Joy Behar Lectures Pastor About Homosexuality on ‘The View’, Insists Biblical View Leads to Bullying

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

ABC's "The View" hosted pastor Joel Osteen Tuesday, author of the book The Christmas Spirit – but the conversation took a controversial turn and went from Christmas to homosexuality. Co-host Joy Behar belittled Osteen about his conservative Christian beliefs on the matter.

ABC's Barbara Walters first popped the question in the middle of the interview, flagging it was a "controversial" topic. She referenced a previous quote made by Osteen on the show about homosexuality not being "God's best" for a person's life. Walters asked him how he felt about a Georgia pastor who recently came out and said he was gay.

After Osteen's tepid response, Behar interrupted him and flatly lectured him that homosexuality is natural. "It's not a choice, Pastor," she asserted. "It's not a choice, and therefore I don't think that God would look askance at homosexuality in that way, because it's not a choice. They're born this way, people are born this way."

read more - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Joy Behar Lectures Pastor About Homosexuality on ‘The View’, Insists Biblical View Leads to Bullying

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

ABC's "The View" hosted pastor Joel Osteen Tuesday, author of the book The Christmas Spirit – but the conversation took a controversial turn and went from Christmas to homosexuality. Co-host Joy Behar belittled Osteen about his conservative Christian beliefs on the matter.

ABC's Barbara Walters first popped the question in the middle of the interview, flagging it was a "controversial" topic. She referenced a previous quote made by Osteen on the show about homosexuality not being "God's best" for a person's life. Walters asked him how he felt about a Georgia pastor who recently came out and said he was gay.

After Osteen's tepid response, Behar interrupted him and flatly lectured him that homosexuality is natural. "It's not a choice, Pastor," she asserted. "It's not a choice, and therefore I don't think that God would look askance at homosexuality in that way, because it's not a choice. They're born this way, people are born this way."

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Obama insists he’s not caving on tax Cuts

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) - President Obama declared Friday that his “number one priority” is preserving tax cuts for the middle class, and sharply denied that comments by his senior adviser David Axelrod suggest that his administration is about to cave in to Republicans who also want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

“That is the wrong interpretation because I haven’t had a conversation with Democratic and Republican leaders,” Obama said of a Huffington Post article suggesting that in advance of negotiations with lawmakers next week the White House has calculated that giving in on tax cuts for the rich is the only way to get the middle class cuts extended too.

“Here’s the right interpretation - I want to make sure that taxes don’t go up for middle class families starting on January 1st,” Obama said at a news conference at the conclusion of the G-20 Summit here. “That is my number one priority for those families and for our economy. I also believe that it would be fiscally irresponsible for us to permanently extend the high income tax cuts. I think that would be a mistake, particularly when we’ve got our Republican friends saying that their number 1 priority is making sure that we are dealing with our debt and our deficit.”

Obama would not tip his hand on the discussions coming when Congress returns to work for a lame-duck session next week. “I’m not going to negotiate here in Seoul, my job is to negotiate back in Washington with Democratic and Republican leaders,” he said.

The president also seemed to give outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi an unofficial but tacit endorsement in her bid to remain in the Democratic leadership as House Minority Leader. Asked by a reporter whether or not he believes fellow Democrats in Congress should get some “new blood,” Obama praised Pelosi as a “outstanding partner” despite some conservative Democrats back in Washington griping that she should not stay in power.

“I think what we will naturally see is a whole bunch of talented people rise to the top as they promote good ideas that attract the American people in terms of jobs and investment and how to grow the economy,” Obama said. “I think Speaker Pelosi has been an outstanding partner for me” and the White House’s agenda.

Obama seemed to be suggesting the party should stay the course by then thanking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, by name as well before concluding, “I’m looking forward to working with the entire leadership team” on behalf of the American people.

For the second straight day Obama also commented on his debt commission, chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, which released highly-controversial preliminary findings urging major overhauls of programs like Social Security. “I’m going to study those carefully, consult widely, and see what we can do on the spending side” to make a dent in the deficit, Obama said.

“That is going to be a series of tough conversations,” he said of the spending cuts to come.

Obama, who is now wrapping up his 9-day tour of Asia with a final stop in Japan for the APEC economic summit, left Seoul empty-handed on a bilateral trade agreement with South Korea. The deal bogged because of disputes over whether U.S. beef and U.S. automakers will get a fair crack at the Korean market and it’s a failure to be completed here is a blow to Obama, but the President vowed that he will not be rushed into signing off on a deal that doesn’t make sense for the U.S. economy.

“Do we have a deal that works for us? That is my first obligation,” said Obama. “It was important to take the extra time so that I am assured” that it will be a success for American workers.

