vegetable wraps.

He emailed his newspaper: “Sounds like a nice party”. He told the Drudge Report website: “When I’d stick my head out, they’d say, ‘Not yet. We’ll let you know when you can come out’.” Neither Mr Ginsberg nor his guests were aware of what had happened to the journalist.


Newt Gingrich

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may bypass the exploratory committee phase of a presidential campaign and formally announce his candidacy in early May.

Under Federal Election Committee rules a candidate who wants to “test the waters” for the presidency may file paperwork with the government in order to legally raise and spend money on a POSSIBLE campaign.

It is not mandatory because candidates may simply “announce” their candidacy and file paper work as a full blown candidate.

Gingrich aides several weeks ago had intended to file for an exploratory committee but changed course and instead announced a web page for the purposes of exploring an exploratory committee. Insiders now say Gingrich may instead jump into the race in early May as a fully announced candidate
Read more: http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/03/26/gingrich-could-skip-exploratory-committee#ixzz1HjrNZJsK


Official photograph of John Thune, U.S. Senator.

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March 21st, 2011 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Thune today issued the following remarks regarding the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office‘s (CBO) announcement that President Obama’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012 will add $9.5 trillion to the nation’s publicly held debt over the next 10 years, instead of $7.2 trillion originally predicted by the White House:  “The president continues to talk about fiscal responsibility and the need for government to live within its means, yet his actions show otherwise. The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that the Administration’s spending plan will only continue the failed fiscal policies of yesterday and further saddle future generations with unprecedented levels of debt. The president’s budget is a failure of leadership.”  In its analysis, CBO also predicted that our country’s annual deficit would be no less than $700 billion in each of the next 10 years.

Daschle Vs. Thune: Anatomy of a High-Plains Senate Race [Hardcover]

http://amzn.to/dO5fEy


Incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill

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Any way you slice it, $287, 273 is a lot of money, especially in this economy. For one-term Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., up for re-election in 2012, that’s the amount of personal property taxes she failed to pay since 2007 on a plane she and her husband, a millionaire businessman, partially owned.

“I have discovered that the…personal property taxes on the plane have not been paid,” McCaskill told a small number of reporters on a conference call Monday. “There should have been a reporting to the county of the existence of this airplane…There are people I could blame for this, but I know better. As (a former) auditor, I know I should have checked for myself. I take full responsibility for the mistake.” Audio of the call was sent to Fox by a McCaskill aide and can be found here.

The senator said she had done her own “thorough review” of all 89 flights she had taken following a political controversy that erupted recently over the same plane that was first reported by Politico.

The senator had used the plane for political purposes paying for the travel with taxpayer money from her Senate office, a “mistake,” the senator said, for which she reimbursed the government nearly $89,000. “All of the money has been repaid for the public funds,” McCaskill said Monday.

The senator said she had paid sales taxes on the plane, both local and state, evidence, she said, that she had made no attempt to duck her financial responsibility. “I want to reiterate, there was no attempt to evade the plane…This is just a mistake that I take full responsibility for.”

But Republicans did not buy the explanation from McCaskill, a top GOP target in 2012. “In the past two weeks, we have learned that Claire McCaskill billed taxpayers for political travel and failed to pay nearly $300,000 in personal property taxes on her plane. Over the last four years, cash-strapped school districts and the children in these schools have been deprived of these much-need funds,” Missouri Republican Party chairman David Cole blasted in a statement from his office.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee quickly pounced releasing a video after the senator’s admission showing McCaskill in 2006 telling voters, “If my walk doesn’t match my talk, then shame on me and don’t ever vote for me again.”

One senior GOP strategist with experience in Missouri politics criticized, “While numerous cities across her state struggle to pay police, firefighters, teachers, some even getting laid off, Claire McCaskill is using that money to fly around willy nilly. That money would pay for six teachers to do their job for a year.”   (According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, that is correct – an average teacher salary from 2009-2010 was $45,317.)

McCaskill recently co-sponsored a bill in the Senate that would send pink slips to federal employees who are found to have unpaid taxes, a measure Republicans also highlighted Monday, calling the Democrat a hypocrite. But a McCaskill aide said that was not a fair attack. “Those are people who knowingly have not paid their taxes and have refused to own up to it and to make that right,” an aide told Fox. “She didn’t knowingly do this. This is a situation where a mistake was made. As soon as she found out…she made it right,” the aide told Fox.

Because planes are not licensed the way automobiles are with the state of residence, rather they are licensed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the state has no record of ownership and, therefore, sends no property tax bill.

As for that bill, the McCaskill aide said, “The senator has already written and sent the check to repay this money. There was no effort to evade taxes here.”

Still, the controversy has proved too much for the senator, who, according to her office, has no plans for public events this week while the Senate is on recess. An audibly exasperated McCaskill told reporters, “I have convinced my husband to sell the damned plane. He has hired a broker, and I never intend to step foot on that plane ever again.”

But with Missouri politics being a rough and tumble sport, the sale of the plane is not likely to put the issue to rest for the senator any time soon.


Coat of arms of Libya -- the "Hawk of Qur...

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It simply amazes me that President Obama has the GULL to even get involved with yet another conflict in the middle east/N. Africa. We are still fighting in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq. This President has gone against everything he promised the American people. He has in fact done the complete opposite of everything he promised. But as I tried to warn people in 2008 to open their eyes to his smoke screen all I can do now is say I TOLD  YOU SO……..

Libya action could last ‘a while,’ official says

ZWITINA, Libya – The international military intervention in Libya is likely to last “a while,” a top French official said Monday, echoing Moammar Gadhafi‘s warning of a long war ahead as rebels, energized by the strikes on their opponents, said they were fighting to reclaim a city under siege from the Libyan leader’s forces.

