Cliff Lee did not leave a ton of money on the table - msnbc.com

December 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

CBC.ca
Cliff Lee did not leave a ton of money on the table
msnbc.com
As LeePocalypse was going down last night, the conventional wisdom was that Lee was going to take substantially less money to go back to Philly than he would have received had he gone to New York. While the details are still emerging this morning — and
In Spurning Millions, Cliff Lee Shows ValueFanHouse
Ripple effects of the Lee deal for Halladay, Yankees, Rays and RangersSportingNews.com
Cliff Lee Accepts Late Bid by the PhilliesNew York Times
MiamiHerald.com -Philadelphia Inquirer -Fox News
all 1,551 news articles »

Sports - Google News

Everything Will Be On The Table?

December 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Defense spending critic Gordon Adams salivates:

[T]he White House is negotiating with DOD on a base defense budget number for FY 2012 which is below the number Secretary of Defense Bob Gates sought, when he wanted to hold the line at one percent real growth.   DOD officials are suggesting privately that the reality is starting to seep in.  Discipline is coming to defense and Secretary Gates' effort to hold the line is failing. And it will come in the framework of a broader effort at deficit reduction, one endorsed by a growing number of elected and former elected officials. … I predict that over the next two years the politics of deficit reduction will move center stage in Washington, DC and "everything will be on the table."





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

US And Israel To Announce That The Freeze Deal Is Off The Table

December 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 


Channel Two in Israel has reported that the US and Israel will make announcements tonight that the proposed deal of US benefits and assurances in exchange for a 90 day extension of the building freeze in Judea and Samaria is off the table, and peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will not be renewed for the time being.

According to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the US is preoccupied with things like North Korea and Wikileaks and the “understandings the prime minister [Binyamin Netanyahu] reached [with US Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton were a gentleman’s agreement and not finalized.”

I’ll translate.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made verbal offers to Netanyahu that kept diminishing. When Netanyahu became concerned and finally asked for the offer in writing so he could present to his cabinet, the Obama Administration stalled, said a letter was en route and finally refused to provide anything in writing..just as I predicted two weeks ago.

This was a bait-and-switch attempt to game Netanyahu and Israel by Clinton and Obama, similar to what they pulled by denying that the assurances President Bush made to Israel to get Ariel Sharon to sign on to the Road map ever happened.

That trick has apparently outlived its effectiveness.

The deal was also likely pulled because the ‘Palestinians’ refused to go along with it and were going to say no anyway.

According to one of my notorious Little Birdies, this one inside the ‘Palestinian Authority’, the ‘Palestinians’ were insisting that the freeze include East Jerusalem and that the boundaries of a future Palestinian state be guaranteed by Obama before they would return to the negotiating table.

Needless to say, as much as Obama might like the idea, there’s no way Netanyahu or any other Israeli politician could get their cabinet to go along with it. And thanks to Israel’s new referendum law that requires public approval of any further territorial giveaways, even if they were silly enough to approve it they could never have gotten it past the Israeli public.

At any rate, the negotiations between Israel and the ‘Palestinians’ were always futile and bound to fail..because what the ‘Palestinians’ want is not a state next to Israel but a state in place of Israel, and one without any Jews in it at all.

This was made plain when the ‘Palestinians’ recently announced that they were no longer bound by the Oslo Agreement, and that all of Israel was up for grabs by them.

The Israeli response to all this should be a simple one. Since negotiations have been broken off, rev up the bulldozers. Build like crazy in Judea and Samaria, formally annex the Israeli controlled areas as part of Israel, and demarcate borders unilaterally.

Then begin moving the ‘Palestinian’ non-Israeli citizens over to the ‘Palestinian’ occupied areas and end the farce.

-Selah-

Cross posted at American Thinker and Big Peace.

UPDATE: It’s now official..told ya:


The United States has abandoned efforts to convince Israel to renew a freeze on settlement construction as a precondition for renewing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a State Department official said Tuesday.

U.S.-Israeli talks over a possible settlement freeze have ended after what the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the diplomacy, called a “joint determination.” A previous Israeli moratorium on new settlements in the occupied West Bank expired in September, and Palestinians have refused to return to stalled talks unless new construction stops.


