TAX INCREASES COMETH .. AND NOT JUST FOR THE EVIL RICH

Remember that the rhetoric from the Obama administration has changed since PrezBo was on the campaign trail. His pledge not to raise taxes on middle class families “not one dime” morphed into … well that was more like a suggestion, not a promise. But now it is only a matter of time before Barack Obama breaks that suggestion, promise, whatever. The writing is on the wall. There is absolutely no way that we can continue our current level of spending and our current entitlement culture without raising taxes. At least in the mind of a Democrat. Some Democrats may realize that you can only tax the rich so much. While the sales pitch of taxing the rich may be a lot easier on the campaign trail, the truth is that the middle class will also see their taxes increase.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that tax increases will eventually be necessary in order to address our mounting debt problem. He even raised the possibility of only temporarily extending middle-class tax cuts, otherwise known as the Bush tax cuts. Let me translate that liberal speak for you .. “only temporarily extending middle-class cuts” really means that taxes are going to increase for the middle-class. Somehow, letting a tax cut expire has become the politically correct way to say “raise taxes.” Hoyer says that making the tax cuts permanent would be “too costly.” Too costly? To whom? To the government, which takes money from you to pay for its ever-growing budget .. much of which is filled with waste, abuse and entitlements for deadbeats.

What is really going to happen here, folks? The Democrats will let the tax cuts for the rich expire at the end of this year. So for you people who have made a success out of yourself — who provide the jobs, who spend the money which creates jobs – your taxes will be going up, which means that you will have less to spend and invest and use to hire. But tax cuts for the middle-class may be temporarily extended, but that will only be until the Democrats have their next pawn positioned on the board: a value-added tax. It’s coming. So while the VAT is top of mind, take a look at what is happening with the VAT in the UK. How’s that for a tax increase?

In her own words: Gov. Jan Brewer on Mexico joining lawsuit against Arizona’s illegal immigrant law

Full text of Gov. Jan Brewer statement on Mexico, as provided by her office

I am very disappointed that the national government of our neighbors and friends to the south has chosen to file a brief in federal court that distorts the truth about Arizona and the United States.

Despite false assertions and factual inaccuracies expressed by the country of Mexico in their recent brief filed in U.S. federal court, Arizona’s immigration enforcement laws are both reasonable and….

…constitutional. They mirror what has been federal law in the United States for many decades, and they have built-in and clear protections for civil rights.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Mexico president Felipe Calderon

The United States was formed as a nation of laws, and not of men. Arizonans are some of the most hospitable and generous people in the world, and we welcome visitors to share our incomparable natural beauty.

Our cultures and our trade are intertwined, and so must be our respect for the rule of law.

We refuse to accept that the United States government is unable to protect its citizens against a relentless and daily barrage of narco-terrorist drug and human smugglers. We will enforce, respect, and defend the laws of our land, including our laws that prosecute discrimination. We have taken additional steps to update training for our officers to legally enforce our new laws and to specifically prevent illegal racial profiling.

I will continue to fight tirelessly to protect the citizens of Arizona, and to defend Arizonans in federal court. I believe that Arizona will ultimately prevail and that our laws will be found constitutional.

Mexico Joins Suit Against Arizona’s Immigration

Mexico on Tuesday asked a federal court in Arizona to declare the state’s new immigration law unconstitutional, arguing that the country’s own interests and its citizens’ rights are at stake.

Lawyers for Mexico on Tuesday submitted a legal brief in support of one of five lawsuits challenging the law. The law will take effect July 29 unless implementation is blocked by a court.

The law generally requires police investigating another incident or crime to ask people about their immigration status if there’s a “reasonable suspicion” they’re in the country illegally. It also makes being in Arizona illegally a misdemeanor, and it prohibits seeking day-labor work along the state’s streets.

Until recently, Mexican law made illegal immigration a criminal offense — anyone arrested for the violation could be fined, imprisoned for up to two years and deported. Mexican lawmakers changed that in 2008 to make illegal immigration a civil violation like it is in the United States, but their law still reads an awful lot like Arizona’s.

Arizona’s policy, which President Felipe Calderon derided during a recent U.S. trip as “discriminatory,” states police can’t randomly stop people and demand papers, and the law prohibits racial profiling.

Mexican law, however, requires law enforcement officials “to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country before attending to any issues.”

Amnesty International recently issued a report claiming illegal immigrants in Mexico — typically from Central America — face abuse, rape and kidnappings, and that Mexican police do little to stop it. When illegal immigration was a criminal offense in Mexico, officials were known to seek bribes from suspects to keep them out of jail.

But Mexico said it has a legitimate interest in defending its citizens’ rights and that Arizona’s law would lead to racial profiling, hinder trade and tourism, and strain the countries’ work on combating drug trafficking and related violence.

