Conservatives and pro-lifers have spilled a lot of ink exposing the glaring bias at play in the MSM's minimal coverage of the multiple murder trial of late-term and post-birth 'abortion' monster, Kermit Gosnell. Here we have a striking flash of candor from lefty Marc LaMont Hill on Huff Post Live (scroll through to the end):
“For what it’s worth, I do think that those of us on the left have made a decision not to cover this trial because we worry that it’ll compromise abortion rights. Whether you agree with abortion or not, I do think there’s a direct connection between the media’s failure to cover this and our own political commitments on the left. I think it’s a bad idea, I think it’s dangerous, but I think that’s the way it is.”
Points for telling it like it is, although the Right (and others) put two-and-two together awhile back. Lamont Hill earns some tepid applause for honesty here -- plus, at least the man's consistent: He's demonstrated a pattern of sympathizing with killers.
One of the lingering questions I’ve harbored about the forthcoming “Gang of Eight” immigration bargain (the Tuesday roll-out of which was appropriately postponed due to the events in Boston) is how long the “open enrollment” period for amnesty would be. Surely the bill includes a finite time box, rather than unleashing an ongoing, open-ended new policy, right? Right. “There’s a cut-off after one year,” a GOP source familiar with the plan tells me. The federal government would begin accepting applications for provisional legal status “after the first two security triggers are met, and [the government] begins the application process.” Here’s how the source lays out the Gang’s six layers of enforcement “triggers:”
(1) DHS must create, fund & begin border security plan (6 months)
(2) DHS must create, fund & begin border fence plan (6 months)
(3) DHS must achieve 100% awareness & 90% success in high-risk sectors of Mexican border (5 years)
(4) If DHS fails at number three, then Border Commission create & implement plan to achieve number three (10 years)
(5) Universal E-verify must be implemented (10 years)
(6) Visa-exit system must be implemented for all international airports & seaports (10 years)
So the application floodgates won’t open until the first two triggers are satisfied. Then come the trickier benchmarks, upon which permanent residency and a chance for citizenship rely. Unless and until action items three through six are achieved, “no green cards,” and thus, no path to citizenship. (For a dose of pointed skepticism about the seriousness and practicality of these thresholds, read Allahpundit). Back to the 365 day time frame for a moment: Won’t the resulting “magnet effect” create a powerful incentive for people to enter the country illegally prior to the deadline? In theory, no. The amnesty option will only be extended to illegal immigrants without criminal records who’ve been living inside the United States since before December 31, 2011. How the government plans to adjudicate millions of timeline-related claims from people who’ve been “living in the shadows” for years is beyond me. I’ll leave you with with this explicitly positive early review from the president of the American Conservative Union:
“Our current immigration system is broken, our borders are not secure and we have de facto amnesty in which government picks winners and losers among those who are here illegally, including who is deported or not. The proposal put forward by the ‘Gang of 8’ in the Senate puts border security first and puts legal immigration ahead of those who are here illegally, with appropriate triggers and penalty fines. It is clear that under the Obama administration none of these things will happen without legislation and that’s why this proposal as described deserves a positive response. We look forward to gaining a thorough understanding of this complex legislation once it is introduced and urge the Congress to give it a proper vetting and allow robust debate though the Committee process before acting.”
Marco Rubio couldn’t have fashioned a favorable statement himself. It repeats his line that the status quo amounts to de facto amnesty, underscores the plan’s border security elements, and backs up his repeated calls for an open debate process.
Editor's Note: This piece was cross-posted at HotAir.com.
ISTANBUL - I've just arrived in Turkey with a small delegation of American journalists, and many of our hushed conversations have been about yesterday's terrorist attacks in Boston, where twin bombings left three dead and wounded more than 170 -- with more than a dozen people still in critical condition. As we've seen at home, Turkish television has been broadcasting now-familiar amateur video clips of the blasts on a virtual loop. Anchors ask the ubiquitous question: "Who did this?" More than 24 hours later, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the bombings, and US authorities may be back at square one in unraveling the mystery. Remember that mysterious Saudi national who was reportedly being guarded and questioned as a "person of interest"? Perhaps there's a reason why police repeatedly declined to refer to him as a "suspect." Early interest, no matter how keen, does not necessarily equate to guilt. Cold trail?
