Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Today's News NJ: 2012 Top Republican VP Picks

Well, it looks like Mitt Romney is going to be the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, and I’m having the same feelings of disappointment that I had in 2008 with Mc(needs a)Cain leading the charge. However, McCain did have a glimmer of hope and a surge of excitement that came from an unlikely source – his VP choice of Sarah Palin. Say what you want about the events that followed, but there is no denying that Sarah Palin brought the only glimmer of hope to McCain’s campaign. Romney has a LOT of convincing to do with conservatives, but I think he could pull off a win against President Obama if he were to choose one of the following potential VP candidates.

Here are my top 2012 Republican VP choices in a nutshell. I chose them all for their own unique reason – and this is only my surface review. I don’t have the time or resources to vet them, but as far as public knowledge goes, they could all benefit Romney in the general election for various reasons.

Allen West

2012-vp-choice-allen-westAllen West is a U.S. Representative (Republican) for Florida’s 22nd congressional district. West took office in January of 2011, and he is the first black Republican Congressman from Florida since Josiah T. Walls left office in 1876. West brings a life-long career of military leadership and national defense experience and knowledge to the table. His conservative values and his support from the Tea Party have brought him to the spotlight, along with his blatant outspokenness and opposition regarding radical Islam and the potential threat from the Middle East to the United States. West is also an advocate of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” policy, and has stood in the gap for black conservatism, which is somewhat of a taboo in the United States. Allen West would make a great Vice President because he has some contrasting experience in comparison to Mitt Romney, and his ability to communicate resonating messages with black conservatives would help capture and possibly split the “black vote.”

Rick Santorum

2012-vp-choice-rick-santorumRick Santorum was able to catapult his campaign during the primaries and captured the attention of the media and conservative Americans around the country. Santorum is widely known for his passionate socially conservative views, and his deep love of American family values. Mitt Romney’s conservative (or lack of) record has created doubt in the minds of true conservatives, and Santorum would help seal in the ultra-conservative vote – voters who would potentially stay at home during the General Election. The downside to Santorum would be that some have taken his ideas out of context and have painted him as a conservative extremist, which is the same thing as a terrorist to the media.

Marco Rubio

2012-vp-choice-marco-rubioMarco Rubio is a United States Senator (Republican) from Florida, and in my opinion, Rubio is the future of American conservatism. Marco Rubio is a huge threat to the left because he represents the reality of the American dream – coming from literally nothing. His conservative message resonates with the vast majority of the country, and like Allen West and Herman Cain, he would be able to capture the votes of those he has had cultural influence on – the Latin community. The only caveat with Rubio is that he is a junior Senator and lacks experience. Another thing to consider is that a VP run with Romney might be future political suicide. I, personally don’t believe this, because I think he has something special going on that even Romney couldn’t negatively affect.

Sarah Palin

2012-vp-choice-sarah-palinI can already see the reactions to this one. You think I’m crazy, I know. Sarah Palin has a lot of baggage, but with that baggage comes millions upon millions of supporters, and sometimes the best way to measure a persons influence and success is by the number of enemies that they have. Sarah Palin was the single determining factor in any sliver of hope that McCain had in 2008, and her tenacity to not back down despite the completely disgusting treatment of her and her family inspired people to get behind her. A lot has changed since 2008, but her
popularity has only grown, and I think that she would provide the same electrifying results that we saw in 2008… only this time with a somewhat viable presidential candidate.

Paul Ryan

2012-vp-choice-paul-ryanPaul Ryan is the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district, and has served since 1999. He is a member of the Republican Party and has been ranked among the party’s most influential voices on economic policy. Ryan is not quite as exciting as some of the others in regards to public appeal, and his experience isn’t quite as contrasting as the others either, but he does more than just talk a big game – he actually proposes real changes. Agree with him or not, he has led the charge in effort to balance our national budget and cut deficits. This would put dual-authority figures in the field of fiscal issues.

Herman Cain

2012-vp-choice-herman-cainHerman Cain… the black conservative business man that fell victim to a modern-day media lynching when he was accused by several unknown women of sexual misconduct. Of course, as soon as Cain dropped from the race, the allegations mysteriously disappeared and nobody ever heard from the women again – proof that it was all a political ploy. Cain was subject to this because he is NOT a politician, and he hasn’t spent his life in the corrupt line of Washington politics. He’s a successful business man with conservative values, and a knack for taking the liberal ideology head on. Herman Cain is also a Tea Party favorite.

Chris Christie

2012-vp-choice-chris-christieChris Christie is more of an honorable mention for me than he is a valid candidate for my conservative tastes. Christ Christie is somewhat of a RINO (Republican In Name Only) in my opinion due to his pro cap and trade support and the fact that he endorsed Mike Castle in Delaware during the 2010 Senate race. He also has a cloudy record on gun control, and advocates compromise in order to get Republicans elected. The good thing about him is that he is a take-no-prisoners debater and sticks to his guns when he gets behind an issue. I like someone who goes against the grain. If Tim Palwenty would have had his attitude and outlook, I believe that Pawlenty would be the Republican front-runner right now.

BY Kevin Webb

Ex-Teacher Replaces bin Laden on FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List

By Allan Lengel

He ain’t exactly Osama bin Laden.
Still, the FBI on Tuesday announced a replacement for bin Laden for its Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List: Eric Justin Toth, 30, a former private-school teacher and camp counselor.

Toth is accused of possessing and producing child pornography.

In a press release, the FBi said that Toth, who also goes by the name David Bussone, has been on the run since warrants for his arrest were issued in Maryland and the District of Columbia in 2008. There is also reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to his arrest.