“I’m the one who has to go and sell it to Congress,” Obama said in reference to the fact that while business groups are lobbying hard for the deal, organized labor has expressed deep reservations, imperiling ratification down the road even if the administration can clear the first hurdle.

Pressed on the slow pace of the U.S. economic recovery and whether he can promise that Americans will feel noticeable job growth during his first four-year term, Obama noted his administration has had 10 consecutive months of private sector job growth but added that he doesn’t have a “crystal ball” about the months ahead.

But he noted that job growth “needs to be speeded up” and he believes his policies will set the right conditions for a turnaround.

“We can chip away at the unemployment rate so that we get back to the kinds of levels that reflect a growing middle class and increased opportunity for all people,” he said.

Asked by a reporter if the midterm election has weakened him on the global stage, the President said simply “no” and made the case for a broad communique the G-20 leaders signed on to here at the conclusion of the summit.

The major points of the agreement included the leaders promising to continue focusing on economic growth, trying to correct trade imbalances and high debt, and press forward on financial regulatory reforms to help prevent another financial crisis.

That final agreement, however, kicked the can down the road to next year on finding solutions to fix some of these economic balances so the leaders left here with questions hanging over the summit about whether the promises made have real teeth.

For example on one of the most divisive issues, currency manipulation, China was able to broaden that section of the agreement beyond just exchange rates. That forced Obama to simply vow “we will closely watch the appreciation of China’s currency,” rather than being able to promise specific action.

Ever since he rode into London for his first G-20 Summit as a conquering hero in April 2009, Obama has been dealing with high expectations on the world stage.

At that summit nearly two years ago, with fears of a Great Depression hanging in the air, much of the media coverage focused on whether the charismatic new U.S. president could almost single-handedly save the world’s 20 largest economies in a single bound.

It was only after Obama and a series of other leaders did some scrambling that they could finally come to an agreement on a $ 1 trillion framework to help stimulate the global economy and better police its markets.

Little wonder then that at the 2009 summit’s farewell news conference, Obama fended off questions about his own clout by stressing that the world has changed dramatically since the U.S. and Great Britain remade the world’s economy on their own in 1944 at Bretton Woods.

“If there’s just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy, that’s an easier negotiation,” Obama said then. “But that’s not the world we live in, and it shouldn’t be the world that we live in.”

“It’s an appreciation that, you know, Europe is now rebuilt and a powerhouse,” Obama said then. “Japan is rebuilt, is a powerhouse. China, India, these are all countries on the move. And that’s good. That means there are millions of people - billions of people who are working their way out of poverty. And over time, that potentially makes this a much more peaceful world.”

On Friday here in Seoul, Obama defended the work of the G-20 by allowing that “instead of hitting home runs” sometimes leaders have to settle for “hitting singles” that are still quite impressive.

As for his own standing on the world stage and his alliances with specific leaders, Obama said, “my relationships have grown much stronger” over time.

Obama also dismissed the notion that diplomacy has grown more difficult for him with his approval ratings dropping back home in recent months, noting that it was not easy when he was “at 65 percent in the polls” early in his presidency.

“It was hard then, it’s hard now,” Obama said.

CNN Political Ticker

Boehner insists on making all current tax rates permanent

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Plus, an end to Air Pelosi.

What a difference a couple of weeks — and a historic “shellacking” in a midterm election — makes.  In October, John Boehner had to answer whether he would accept extensions on only the tax rates for middle- and working-class earners if Democrats insisted on blocking extensions for the top tax bracket rates.  Today, Boehner announced [...]

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Dem Rep insists global warming a major nat’l-security threat

November 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Channeling Barbara Boxer.

By “Dem Rep,” Hot Air readers already know I mean Betty McCollum, the Congresswoman from Minnesota’s 4th CD. Usually, McCollum sounds a lot more like Nancy Pelosi, but in her debate with Teresa Collett on October 21st, McCollum began channeling her inner Barbara Boxer.  While dismissing al-Qaeda as a threat to our national security, McCollum [...]

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Michael Moore Insists ‘Majority of Americans’ Disagree with GOP, Overuses Boot-Stomp Metaphor

October 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

In honor of Janeane Garofalo, who unforgettably declared George W. Bush "unelectable" on the night of his second Inauguration, there is Michael Moore, reproduced Friday by The Huffington Post. In that website's finest tradition of celebrity idiocy, Moore glanced at the current political climate and proclaimed:

These Republicans mean business. Their boots are all shined and ready. But they've got one huge problem:

The majority of Americans don't agree with them.

