What Happens When Politicians Get a New Source of Revenue?

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

By Daniel J. Mitchell

We’ve been spending too much time on elections, so let’s get back to pointing out inane, foolish, and destructive government policies. Our latest example comes from the United Kingdom, where politicians are pushing airline ticket taxes to punitive levels and harming the tourism industry. But the real lesson from this story is that it is very dangerous to give politicians a new revenue source.

The airline ticket tax was first imposed by a (supposedly) Conservative Party government in 1994 at a maximum rate of 10 pounds. During the Blair/Brown Labor Party reign, the tax was boosted to a maximum rate of 50 pounds. Now, the new government, led by ostensible Conservative David Cameron, is pushing the maximum tax up to 75 pounds (more than $ 120) per ticket.

Here’s an excerpt from the story in the Telegraph.

Families are avoiding holidays in Egypt and the Caribbean because of the high cost of air taxes — even before the hike in passenger duty that comes into place on Monday.

…The duty, which is paid by all travellers on leaving Britain and added automatically to the price when a ticket is booked, is to increase by 50 per cent to some destinations. It is the second significant rise in two years, and figures show that previous hikes have already influenced people’s choice of holiday destinations.

…Bob Atkinson, travel expert at Travelsupermarket.com, said: “Families looking to book for this winter and summer next year will be faced with tax rises of up to 54 per cent on their family holidays. This tax rise is completely out of line with inflation and bears no relation to the original purpose of the tax.”

…The tax was introduced in 1994 at the rate of £10 on long-haul flights, but increased by the previous Government, which said it was a necessary “green measure”.

…The increases mean a family of four flying to the Caribbean will pay £300 in duty compared with the old rate of £200 or £160 last year. Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways, has branded the higher taxes a “disaster”. Earlier this month, he called the duty a “disgrace”.

No wonder families are choosing not to travel. But, more important, imagine what American politicians will do if they ever succeed in imposing a value-added tax. The rate initially will be low (just as the original income tax had a top rate of just 7 percent), but nobody should delude themselves into thinking the rate won’t quickly climb as greedy politicians get hooked on a new form of revenue to feed their spending addictions.

What Happens When Politicians Get a New Source of Revenue? is a post from Cato @ Liberty - Cato Institute Blog


Cato @ Liberty

GOP Campaign Source: Deleware Turnout is Low -a Good Sign for O’Donnell- Coons Worried

November 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

This is a VERY Long Shot but there are sources within the Christine O’ Donnell campaign predicting that there may be good GOP news at the end of the night. Apparently a low turnout is good news for the Republican and turnout is breaking O’Donnell’s way. I was told to keep an eye on the turnout number:

The key in Delaware is the number 300,000. If the vote total is significantly below that, Christine could very well win a close victory. She got 140,509 votes against Biden in 2008. In the Primary, the undecideds broke for Christine. Will that happen again?

Apparently as happy as the O’Donnell campaign is about the turnout so far, the Coons staff is worried. He sent out an email today, telling his people to double up on GOTV efforts:

Delaware Democratic Senate nominee Chris Coons sent out an e-mail to supporters midday Tuesday expressing concern about low turnout in some areas.

Coons came into Election Day leading Republican Christine O’Donnell by double digits in several public polls, but campaign manager Christy Gleason seemed worried about turnout in the two counties that make up the state’s most populous cities.

Turnout showed “lower turnout in New Castle and Kent counties than we’re comfortable with” Gleason wrote.  

Castle is the former county executive of New Castle, and is counting on big numbers in his hometown of Wilmington to offset Republican O’Donnell’s support in the state’s other two less populated, more rural counties.

Coons is complaining that O’Donnell is suppressing the vote

Meanwhile, the state’s commissioner of elections, Elaine Manlove, confirmed to The Ballot Box that after receiving several complaints from voters at polling stations Tuesday, she contacted the O’Donnell campaign and asked that it direct its supporters to tone down their efforts.

She said O’Donnell backers were crowding the exterior of several polling places in anticipation of the candidate’s arrival, which briefly restricted access for some voters.

“The campaign was basically sending out advance teams to polling places to form crowds before [O'Donnell] got there to greet voters,” said Manlove. “My issue with that is that at some places they were blocking the sidewalk and voters need to have access to polling places at all times.”

Manlove also said she has received several complaints that cheering O’Donnell supporters can be heard inside some voting locations.