The FBI said a probe into Toth began in June 2008 after pornographic images were found on a camera in his possession at the private where he worked.

The FBI is still looking to add another fugitive to replace Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, who was captured last year in California.

International Arms Dealer Viktor Bout Gets 25 Years

By Shoshanna Utchenik
It’s going to be a long time before international arms dealer Viktor Bout sees daylight again.
The DEA announced late last week that Bout was sentenced in New York to 25 years in prison for conspiring to sell millions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and over 20,000 AK-47s to the Colombian terrorist group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the “FARC”).

Authorities said that Bout understood the weapons would be used to kill Americans in Colombia.
He was convicted on the charges last November 2.

“The crimes Viktor Bout committed represent the worst case scenario for modern law enforcement–the merger of criminal international narcotics cartels with their terrorism enablers,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara added in a statement: “Viktor Bout has been international arms trafficking enemy number one for many years, arming some of the most violent conflicts around the globe. He was finally brought to justice in an American court for agreeing to provide a staggering number of military grade weapons to an avowed terrorist organization committed to killing Americans. Today’s sentence is a fitting coda for this career arms trafficker of the most dangerous order.”

Obama’s cynical mortgage bailout vote-buying scheme

By Robert Romano

It would not be an election year without the White House offering yet another bailout for distressed borrowers who owe more money on their homes than they are worth.

Of course, it’s all political. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
“The goal is to build a constituency of borrowers underwater on their mortgages with the hope that they might — emphasis on might — be able to get some relief,” said Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson, calling it “nothing more than a cynical election year ploy.”

There is good reason to be skeptical about the government’s latest program, which would take taxpayer money out of TARP and be used for writing down the principal owed on mortgages.

Every single year of the Obama Administration, such programs have been attempted, including the failed 2009 mortgage modification program, which fell far short of its goal to modify 3 to 4 million mortgages. In the end, just a fraction of the goal— only about 10 percent — were even modified.

More recently, the White House expanded its mortgage refinance operations to allow refi’s above 125 percent loan-to-value. This would allow borrowers to get into a lower interest rate even if they are underwater on their mortgage.

That was done without any vote in Congress, too, and in spite of the fact the law that put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into government conservatorship only allowed refi’s of up to 90 percent loan-to-value.
But, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again is the Obama mantra when it comes to its many failed efforts at foreclosure “prevention”. With millions more foreclosures anticipated this year, Obama appears convinced that trying the same thing over and over again expecting different results is not insane.
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The ‘Occupy’ Movement Lives On, But Are They Paying Taxes?

Video by Frank McCaffrey
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GOP 2012 Nomination Race: The End Is Near

By Adam Bitely

It appears that the fat lady has finally sung and the curtain is closing on the Republican contest for the Presidential nomination. She appears to be singing about Mitt Romney’s victory.

For those that believe there is still a chance for one of the other candidates to somehow stage a spring comeback — think again.
Over the weekend, Newt Gingrich went out of his way to let the media know that he has made peace with Romney. As Newt put it on Fox News Sunday, “I hit him as hard as I could, he hit me as hard as he could. Turns out he had more things to hit with than I did. That's part of the business.”

As Politico reported, Mitt responded to Newt’s comments on the Mike Huckabee radio program saying, "It was not a surprise — he and I have spoken from time to time, and in fact he and I have been together with our wives and spoken." Mitt continued saying that Newt is "pretty open eyed about this, we talk about where are at this stage, and the likelihood that I will get the delegates to become the nominee."

Mitt is now openly bragging that it is nearly impossible for any of the other candidates to pass him in the race for convention delegates.

While Gingrich hasn’t formally dropped out, it appears that he is positioning himself for political life after Romney’s claims to the nomination are complete. After all, Newt needs all the allies he can get after he drops out of the race, especially after one of the think tanks that he manages went bankrupt late last week.
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Call for Transparency in Collective Bargaining Advances in Louisiana

By Kevin Mooney

Louisiana state representative Tony Ligi (R-Metairie) would like for taxpayers to have a seat at the table when public employee unions negotiate with government officials over the size and scope of their benefit package.

To this end, he reintroduced a bill in the current legislative session in Baton Rouge that would have subjected collective bargaining sessions to open meetings law requirements. This means any document created or presented during the sessions would be available to the public and the details attached to collective bargaining agreements posted on the Internet.

Last year the “Public Employee Bargaining Transparency Act” was blocked in the House and Government Affairs Committee in an 8-7 vote. This time around HB 89 made it to the House floor after passing the committee by an 8-2 margin with Reps. Jared Brossett (D-New Orleans) and Randal Gains (D-LaPlace) opposing the measure. Instead of risking defeat in what would have been a very close vote on the House floor, Ligi reached a compromise with the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and other opponents.

“The vote would have been very, very close,” he said. “There were some people who wanted to vote for it, but they had already put themselves in a tough spot by voting for the governor’s education package and they were under a lot of pressure. While it is possible that bill still would have passed in its original form, I didn’t think it would be good idea to risk walking away with nothing. So I settled on an alternative that still allows for public scrutiny and transparency.”

Last week the Senate passed legislation authored by Rep. Steve Carter (R-Baton Rouge) that reforms teacher tenure (HB974) and another bill makes it possible to expand the number of charter schools while converting the scholarship program in New Orleans (HB 976) into a statewide option.

Ligi credits Gov. Bobby Jindal and fellow lawmakers for exerting the “willpower” needed to “buck the status quo” and implement “transformative” policy changes. But, at the same time, the votes on tenure reform and school choice drained away some of political capital needed to help pass his legislation, Ligi acknowledged.
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