Late Monday night, law enforcement officials descended on an apartment building in the suburb of Revere, about five miles north of Copley Square, linked to a man the police took into custody near the scene of the bombings. But on Tuesday morning, one law enforcement official said investigators had determined that the man, who was hurt in a blast and was questioned at the hospital, was not involved in the attack.
The New York Post has more on the initial behavior of the young man in question, which sends mixed signals:
The potential suspect told police he had dinner Sunday night near Boston’s Prudential Center, about half a mile from the blast site, the sources said. He also said that he went to the Copley Square area yesterday to witness the finish of the race. The sources said that, after the man was grabbed by police, he smelled of gunpowder and declared, “I thought there would be a second bomb.” He also asked: “Did anyone die?” Officials showed up at the Revere apartment at about 5:30 p.m. in unmarked vehicles, a resident of the building said. It’s on a street where the man had lived, law-enforcement sources told The Post. About an hour later, more vehicles, carrying agents of the FBI, Homeland Security and ATF also descended on the site, along with firefighters and a bomb squad. They searched an apartment on the fifth floor. By midnight, most of the authorities had left the complex, which sits on a piece of ocean-front property in the seaside city.
The Times describes that search as "fruitless," complicated further by the apparent innocence of the man's roommate. If this person really does turn out to be uninvolved in the plot as the Times' source claims, the case gets even more curious. Radical ideologues are generally eager to take credit for blows struck against their foes. And this one is extremely high-profile. The twin bombings killed Americans and wounded dozens; even if the attack wasn't carried off entirely as intended (there are ominous indications that the perpetrators might have had more carnage in mind), you'd think that radicals of any stripe would (a) want the world to know that they were the ones who pulled it off, and (b) air their demands or grievances via the breathless news media. And yet, nothing so far. Instead, we're left with scattered clues. Kevin mentioned earlier that the Associated Press is reporting that the explosive devices were, in fact, packed with nails and ball-bearings, which are designed to wreak maximum damage on bystanders. Also relevant is the fact that small pressure cookers were apparently the main delivery method of the home-made explosives, which were hidden inside duffel bags then left on the ground or dropped into public garbage cans. The bombs could have been detonated by timers on the cookers themselves, or remotely via cell phone. Allahpundit notes that Islamist terrorists have been exploited pressure cookers to "host" primitive bombs for years:
Terrorists have been using them for more than a decade, most frequently in Nepal, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. They were used in the 2006 Mumbai attack, and a very crude version was part of the car-bomb attempt in Times Square in 2010...Pressure cookers are ubiquitous over there so they don’t arouse suspicion. Al Qaeda’s Yemeni-based “magazine,” “Inspire,” has also recommended them to budding jihadists.
Does the thread from Afghanistan to Mumbai to Manhattan to "Inspire" implicate some offshoot of Al Qaeda, or another Islamist terror cell in the 4/15 explosions? It's entirely plausible, if not likely -- but again, why hasn't anyone proudly released a triumphal credit-taking video? It's not like these ghouls have any scruples or shame; some are said to have openly celebrated the atrocity -- dancing in the streets over the death of Martin Richard, age eight:
Monsters. Investigators are piecing together the "how," but the "who" and "why" remain frustratingly elusive.
UPDATE I (Dan) - President Obama will visit Boston on Thursday:
The White House has confirmed President Obama's trip to Boston on Thursday. Per the administration's travel plans: "On Thursday morning, the President will travel to Boston to speak at an interfaith service dedicated to those who were gravely wounded or killed in Monday's bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon."
