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After having trouble getting traction during President Obama’s tenure in some ways, Senate Republicans dug their heels in when Judge Samuel Alito passed away, blocking any practical conversation on a replacement until a new president could be sworn in.

According to one senator at the time, Mike Crapo of Idaho, “The current Supreme Court vacancy should be filled by an individual nominated by the next President of the United States.”  Today, Mike Crapo can say that he delivered tangible results, helping Republicans find an alternative Justice that was well-respected by legal minds on both sides of the aisle.

Alito’s mysterious death:

For those that follow Washington policy making, last year’s death of Justice Alito could have easily appeared as something out of a mystery novel.  An ailing judge books a dream trip to a Texas hunting lodge mostly alone.  He checks into his room and is found later dead in his bed.  He is then buried without any autopsy.

Naturally, there were some questions thrown at the process and the idea that there was no due process that was put into place to ensure that he was actually just perishing because of his heart condition.  The judge that was asked to do the decision-making determined that Alito died of natural causes and left it at that.

Some of the disquiet on the Republican side immediately following the announcement that there would be no autopsy has to do with the state of weapons in today’s society.  The Navy, the Army, gangs, real estate crews that ‘move’ targets pointed out by business rivals, and ‘we’ll help you lose your job’ crews have all trained with radar and sonic in order to be able to hit people with heart shots from up to a mile away.  It isn’t hard for them to figure out how to push someone who has a bad heart condition anyway over the edge.  In fact, there is some conjecture that John Roberts, the chief justice, was hit by a sonic attack many years ago in New England.

Part of the problem, perhaps is that according to the Pentagon, when you hit someone’s vagus nerve with a sonic or wave weapon so that it palpitates a bad heart, if it ends up causing a fatal heart attack there is no way that modern medicine can currently determine that it actually happened.  You manipulated a nerve with a frequency.  It doesn’t retain a record of that manipulation.

So, regardless of how people die when they are in positions of power, you will likely see the death attributed to natural causes until they can figure out how to measure whether or not it is different.

Led to a stalemate:

After Alito’s death, President Obama nominated his own candidate, someone who was conservative, yet not completely palatable to Republicans because the majority of them seemed to be saying that President Obama needed to recuse himself from nomination.  The net result was a stalemate that caused the nomination to be tabled until the election of President Trump.

In some ways, the timing of the nomination and the way the voting took place were unprecedented in the history of the Senate.  At the end of the day, a group of Senate Republicans took a stand and ended up winning the right to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice as a new President looked on.

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution to sue President Barack Obama for allegedly exceeding his constitutional powers.

The 225-201 vote along party lines means House lawyers will now draft legal documents to launch a lawsuit.

Its supporters say Barack Obama exceeded his powers when he delayed an insurance deadline in his healthcare law.

Barack Obama himself has dismissed it as a waste of time.

“Everyone sees this as a political stunt,” he said.

“If they’re not going to do anything, we’ll do what we can on our own,” the president added.

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution to sue President Barack Obama for allegedly exceeding his constitutional powers

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution to sue President Barack Obama for allegedly exceeding his constitutional powers

“And we’ve taken more than 40 actions aimed at helping hardworking families like yours. That’s when we act – when your Congress won’t.”

The action is reportedly the first time either the House or Senate has brought legal action against a president over the legality of his powers, although members of Congress have sued the president before.

Republicans in Congress have complained that Barack Obama has exceeded his constitutional authority on numerous occasions, in order to bypass Congress by issuing executive orders.

They object, for instance, to his order unilaterally easing deportations of some young illegal immigrants, and the prison exchange that won the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl held captive for five years by the Taliban.

“This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about defending the Constitution we swore an oath to,” Speaker John Boehner said during an impassioned debate in the House on Wednesday evening.

“Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change?”

At issue was Barack Obama’s decision to twice delay requirements in his 2010 healthcare overhaul that businesses over a certain size provide their workers with health insurance.

Barack Obama has been forthright about his intentions to circumvent the gridlocked Congress when possible, noting frequently that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has declined even to hold votes on Senate-passed bills on topics from immigration reform to gay rights.