Citing “grave concerns,” Mexico said its interest in having predictable, consistent relations with the United States shouldn’t be frustrated by one state.

“Mexican citizens will be afraid to visit Arizona for work or pleasure out of concern that they will be subject to unlawful police scrutiny and detention,” the brief said.

It will be up to a U.S. District Court judge to decide whether to accept the brief along with similar ones submitted by various U.S. organizations.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the law on April 23 and changes to it on April 30, has lawyers defending it in court.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, Brewer said she was “very disappointed” to learn of Mexico’s filing and reiterated that “Arizona’s immigration enforcement laws are both reasonable and constitutional.”

“I believe that Arizona will ultimately prevail and that our laws will be found constitutional,” Brewer added.

Brewer and other supporters of the bill say the law is intended to pressure illegal immigrants to leave the United States. They contend it is a needed response to federal inaction over what they say is a porous border and social problems caused by illegal immigration. They also argue that it has protections against racial profiling.

Mexican officials previously had voiced opposition to the Arizona law, with Calderon saying June 8 that the law “opens a Pandora’s box of the worst abuses in the history of humanity” by promoting racial profiling and potentially leading to an authoritarian society

U.S. officials have said the Obama administration has serious concerns about the law and may challenge it in court. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently went further by saying a lawsuit is planned.

Federal Gov’t Halts Sand Berm Dredging

NEW ORLEANS — The federal government is shutting down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico.

The berms are meant to protect the Louisiana coastline from oil. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has concerns about where the dredging is being done.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who was one of the most vocal advocates of the dredging plan, has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, pleading for the work to continue.

Nungesser said the government has asked crews to move the dredging site two more miles farther off the coastline.

“Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil,” Nungesser wrote to Obama. “Furthermore, with the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, we are being put at an increased risk for devastation to our area from the intrusion of oil.

Nungesser has asked for the dredging to continue for the next seven days, the amount of time it would take to move the dredging operations two miles and out resume work.

Work is scheduled to halt at midnight Wednesday.

Dems won’t pass budget in 2010

House Democrats will not pass a budget blueprint in 2010, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will confirm in a speech on Tuesday.

But Hoyer will vow to crack down on government spending, saying Democrats will enforce spending limits that are lower than what President Barack Obama has called for.

In the scheduled address to the progressive think tank The Third Way, Hoyer will acknowledge that the lower chamber will do things differently this election year.

“It isn’t possible to debate and pass a realistic, long-term budget until we’ve considered the bipartisan commission’s deficit-reduction plan, which is expected in December,” according to Hoyer’s prepared remarks that were provided to The Hill.

The House has never failed to pass an annual budget resolution since the current budget rules were put into place in 1974. Hoyer this spring noted that the GOP-led Congress didn’t pass a final resolution in 1998, 2004 and 2006.

The House will put forth a “budget enforcement resolution” rather than a budget blueprint that looks beyond next year and calculates five or 10 years’ worth of deficit figures.

The House’s “enforcement” — or deeming — resolution will endorse the goals of the president’s fiscal commission and reiterate the commitment to vote on its recommendations after the midterm elections. And it will also set limits on discretionary spending “that require further cuts below the president’s budget,” according to the speech.

“This budget enforcement resolution will enforce fiscal discipline in the near term while the fiscal commission works on a long-term plan to get our country back to fiscal health,” Hoyer’s remarks state.

The nation’s debt and budget deficits — and what to do about them — are the theme of Hoyer’s speech.

It’s also the issue that’s destroying what’s left of the Democrats’ jobs agenda as centrist Democrats have balked at the price tag of such measures.

For weeks, Democratic leaders have tried to strike a deal on the budget, which is a non-binding resolution, but to no avail.

The talks triggered splits in the Democratic Caucus, alienating conservative Democrats from their liberal colleagues.

The House’s decision not to pursue a budget resolution comes as the Senate has been struggling to get its companion measure to the floor. And the politics of the moment are a far cry from last year, when the House and Senate easily passed Obama’s first budget on the president’s 100th day in office. The budget measure last year did not attract any GOP support.

Hoyer is seeking a new tone on how to handle the nation’s record debt.

“This is a remarkable moment in political history — a time when our creeping fiscal danger of our $9 trillion of publicly held debt troubles Americans as much as the prospect of the most brutal attacks on our country,” Hoyer will say. “The real question is how we respond… There’s the easy way — glib slogans about spending, solutions that are more about winning political power than confronting the scope of the problem, and answers borrowed from decades-old dogma instead of from a hard look at reality.”

The “right way” Hoyer envisions, however, does involve a continued separation of short-term and structural budget deficits and a careful avoidance of “overreacting to short-term deficits while we’re still feeling the effects of recession.”

“If ‘out-of-control spending’ refers to the Recovery Act and other jobs programs that are responsible for more than 2 million jobs and only a small fraction of our deficit, I’d ask what the alternatives were,” the speech reads. “Whether we are spending or cutting taxes, creating jobs in a recession means adding to the deficit in the short term.”