“Even if they’re standing outside that 50-foot line, if the noise can be heard within the polling place, it’s still a violation,” she said. “It’s the same as taking a bullhorn and yelling ‘vote for my candidate.’ ”

Manlove said since she contacted the O’Donnell campaign, complaints to the state’s board of elections have dried up.

 If you are supporting Christine O’Donnell and haven’t voted yet…get out and vote, your vote may very well be the difference.




YID With LID

The True Source Of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

October 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

If only.





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Source: State ready to rap Bibi

October 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

With talks between U.S., Israeli and Palestinian leaders apparently on the brink of collapse over a Palestinian demand — and Israeli refusal — to extend a construction moratorium, a source close to the White House tells me the State Department is preparing its first public pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the relationship warmed up earlier this year.

The State Department is expected to issue a statement saying it "regrets" the decision because it is "not productive" for the peace negotiations, the source said.

Much of the reaction from all sides will depend on the exact calibration of the criticism, and State’s reaction will of course depend on exactly what Netanyahu says today.





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Ben Smith’s Blog

Source: Rouse favorite for acting White House chief of staff

September 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington (CNN) - A source close to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel says that Deputy Chief of Staff Pete Rouse is the favorite to take over as chief of staff on a temporary basis in order to give President Obama more time to find a long-term replacement for Emanuel.

But other people close to the situation said it is too early to determine who will replace Emanuel short-term or long-term because the process is so fluid at this point.

Three Democratic sources close to Emanuel say he’s all but certain to run to replace retiring Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and leave the White House.

An announcement is expected to be scheduled for Friday, sources said.

Rouse served as chief of staff in Obama’s Senate office and is known to have the president’s trust. Democratic officials have told CNN that Rouse, who is known for not relishing the spotlight, has suggested he does not want the chief of staff post long-term. But it is expected he would be willing to help the White House get through a transition and then have an influential role in helping to select the full-time replacement.

Sources familiar with the situation said that once Emanuel makea a firm decision the process will move very rapidly because the chief of staff realizes that he has a lot of work to do to get a campaign off the ground. There is some urgency to the situation, because candidates must gather 12,500 signatures by November 22 ahead of the February 22 primary in the race.

Emanuel is also very sensitive to making sure he leaves the White House in good hands given the critical midterm elections that are fast approaching, as well as other transitions expected to happen after the election. For example, the president’s chief economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, announced last week he will be leaving at the end of the year and the search for his replacement is under way.

CNN has previously reported that possible fulltime replacements in the mix include top White House aides Tom Donilon, Phil Schilirro and Ron Klain.

-CNN’s Chief National Correspondent John King contributed to this report


CNN Political Ticker

Chambliss office source of anti-gay comment

September 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington (CNN) - The office of Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss has confirmed that a profane anti-gay comment posted on a gay blog originated from one of its offices, and has handed the investigation to the Senate Sergeant at Arms.

A spokeswoman for Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer told CNN Friday, “Mr. Gainer does not have a comment” on the matter.


The blog posting -”All F**gots must die” [without asterisks]- was published Tuesday afternoon by a user identifying himself as “Jimmy” in response to a blog post about the Senate’s cloture vote on a Defense bill that included the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The vote to allow debate on the bill failed and the legislation did not advance.

Joseph Jervis is the owner of “Joe.My.God,” a blog that covers gay and lesbian issues. He wrote the post and tracked the rogue commenter’s IP address. After he learned that the Internet service provider (ISP) was the U.S. Senate, he shared the IP address with his tech-savvy readers who say they’ve traced its origination to an Atlanta office building that houses regional offices for both of Georgia’s U.S. senators.

Chambliss’ office released a statement Wednesday night:

“We have engaged the office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms in an internal review. The SAA has worked side by side with our personnel to determine whether the comment in question emanated from our office. That appears to be the case. There has not been a determination as to who posted the comment. That part of the review is ongoing, and is now in the hands of the Senate Sergeant at Arms.”

Spokeswoman Bronwyn Lance Chester said in a statement released Tuesday, “This office has not and will not tolerate any activity of the sort alleged. Once we have ascertained whether these claims are true, we will take the appropriate steps.”

When contacted for further comment, Chambliss’ spokeswoman referred CNN to the office’s original statement.

Chambliss is opposed to the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell.