As far back as January, White House aides began referring to the president’s “pen and phone” strategy – using his telephone to convene meetings at the White House and his pen to sign executive orders and changes to federal regulations.

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The House of Representatives is voting to pass a resolution authorizing it to sue President Barack Obama for what Republican leaders describe as his overreach of authority.

The resolution is expected to pass the Republican-controlled chamber in a party line vote onJuly 30.

Its sponsors say Barack Obama exceeded his powers when he delayed an insurance deadline in his healthcare law.

The president himself has dismissed the lawsuit as a waste of time.

“Everyone sees this as a political stunt,” Barack Obama said while in Kansas on Wednesday.

“But it’s worse than that because every vote they’re taking… means a vote they’re not taking to help people.”

The House of Representatives is voting to pass a resolution authorizing it to sue President Barack Obama

The House of Representatives is voting to pass a resolution authorizing it to sue President Barack Obama (photo Reuters)

Republicans in Congress have complained that Barack Obama has exceeded his constitutional authority on numerous occasions, in order to bypass Congress by issuing executive orders.

They object, for instance, to his order unilaterally easing deportations of some young illegal immigrants, and the prison exchange that won the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl held captive for five years by the Taliban.

Specifically at issue in the resolution, which was sponsored by Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas with the full backing of House Speaker John Boehner, was Barack Obama’s decision to twice delay requirements in his 2010 healthcare overhaul that businesses over a certain size provide their workers with health insurance.

Barack Obama has been forthright about his intentions to circumvent the gridlocked Congress when possible, noting frequently that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has declined even to hold votes on Senate-passed bills on topics from immigration reform to gay rights.

As far back as January, White House aides began referring to the president’s “pen and phone” strategy – using his telephone to convene meetings at the White House and his pen to sign executive orders and changes to federal regulations.

Every US president since George Washington has issued executive orders, and Barack Obama has not stood out in the modern era for the number he has signed.

In his six years in office Barack Obama has issued 183 executive orders, compared to 291 across George W. Bush’s eight years and 381 for Ronald Reagan, according to a study by the American Presidency Project at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

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According to a new study, Republicans were about 50 percent more likely to tune in to Duck Dynasty Season 4 premiere than Democrats.

The sudy also found that and “Republicans who always vote in statewide elections were almost twice as likely to tune in as were Democrats”.

Republicans were about 50 percent more likely to tune in to Duck Dynasty Season 4 premiere than Democrats

Republicans were about 50 percent more likely to tune in to Duck Dynasty Season 4 premiere than Democrats

The Washington Post reports the season premiere of the show “got ratings higher than a 30 percent share in 25 media markets,” which is “comparable to most Super Bowls.” And of the top 15 media markets “tuned in to the premiere, only three – Lima, Ohio, Charleston, West Vitgonia and Evansville, Indiana – are outside the South”.

Duck Dynasty is shattering cable television records – the season premiere two weeks ago was cable’s most-watched nonfiction telecast in history.

The study also found that “West Coasters and urbanites were least likely to watch. The show did worst in the San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles media market, where only 2.5 to 3 percent of households tuned in. New York, Boston, Las Vegas and Chicago were all near the bottom in media market performance”.

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Republican candidate Mitt Romney has hit back on attacks about his record as CEO of Bain Capital in interviews with US broadcasters.

“I had no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after 1999,” Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney was responding to reports suggesting he was still listed on Bain’s regulatory filings several years after he said he left the company.

He called on Barack Obama to apologize, after the president said Mitt Romney’s time at Bain should be scrutinized.

The timing is key because between 1999 – when Mitt Romney said he left the company he founded – and 2001, Bain was responsible for closing down American firms and shipping jobs overseas.

Speaking to WJLA-TV a few hours before Mitt Romney’s own media appearances, President Barack Obama said the Republican candidate would have to answer questions about when he stepped down from Bain Capital.

 

Mitt Romney has hit back on attacks about his record as CEO of Bain Capital

Mitt Romney has hit back on attacks about his record as CEO of Bain Capital

“Ultimately, I think Mr. Romney is going to have to answer those questions because if he aspires to being president, one of the things you learn is you’re ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations,” Barack Obama said.