While conservative Blue Dog Democrats have bristled at further measures to address the recession, Democratic leaders, including Hoyer, have tried to insert the short- versus long-term distinction into the public debate.

Republicans have capitalized on the public’s reluctance to embrace the nuanced argument, and have made the deficit a central part of their attack on the majority, and a key part of their pitch to be returned to power.

“We need a real budget to stop Washington Democrats’ out-of-control spending spree, which is scaring the hell out of the American people, and to create jobs,” Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), said last week.

To these attacks, Hoyer offered his own blistering counterattack.

“A spending-only [deficit reduction] plan has been on the table for more than two years,” Hoyer will say, citing House Budget Committee ranking Republican Paul Ryan’s (Wis.) proposal to shift some seniors away from Medicare and issue private health insurance vouchers for everyone under 55. “Even though I strongly oppose its severe Medicare cuts for seniors, I’ve praised Congressman Ryan for being the only one in his party to offer a solution equal to the problem. But what have we heard from his own party? Crickets. For two years. The Republican Party has run away from Paul Ryan’s plan, even though you’d expect it to rush to embrace a proposal based on spending cuts.”

Hoyer believes that a “spending-and-revenue” compromise is the only realistic option, and says that “on the spending side, we could and should consider a higher retirement age, or one pegged to lifespan.” He would also welcome a debate about “simplifying the tax code to raise revenue more efficiently and increase economic productivity by cutting time lost on tax preparation.”

Even defense spending, which was exempt from the cuts the Blue Dogs had advocated, is on the table, according to Hoyer.

“Any conversation about the deficit that leaves out defense spending is seriously flawed before it begins,” he will remark.

The majority leader also opens the door to reining in current tax cuts for Americans earning above $250,000, which is consistent with Obama’s budget plan. Hoyer makes it clear he will battle Senate Democrats, if necessary.

“As the House and Senate debate what to do with the expiring Bush tax cuts in the coming weeks, we need to have a serious discussion about their implications for our fiscal outlook, including whether we can afford to permanently extend them before we have a real plan for long-term deficit reduction,” according to his speech.

“At a minimum, the House will not extend the tax cuts benefiting taxpayers of incomes above $250,000 despite some suggestions in the Senate that they be extended along with all other Bush tax cuts.”

But much of where Hoyer believes the real deficit debate should start is with the bipartisan fiscal commission.

“To share sacrifices fairly, and to be politically viable, the commission’s proposal can only have one form: an agreement that cuts spending and raises revenue,” Hoyer will say. “We’re lying to ourselves and our children if we say we can maintain our current levels of entitlement spending defense spending, and taxation without bankrupting our country.”

Wicomico County Council candidate Mike Calpino calls for more challengers in Election

In a letter to the editor for the Daily Times Mike Calpino, District 2 Wicomico County Council candidate, calls for more challengers in the upcoming County Council races.

“Yet in Wicomico County, the majority of incumbents remain unchallenged,” Calpino states. “If the same people remain in power, they will do the same things tomorrow we complained about yesterday.”

In an Election year that has seen unprecedented political activity, where people are attending rallies, going to budget meeting and expressing dissatisfaction, Calpino believes more people need to run for public office.

“Time is running short in this election cycle. Surely there are a handful of people in our county who embrace the principles of limited government, personal liberty and responsibility who will challenge the status quo. If no one runs and no one gets behind the challengers, our elections become a sham.”

Calpino is in the beginning stages of his campaign yet is very well prepared and versed in the issues. On his website he declares his reason for running and the focus of his campaign.

“My candidacy is based on two things. The first, and most important, is what I would call a “Jeffersonian” political philosophy, a set of principles based on the philosophy and ideals of Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers.” He continues, “The principles of limited government, individual liberty, God given rights, and laissez faire economics. The second is a set of proposals to apply these principles to our county government.”

Calpino is running against longtime incumbent Republican Stevie Prettyman.

McChrystal Prepared to Resign Ahead of Meeting With President, Officials Say

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander and strategist for the Afghan war, is prepared to offer his resignation over an article in which he and his aides mocked and disparaged President Obama and his national security team, two military officials said Tuesday.

Obama will meet with McChrystal on Wednesday at the White House where the general is expected to be armed with a letter of resignation. He will first meet with Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon in the morning before heading to the White House where he faces an uncertain fate.

“I think it’s clear that the article in which he and his team appeared showed a poor — showed poor judgment,” the president said in his first comments on the matter, surrounded by members of his Cabinet at the close of their meeting on Tuesday. “But I also want to make sure that I talk to him directly before I make any final decisions.”

If not insubordination, the remarks in the Rolling Stone magazine article were at least an indirect challenge to civilian management of the war in Washington by its top military commander.