UPDATE II (Dan) - The second victim has been identified:
A 29-year-old restaurant manager has been identified as one of three people killed in the bombing at the Boston Marathon.
Her father says Krystle Campbell, of Medford, Mass., had gone with her best friend to take a picture of the friend's boyfriend crossing the finish line on Monday afternoon.
William Campbell says his daughter, who worked at Jimmy's Steakhouse in nearby Arlington, was "very caring, very loving person, and was daddy's little girl." He says the loss has devastated the family.
UDATE III (Dan) - The third victim has reportedly also been identified (although his/her name has not yet been publicly released):
One of the victims killed by blasts at the Boston Marathon on Monday has been identified as a Boston University graduate student. The student’s name has not been released, pending permission to do so from the family.
The student was one of three friends who watched the race near the finish line. Another of the three students, also a BU grad student, was injured and is in stable condition at Boston Medical Center.
UPDATE IV (Dan) - It seems as though the third victim was a Chinese national:
NEW YORK (AP) — The Chinese Consulate in New York says a Chinese national is the third person killed in the Boston marathon blasts.
An official at the consulate's press section, who was not authorized to give his name, said that one Chinese student was injured and another died in the blast.
Earlier this month, Republican gubernatorial candidate and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli experienced a few bumps in the road over a court case involving his application of a somewhat archaic state sodomy law. We clarified the arcane details of the controversy, then admonished the Cuccinelli campaign that poking culturally-divisive hornet's nests -- even for narrow, practical reasons -- can be risky politics and should be handled with greater care. Cuccinelli's Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, tried to make hay over the kerfuffle, but was forced to back off shortly thereafter. His campaign, it turned out, couldn't decide whether their candidate agreed or disagreed with Cuccinelli's action (which happened to involve siding with the dissenting opinion of an Obama-appointed judge). Last week, it was McAuliffe's turn in the unwanted spotlight -- where he's remained for days. His campaign announced that months earlier, he'd quietly resigned as chairman of Green Tech Automotive, a perch from which he hoped to burnish his thin credentials as a "Virginia businessman." Even though McAuliffe severed ties with Green Tech late last fall, he and his campaign made no effort to correct media accounts still identifying him as the company's leader. In the meantime, the corporation increasingly looks like another taxpayer-subsidized boondoggle, with some legal questions cropping up about its activities. The Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel chronicles McAuliffe's shifting story:
GreenTech bragged that in its first phase alone it would invest $1 billion, employ 1,500 and produce 150,000 cars annually. Mr. McAuliffe grandly unveiled his signature MyCar last July at a rock-star event attended by Messrs. Clinton and Barbour. Business creds in hand, he then announced his run for governor—and the problems began. Among the first questions he was asked was why, as a proud "Virginia" businessman, he'd located his business in Mississippi. Scrambling, Mr. McAuliffe stated that he had wanted to bring his jobs home but the Virginia Economic Development Partnership "didn't want to bid on" GreenTech—whereas Mississippi had offered incentives. He went so far as to criticize the state for not going after manufacturing jobs like his, suggesting he'd change that. After an investigation, media outlets discovered that Virginia never received enough information from GreenTech to proceed. The Associated Press reported that the state agency worried that "GreenTech lacked brand recognition; had not demonstrated vehicle performance; had no federal safety and fuel-economy certification; no emissions approval . . . no distribution network" and (ouch) "no demonstrated automotive industry experience within the executive management team." Rather than respond to these concerns, GreenTech moved on with Mississippi (which perhaps wasn't asking annoying questions).
Strassel hazards a guess as to why McAuliffe chose to dissolve his formal relationship with his erstwhile company while maintaining the mirage of meaningful business credentials:
Virginia was particularly alarmed by GreenTech's use of an opaque visa program, called EB-5, to fund itself. Part of a 1990 immigration law, EB-5 lets foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in a U.S. company receive green cards. A federal immigration agency approves "regional centers" that administer the program. While these centers can be run by local government, GreenTech proposed running a Virginia center itself. One official at the Virginia development agency wrote to colleagues that she couldn't view Greentech's EB-5 program as "anything other than a visa-for-sale scheme with potential national security implications."