But Mitt Romney said attacks on his record at Bain, an investment company he co-founded in 1984, were “simply beneath the dignity of the presidency of the United States”.

“He [Obama] sure as heck ought to say that he’s sorry for the kinds of attacks that are coming from his team,” he told ABC News on Friday night.

With November’s election now less than four months away, the Obama and Romney campaigns have spent much of the week trading accusations of dishonesty over Mitt Romney’s time at Bain.

In a series of television and web advertisements, the Obama campaign argued that Mitt Romney had “pioneered” outsourcing US jobs during his time at Bain. The Romney campaign responded with their own ad, calling Barack Obama the “outsourcer-in-chief”.

The Boston Globe reported on Thursday that documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission conflicted with Mitt Romney’s statements that he gave up control of the firm in 1999.

The filings list him as “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president” from 1999 to 2001.

That period covers a time when Bain ran companies that fell into bankruptcy, as well as moved jobs abroad – issues highlighted by Obama campaign advertisements.

The Obama campaign has accused Mitt Romney of lying in his official campaign disclosure forms. Barack Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter suggested that Mitt Romney had broken federal law by doing so – an accusation the Romney camp firmly denied.

Mitt Romney and his aides say he left Bain in 1999 to run the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

In a statement, the company said Mitt Romney “remained the sole stockholder for a time while formal ownership was being documented and transferred to the group of partners who took over management of the firm in 1999”.

Independent website FactCheck.org said on Thursday it had found no evidence that Mitt Romney actively managed Bain after leaving in February 1999, describing him as “a passive, absentee owner”.

The site had previously said that Mitt Romney would open himself up to felony charges if he had actively managed Bain after 1999 but said otherwise on his disclosure form.

 

Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino boss, who was one of Newt Gingrich’s top backers, has become Mitt Romney’s largest donor.

Sheldon Adelson has handed a $10 million donation to Restore Our Future, a super PAC devoted to the election campaign of the former Massachusetts governor, according to the Wall Street Journal.

While the gift could make a big difference to Mitt Romney’s election hopes, it is little more than a drop in the ocean for Sheldon Adelson, whose fortune is believed to add up to $20 billion.

Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino boss, who was one of Newt Gingrich's top backers, has become Mitt Romney's largest donor

Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino boss, who was one of Newt Gingrich's top backers, has become Mitt Romney's largest donor

Sheldon Adelson made his fortune with Las Vegas Sands, which owns enormous casinos in Macau and Singapore as well as in Las Vegas.

The tycoon was by far the biggest supporter of Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, propping it up almost single-handedly with around $21 million worth of funding.

Sheldon Adelson, who appears to be primarily motivated by support for Israel, has apparently pledged to give a total of $100 million to Republicans this election year.

 

[googlead tip=”vertical_mic”]Republican Michele Bachmann, 55, won the Iowa Straw Poll Saturday, affirming her status as a top-tier candidate in the Republican race to challenge President Barak Obama in 2012.

 

Michele Bachmann received 28% of the nearly 17,000 votes cast. The Texas Republican, Ron Paul was close behind her with 27%. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty came in a distant third with 13% of the vote, followed by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum with 9% and businessman Herman Cain with 8%.

 
Michele Bachmann received 28 percent of the nearly 17000 votes cast

Michele Bachmann received 28 percent of the nearly 17000 votes cast

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The daylong political festival was the first indication of how these Republicans are faring with the Grand Old Party (GOP) base. Nine candidates were on the ballot, and voting ran for 6 hours on the campus of Iowa State University.

Voters came in from far and wide, some of the candidates organizing bus caravans to bring backers to the event. In the past the turnout has ranged from 14,000 to 23,000.

Free hamburgers and ice cream were provided and some candidates even paid the $30 entry fee for their supporters to vote in the Iowa Republican Straw Poll.

Sunday morning, it was the ultra-conservative Tea Party favourite Michele Bachmann who was doing the rounds of the talkshow studios on the big television networks, while the former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a poor third, became the first hopeful to announce he was dropping out of the race.