Military leaders rarely challenge their commander in chief publicly, and when they do, consequences tend to be more severe than a scolding.

A senior U.S. military official in Afghanistan told The Associated Press the general has been given no indication that he would be fired but no assurance he would not be. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions between Washington and the general’s office in Kabul.

“I want everybody to keep in mind what our central focus is — and that is success in making sure that Al Qaeda and its affiliates cannot attack the United States and its allies,” Obama said. “And we’ve got young men and women there who are making enormous sacrifices, families back home who are making enormous sacrifices.”

Gates, who issued a stern scolding to McChrystal on Tuesday that contained no endorsement for him to remain in his job, hand-picked McChrystal to take over the war last year, calling him a driven visionary with the fortitude and intelligence to turn the war around. Obama fired the previous commander at Gates’ recommendation.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that “all options are on the table” for Obama as he decides how to punish McChrystal, including firing him.

At a White House daily briefing, Gibbs repeatedly declined to say McChrystal’s job was safe.

“The magnitude and greatness of the mistake here are profound,” he said.

In the Rolling Stone article, McChrystal and his staff described the president as unprepared for their first one-on-one encounter.

McChrystal also said he felt betrayed and blind-sided by his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.

It characterized the general as unable to convince some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the nation’s longest-running war, and dejected that the president didn’t know about his commendable military record.

In Kabul on Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”

The general was making a flurry of calls and decisions in the wake of the article’s publication. Fox News has learned that he fired the press aide, Duncan Boothby, who booked the interview. McChrystal also called Defense Secretary Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen late Monday to apologize. Mullen told the general he was deeply disappointed, according to a senior military official at the Pentagon.

Several names circulated among Pentagon and Capitol Hill aides as potential successors. Military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the White House meeting, said the administration has not talked to possible successors but might do so on Wednesday.

“We all serve at the pleasure of the president,” said Gen. James Mattis, one of those mentioned. “I have a pretty full plate here” in his current job as Joint Forces Command chief, Mattis told AP.

Other names include Lt. Gen. John Allen, the No. 2 at U.S. Central Command; Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, McChrystal’s No. 2 in Afghanistan; Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the Army Training and Doctrine Command; and Adm. James Stavridis, the top NATO commander in Europe.

McChrystal has since spoken with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., both of whom were described as attention-seekers by an aide in the article. Kerry said afterward that he has “enormous respect” for the general, while a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai reportedly said Karzai “strongly supports” McChrystal and his strategy.

Click for a blow-by-blow on which officials were criticized by McChrystal and his staff.

The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.

“I found that time painful,” McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. “I was selling an unsellable position.”

It quoted an adviser to McChrystal dismissing the early meeting with Obama as a “10-minute photo-op.”

“Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. The boss was pretty disappointed,” the adviser told the magazine.

Obama agreed to dispatch an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan only after months of study that many in the military found frustrating. The White House’s troop commitment was coupled with a pledge to begin bringing troops home in July 2011, in what counterinsurgency strategists advising McChrystal regarded as an arbitrary deadline.

McChrystal said Tuesday, “I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome.”

The profile, titled “The Runaway General,” emerged from several weeks of interviews and travel with McChrystal’s tight circle of aides this spring.

It includes a list of administration figures said to back McChrystal, including Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and puts Vice President Joe Biden at the top of a list of those who don’t.

The article claims McChrystal has seized control of the war “by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.”

Asked by the Rolling Stone reporter about what he now feels of the war strategy advocated by Biden last fall – fewer troops, more drone attacks – McChrystal and his aides reportedly attempted to come up with a good one-liner to dismiss the question. “Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal reportedly joked. “Who’s that?”

Biden initially opposed McChrystal’s proposal for additional forces last year. He favored a narrower focus on hunting terrorists.

“Biden?” one aide was quoted as saying. “Did you say: Bite me?”

Another aide reportedly called White House National Security Adviser Jim Jones, a retired four-star general, a “clown” who was “stuck in 1985.”

Some of the strongest criticism, however, was reserved for Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The boss says he’s like a wounded animal,” one of the general’s aides was quoted as saying. “Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous.”

If Eikenberry had doubts about the troop buildup, McChrystal said he never expressed them until a leaked internal document threw a wild card into the debate over whether to add more troops last November. In the document, Eikenberry said Afghan President Hamid Karzai was not a reliable partner for the counterinsurgency strategy McChrystal was hired to execute.

McChrystal said he felt “betrayed” and accused the ambassador of giving himself cover.

“Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books,” McChrystal told the magazine. “Now, if we fail, they can say ‘I told you so.”‘

Eikenberry remains in his post in Kabul, and although both men publicly say they are friends, their rift is on full display.

McChrystal and Eikenberry, himself a retired Army general, stood as far apart as the speakers’ platform would allow during a White House news conference last month.