Obama to Push New Spending

President Barack Obama will call for new government spending on infrastructure, education and research in his State of the Union address Tuesday, sharpening his response to Republicans in Congress who are demanding deep budget cuts, people familiar with the speech said.

Mr. Obama will argue that the U.S., even while trying to reduce its budget deficit, must make targeted investments to foster job growth and boost U.S. competitiveness in the world economy. The new spending could include initiatives aimed at building the renewable-energy sector—which received billions of dollars in stimulus funding—and rebuilding roads to improve transportation, people familiar with the matter said. Money to restructure the No Child Left Behind law’s testing mandates and institute more competitive grants also could be included.

While proposing new spending, Mr. Obama also will lay out significant budget cuts elsewhere, people familiar with the plans say, though they will likely fall short of what Republican lawmakers have requested.

In arguing that U.S. competitiveness is at stake, Mr. Obama plans to use his nationally televised speech to try to frame the spending debate with Republicans that is expected to dominate Congress in the coming months. “We seek to do everything we can to spur hiring and ensure our nation can compete with anybody on the planet,” Mr. Obama said Friday after touring a General Electric Co. plant in Schenectady, N.Y. He cited clean-energy manufacturing, infrastructure and education as keys to competitiveness.

Previewing the expected theme of his speech, Mr. Obama on Friday appointed GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt to lead a new President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Commenting on the new advisory panel, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said that unless its “first recommendations are to reverse the damage the policies of the last two years have done to the business climate, job creation and the exploding national debt, I fear it will do more to create good public relations for the White House than good jobs for struggling Americans.”

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Nullifying Obamacare, State by State

Idaho, the first state to sue the federal government over the health care overhaul, has announced plans to resort to an obscure 18th century legal remedy that recognizes a state’s right to nullify any federal law that the state has deemed unconstitutional.

The doctrine, known as nullification, has its roots in the brand of governance practiced by the nation’s founding fathers. It was used as early as 1799 by then-law professor Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in a response to federal laws passed amid an undeclared naval war against France that

nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts … is the rightful remedy.

As a legal theory, nullification is grounded in the assumption that states, and not the U.S. Supreme Court, are the ultimate arbiter in cases where Congress and the president have “run amok.”

In Idaho, use of the doctrine to invalidate the health care reform bill is being championed by both state Sen. Monty Pearce and Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter speech, who recently told Idaho residents, “we are actively exploring all our options — including nullification.” Pearce plans to introduce a nullification bill in the state legislature early next week.

Idaho is not the only state considering nullification as a remedy. Six others, including Maine, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming, are also considering bills that would in essence nullify the president’s signature on the reform law.

Pearce, who has expressed optimism that the law will pass, becoming the law of the land in Idaho, is quoted by FOX as having saud:

There are now 27 states that are in on the lawsuit against Obamacare. What if those 27 states do the same thing we do with nullification? It’s a killer.

One potential fly in the ointment for Idaho and other states considering nullification is the 1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirming that federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land.” If nothing else, these moves will result in some interesting legal battles

Mexican Hypocrisy

During all of the furor over Arizona’s SB1070 immigration enforcement law last spring, one of the most egregious attacks on the sovereignty of the border state came in the form of a highly inappropriate and insulting speech by Mexican President Calderó n before the U.S. Congress.

As the Democrat dominated chamber applauded the attack on Arizona, our hapless commander in chief and his constitutionally challenged attorney general were threatening legal action despite having not taken the time to have read the 10 page bill.

Comparisons were made to Nazi Germany and liberals expressed outrage over the mere thought that Arizona police officers would be demanding to see the papers of anyone who appeared to be Hispanic. Naturally the new law (which mirrors federal statutes) included appropriate constitutional protections and did not allow for the indiscriminate checking of papers, but never-the-less the Democrats and their fellow travelers in the MSM pressed their agenda driven attack and legal action from the federal government is still ongoing.

Fast forward nine months. The UK Telegraph reports that the Mexican government of President Calderó n is instituting a high-tech new I.D. system which will be in place by 2013. The new cards which will include an iris scan, fingerprints, photo and signature are said to be 99% reliable.

“The legal, technical and financial conditions are ready to start the process of issuing this identity document,” Felipe Zamora, responsible for legal affairs at the Mexican Interior Ministry, told journalists Thursday.

The new system will be implemented gradually beginning with children over the next two years and then the adult population by 2013. The system will help the Mexican authorities to keep track of their citizens and should help Mexico to secure its borders against illegal immigration. The cost of the project is estimated to carry a price tag of $25 million.

Human rights advocates have expressed concern that the new system will be used for the gathering of personal information which could be used to violate individual rights and privacy. In the meantime it will be interesting to see if the Mexican government, which has published guide books on how to illegally cross the border and elude the authorities in the United States will warn its citizens not to show their I.D. cards to the gringos in Arizona (or elsewhere).