Welcome to the American Revolution II

Welcome to the American Revolution II
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
"We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method..." and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex... The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

President Obama left Taxpayers With Hefty Tab

President Obama has the star power to raise millions of dollars for the candidates and organizations he graces with his stump speech.

But when the president hit the road Tuesday for a two-day fundraising tour to pack the party coffers, he also was racking up a $265,000 partisan bill for just one leg of the trip, according to a watchdog group -- part of which taxpayers, regardless of party affiliation, will have to pay.

Obama started out in Las Vegas, where he stumped that night for state Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. On Wednesday night he was to attend a two-tiered donor dinner for the Democratic Party in Los Angeles.

But sandwiched between political appearances, Obama squeezed in some quick public remarks on energy, ironically before burning fuel to Los Angeles, at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base. It was a key stop, because it gives the entire trip an air of official legitimacy and allows the White House to write off part of the trip under rules governing travel, said Pete Sepp, vice president for policy and communications at the National Taxpayers Union.

"You've got to have some official (business) in the trip somewhere. It becomes almost a game to find some official function to hang the trip on," Sepp said.

The rest, though, is all politics. And, if history is any gauge, the American taxpayer will pick up a large portion of the tab.

Sepp estimated that the purely political part of the trip -- the distance from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and back, with no public events -- would cost at least $265,000, just for air travel expenses.

He said the minimum domestic travel package for the president consists of one Boeing 747, which serves as Air Force One, one back-up dummy plane, frequently a Boeing 707, and one C17 cargo plane. The cost estimate is based on past hourly operational costs for the three aircraft, adjusted for inflation.

White House travel rules, which were developed under the Reagan administration, state that the Air Force pays all costs for the use of the aircraft, but that the government must be reimbursed for airfare, food, lodging and other expenses incurred during whatever portion of the trip is political.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the Democratic National Committee is paying its share for this trip.

"The DNC is paying 100 percent of the legally mandated costs for the trip from Nevada to California, and we are complying fully with all legal requirements," Vietor wrote in an e-mail to FOXNews.com.

But reimbursement for political activities involves a tricky formula, and actual reimbursements typically come nowhere close to compensating the government for the cost of such trips. Secret Service costs, for one, are always footed by the government.

A 2006 report for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that during 2002, political campaigns reimbursed the federal government for $198,000 of the $6.5 million in flight expenses racked up by campaign-related stops made by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. That's 3 percent of the total cost.

Taxpayers paid the remaining $6.3 million.

"The president and vice president can legally participate in campaign and fundraising events for candidates," the report said. "But when they do so, the taxpayer bears most of the cost."

That Obama is raising funds while in office is hardly unusual. Both Bush and Bill Clinton made similar political trips in their presidencies.

Watchdog groups don't suggest that the president shouldn't travel, or even that the president should not travel to political events. Rather, they say the White House should be more forthcoming with its travel expenses and details and establish a more equitable reimbursement program.

"You can't keep the president from traveling. That's what he does. ... No one would suggest he not travel," said Leslie Paige, media director for Citizens Against Government Waste. "What is most important for taxpayers is how much is it costing for this stuff."

"Having more realistic reimbursement rules for political legs of these trips would be quite helpful," Sepp said.

Paige said more transparency is needed, noting it's "very hard" to pry the full costs of these trips from any administration.

The DNC did not respond to a request for comment; Sepp said any DNC reimbursement for Obama's trip this week would be minimal.

 Caesars Palace, Barack Obama Courtesy: Caesars Palace ; AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—unless you're the President of the United States.

I just got the scoop on Pres. Obama's overnight in Sin City.

Where did he stay? What did he eat? What celebs was he hanging with? Read on for all the details!

Obama checked into Caesars Palace at about 5 p.m. yesterday. He is said to have ordered a steak from the hotel's Neros restaurant. Then it was off to a fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Harry Reid's re-election campaign and the Nevada Democratic Party.

I'm told Obama met backstage with comedian Rita Rudner and Bette Midler, who had performed during the gala. The Divine Miss M presented the president with two ukuleles for the First Daughters, Sasha and Malia.

He spent the night in a 22,000-square-foot suite, which features four bedrooms, six bathrooms, at least two formal living rooms, a dining room and butler's quarters. Oh, and there's a private pool out on the patio!

Obama hit the Qua Baths and Spa 8:30 a.m. this morning for a 45-minute run on a treadmill, according to a source.

"The spa was closed down just for him," the source said.

How long does it take to secure a place like Caesars for the Commander-In-Chief? About a week. I'm told Secret Service first arrived last Tuesday.

After Vegas, it was off to Hollywood. The president headlines a fundraiser tonight for the Democratic Party at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

Obama says stimulus bill is working

JOHN LOCHER/GETTY IMAGES President Obama at a Las Vegas solar power site yesterday with Colonel Howard Belote and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. JOHN LOCHER/GETTY IMAGES President Obama at a Las Vegas solar power site yesterday with Colonel Howard Belote and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (John Locher/Getty Images)
Associated Press / May 28, 2009

President Obama refocused on the economy yesterday, asserting that at its 100-day mark, his $787 billion stimulus bill is already paying dividends, and that the economy is showing some promise.

The White House said that more than $112 billion has been spent or pledged, and that more than 150,000 jobs have been created or saved.

"One hundred days ago, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in half a century, we passed the most sweeping economic recovery act in history - a plan designed to save jobs, create new ones, and put money in people's pockets," Obama said on a two-day western swing that was bracketed by big-dollar Democratic fund-raisers Tuesday night in Las Vegas and last night in Los Angeles. "And 100 days later, we're already seeing results."

Obama vowed the stimulus would save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs over the next two years when he pushed it through Congress in February.

Republicans, who fought hard to block the stimulus bill, asserted that it was not having the intended effect, and that billions of dollars were being wasted. House GOP leader John Boehner's office accused Obama of "pulling out all the stops to put a positive spin on the legislation."

Obama seeks to review how secrets are classified
WASHINGTON - President Obama yesterday ordered a review of how the nation keeps and classifies its secrets and instructed his top administration officials to lean toward disclosure when they can.

Obama said he didn't want to keep documents secret without a clear national security-based reason.

"While the government must be able to prevent the public disclosure of information where such disclosure would compromise the privacy of American citizens, national security, or other legitimate interests, a democratic government accountable to the people must be as transparent as possible and must not withhold information for self-serving reasons or simply to avoid embarrassment," Obama said in a memo released from the White House.

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