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J O S H U A P U N D I T

Breaking: House Democrats vote to table Obama’s tax cuts bill; Update: Pelosi’s office demands changes

December 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Waterloo?


Biden told them last night in a meeting that no changes would be made, so they could either take it or leave it. Verdict: Leave it. Defying President Obama, House Democrats voted Thursday not to bring up the tax package that he negotiated with Republicans in its current form. “This message today is very simple: [...]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

Cabinet league table for end-November

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

thetorydiary

US And Israel To Announce That the Building Freeze Deal Is Off The Table

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Channel Two in Israel has reported that the US and Israel will make announcements tonight that the proposed deal of US benefits and assurances in exchange for a 90 day extension of the building freeze in Judea and Samaria is off the table, and peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will not be renewed for the time being.

According to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the US is preoccupied with things like North Korea and Wikileaks and the “understandings the prime minister [Binyamin Netanyahu] reached [with US Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton were a gentleman’s agreement and not finalized.”

I’ll translate.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made verbal offers to Netanyahu that kept diminishing. When Netanyahu became concerned and finally asked for the offer in writing so he could present to his cabinet, the Obama Administration stalled, said a letter was en route and finally refused to provide anything in writing..just as I predicted two weeks ago.

This was a bait-and-switch attempt to game Netanyahu and Israel by Clinton and Obama, similar to what they pulled by denying that the assurances President Bush made to Israel to get Ariel Sharon to sign on to the Road map ever happened.

That trick has apparently outlived its effectiveness.

The deal was also likely pulled because the ‘Palestinians’ refused to go along with it and were going to say no anyway.

According to one of my notorious Little Birdies, this one inside the ‘Palestinian Authority’, the ‘Palestinians’ were insisting that the freeze include East Jerusalem and that the boundaries of a future Palestinian state be guaranteed by Obama before they would return to the negotiating table.

Needless to say, as much as Obama might like the idea, there’s no way Netanyahu or any other Israeli politician could get their cabinet to go along with it. And thanks to Israel’s new referendum law that requires public approval of any further territorial giveaways, even if they were silly enough to approve it they could never have gotten it past the Israeli public.

At any rate, the negotiations between Israel and the ‘Palestinians’ were always futile and bound to fail..because what the ‘Palestinians’ want is not a state next to Israel but a state in place of Israel, and one without any Jews in it at all.

This was made plain when the ‘Palestinians’ recently announced that they were no longer bound by the Oslo Agreement, and that all of Israel was up for grabs.

The Israeli response to all this should be a simple one. Since negotiations have been broken off, rev up the bulldozers. Build like crazy in Judea and Samaria, formally annex the Israeli controlled areas as part of Israel, and demarcate borders unilaterally.

Then begin moving the ‘Palestinian’ non-Israeli citizens over to the ‘Palestinian’ occupied areas and end the farce.

Big Peace

US And Israel To Announce that the Freeze Deal is Off the Table

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

The proposed deal of US benefits and assurances in exchange for a 90 day extension of the building freeze in Judea and Samaria is off the table according to news reports in Israel.
American Thinker Blog

Three Tax Ideas That The Debt Commission Left On The Table

December 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles

Yesterday, President Obama’s fiscal commission released its final report, which the full commission will vote on tomorrow. The report needs to receive approval from 14 of the 18 commission members to move forward, and thus far nine have said that they will vote in favor of it (the co-chairs, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson; Sens. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Kent Conrad (D-ND); Honeywell CEO Dave Cote; Former Young & Rubicam Brands CEO Ann Fudge; and Brookings Institute Fellow Alice Rivlin).

In its report, aside from the regressive Social Security cuts that they decided to suggest (even though Social Security can’t add to the national debt), the commission’s co-chairs also proposed a dramatic rewrite of the nation’s tax laws. The proposed changes include slashing the corporate tax rate and lowering income tax rates after eliminating lots of credits and deductions from the tax code.