How will leftists claim the majority disagrees with the Republicans if they make dramatic gains on Tuesday? Michael Moore will have to try and find a new theme then. But this piece was titled "A Boot to the Head" in honor of activist Lauren Valle, who was brutalized after shoving a poster in Rand Paul's face in Kentucky. Unsurprisingly, Moore transfers that violence into a meta-narrative of conservatives stomping on the heads of everyone they fear or hate:

read more - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

In Response To Choi, Jarrett Insists Obama Must Appeal DADT Ruling, Says Frustration Should Be Directed At Congress

October 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

This morning, Lt. Dan Choi denounced White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett for suggesting that those who urge the administration not to appeal a recent federal court decision overturning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell don’t “actually understand” President Obama’s duty to defend existing laws. “I”m so absolutely upset at the things she could be saying at this moment,” he began. “Valerie Jarrett said that gay people, some of us should try to understand the politics and the situation and that we are a nation of laws. Well we understand that, we don’t need a lecture from Valerie Jarrett on that.”

This afternoon, Jarrett appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room and doubled down on her argument that the Justice Department must appeal the ruling, insisted that Obama can’t change the policy through executive order and falsely suggested that Obama has already admitted that the policy is unconstitutional:

JARRETT: [Obama] can’t simply sign an executive order to revoke it or he would have. So we’re asking Congress to repeal it. And until then, the Justice Department has no choice but to defend the laws that are on the books and that’s what the Justice Department is doing. But we want it to end and end as soon as possible.

BLITZER: One legal scholar suggested today that perhaps the president could go ahead do what he needs to do, but at the same time make it clear to everyone that he thinks this law is unconstitutional.

JARRETT: He has done that. He did that as recently as last week at a town hall meeting. He said that he thinks this law should be absolutely repealed. He does not believe in this law. [...]

BLITZER: Will you push for repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell during the lame duck session?

JARRETT: I know the president has said he wants it repealed as quickly as possible….we share the frustration of people who think it should be done right away. We wish it had been done sooner. But we are determined to get it done.

BLITZER: If Dan Choi were here what would you say to him?

JARRETT: I appreciate his frustration. I share his frustration and I understand that for somebody who has served proudly in the military that he thinks this is an outrage. We think this is an outrage, too. And we think that focus should be directed at Congress. Because Congress is the one that passed it in the first place. Congress is the one who should repeal it.

Watch it:

LGBT advocates have argued that Obama could also use his stop-loss authority to prevent the military from discharging individuals based on their sexual orientation and have claimed that the White House does not have to appeal the ruling if he believes that it is unconstitutional.

This morning, Ted Olson — former Solicitor General under President George W. Bush — agreed with this emerging consensus, saying “It would be appropriate for them to say ‘the law has been deemed unconstitutional, we are not going to seek further review of that.’”

Significantly, Jarrett also refused to say that Obama would lobby for repeal during the lame duck session and incorrectly suggested that he had said that the law is unconstitutional during the MTV town hall. At that event, Obama dodged the question and instead reiterated his promise that “This policy will end and it will end on my watch.”

Wonk Room

NPR’s Totenberg Insists Retiring Liberal Justice Stevens Is an Open-Minded Moderate Righty

October 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Even when a liberal justice retires, National Public Radio is still athletically suggesting he’s not a liberal. The exit interview is as biased as the confirmation process. A first-Monday-in-October story on Morning Edition by legal reporter Nina Totenberg carried the online headline "Justice Stevens: An Open Mind on a Changed Court." Totenberg and the liberal justice insisted the incoming "hardline conservatives" merely made him look like a liberal:

TOTENBERG: Appointed by President Ford, Stevens was labeled a moderate conservative in his first decade. But with the court turning increasingly conservative over the years, by the time he retired, he was seen as the court’s most liberal member. So, did he change - or the court?

Mr. STEVENS: Well, I think, primarily, the court has changed. There’s some issues that I’ve learned more about over the years, and my views have certainly changed on some. But for the most part, I think that the change is a difference in the personnel of the court.

Totenberg cited the death penalty as an example. Stevens voted in support of it, and then became horrified as conservatives made it easier for prosecutors. "In short, as moderate conservatives retired and were replaced by more hard-line conservative justices, the court changed the rules."

Even as Stevens was seen by liberals as a solid leader of their bloc (even if they rarely admit it in the media), Totenberg played up how Stevens was open-minded:  

TOTENBERG: Justice Stevens’ practice was to write his own first drafts of opinions — unlike many of his colleagues, who delegate that task to law clerks. But Stevens says that for him, writing it out was the best way to be sure of his position.

STEVENS: If you write it out, your reasoning will either make sense or it won’t. And if it doesn’t, you change your vote or you change your whole approach.

TOTENBERG: So, then you give it to your law clerks. 

STEVENS: Correct.

TOTENBERG: So, what do you tell them is their job?

STEVENS: Well, their job is to prevent me from looking like an idiot.

