Dec. 2: Galveston County Daily News:
Next Saturday is the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. It happened in a time when our nation was isolationist and neglected to maintain a strong military. The Japanese figured, “If we knock out the U.S. main battle fleet at Pearl then we can expand our influence in the Pacific unimpeded.” What they did not factor in is what Admiral Yamamoto said when he discovered the U.S. aircraft carriers were not in port “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant!”
But, there are lessons for us in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Today, just like before the attack on Pearl Harbor, we see a reduction in our armed forces. The Army has, and is planning, to muster out as many as 80,000 troops. The Navy has cut back on ship construction. The Air Force has reduced training and grounded some air wings for periods of time due to funding reductions. The Congress should take steps to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities such as fully funding our national defense and the Defense Authorization Act (HR 1960).
Nov. 30: The Hill: U.S. to airlines: Obey China new air defense zone
[Editor’s Note: What if China said the area between Hawaii and the West Coast of the U.S. is now part of their new “Air Defense Zone,” would the U.S. government tell its airlines to obey Chinese demands? What did we do when the Soviet Union tried to cut off access to West Berlin? And now the Obama Administration is conceding to unreasonable foreign demands! Story follows:]
The U.S. government is asking American airlines to follow China’s rules regarding its newly-declared air defense zone. On Nov. 23, China declared airspace off the coast of China as the country’s “Air Defense Identification Zone.” The country asked that it be notified when flights are to pass through the airspace.
During a Wednesday press briefing, a State Department spokesperson said U.S. airlines are expected to comply with rules issued by foreign governments. The U.S. “remain[s] deeply concerned by China's November 23 declaration” of the airspace, the spokesperson said, but “generally expects that U.S. carriers operating internationally will operate consistent with NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen) issued by foreign countries.” The fact that the U.S. government expects airlines to comply with the rules “does not indicate U.S. government acceptance of China's requirements for operating in the newly declared ADIZ,” the spokesperson said. [Really? Then why make such an announcement. Instead, wouldn’t it be better to leave decisions like this to the individual airlines without telling them to do so and giving credence to the Chinese demands?]
Nov. 27: Roll Call: Triage for HealthCare: Administration punts on Small Business Exchanges
Sometimes to save the patient, you have to chop off a limb. The Obama administration is doing just that with the underperfoming HealthCare.gov website, announcing Wednesday that it would give up on opening the exchange for small businesses for another year and would rely on direct enrollment through insurance companies and brokers instead. “This allows small employers to sign up for coverage through offline enrollment while [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] works on creating a smoothly functioning online experience in the SHOP Marketplace,” an official at the Department of Health and Human Services said.
Nov. 27: WND.com: Boy with Cancer loses coverage under ObamaCare… can’t help him unless he is pregnant or an illegal
Hunter Alford is the happy kid next door with a big grin who idolizes country music star Blake Shelton. But he was also born with a rare form of cancer and lost his health insurance just after Obamacare went into effect. Americans were told the health-care law was designed to help children just like Hunter, born with a deadly pre-existing condition and little means to pay for expensive treatments.
Nov. 27: The Hill: Latest small-business delay another blow to troubled ObamaCare rollout
The White House is delaying the launch of its online small-business exchange by one year, a Health and Human Services (HHS) official confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday. The delay is another setback for the troubled enrollment process of President Obama's signature healthcare law. Companies with fewer than 50 employees were slated to begin buying coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), an online ObamaCare exchange, this month. The exchange’s delay means small businesses will instead have to seek out coverage through an agent or broker.
Nov. 26: Breitbart.com: Supreme Court to take a second look at ObamaCare:
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to referee another dispute over President Barack Obama's health care law, whether businesses can use religious objections to escape a requirement to cover birth control for employees. The justices said they will take up an issue that has divided the lower courts in the face of roughly 40 lawsuits from for-profit companies asking to be spared from having to cover some or all forms of contraception. The court will consider two cases. One involves Hobby Lobby Inc., an Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts chain with 13,000 full-time employees. Hobby Lobby won in the lower courts. The other case is an appeal from Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a Pennsylvania company that employs 950 people in making wood cabinets. Lower courts rejected the company's claims.
Nov. 26: Roll Call: Treasury and IRS rules target political nonprofits
Politically active tax-exempt groups, which spent tens of millions in the previous election without disclosing their donors, would face tighter restrictions under new guidelines proposed Tuesday by the Treasury Department and the IRS. The initial guidance, outlined in a Tuesday release and slated to be published shortly in the Federal Register, spells out that “candidate-related political activity” may not be defined as promoting the social welfare. The guidance defines such activity to include messages that picture or name a candidate on the eve of an election, potentially restricting the widespread use of campaign-style ads that evade disclosure as so-called issue ads by 501(c)4 social welfare groups.