...This is of particular interest, since GreenTech looks to be a lemon. Despite promising production in 2011, there is no evidence the company is manufacturing any cars in volume. It is operating out of a temporary site and has yet to begin building its flagship factory in Tunica. GreenTech is the latest proof (after Solyndra, Fisker, A123 and others) that the political class is adept at hooking up cronies and investors with taxpayer dollars. But creating jobs? No can do. This may explain the latest news bomblet. Mr. McAuliffe continued flogging his GreenTech credentials this year, appearing in January at a trade show under the title "chairman of GreenTech Automotive." Recent media reports have also used that title—with no protest from the candidate. But as the heat mounted, his campaign last week released a letter that claims Mr. McAuliffe had resigned from GreenTech by Dec. 1, 2012. The company, Mr. McAuliffe would now like everyone to know, has nothing to do with him.
McAuliffe, you see, is a "Virginia businessman" and a "job creator." But his company was rooted in Mississippi. And it hasn't created anywhere close to the jobs or inventory he promised. And it's now facing scrutiny for possibly engaging in a lucrative visa-for-cash laudering scheme. As the politician moves to extricate himself from his political mess, his former company is suing the watch dog organization that reported the visa-for-sale angle...for $85 million. That group, run by our friends at the Franklin Center, are standing by their work and vowing to fight on. The lawsuit certainly smacks of political bullying.
A cautious, but strong, statement from the president at the White House briefing room, moments ago:
President Obama didn't use the word "terrorism" to characterize today's bombings, but the White House has since confirmed that the administration considers the twin bombings acts of terror.
**SEE UPDATES FOR BREAKING DEVELOPMENTS**
Terror in Boston, with (verified and unverified) reports flooding the zone by the second. As of this moment, we know that authorities believe two powerful explosions were detonated in fairly rapid succession near the finish line of the Boston marathon earlier this afternoon. Dozens have been injured, and there are conflicting reports of fatalities. Twelve dead? Three? None? Boston police say they've detonated a third "controlled explosion," and several downtown Boston hotels have been evacuated. Here's terrifying early video of the first explosion:
Some images of the resulting carnage immediately flashed across Twitter; the photos are graphic and disturbing. No one can confirm if this is an act of terrorism -- and if so, by whom. Initial details are sketchy, but some certainly point to a possible terrorism link: Back-to-back detonations at a crowded, high-profile public event sounds awfully deliberate. It's important not to jump to any conclusions during these early stages, but the terrorism question is undoubtedly on many Americans' minds. More details as they come...
UPDATE - CNN has confirmed at least two deaths.
UPDATE II - IED's = improvised explosive device = terrorism, if true:
NBC: Law enforcement officials who spoke to @nbcnews believe the explosion was at least 1 small IED - a homemade bomb— Sarah Boxer (@Sarah_Boxer) April 15, 2013
There are no reports regarding claims of responsibility or possible motive -- *if* this is terrorism.
UPDATE III - Thus begins the shameless, knee-jerk politicization:
explosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-02-01/wor…— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) April 15, 2013
UPDATE IV - Precautionary safety measures at the White House.
UPDATE V - Multiple devices found, per NBC News:
BREAKING: Multiple explosive devices found, at least 2 which exploded, officials tell NBC News— NBC Nightly News (@nbcnightlynews) April 15, 2013
UPDATE VI - Associated Press: Two unexploded bombs found in Boston, being dismantled by police. This absolutely has all the hallmarks of a coordinated terrorist attack. ABC News is now reporting that police are concerned the devices may have been triggered by cell phones. NEW: Ball bearings in the explosive devices? CBS: "Hell yes they are bombs."