TOTENBERG: The law clerks check facts and sometimes make only minor changes; but on other occasions, says the justice, they rewrite his draft entirely - a rewrite that he sometimes embraces in whole or part and sometimes rejects - in the nicest way, of course.

The important thing, though, says Stevens, is that in examining a question he often changes his mind. What at first blush may look like a simple case with an easy answer, turns out to be something quite different - a point that he observes seems to be lost at Senate confirmation hearings.

Totenberg’s on-air story didn’t match her online summary, where she let Stevens lay into conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, which makes it a little harder to push that "moderate conservative" jazz:

In 2008, when the court, including Stevens, declared that detainees at Guantanamo have a constitutional right to judicial review of their detentions, Justice Antonin Scalia, in dissent, said the majority opinion "will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."

With a tiny twinkle in his eye, Stevens says that Scalia "has written a number of opinions in which he has made very seriously dire predictions about what would happen, and I think by and large those things did not happen." - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Toomey Insists Derivatives Deals Are ‘Non-Risky,’ As They Cost Schools And Cities Across The Country Millions

October 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate nominee Pat Toomey has been unrepentant about his role in deregulating derivatives, the complex financial instruments that helped bring about the financial crisis of 2008, and which Toomey himself traded. While in House of Representatives, Toomey voted for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act — a bill sponsored by Phil “Mental Recession” Gramm that outlawed government oversight of the over-the-counter derivatives market — and has said he would vote for it again if given the chance.

“That bill did absolutely nothing to cause the financial crisis, and no credible person has tried to make that argument,” Toomey said.

Of course, several credible people — including Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz — have highlighted the destruction wrought by derivatives. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has referred to them as “financial weapons of mass destruction.” And as a revealing piece by Mother Jones’ Nick Baumann shows, Toomey has tried to downplay the extent to which the instruments he traded and then exempted from oversight have hurt American communities:

During the campaign, Toomey has referred to the products he worked with as “non-risky” “common derivatives,” different from the “toxic” mortgage-backed derivatives that some believe caused the financial crisis…In Pennsylvania alone, 107 school districts reportedly entered into swap deals—”gambling with the public’s money,” according to the state’s auditor general. Some have since paid millions of dollars to Wall Street banks to get out from under the deals. Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Missouri, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon all recently lost money on similar swap deals.

One Pennsylvania school has had to pay $ 12.3 million to disentangle itself from a swap deal with J.P. Morgan. The Denver public schools system has paid millions of dollars more in fees on a swap deal than it anticipated, and the only way to escape is an $ 81 million termination fee. And Matt Taibbi ably demonstrated how Jefferson County, Alabama, was fleeced by swap deals as it tried to finance a new sewer system.

Now, Toomey himself did not have anything to do with these deals, or with the credit default swaps that sunk some of Wall Street’s behemoths, necessitating a slew of federal rescues. But he doesn’t seem to have any comprehension of the damage that Wall Street has wrought by wielding these instruments without regulatory oversight.

This is going to be a critical issue in the next few years, as regulators implement the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill, and already House Republicans are looking at ways to defund some of the enhanced regulations. Would Toomey hop on board with those efforts, since he seems to feel what Wall Street’s deregulation caused no harm?

Wonk Room

Nominee To Head Marines Insists That Military Will Be Able To Implement Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal ‘Smartly’

September 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

As the Senate prepares to vote on cloture for the Defense Authorization Bill, Senators from both sides of the aisle used Gen. James Amos’ confirmation hearings to become the Marine Corps’ 35th Commandant, to pepper Amos about repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Amos admitted that he personally opposes repealing DADT, but stressed that the Pentagon’s review of the policy would inform the military about how best to implement a repeal and allow the Marines Corp to change the policy “smartly.”

During one particularly heated exchange with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Amos rebuffed the GOP’s argument that those who disagree with repeal would be silenced or chased out of the service:

SESSIONS: I want to know if you think it’s appropriate leadership position of the military if this policy is adopted to not allow people to have different views and for them to get out of the military.

AMOS: If you step away from the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell there are lots of things that go on today in the American military that the average Marine out there might not agree with. But the one thing we have in the Marine Corp is we got discipline and we got leadership and those are the two things that are I think the one thing that’s going to carry they day for us should the law get changed. But there has never been a gag order, and I don’t anticipate one being put on the Marines. …I don’t see that that would be an issue….We have plenty of marines out there when marines disagree, and they disagree vocally.

Watch a compilation:

Amos also countered Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) argument that the Pentagon’s study won’t tell military leaders if repeal would undermine military effectiveness, insisting that “at the end of the day, when all of this information comes to whoever is the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps in December….will be able to give his best military advise on that.”

“If this policy is changed. The last thing you’re going to see your Marine Corps do is try to step in and push it aside. That will simply not be the case,” Amos said. “There will be issues, we’re going to work through them.”

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