But in their quest for budget balance, the co-chairs left some tax ideas on the table that would mitigate the need for the large discretionary spending cuts that they also propose. These ideas would not only help reduce the deficit, but would make the U.S. economy more stable and fair:

- Financial Transactions Tax: In addition to raising revenue, a tiny, fraction of a cent fee on financial transactions like stock trades would slow down some of the hyper-trading that has been popularized recently by Wall Street, but that has no societal benefit. The tax would discourage some excessive speculation and high-frequency trading, but even assuming a 25 percent reduction in trading volume, the tax could still generate about $ 265 billion in revenue per year. Last year, House Democrats said a transactions tax was “very much” on the table for deficit reduction — and it should be.

- Bank Tax: The Obama administration has already proposed a Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee — which would be assessed on the biggest banks, in accordance with their riskiness — but the idea has gone nowhere in Congress. Besides raising revenue, such a tax would help level the playing field between large and small banks by making it more expensive to be a large, interconnected firm (offsetting some of the funding advantages that such size conveys). The Congressional Budget Office has said that a bank tax would “improve the competitive position of small- and medium-size banks, probably leading to some increase in their share of the loan market.”

- Carbon Tax: As Brad Johnson noted when the commission’s co-chairs released their first report, “Nowhere in their discussion of the prospects for the next generation did they mention the challenge of global warming, nor did they integrate climate policy into their economic suggestions.” Implementing some sort of carbon tax both raises revenue and helps combat the effects of climate change. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) — a member of the commission who opposes its final report — released her own deficit reduction plan that raises $ 52 billion by implementing a cap-and-trade system.

As Paul Krugman put it, the debt commission’s report is really “a compromise between the center-right and the hard right,” so it’s not super surprising that none of these ideas made an appearance. But they are realistic ways to raise revenue and avoid some of the draconian cutting measures that the commission preferred.

Wonk Room

Deficit reduction — must tax increases be on the table?

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Paul)

A few days ago, In a post about deficit reduction, I wrote: “If tax increases and reductions in the defense budget are on the table — as I believe they will have to be — then so too should [Obamacare] the enormously expensive new entitlement the Democrats created against the will of the American people. In response, a reader pointed me to an analysis by the Cato Institute’s Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation.

According to that analysis, “it’s simple to balance the budget without higher taxes,” Indeed, the budget can be balanced without any dramatic spending cuts. All that’s required is to “limit spending growth and allow revenues to catch up.” Under a hard spending freeze at current levels, says the Center, citing CBO numbers, the budget would be balanced by 2016. And if spending growth is limited to 2 percent, the budget would be balanced by 2020. This is true even if the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are extended.

I have no doubt that the budget can be balanced without raising taxes. And it may be that the budget can be balanced through the freeze the Center suggests.

However, it’s still my view that to reach a deal that would achieve meaningful deficit reduction, tax increases will probably have to be on the table. For any deal struck in the next two years — and quite likely thereafter — will have to be negotiated with the Democrats.

In any event, the Center’s video, presented by Dan Mitchell, is well worth watching.




Power Line

The Conservative Party tops the latest quarterly donation league table

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

thetorydiary

Morning Brief: Afghanistan and missile defense on the table at NATO summit

November 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Afghanistan and missile defense on the table at NATO summit

Top
news: 
President Barack Obama will arrive in Lisbon today for a NATO
conference at which he will face tough questions over the U.S. exit strategy
for Afghanistan and economic policies and the alliance will attempt to define a
new role for itself.

NATO
leaders are expected to endorse a plan to being the handover of security
responsibility for some areas of Afghanistan to local forces next year and end
the alliance’s combat role by 2014. NATO officials also say they expect
unanimous support for a new expanded missile defense system in Europe. The
alliance will not single out any specific target for the shield, as alliance
member Turkey objects to its ally Iran being named a hostile country. 

NATO
will also adopt a new strategic concept at the meeting aimed at defining the
alliance’s future role. The document will likely warn member nations against
further deep cuts in defense spending, as most European nations are not
currently meeting the NATO requirement of 2 percent of GDP spent on
defense. 