UPDATE VIII - Boston's Police Commissioner confirms three "incidents," calls the attack an "ongoing event" moments ago at a press conference. Says there was a third explosion at the JFK Presidential Library that they believe "was related." Asked if this is a terrorist attack, the commissioner told viewers to "draw your own conclusions."
UPDATE IX - The NY Post -- again, with an exclusive -- is reporting that the alleged suspect is a Saudi national.
UPDATE X - Oh God. Video of both explosions.
UPDATE XI - Boston PD now backing away from the claim that the third explosion was related. It may have just been an accidental fire across the city. CBS News has some interesting new details:
According to CBS News correspondent Bob Orr, two bombs were inside trash cans near the viewing area close to the finish line. One unexploded device has been recovered, according to CBS. Orr is reporting that authorities have recovered surveillance video from the area which shows a man with what looked to be two backpacks near the scene just moments before the blast.
No one has confirmed the Post's story that there's a Saudi national in custody, though they've updated their reporting to add that this individual is 20 years old. Fox News
has confirmed quotes a source saying there's a person of interest being "guarded" at a Boston hospital. NEW: Now NBC News, too.
NBC News: Boston Police are "guarding" a wounded man at a Boston hospital as a "possible suspect" in the blast— Jesse Rodriguez (@JesseRodriguez) April 15, 2013
The NY Post had this first, with Fox News and NBC following. We'll see if the Post is also right about the nationality of the suspect. Multiple networks now officially labeling today's events a terrorist attack. President Obama will address the nation just after 6pm ET.
UPDATE XII (Kevin): The Boston police have disputed the New York Post's account of a suspect being held in custody.
In a 6:10 pm EDT statement from the White House, President Obama addressed what increasingly looks to be an attack, though stopped short of calling it terrorism. "On days like this there are no Republicans and Democrats. We still do not know who did this or why. Any responsible individuals or responsible groups," the President said, "will feel the full weight of justice."
UPDATE XIII (Guy) - CBS News is now echoing the Post's reporting about a Saudi national being held as a person of interest in these attacks:
JUST IN: @johnmillercbs reports that individual is in custody after Boston blast, a Saudi national. Reported cooperative/denies involvement.— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 15, 2013
A Boston news station and NBC News are reporting that an eight-year-old child is among the dead. Horrific.
UPDATE XIV (Kevin) - The death toll has now risen to three people dead and almost 150 people injured - many of them severely. Initial reports surfaced that investigators had found five additional unexploded devices, but the Wall Street Journal now writes that those may be unconnected to the initial explosions:
Counterterrorism officials found five additional suspect devices, but a law-enforcement official said late Monday that investigators now doubt the devices were bombs.
In a 10pm press conference, medical professionals held a press conference and announced that they're working at full capacity and expect to use a lot of blood - and said they'll need all the blood they can get. Time Magazine has a good roundup of how to donate blood if you or anyone you know is in the Boston area.
Happy tax day, America. Uncle Sam is processing more than $2.4 trillion in 2012 tax receipts -- which, all told, would less than 70 percent of the federal government's expenditures during fiscal year '12, resulting in a deficit of approximately $1.1 trillion. Evidence that the government needs to tax us more? Hardly. As Philip Klein explained in February, we don't have a "revenue problem:"
Between 2014 and 2023, according to CBO estimates, annual tax receipts will soar by 65 percent. During that time period, revenue collected by the federal government will average 18.9 percent of the economy. That's 1 point higher than the 17.9 percent average from the end of World War II to the year 2000 (just before George W. Bush's first round of tax cuts was passed.) At the same time, due to negotiated budget caps and automatic cuts known as the sequester, defense spending is projected to grow relatively modestly -- by about 20 percent over the next decade. By 2023, defense spending will account for only 12 percent of the overall federal budget. Not only is this well below the historical average, it's the lowest level since at least 1940, when the White House Office of Management and Budget data begin. (It's almost certainly the lowest level in history, given that the modern welfare state didn't begin until 1935 with the passage of Social Security). Previously, the lowest level recorded was in 1999, toward the end of the post-Cold War military drawdown, and even then defense represented 16.1 percent of the budget. Despite the fact that new tax revenue will be drastically outpacing growth in the defense budget, the nation is still projected to accumulate an additional $7 trillion in deficits over the next 10-year period, bringing the public debt to $20 trillion. The cause of that debt, therefore, cannot be taxes that are too low or defense spending that's too high. In fact, by 2020, Congress could vote to eliminate all military spending and it wouldn't even be enough to cover interest payments on the national debt.
