Limbaugh Tackles Krauthammer; Jews Sticking With Obama

Sunday, 05 Jun 2011 03:28 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Jeb Bush Aides Join Pawlenty Campaign
2. Sabato Website: Jews Won't Abandon Obama in 2012
3. EPA Rules on Mercury Will Cost Billions, 'Do Nothing'
4. Feds Poker Ban Called Assault on Internet Freedom
5. Congress' Retirement Benefits: 5 Times the Private Sector
6. We Heard: Rush Limbaugh, Luis Fortuno, Rick Scott
 

1. Jeb Bush Aides Join Pawlenty Campaign

With former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush insisting that he won't be a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, three Bush aides have now joined Tim Pawlenty's White House campaign.

In commentary for the Orlando Sentinel, Mike Thomas observes that among potential GOP candidates, "Mitch Daniels was the most Jeb-like, but like Jeb, he opted out. Mitt Romney is tainted with image makeovers and Romneycare. Newt Gingrich is a study in undisciplined self-destruction.

"This leaves Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota. Last week, a cadre of Bush confidants joined his campaign."

Phil Handy, who led Jeb's gubernatorial campaigns and served as his chairman of the Board of Education, will be Florida state chairman for Pawlenty and national finance co-chairman.

Justin Sayfie, a former Jeb spokesman, and Ann Herber, a longtime fundraiser for the Bush family, are also coming aboard the campaign.

Jeb, meanwhile, said in a Twitter message: "I admire truth telling and t-paw sure did it to open his campaign."

Handy declared: "Those of us who admire Gov. Bush's character and principles see Tim Pawlenty as coming closest to those characters and principles. When he talks on issues, he reminds me of Jeb in that regard."

Thomas writes: "Corralling Jeb's former team was a major coup for Pawlenty. If Romney falters, it sets him up as the alternative among coherent Republicans."

Editor's Note:



2. Sabato Website: Jews Won't Abandon Obama in 2012

President Barack Obama's recent speech calling on Israel to accept the country's 1967 borders as a starting point for talks with the Palestinians has raised speculation that Jewish voters could turn against Obama and the Democrats in 2012.

But such a scenario "is not very realistic for at least three reasons," according to Alan I. Abramowitz, senior columnist for the Crystal Ball website of Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

First of all, political opponents — in particular, Hillary Clinton's campaign — questioned Obama's commitment to Israel in 2008. But Jewish voters still supported Obama in the general election at about the same rate they had supported other Democratic presidential candidates in recent elections.

One poll showed that 78 percent of Jewish voters cast their ballots for Obama over John McCain.

Secondly, Jewish loyalty to the Democrats is based largely on the liberal views of most Jews on domestic policy issues, Abramowitz asserts.

Between 1992 and 2008, 82 percent of Jewish voters interviewed in several surveys said they leaned toward the Democratic Party, compared to just 43 percent of all other white voters.

Jewish voters "hold solidly liberal views on a wide range of domestic policy issues, and especially on social issues such as abortion, that have undermined support for the Democratic Party among some of its traditional supporters," Abramowitz writes.

Thirdly, the rightward tack of the Republican Party in recent years has made a significant shift of Jewish voters into the GOP camp highly unlikely.

Moderate-to-liberal Republicans including Nelson Rockefeller in New York and Edward Brooke in Massachusetts regularly won a large share of the Jewish vote, but in today's GOP "there are almost no liberals or moderates," Abramowitz observes.

He concludes: "There is almost no chance that the ultimate victor in the Republican nomination contest will be able to significantly increase the GOP share of the Jewish vote beyond the relatively small minority of conservative Jews who have been voting for Republican candidates in recent years."

Editor's Note:



3. EPA Rules on Mercury Will Cost Billions, 'Do Nothing'

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued nearly 1,000 pages of new rules ordering American power plants to significantly reduce their emissions of mercury and other air pollutants, a move that will reportedly cost electricity producers $10.9 billion a year.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claims the rules will save 17,000 lives and generate up to $140 billion in health benefits, but "there is no factual basis for these assertions," two experts maintain.

In an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard University scientist Willie Soon, an expert on mercury and public health issues, and Paul Driessen, senior policy adviser for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, point out that the United States currently emits only 41 to 48 tons of mercury per year.

Forest fires, meanwhile, emit at least 44 tons annually, cremation of human remains emits 26 tons, Chinese power plants discharge 400 tons — 10 times the American total — and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources emit more than 9,000 tons per year.

U.S emissions account for less than 0.5 percent of all the mercury in the air, so eliminating all of America's mercury discharges "will do nothing about the other 99.5 percent in our atmosphere," the authors state.

"In the face of these minuscule risks, the EPA nevertheless demands that utility companies spend billions every year retrofitting coal-fired power plants that produce half of all U.S. electricity."