The
trip is also a chance for Obama to do some
fence-mending
with European allies. European leaders were insulted by the
administration’s decision to cancel a U.S.-E.U. summit earlier this year, and
the president is likely to assure them at a brief summit on Saturday that he is
not neglecting the continent as his administration prioritized relations with
Asia. Obama will likely also defend the U.S. preference for stimulus spending
at a time when many European governments are enacting austerity programs. 

Currency war: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke
will
defend
U.S. quantitative easing and criticize China’s undervaluation of the
yuan in a speech at a European Central Bank conference today. 


Asia

Africa

Middle East

Americas

Europe

  • France and Germany are pressuring Ireland to increase its low corporate tax rate.
  • Germany says the suspicious package found on a Munich-bound flight in Namibia yesterday was only a security test
  • Greek and Turkish leaders on Cyprus have agreed to another round of U.N.-brokered talks. 

Getty Images

FP Passport

Bush Tax Cuts On The Table In December, Public Backs Democratic Position

November 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

It looks like House and Senate Democrats are planning to vote on extending the Bush Tax Cuts for those earning less than $ 250,000/year sometime after Thanksgiving:

Washington (CNN) - Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate have decided to move ahead with votes after Thanksgiving to extend the Bush tax cuts for those making $ 250,000 or less.

These decisions come hours after Democratic leaders met at the White House with President Obama, where several sources say they talked extensively about the tax cuts. Until now, how or whether Democrats would proceed on the thorny issue of extending the Bush era tax cuts was unresolved.

In the House, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN that Democratic leaders have scheduled a vote. “At least that will be available for members to have a vote on,” Hoyer said.

What is still unclear is if that House vote would extend so-called middle class tax cuts permanently, or just on a temporary basis.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid said he plans to vote on the middle class tax cut extension most Democrats want, but he will also allow Republicans to hold a vote on what they are demanding: a permanent extension of all Bush-era tax cuts.

On the Republican side of the aisle, plans have been announced to introduce legislation to make all of the tax cuts permanent:

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., left little room for compromise on the issue of extending the expiring income tax cuts, suggesting that if they are not made permanent by the end of the year, Republicans should redouble their efforts to do so in the new Congress.

Pence said on Thursday that he was backing up that pledge with legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., to permanently extend the cuts for both the middle class and wealthy Americans.

“I really believe that the last thing we should do in the worst economy in 25 years is allow a tax increase on any American,” Pence told ABC’s Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein on “Top Line.” “And we shouldn’t do it in 6 weeks, we should do it in 24 months or 36 months, we ought to start the road to recovery by saying to the American people all the current tax rates are the tax rates going forward, permanently. And then we can go to work on putting our fiscal house in order and pursuing the kind of pro-growth policy that’ll really create growth.”

Judging from the opinion polls, it would seem that the Democrats have the public behind them on this one. A new CNN poll for example, shows that only 1/3 of those polled support extending the Bush Tax Cuts for those making over $ 250,000/year and a new NBC poll shows that support for full extension of the tax cuts is even lower than that:

Congress will soon decide whether to keep in place the existing tax cuts enacted during President Bush’s time in office, or allow them to expire. Which one of the following options would be your preference for what they should do?

Eliminate all the tax cuts permanently: 10

Eliminate the tax cuts for those earning more than $ 250,000 per year, but keep them for those earning less than that: 39

Keep in place all the tax cuts for everyone for another year to three years: 23

Keep in place the tax cuts for everyone permanently: 23

Based on these polls, which have been fairly consistent over the time that extending the tax cuts has been an issue, the Democrats would seem to have the upper hand and, if they stay united, the votes to pass a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the “middle class” (as if someone earning between $ 100,000 and $ 249,999 per year is really “middle class), thus leaving the question of extending the rest of the cuts for the new Republican majority in the House to deal with.




