Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition presidential forum – tonight at 8 ET

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Update – 8:10 PM: The potential candidates will actually start speaking closer to 8:15.

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Might want to watch it if you can – five potential contenders for the GOP nomination for President will be speaking:

WAUKEE, Iowa — For the first time this year, five potential presidential candidates are sharing a stage in the metro area. It’s an unofficial kickoff to the 2012 Iowa Caucus season.

[…]

Who’s Who?

Herman Cain from Georgia. He is the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. He’s also a Tea Party favorite and one of the few to already form an exploratory committee.

Newt Gingrich is also from Georgia and the former U.S. speaker of the House. He made headlines last week when he announced that he created a fundraising committee in order to explore a run at the White House.

Tim Pawlenty is the former governor of Minnesota. He’s been in Iowa quite a bit and has enlisted the help of several Iowans already, but he has not taken the official step of forming an exploratory committee.

Buddy Roemer is the former governor of Louisiana who just last week announced that he had launched an exploratory committee for a run at the Republican nomination.

Rick Santorum is a former Senator from Pennsylvania and father of seven. He’s starting to spend quite a bit of time in both Iowa and New Hampshire. He said last month that fundraising and the impact on his family would be significant factors in whether or not he would choose to run.

The USA Today has more:

The event at the Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa, is one of the first multi-candidate forums of the 2012 presidential campaign.

[…]

The Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, which bills itself as the “largest and most influential group in Iowa politics,” is giving the candidates 10 minutes each to “make a pitch and present their vision.”

It will be broadcast on C-SPAN.  Blogger Duane Lester will also be livestreaming the forum at this link.  He’s also got some pictures from Waukee, including the stage set-up.

Stay tuned …

Reality bites: Obama administration prepares to resume BAU at Gitmo

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Right on the heels of the Politico story I wrote about earlier in which we learned that this administration was taking a more aggressive approach than past administrations when it comes to prosecuting so-called “whistleblowers” who leak information to the press that could jeopardize our national security comes this story on the “restarting” of Gitmo Bay from the Washington Post:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama approved Monday the resumption of military trials for detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ending a two-year ban.

It was the latest acknowledgement that the detention facility Obama had vowed to shut down within a year of taking office will remain open for some time to come. But even while announcing a resumption of military commission trials, Obama reaffirmed his support for trying terror suspects in U.S. federal courts – something that’s met vehement resistance on Capitol Hill.

“I strongly believe that the American system of justice is a key part of our arsenal in the war against al-Qaida and its affiliates, and we will continue to draw on all aspects of our justice system – including Article III courts – to ensure that our security and our values are strengthened,” the president said in a statement.

The White House also reiterated that the administration remains committed to eventually closing Guantanamo Bay, though Monday’s actions didn’t seem to bring that outcome any closer.

Under Obama’s order, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will rescind his January 2009 ban against bringing new cases against the terror suspects at the detention facility.

[…]

Closure of the facility has become untenable because of questions about where terror suspects would be held. Lawmakers object to their transfer to U.S. federal courts, and Gates recently told lawmakers that it has become very difficult to release detainees to other countries because Congress has made that process more complicated.

And, as a friendly reminder, it’s not just Republican lawmakers who are opposed to bringing Gitmo’s most dangerous onto US soil to face “civilian trials.”

Former Congressman/ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), one of the more outspoken critics of President Obama’s counterterrorism approach, wrote earlier at National Review Online:

It is amazing. After 16 months of review we end up at essentially the same place we started. After years of harshly criticizing President Bush, President Obama now continues his policies. The least he could do is say “I’m sorry” or “Thank you.”

How about just a good ol’ fashioned, “I was wrong”?

I know. Cold day in hell.

Workers matter to Obama. Union workers, that is…

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**Posted by Phineas

And if you’re not in a union? Then you can expect a kick in the backside, instead of a pat on the back. It seems that while reorganizing General Motors, Treasury Secretary (and tax cheat) Timothy Geithner protected the benefits and pensions of union workers while gutting those of non-union employees:

Republican Reps. Mike Turner of Ohio and Dan Burton of Indiana are asking House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, to dig into the Obama administration’s decision to cut more than 20,000 private-sector workers’ pensions and eliminate their health and life insurance plans during the General Motors (GM) bailout in 2009.

A spokesman for Issa’s committee told The Daily Caller the committee “remains interested” and is “looking forward” to findings from an ongoing Government Accountability Office investigation, which is expected to come out within the next couple of months. What Turner and Burton are saying happened during the GM bailout is that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner decided to cut pensions for salaried non-union employees at Delphi, a GM spinoff, to expedite GM’s emergence from bankruptcy. The problem with that, according to the congressmen, is that Geithner decided to fully fund the pensions of union workers involved in the process – including workers associated with United Auto Workers, Steelworkers and the IUE-CWA.

“This is a terrible injustice. This is a political decision, not a legal or financial decision,” Turner said in a phone interview with TheDC. “There were people who were penalized and people were chosen as winners and losers. The White House, the administration and the Auto Task Force (ATF) decided who were going to receive their pensions and who were not.”

Bear in mind that this wasn’t some sharing of the burden, no spreading the pain around (rather than the wealth). The Delphi employees saw their pensions savaged while union workers had theirs made whole — at taxpayer expense.

Further on in the article, it becomes clear that the complaint of the Delphi employees (at least those interviewed) is that they didn’t share in the largesse. While I can sympathize, to have bailed them out, too, would have been wrong. What should have happened is a GM bankruptcy that would have cleared existing contracts and brought in new management to try to restore the company to health. Yes, it would have been more painful short-term for everyone, but much better for the regional and the American economies in the long run than the current zombie corporation, which exists only as an appendage of the government.

(Oh, and bondholders wouldn’t have been strong-armed out of their rights, either.)

That said, this picking of winners and losers is another illustration of who the administration thinks its real constituents are.

Just look for the union label.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)