- CNN’s Jillian Harding contributed to this report


CNN Political Ticker

Glenn Beck’s Virulently Anti-Semitic Source

September 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Yesterday on his show, Glenn Beck sourced some anti-Fed comments to a dubious historian. No surprise there. But Graeme Wood helps explain just how abhorrent the source is:

Mullins was an open purveyor of blood libel: he claimed that Jews kidnap Christian children, ritually puncture their veins, and drink their blood as a restorative for their own degenerate bodies. During Pound's involuntary commitment in St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington in the Fifties, Mullins visited him frequently, and under his direction, Mullins authored foundational texts in Federal Reserve conspiracy theory. Those theories have proved impressively durable. In addition to Glenn Beck's citation yesterday, Pat Robertson's books peddled variations on them in the 1980s, and elements of the Tea Party echo them now. (Short version: the Federal Reserve controls the world, and the UN is taking over the US via the New World Order.)

Mullins died in February at 86, and when I visited him in Staunton, Virginia, six years ago on assignment for The Jewish Daily Forward, he was already slowed by age, living in a creepy, dark rat-trap filled with religious icons, votive candles, and old newspapers. The wallpaper curled down off the wall in two-foot sections, and the chairs coughed up decades' worth of dust when we sat down.

The point isn't that Beck is an anti-Semite. There's no evidence for that charge whatsoever. It's that, whether he is a liar or a huckster or an earnest idiot, he regularly feeds his audience indefensibly dubious information (and never corrects it). But he's good for Hayek sales, so the conservative movement makes itself complicit in lending him legitimacy.





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Glenn Beck - New World Order - Pat Robertson - Federal Reserve System - Antisemitism


The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Newsweek says Bolton planning Election-Day rally at Ground Zero; own linked source reads ‘no’

September 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

What is wrong with these people?  Are they this sloppy?  Milton Wolf caught the story.

Newsweek:  And now, TPM’s Jillian Rayfield reports, he’s preparing for an Election Day Tea Party rally at Ground Zero.

Yet follow the link, and nothing of the sort is suggested, stated … nothing.

This “link to your source” thing that bloggers do is hard work, eh, Newsweek?

Liberty Pundits Blog

Chambliss’ Office Was The Source Of ‘All Faggots Must Die’ Hate Speech

September 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

saxbychamblissAs ThinkProgress previously reported, a commenter on the gay right’s blog Joe My God left a comment yesterday saying “all faggots must die.”  After some investigation, the blog’s author Joseph Jervis determined that the commenter’s IP address appeared “to resolve to the neighborhood of GOP U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ Atlanta office.”  Tonight, Chambliss confirmed that his office was the source of this hate speech:

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ office has determined it was indeed the source of a highly publicized homosexual-bashing slur on an Internet site.

But in a statement, Chambliss’ office said it has not discovered exactly who was behind the slur, and has turned the matter over to the Senate sergeant at arms. The office employs 42 people.

“The [sergeant at arms] has worked side by side with our personnel to determine whether the comment in question emanated from our office. That appears to be the case,” an unsigned statement from Chambliss’ press office read.

“There has not been a determination as to who posted the comment,” the statement read. “That part of the review is ongoing, and is now in the hands of the Senate sergeant at arms.”

Chambliss’ decision to involve the Senate’s chief law enforcement officer is a good sign that whoever was responsible for the hate speech will be disciplined. But this step is cold comfort to the thousands of gay and lesbian Americans denied the opportunity to serve their country by Chambliss’ anti-gay voting record. If the senator truly wants to demonstrate that bigotry has no place in his office, he should start by reversing his unconscionable vote to continue Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell.

Think Progress

Chambliss’ Office Says It Was Source of Threatening Anti-Gay Slur

September 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Following up on last night’s post… Saxby’s office says it was the source of yesterday’s hateful slur.

AJC:

But in a statement, Chambliss’ office said it has not discovered exactly who was behind the slur, and has turned the matter over to the Senate sergeant at arms. The office employs 42 people.

“The [sergeant at arms] has worked side by side with our personnel to determine whether the comment in question emanated from our office. That appears to be the case,” an unsigned statement from Chambliss’ press office read.

“There has not been a determination as to who posted the comment,” the statement read. “That part of the review is ongoing, and is now in the hands of the Senate sergeant at arms.”


The Moderate Voice

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