CNN reported that a judge in Texas has stoked anti-Obama paranoia by warning of violence if the President is reelected. According to CNN:
An elected county judge in Texas is warning that the nation could descend into civil war if President Barack Obama is re-elected, and is calling for a trained, well-equipped force to battle the United Nations troops he says Obama would bring in.
The comments by Lubbock County Judge Tom Head, who oversees emergency planning efforts, were broadcast by CNN affiliate KJTV. He made similar remarks on radio station FOX Talk 950....
Referring to unexplained 'executive orders' and other documents that Obama and 'his minions have filed,' Head said, 'regardless of whether the Republicans take over the Senate, which I hope they do, he is going to make the United States Congress and he's going to make the Constitution irrelevant. He's got his czars in place that don't answer to anybody.'
Obama, Head said, will 'try to give the sovereignty of the United States away to the United Nations. What do you think the public's going to do when that happens? We are talking civil unrest, civil disobedience, possibly, possibly civil war ... I'm not talking just talking riots here and there. I'm talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms, get rid of the dictator. OK, what do you think he is going to do when that happens? He is going to call in the U.N. troops, personnel carriers, tanks and whatever.'
Head vowed to personally stand 'in front of their personnel carriers and say, "You're not coming in here." And I've asked the sheriff. I said, "Are you going to back me on this?" And he said, "Yeah, I'm going to back you." Well, I don't want a bunch of rookies back there who have no training and little equipment. I want seasoned veteran people who are trained that have got equipment. And even then, you know we may have two or three hundred deputies facing maybe a thousand U.N. troops. We may have to call out the militia.'
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak threw cold water on the right-wing media narrative that President Obama is anti-Israel, praising Obama for doing "more" for Israeli security than any other U.S. president.
In an interview with Wolf Blitzer that aired yesterday on CNN's The Situation Room, Barak responded to a question about the state of the current U.S.-Israeli relationship by saying, "I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing, in regard to our security, more than anything that I can remember in the past."
BLITZER: You've studied U.S.-Israeli relations over many years. How would you describe the relationship today?
BARAK: I think that from my point of view as defense minister they are extremely good, extremely deep and profound. I can see long years, administrations of both sides of the political aisle deeply supporting the state of Israel, and I believe that reflects the profound feelings among the American people. But I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing, in regard to our security, more than anything that I can remember in the past.
BLITZER: More than any other president? LBJ, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush?
BARAK: Yeah, in terms of the support for our security, the cooperation of our intelligence, the sharing of thoughts in a very open way even when there are differences, which are not simple sometimes, I found their support for our defense very stable.
Former Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R-MD) appeared on CNN to support Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA). Piers Morgan asked him about recent polls which showed Romney losing support among women. Ehrlich suggested that the gender gap would close once women "see" Romney's "real views" in the general election.
"Nobody thinks Romney's going to win. Let's just be honest. Can we just say this for everybody at home? Let me just say this for everybody at home. The Republican establishment — I've yet to meet a single person in the Republican establishment that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election this year. They won't say it on TV because they've got to go on TV and they don't want people writing them nasty emails. I obviously don't care. But I have yet to meet anybody in the Republican establishment that worked for George W. Bush, that works in the Republican congress, that worked for Ronald Reagan that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election."
Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took his eye off of Iran and incorrectly designated Russia as America's "number one geopolitical foe" during his interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Romney offered his throwback to the Cold War while attacking President Barack Obama for his diplomacy with Russia — including the New START treaty that was supported by many Jewish communal organizations, which was one of the pieces that helped bring Russia on board with the fist round of Iran sanctions. Romney told Blitzer [emphasis added]:
What he did both on nuclear weaponry already and the new START treaty as well as his decision to withdraw missile defense sites from Poland and then reduce our missile defense sites in Alaska from the original plan. These are very unfortunate developments.... This is to Russia, this is without question our number one geopolitical foe. They fight every cause for the world's worst actors. (Think Progress)
Blitzer followed up, and asked Romney how Russia was a greater U.S. foe than Iran. Apparently, Romney's definition of "number one geopolitical foe" does not include Iran's threatening behavior — including its nuclear weapons program and belligerent actions in the Middle East. Romney said [emphasis added]:
Well I'm saying in terms of a geopolitical opponent, the nation that lines up with the world's worst actors. Of course the greatest threat the world faces is a nuclear armed Iran and a nuclear North Korea is troubling enough. But when these terrible actors pursue their course in the world and we go to the UN looking for ways to stop them ... and who is it that always stands up for the world's worst actors, it is always Russia, typically with China alongside. So in terms of a geopolitical foe a nation that is on the Security Council that has the heft of the Security Council and is of course a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe and the idea that our president is planning on doing something with them that he's not willing to tell the American people before the election is something I find very, very alarming. (Think Progress)
Following Romney's dangerous reassessment of global affairs-in which he prioritized a partisan sound bite over the reality of the threats posed by Iran to America and our allies-a number of experts and observers slammed Romney for yet another baseless foreign policy smear.