The authors also state that blood mercury counts for American women and children actually decreased between 1999 and 2008, placing them below the safe levels established by the EPA, and that despite frequent warnings about the dangers of consuming fish, "the 200,000,000 tons of mercury naturally present in seawater have never posed a danger to any living being."

They conclude: "The EPA's actions can be counted on to achieve only one thing — which is to further advance the Obama administration's oft-stated goal of penalizing hydrocarbon use and driving a transition to unreliable renewable energy."

Editor's Note:



4. Feds' Poker Ban Called Assault on Internet Freedom

The U.S. Department of Justice's shutdown of three foreign-based online poker websites "has made a mockery of America's stated commitment to Internet freedom."

That's the view of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), an organization dedicated to "free markets and limited government."

On April 15, the DOJ seized the domain names of the three major poker sites, a move that affected online gambling operations in countries where Internet poker is lawful and the U.S. government has no jurisdiction.

The Poker Star site is registered in the Isle of Man, Full Tilt Poker in Ireland, and Absolute Poker in Antigua. But the U.S. government could unilaterally seize their domain names, shutting down access, because the three end in ".com." All such domains are registered in the United States and subject to some American laws.

"Federal agents obtained a court order that compelled Verisign, the operator of the .com registry, to reroute the poker sites' domain names to a government page featuring intimidating federal logos notifying users of the seizure," the CEI reported.

Therefore "no computer in the world, even those in countries where poker is explicitly legal, could access the poker sites via their domain names."

The DOJ has agreed to unfreeze the domains for Poker Stars and Full Tilt to allow players to cash out their accounts and foreign players to gamble on the sites. But Absolute Poker is considering challenging the American government's move before the World Trade Organization.

"It is deeply troubling that the United States, a country that purports to value individual freedom, has so miserably failed to it protect it when it comes to politically incorrect pursuits like online gambling," the CEI concludes.

"The DOJ's heavy-handed tactics should outrage anybody who values freedom and individual rights."

Editor's Note:



5. Congress' Retirement Benefits: 5 Times the Private Sector

A member of Congress receives retirement contributions of about 33 percent of pay each year — five times as much as a private sector worker in a large company.

Writing for the Journal of the American Enterprise Institute, Andrew Biggs calculates that a retired member of Congress receives a pension equivalent to 22.4 percent of wages.

In addition, federal employees receive a government match to their Thrift Savings Plan account of up to 5 percent of pay, plus retiree health coverage worth around 6 percent of wages.

Altogether, then, members of Congress receive around 33.4 percent of pay in retirement benefits.

Private sector workers at firms with at least 1,000 employees receive total retirement compensation of around 6.4 percent of pay, Biggs says, so "annual retirement contributions for a member of Congress exceed those for private sector employees by a factor of five."

Members of Congress can receive retirement benefits as early as age 50, depending on their length of service. They currently get a salary of $174,000 a year, plus offices and staff, and congressional leaders receive more compensation.

Biggs states: "We shouldn't come away from this with a conclusion other than that congressional retirement benefits — like federal employee benefits in general — are far more generous than those a typical private sector worker receives."

Editor's Note:



5. We Heard…

THAT Rush Limbaugh thinks he knows why conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer "commands respect" in the media.

"Krauthammer in many ways has acquired this respect because in many of the venues he appears he is the only conservative," Rush told his radio listeners on Thursday.

Krauthammer regularly appears on the syndicated show "Inside Washington" on Friday nights and also on Fox News Channel's "Special Report."

"They surround him with a number of libs on the show so he's unique in that sense," Limbaugh said.

"I don't think he's earned the respect simply because he's a truth-teller. It's because he always managed to position himself on these shows as the lone conservative like George Will has done. People are drawn to that."

THAT Republicans could seek to attract new voters from the growing Hispanic population by choosing Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno as the party's vice presidential candidate.

But given Puerto Rico's status as a commonwealth, is Fortuno constitutionally eligible for the post?

According to a law signed by President Truman in 1952, all people born in Puerto Rico on or after Jan. 13, 1941, are native-born American citizens. Fortuno was born on Oct. 31, 1960, and would be eligible, observes Joseph Figueroa of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

But Fortuno would not be able to vote for himself in the general election — U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico can't take part in presidential elections.

THAT The Daily Caller website sings the praises of Rick Scott, saying Florida's new governor "shakes things up."

Ginni Thomas writes in her Leaders column that Scott "promised to govern as a small government conservative, and almost immediately began to make good on his word. First he made headlines by turning down President Obama's offer of $2.3 billion for a high-speed rail system in the state. Next he began to cinch the belt on education, taxes and pensions.

"Voters may say they want fiscal austerity. They may even vote for it. But are they willing to live with the consequences? Florida may soon become a case study for the nation."

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Editor's Note:



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