Between 2012 and 2023, tax revenues are projected to double, and military spending will hit an eight-decade low as a percentage of the budget...and yet, we'll still have humongous deficits, as even bigger long-term unfunded obligations continue to accrue. We have a spending and promising problem. The trouble is, the American people tend to like much of that spending and many of those illusory promises. The public can abide relatively minor cuts and theoretical across-the-board reductions, but they broadly oppose touching the programs that most desperately cry out for reform. That's why Paul Ryan's bipartisan Medicare reform plan was demagogued ferociously, and even President Obama's recent minor proposed tweaks have sustained blows right and (mostly) left. On the revenue side of the ledger, a near-unanimous majority of Americans believe their current tax rates are currently either just right or too high:
Memo to that last two percent of people: Pony up, guys. But don't expect those funds to actually pay down any debt. Over the weekend, Dan flagged a Rasmussen poll showing that 63 percent of Americans say additional tax hikes are unnecessary, as opposed to 28 percent who disagree. One can only reconcile the Gallup and Rasmussen numbers by acknowledging that what an overwhelming majority of the "we need more tax hikes" crowd means to say is, "someone other than me needs to pay more taxes." On that note, I'll leave you with some perspective on two tax day buzz-phrases and one stark reality bulletin from Mark Steyn:
(1) "Balanced approach." There are three federal budget proposals on the table in Washington. Two of them accelerate spending, raise taxes by at least $1 trillion, and never balance. These blueprints are offered by the same party responsible for at least $1.6 trillion in tax increases since President Obama took office, during which time they've added more than $6 trillion to the national debt. The other does not raise taxes, reduces the rate of spending increases, and balances within ten years -- in accordance with the wishes of more than eight in ten Americans.
(2) "Fair share." The Washington Times reported in July (note, these figures aren't limited to federal income taxes, but the entire federal burden):
Wealthy Americans earn about 50 percent of all income but pay nearly 70 percent of the federal tax burden, according to the latest analysis Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office — though the agency said the very richest have seen their share of taxes fall the last few years. CBO looked at 2007 through 2009 and found the bottom 20 percent of American earners paid just three-tenths of a percent of the total tax burden, while the richest 20 percent paid 67.9 percent of taxes. The top 1 percent, who President Obama has made a target during the presidential campaign, earns 13.4 percent of all pre-tax income, but paid 22.3 percent of taxes in 2009, CBO said.
(3) "[A] fundamental dishonesty is the heart of the crisis. You cannot simultaneously enjoy American-sized taxes and European-sized government. One or the other has to go."
UPDATE - An important message on tax reform from Jim Pethokoukis.
UPDATE II - Joe Scarborough notices that despite his relentless class warfare rhetoric about "fair shares," mutlimillionaire Barack Obama pays a relatively low effective tax rate of 18.4 percent:
Over the last two decades, maligned richy-rich Mitt Romney surrendered nearly 40 percent of his adjusted gross income in taxes (local, state and federal) and charitable donations.
UPDATE III (Flashback) - Over to you, Howard Dean:
UPDATE IV - The president's latest budget includes a regressive cigarette tax on the poor to "pay for" a new universal pre-K system. Policy analysts on the left and right agree that the math won't work.