In the first Republican presidential debate in nearly a month, one thing became clear: little has changed when it comes to the distance separating the GOP candidates from most Jews. The four candidates on stage in Arizona last night took their turns reminding most American Jews why they support the Democratic Party, in addition to wrongfully attacking President Barack Obama's work to stop Iran's nuclear program.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) wrongly attacked Obama's leadership of the international movement to sanction Iran. As NJDC has noted, the Obama Administration recently implemented more sanctions that have essentially cut off Iran's central bank from the global economy — and they've already made an impact. In addition, the Iranian steel trade has grinded to a halt, and the Iranian oil flow has taken a massive hit. While Romney and others assert otherwise, the fact remains that the President and his Administration are keeping all options on the table when it comes to stopping Iran. As The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg wrote before the debate:
The Obama Administration, through its stalwart opposition to the Iranian nuclear program, has narrowed Iran's maneuverability, and forced the regime to make some obvious errors ... It is precisely because the Obama Administration has constructed a sanctions program without precedent, and because the Obama Administration has funded and supported multinational cyber-sabotage efforts against the Iranian nuclear program, that Iran is panicking and lashing-out.
To get the facts on Obama's work to stop Iran's nuclear program, click here.
Mitt Romney and Ron Paul told the Georgia Republican Party, Ohio Republican Party and CNN Thursday that they will not participate in the March 1 Republican presidential primary debate," CNN said in a statement. "Without full participation of all four candidates, CNN will not move forward with the Super Tuesday debate. However, next week, CNN and the Arizona Republican Party will host all four leading contenders for the GOP nomination. That debate will be held in Mesa, Arizona on February 22 and will be moderated by CNN's John King.
Meanwhile redistricting lawsuits will require the Texas caucus/primary to be rescheduled.
Primary results and the updated debate and primary schedule follow below the jump.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) last night on CNN actually said:
I'm not concerned about the very poor.
to which conservative writer Jonah Goldberg (National Review) asks "What is wrong with this guy?" and Michelle Malkin quips "Let them eat food stamps."
Meanwhile, Romney has not addressed the questions raised by Brian Beutler about possible offshore tax avoidance scheme raised on his on-the-record press call last week.
The briefing cleared up several questions, but left others unanswered - including one from TPM that will either exculpate Romney from allegations that he's used investments in offshore entities to avoid U.S. taxes, or reveal that his campaign has not fully addressed those allegations.
On the call, Romney's trustee pledged get back to us with this information. But despite multiple inquiries in the days since the conference call, the Romney camp has not set the record straight one way or another....
An IRA can't finance investments with debt, and, in the United States, it can't invest in entities that lever up, without being hit by the UBIT.
But if an IRA invests in an offshore fund, and that fund levers up, it can avoid the UBIT altogether. And at 35 percent that's no small tax to get around, according to multiple tax experts.
When first questioned about this on the call, Romney's trustee noted, "Governor Romeny's IRA is not structured in the Caymans, it's not located in the Cayman's. It's tax deferred just like your IRA, and my IRA."
But in a followup, I asked if his IRA had invested in any offshore entities that would have made it subject to the UBIT if those entities were located on U.S. soil. Romney's staff has yet to provide the answer.
The other reason Romney pays a lower tax rate than most of us is that so-called "carried interest" (the commission charged by hedge fund managers) is treated as long-term capital gains and taxed at 15%. According to Mother Jones, Bain Capital
spent $300,000 between August 2007 and April 2008 lobbying the House and Senate on bills that threatened the carried interest loophole. Along with other private equity titans like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Apollo Management, Bain and its ilk paid lobbying shops, public relations firms, and trade groups like Ogilvy and the Private Equity Growth Capital Council an estimated $15 million between January 2009 and April 2010 to convince lawmakers to keep the loophole alive. The force of those combined lobbying efforts kept the carried interest loophole wedged open, denying the federal government some $10 billion in revenues.
Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) during tonight's CNN debate showed again that he will lie if need be to advance his political agenda, and when it comes to the U.S.-Israel relationship, that's shameful. The stakes are simply too high. We are not talking about subjective opinions, but facts. Governor Romney, for example, said that the President castigated Israel during his speech at the United Nations in September. He did no such thing. Mr. Romney said the President made no reference to the "thousands of rockets being rained in on Israel from the Gaza Strip;" indeed, President Obama specifically cited how 'Israel's citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses' on the world stage of the United Nations in September.
Enough is enough. The outright lies, smears and distortions of President Obama's stellar Israel record must stop.
Tonight Governor Romney said:
He [Obama] said nothing about thousands of rockets being rained in on Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Let us be honest with ourselves: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel's citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses.
I think he disrespected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- Bibi Netanyahu.
Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney — the leader of the GOP field — told CNN's Wolf Blitzer today that he would vote for Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) for President of the United States despite Paul's anti-Israel record.
When Blitzer asked Romney if he would vote for Paul if he were the nominee, Romney said, "yes, I would vote for him." When Blitzer pressed him on Paul's outrageous positions and statements regarding Israel and Iran, Romney replied, "I don't agree with a lot of the things that Ron Paul says," but Romney went on to add that "I believe we would be able to move [Paul] in a direction that's more productive."
On the other hand, Speaker Newt Gingrich would not. Video after the jump.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey told CNN that all options remain on the table for stopping Iran's nuclear weapons program. He said he is "satisfied" that the options being considered will be "executable" if needed. According to CNN:
As Gen. Martin Dempsey toured around the globe over the last eight days, one issue was prominent-Iran's nuclear intentions.
Dempsey, in an exclusive interview with CNN, warned that Iran is playing a dangerous game that could ensnare the Middle East, the United States and others into conflict and a renewed nuclear arms race. From Iraq to Afghanistan, Kuwait to Saudi Arabia, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff heard about growing concerns about Iran's ambitions.
'My biggest worry is they will miscalculate our resolve,' Dempsey said in an interview conducted during a stop in Afghanistan. 'Any miscalculation could mean that we are drawn into conflict, and that would be a tragedy for the region and the world.'...
Behind the scenes Dempsey is quietly leading the ongoing military planning for an attack against Iran's nuclear weapons in the event the president gives the order to do so.
'We are examining a range of options,' Dempsey said, echoing the 'all options on the table' line used by administration officials.
Dempsey, the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military, said the military options are achievable.
'I am satisfied that the options that we are developing are evolving to a point that they would be executable if necessary,' he said.
Dempsey's remarks coincided with an announcement by the Treasury Department that 10 new Iran shipping companies and a shipping executive were blacklisted through expanded sanctions measures. The Washington Post also reported that the value of Iran's currency has dramatically plunged due to the country's increasing isolation.
Susan Grigsby's brother Steve died a painful death fighting for care as an uninsured American. Susan watched, horrified, as the GOP Presidential Candidates on CNN's Tea Party Debate stood silent when the the audience cheered for the idea that we as a society should just let an uninsured man die. Now Susan wants an answer from each and every GOP candidate.
Last night, CNN's John King moderated a Presidential Debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire between seven Republican hopefuls. All of the candidates argued to reduce the role of the Federal Government, and John King tried to determine how far the candidates were willing to go in that regard.
In the case of Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA), the answer is quite far: He wants to privatize the Federal Emergency Management Agency or at least remove it from the Federal Department of Homeland Security and leave each state on its own to fend for itself in the case of a natural or man-made disaster.
KING: What else [is the Federal Government too involved in], Governor Romney? You've been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I've been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it's the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we're learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?
ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better.
Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut -- we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do? And those things we've got to stop doing, because we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in. We cannot...
KING: Including disaster relief, though?
ROMNEY: We cannot -- we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all.
Trump, who is considering a run for president, said in a telephone interview on the program that he would not back off the issue, and that over the last few weeks he has only become more skeptical that Obama was born in the U.S.
Donald Trump's claims have been debunked by repeatedly. See for example PolitiFact, CNN, and Snopes.
Obama's birth certificate follows the jump along with more comments from PolitiFact.
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