Outside the Beltway

Senate President Haridopolos- “Pro-Life” Bill On The Table (VIDEO)

November 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

by Javier Manjarres

Tallahassee-An emotional Senate President-elect Mike Haridopolos addressed the Senate chamber after he  accepted his position of President of the Senate on Tuesday. Haridopolos is thought to be one of the most conservative Senate Presidents in recent memory, later that day,led the way along with Speaker of the House, Dean Cannon to override (8) of outgoing Governor Charlie Crist’s vetoes. Haridopolos told me that he would be working closely with Rep. Cannon and Governor Rick Scott to exploit the supermajorities held in the state Legislature, and to expect ‘alot of good things’ to come out of Tallahassee.

President Haridopolos jump into the Shark Tank and discussed some of these overrides, as well as talk about a couple of others, namely the “Pro-Life and the AZ style immigration bills, that are on the radar.

The Shark Tank

Lindsey Graham Says All Options on the Table re Iran and Nukes

November 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Kenneth Anderson)

Tod Lindberg, editor of the Hoover Institution’s Policy Review, reports in the Weekly Standard on a blunt message delivered by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-NC) at a discussion meeting of senior transatlantic policy makers, the Halifax International Security Forum. It’s not a forum that would attract a lot of attention, but the attendees are very senior in transatlantic relations and NATO. Quoting from Graham:

Nobody would like to see the sanctions work any more than I would because I’m still in the military [Graham is a colonel in the Air Force reserves who has served active duty during Senate breaks in Iraq and Afghanistan] and I get to meet these young men and women on a regular basis, and I know what it’s been like for the last nine years. So the last thing America needs is another military conflict. But the last thing the world needs is a nuclear-armed Iran. And if you use military force, if sanctions are not going to work and a year from now it’s pretty clear they’re not going to work, what do our friends in Israel do? So I would like the president to make it abundantly clear that all options are on the table. And we all know what that means.

Tod LIndberg’s report adds that Graham was just winding up:

And if that day ever came, my advice to the president, in open session here, if you take military action against Iran as the last effort to stop their nuclear ambitions, you do open up Pandora’s box. But if you let them acquire nuclear weapons, you’ll empty Pandora’s box. So my view of military force would be not to just neutralize their nuclear program, which are probably dispersed and hardened, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force, and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard. In other words, neuter that regime. Destroy their ability to fight back and hope that people .  .  . inside Iran would have a chance to take back their government and be good neighbors to the world in the future. So that’s what I mean by being tough, sir, that everything is on the table and that we need to start talking more openly about that because time is not on our side.

From the standpoint of international law, I’d note this as being in the long tradition of state practice and opinio juris on what the use of force under the UN Charter at Articles 2(4) actually means. Some of the diplomats and officials in the Halifax meeting might have been shocked and disturbed at the prospect that the US might decide to attack Iran and seek to end its ability to acquire nuclear weapons. That some international lawyers might regard it as per se illegal under the Charter does not seem to have been the source of their dismay.

In other words, one can continue to argue the literal words of the Charter and express concern about violations of them, but it seems to me that one has to do it taking serious account of state practice and declarations that are plainly not about defending against an attack that has taken place across one’s borders.  One can go that way, and somehow account for the obviously different and extensive state practice.  One can go with the Justice Sima route (in a famous concurrence in an opinion of the International Court of Justice) and note that state practice suggests that literal reading is not plausible any longer, and so “de-fang” the literal language of the Charter while not throwing that particular clause out as irrelevant. Or one can go full-on “desuetude” as Michael Glennon does, and say that this particular clause of the Charter has fallen into “desuetude” over time and is no longer the actual rule of international law.

What I don’t think works is simply to ignore the record of state practice and recite the formula of the Charter, with a sort of magnificent disdain for what states actually do and say — and states that actually engage in uses of force or are in the “international security” business, not Luxembourg or Belize.  I accept the Glennon view, while others might sharply disagree, but in any case, it seems to me not possible now, if it ever was possible, not to address the facts of how states behave and how they account for their behavior in this of all matters.




The Volokh Conspiracy

A seat at the table

November 16, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

CNN reports on a proposed scoring system for candidates vying for RNC chair:

And in a nod to the emerging power of the Tea Party movement, RNC candidates would be rated on their willingness to "actively graft into the Party the Tea Party activist branches" that now make up "the freedom movement in this country" along with the social, fiscal and foreign policy wings of the GOP.



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