In the wake of President Obama's re-election, the public opinion dam has seemingly begun to burst on one hotly-contested social issue: Same-sex unions. Are Americans moving decisively leftward on abortion, too? I spent the last week in Boulder, Colorado at the annual Conference on World Affairs. It's an overwhelmingly liberal crowd, so one of my more challenging tasks was discussing "reproductive rights" on a panel comprised of pro-choice women and me. In order to inoculate myself against the inevitable "you're not a woman" critique, I cited statistics demonstrating that (a) being pro-life is a mainstream, if not majority position; and (b) women are statistically just as likely to be pro-life as pro-choice. I drew on a pair of 2012 polls. The first, from Gallup, recorded a record-low 41 percent of Americans self-identifying as pro-choice, with a +2 pro-life "gender gap" among women. The other was from CNN, which pegged pro-life sentiment at 52 percent overall, with women deadlocked on the issue. Here's a snapshot of the Gallup stats:
Since last fall, however a number of public surveys have detected a lurch to the left on these questions. Rasmussen has measured a fairly sharp turnabout, while NBC/WSJ found a majority in favor of legal abortion in "all or most" circumstances for the first time. But the NBC/WSJ polling partnership released a new poll last week, which I linked in passing. I didn't dig into the numbers too thoroughly beyond Obama's weak approval numbers; luckily, Allahpundit did, and he discovered an about-face on abortion, with the new data reflecting the prevailing attitudes mentioned above:
That's a 52/45 pro-life split, with a sizable plurality (42 percent) embracing most Republicans' mainstream stance. Question, then: Why did pro-choice sentiment spike in late 2012 and early 2013? I'd submit that blanket coverage of Todd Akin's egregious comments really poisoned the well for the pro-life brand. People said to themselves, "I'm not comfortable with abortion in a lot of circumstances, but if that's what they believe, I don't want to be a part of that." This, skeptics of abortion-on-demand went "pro-choice" to avoid being lumped in with the (barely existent) no-exceptions, "legitimate rape," anti-biology crowd. AP also links to a WaPo infographic showing that large majorities support abortions under limited and rare scenarios, including the life of the mother being at risk, rape, and birth defects. On the other hand, near super-majorities oppose abortion for the most common reasons. I'd love to see the numbers on gender-selective abortions -- which House Democrats refused to oppose last year. Or repeats, which account for roughly 50 percent of abortions in America today. Or full-stop infanticide. The vast majority of abortions are obtained for reasons of convenience, and approximately half are performed on women who've terminated at least one previous pregnancy. Pro-lifers faced a backlash when one of their own made ignorant remarks that were covered ad nauseam. Will pro-choicers see the same effect now that one of their extremists is on trial for murdering seven infants and an adult patient? Lurid revelations of newborns being decapitated at birth amidst horrific conditions might be rather bad for business for the abortion industry, which may explain why their media supporters did their level best to bury the Gosnell story. The ghastly truth is finally winning out, thanks to a coordinated PR push from abortion opponents. And it's grisly. It turns out the sanitary conditions were so breathtakingly poor because the Philadelphia clinic never faced inspections...for entirely political reasons. That's why Gosnell felt comfortable keeping his victims' detached feet in jars as trophies; he was confident no one would ever ask questions. Unable to ignore the Gosnell horror any longer, abortion proponents are dismissing it as an isolated instance. As I asked last week, is it?
Can't or won't? You be the judge. Either way, Sen. Jeff Sessions isn't pleased:
“Your budget increases the deficit by $8.2 trillion over ten years, yes or no?” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., asked Zients during a hearing. “I need to check the numbers,” Zients said. “There are a lot of numbers there. What I can tell you is we should focus on — this is exactly what Bowles-Simpson does and other groups. What is the deficit as a percent of our economy? We are less than 2 percent at the end of the window, at 1.7 percent.” Sessions pointed out that the Obama budget would raise taxes by $1 trillion and increase spending “by almost that same amount, virtually having no deficit reduction.”