Burned-out tanks and personnel carriers littered the main desert road leading southwest from Benghazi, the rebel’s capital in the east of the country — the remains of a pro-Gadhafi force that had been besieging the city until it was pounded by international strikes the past two nights.

Rebel fighters in Benghazi had now pushed down that highway to the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, which pro-Gadhafi forces have surrounded and been pounding with artillery and strikes since last week. The rebels swept into the nearby oil port of Zwitina, just northeast of the city, which was also the scene of heavy fighting last week — though now had been abandoned by regime forces. There, a power station hit by shelling on Thursday was still burning, its blackened fuel tank crumpled, with flames and black smoke pouring out.

Oil prices held above $102 a barrel after the second night of allied strikes in the OPEC nation raised fears of prolonged fighting that has already slowed Libyan oil production to a trickle.

Henri Guaino, a top adviser to the French president, said two nights of bombing runs and missile attacks had hobbled Libya’s air defenses, stalled Gadhafi’s troops and all but ended attacks on civilians. A cruise missile late Sunday blasted Gadhafi’s residential compound near his iconic tent, and fighter jets destroyed a line of tanks moving on the rebel capital.

It was not known where Gadhafi was when the missile hit Sunday, but it seemed to show that he is not safe.

Guaino, asked how long the allied efforts would continue, replied simply: “A while yet.”

The U.N. resolution authorizing international military action in Libya not only sets up a no-fly zone but allows “all necessary measures” to prevent attacks on civilians. Since the airstrikes began, the number of civilians fleeing Libya has decreased as Libyans in particular wait out the rapidly changing situation, the U.N. refugee agency said Monday.

It was a dramatic turnaround in Libya’s month-old upheaval: For 10 days, Gadhafi’s forces had been on a triumphant offensive against the rebel-held east, driving opposition fighters back with the overwhelming firepower of tanks, artillery, warplanes and warships. Last week, as rebels fell back, the stream of civilians crossing into Egypt alone reached 3,000 a day.

Then, after the no-fly zone was imposed Friday, the number fell to about 1,500 a day, said UNHCR spokeswoman Sybella Wilkes.

Mohammed Abdul-Mullah, a 38-year-old civil engineer from Benghazi who was fighting with the rebel force, said government troops stopped all resistance after the international campaign began.

“They were running, by foot and in small cars,” he said. “The balance has changed a lot. But pro-Gadhafi forces are still strong. They are a professional military and they have good equipment. Ninety percent of us rebels are civilians, while Gadhafi’s people are professional fighters.”

Rebel fighters descending from Benghazi met no resistance as they moved to the outskirts of Ajdabiya. In a field of dunes several miles (kilometers) outside the city, around 150 fighters massed. Some stood on the dunes with binoculars to survey the positions of pro-Gadhafi forces sealing off the entrances of the city. Ajdabiya itself was visible, black smoke rising, apparently from fires burning from fighting in recent days.

“There are five Gadhafi tanks and eight rocket launchers behind those trees and lots of 4x4s,” said one rebel fighter, Fathi Obeidi, standing on a dune and pointing at a line of trees between his position and the city.

Ghadafi forces have ringed the city’s entrance and were battling with opposition fighters inside, rebels said. The plan is for the rebel forces from Benghazi “to pinch” the regime troops while “those inside will push out,” Obeidi said.

New fighting also broke out Monday in Misrata, the last rebel-held city in western Libya, according to reports from Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.

In Cairo, a group of Libyans angry at the international intervention in their homeland blocked the path of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon following his meeting at the Arab League on Monday.

Ban had finished talks with the Arab League chief Amr Moussa and left the organization’s headquarters in Cairo to walk around nearby Tahrir Square, the centerpiece of Egyptian uprising that last month toppled Hosni Mubarak, when dozens of Libyan protesters converged on him and his security detail.

The Libyans, carrying pictures of Gadhafi and banners critical of the United States and United Nation, blocked Ban’s path, forcing him to return to the league and leave from another exit.

The resolution makes Gadhafi’s forces potential targets for U.S. and European strikes.

U.S., British and French planes went after tanks headed toward Benghazi, in the opposition-held eastern half of the country. On Sunday, at least seven demolished tanks smoldered in a field 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Benghazi, many of them with their turrets and treads blown off, alongside charred armored personnel carriers, jeeps and SUVs of the kind used by Gadhafi fighters.

The U.S. military, for now at the lead of the international campaign, is trying to walk a fine line over the end game of the assault. It is avoiding for now any appearance that it aims to take out Gadhafi or help the rebels oust him, instead limiting its stated goals to protecting civilians.

Britain also is treading carefully. Foreign Secretary William Hague refused Monday to say if Gadhafi would or could be assassinated, insisting he would not “get drawn into details about what or whom may be targeted.”

“I’m not going to speculate on the targets,” Hague said in a heated interview with BBC radio. “That depends on the circumstances at the time.”

A military official said Air Force B-2 stealth bombers flew 25 hours in a round trip from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and dropped 45 2,000-pound bombs.

What happens if rebel forces eventually go on the offensive against Gadhafi’s troops remains unclear.

Rebels defended their support of the international intervention into Libya — apparently feeling the sting of criticism from other Libyans and Arabs who warned the country could be divided or collapse into a civil war.

“Libya will not turn into Somalia or Iraq. It will not be divided. We are battling — the Libyan people — are battling a gang of mercenaries,” Mohammed al-Misrati, a rebel spokesman in the stronghold of Misrata, told Al-Jazeera on Monday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said late Sunday that the U.S. expects turn over control of the operation to a coalition headed by France, Britain or NATO “in a matter of days,” reflecting concern that the U.S. military was stretched thin by its current missions. Turkey was blocking NATO action, which requires agreement by all 28 members of the alliance.