 

For Michele Bachmann, who won 28% of votes cast, it was the latest success in a rapid rise from local politics to Republican frontrunner.

 

As the result emerged late on Saturday, Bachmann, standing on the steps of her campaign bus, shouted what has become her slogan, just as “hope and change” was for Obama.

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“You have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one … term … president.”

 

“I think what people see in me is I’m a real person, I’m authentic,” she said.

 

Michele Bachmann compared herself to Ronald Reagan, who is saw as one of the party’s giants by Republicans, in being guided by a core set of principles.

 

“I don’t compromise my core principles. That’s how you lead, you lead from principles.”

 

Bachmann’s weekend victory provides important momentum for her campaign and can expect an influx of financial support, but the bigger question for Republicans is whether her appeal can be broad enough to seduce enough voters in the November 2012 presidential election. Although there are eight declared candidates, realistically only three are still in the race: Michele Bachmann, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the Texas Governor Rick Perry, who announced his candidacy on Saturday.

Although Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll, her vote is soft, with many still undecided.

Sue Matejka, 65, reflects the fluidity of Iowa Republicans. She travelled the three hours from her home in Olin, Iowa, to Ames for the Straw Poll in a bus paid for by Tim Pawlenty but, despite accepting his largesse, had no qualms about voting for Michele Bachmann.

“I am undecided,” she said. For her, the overriding imperative is a candidate who will unseat Barack Obama.

“It is between Bachmann and Perry. I haven’t heard enough about Perry. What is on paper looks good. What he has done for Texans is good,” she added.

Michele Bachmann has risen fast since being elected to Congress in 2006. She has made the most of frequent appearances on television, particularly Fox News, where she is a favourite because of her ultra-conservative views.

She is one of the most high-profile figures, along with Sarah Palin, in the Tea Party movement. In line with Tea Party principles, she adopted a hardline position during the debt crisis, saying she would not vote for raising the national debt ceiling and on Sunday repeated her view that deep cuts in federal spending were vital.

But it is her views on social issues that helped secure her win in Iowa, one of the most socially conservative states in the country outside of the south. Before joining Congress, she prayed outside abortion clinics.

 

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Michele Bachmann is also one of the most outspoken critics of homosexuality, co-owning with her husband, Marcus, a clinic in Minnesota where, according to an ABC report by an undercover team, counsellors encourage gay people to pray to get rid of homosexual urges.

 

“It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It’s anything but gay,” she said in a speech in 2004.

While such views on social issues go down well in Iowa, Republicans know such statements will alienate many of the independent voters who decide elections nationwide.

Bachmann’s biggest problem is the entry into the race of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is a strong candidate. While Perry holds many of the same views as Bachmann on social issues, he said that while he is opposed to same-sex marriage in Texas, he thinks it is fine for New York, saying that is the prerogative of each state to decide. As governor of a state with the best record of job growth in the country, Rick Perry is better placed than Michele Bachmann to take on Barak Obama on the economy. Michele Bachmann acknowledged she cannot win on social issues alone and shifted the emphasis in her round of television interviews on Sunday to the economy.

“It will be an economics election.”

 

Rick Perry, who announced his candidacy earlier Saturday, came in 6th place with 3.6% of the vote, ahead of GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, all of whom didn’t compete in the contest.

The poll results are nonbinding, amount to a popularity contest and offer candidates a chance to test their get-out-the-vote organizations.

Michele Bachmann’s victory may provide a road map for the Iowa campaign heading into the caucuses that are just four months away. But the straw poll has a mixed record of predicting the winner of that contest.

In 2008, Romney won the straw poll, but the big news was the surprising second-place showing of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses, but dropped from the race soon after. McCain, who eventually won the nomination, didn’t compete in the straw poll and finished in 10th place.

Meanwhile, Barak Obama, dropping in the polls and aware of the boost Republicans received from four days of campaign events in Iowa that attracted 700 journalists, heads off on Monday on a three days bus tour of the mid-west, including Iowa. A CNN poll last week put Obama on 47%, down from 52% in January. The White House election is 16 months away but he has a lot of ground to make up.