Zients is either demonstrating incompetence or calculated evasion here. I suspect it's probably the latter option. This administration has a history of declining to state basic statistics about deficits in public, for fear of creating a YouTube moment. Yeah, of course there are "a lot of numbers" in the document. It's a budget of nearly $3.8 trillion. But this guy is the director of the White House's budget office. It's pretty much his entire job to produce this puppy...which he and the president finally did, nine weeks late. Are we to believe that Zients doesn't know how much the proposal adds to the deficit? Of course he does. He must. $8.2 trillion is a big number, which is why he doesn't want to say it out loud for the cameras. By the way, Zients' predecessor made statements that were either totally ignorant or flagrant political lies. That individual has been promoted to Treasury Secretary. Sessions does a nice job hammering away at this point; the tail end of the clip is important, too. The ranking Republican uses the budget's own data to show how Obama's unbalanced plan achieves negligible deficit reduction, despite calling for $1 trillion in tax hikes. The answer to that riddle is a familiar one by now: The taxes are primarily used to finance higher, accelerated levels of federal spending.
This is my shocked face. The price tag of Obamacare has already jumped at pretty much every level -- for families, individuals, businesses, and the federal government -- so stories like these are par for the course:
The $1.3 trillion U.S. health-care system overhaul is getting more expensive and will initially accomplish less than intended. Costs for a network of health-insurance exchanges, a core part of the Affordable Care Act, have swelled to $4.4 billion for fiscal 2012 and 2013 combined, and will reach $5.7 billion in 2014, according to the budget President Barack Obama yesterday sent to Congress. That spending would be more than double initial projections, even though less than half the 50 U.S. states are participating. The unanticipated spending is a consequence of an ambitious timetable dictated by Congress and a complex new way of offering people medical coverage, say analysts, lobbyists and administration officials. Combine that with a majority of Republican governors declining to cooperate with a Democratic president and U.S. regulators are left grasping to get the 2010 health law up and running by a Jan. 1, 2014, deadline. For the areas that money can’t solve, the Obama administration is opting for delay. It temporarily backed off some provisions of the law, including restrictions on coverage for executives and a promise to offer small businesses greater choices of health plans.
Costing more, and doing less. What a deal. Remember, the federal government simply assumed that every state would set up its own exchange -- despite strong public opposition to the law, and high associated costs coupled with heavy-handed federal mandates with scant flexibility. More than half of the states have thus declined to bear the burden of these exchanges, requiring the feds to step in. This outcome was apparently unforeseeable to Obamacare's brilliant advocates and administrators. Today's news of ballooning costs arises from items within the president's new budget, which includes a new regressive cigarette tax on the poor. (Yes, smoking has also been deemed to be a protected pre-existing condition under Obamacare). While there are a lot of elements to attack within Obama's extreme budget proposal, his very modest entitlement reforms shouldn't be among them -- even though he's insisting on additional enormous tax hikes as the price of admission to needed reforms. I cautioned Republicans last week against taking cheap shots over Obama's miniature olive branch on Social Security and Medicare, and yet:
Remember those warnings about how instead of welcoming President Obama’s adoption of Chained CPI, Republicans would continue to deny him a budget deal and attack him for proposing to cut Social Security? Well Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) — who also happens to be chairman of the House GOP’s re-election committee — just showed how it’s done, saying Obama’s budget “lays out a shocking attack on seniors.” “I’ll tell you when you’re going after seniors the way he’s already done on Obamacare, taken $700 billion out of Medicare to put into Obamacare and now coming back at seniors again, I think you’re crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine certainly and around the country,” he said on CNN Wednesday afternoon.
No, no, no. Reforms to these programs are essential. Conservatives must resist the temptation to bury their heads in the sand for possible short term political advantage. That's what liberals are for. To underscore this point, Paul Ryan and the Club for Growth defended the president and denounced Walden's ham-fisted and wrong-headed attack.