Nov. 26: Breitbart.com: Former hostages from Iran during Carter years react to the Iran Nuclear Deal:
A nuclear deal between the U.S., Iran and other world powers has been described as a trust-building step after decades of animosity that hopefully will lead to a more comprehensive deal down the road. But for many of the Americans who were held hostage at the start of the Iranian revolution, trusting the regime in Tehran feels like a mistake. "It's kind of like Jimmy Carter all over again," said Clair Cortland Barnes, now retired and living in Leland, N.C., after a career at the CIA and elsewhere. He sees the negotiations now as no more effective than they were in 1979 and 1980, when he and others languished, facing mock executions and other torments.
The hostage crisis began in November 1979 when militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran and seized its occupants. In all, 66 were taken hostage. Thirteen were released less than three weeks later in 1979; one was released in July 1980; the remaining 52 were released Jan. 20, 1981. [One of these hostages lived in our neighborhood near Washington, DC and all the neighbors turned out to celebrate his return!] Retired Air Force Col. Thomas E. Schaefer, 83, called the deal "foolishness." "My personal view is, I never found an Iranian leader I can trust," he said. "I don't think today it's any different from when I was there. None of them, I think, can be trusted. Why make an agreement with people you can't trust?"
The weekend agreement between Iran and six world powers _ the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany _ is to temporarily halt parts of Tehran's disputed nuclear program and allow for more intrusive international monitoring of Iran's facilities. In exchange, Iran gains some modest relief from stiff economic sanctions and a pledge from Obama that no new penalties will be levied during the six months
Nov. 26: New York Times: U.S. B-52s fly into China’s so-called expanded air space
Two long-range American bombers have conducted what Pentagon officials described Tuesday as a routine training mission through airspace recently claimed by China as its “air defense identification zone.” The Chinese government said Saturday that it had the right to identify, monitor and possibly take military action against aircraft that enter the area, which includes sea and islands also claimed by Japan. The claim threatens to escalate an already tense dispute over some of the maritime territory.
American officials said the pair of B-52s carried out a mission that had been planned long in advance of the Chinese announcement last weekend, and that the United States military would continue to assert its right to fly through what it regards as international airspace. Pentagon officials said the two bombers made a round-trip flight from Guam, passing through a zone that covers sea and islands that are the subject of a sovereignty dispute between Japan and China. Officials said there had been no Chinese response to the bomber run.
The Obama administration has become increasingly worried by the tense standoff over the islands, which could drag the United States into a conflict. By treaty, the United States is obligated to defend Japan if it is attacked. The islands – located north east of Formosa and about 200 miles directly west of Naha, Okinawa -- called the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, are currently administered by the Japanese, who consider the airspace above the islands to be theirs as well.
Nov. 26: The Washington Times:
Obama’s call to close Vatican embassy is slap in the face to Roman Catholics
The Obama administration, in what’s been called an egregious slap in the face to the Vatican, has moved to shut down the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See — a free-standing facility — and relocate offices onto the grounds of the larger American Embassy in Italy. The new offices will be in a separate building on the property, Breitbart reported. And while U.S. officials are touting the relocation as a security measure that’s a cautionary reaction to last year’s attacks on America’s facility in Benghazi, several former American envoys are raising the red flag.
It’s a “massive downgrade of U.S.-Vatican ties,” said former U.S. Ambassador James Nicholson in the National Catholic Reporter. “It’s turning this embassy into a stepchild of the embassy to Italy. The Holy See is a pivot point for international affairs and a major listening post for the United States, and … [it’s] an insult to American Catholics and to the Vatican.” Nicholson called the justification for closing the existing facility a “smokescreen,” Breitbart reported. “That’s like saying people get killed on highways because they drive cars on them,” he said in the report. “We’re not a pauper nation … if we want to secure an embassy, we certainly can.” Moreover, the existing facility has “state of the art” security, he said.
Nov. 25: The Daily Caller:
Krauthammer: The U.S.-Iran Nuclear Agreement is the worst since Munich:
On Monday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer condemned reports on the deal reached by the United States and its allies with Iran to stymie Iran’s nuclear ambitions. According to Krauthammer, this agreement gives cover for Iran’s desire for nuclear capabilities, which in turn could undermine the “dam” holding back the spread of nuclear proliferation.
“It’s really hard to watch the president and secretary of state and not think how they cannot be embarrassed by this deal. Think about this, for half a dozen times, the Security Council has passed resolutions which said Iran has to stop all enrichment. Otherwise, there will be no change in the sanctions. No relief. Which means six times China and Russia, not exactly hardliners on Iran, have signed onto this. And what is the result of this agreement? Iran retains the right to enrich. It continues to enrich during the six months. It is promised a final deal in which we’re going to work out the details of its enrichment. And remember, enrichment is the dam against all proliferation. Once a country anywhere can start to enrich, there is no containing its nuclear capacity. So it undermines the entire idea of non-proliferation and it grants Iran a right it’s been lusting for, for a decade. That’s why there was so much jubilation in Tehran over this.”
Nov. 25: The Galveston County Daily News
Hardship can bring an attitude of gratitude - the Mayflower Story:
The pilgrims faced many trials but even in the midst of them they continued to give thanks to the Lord, trusting that He would bring them through it all. In the spring of 1623, Governor William Bradford noted that the community was suffering from unwillingness to work, confusion, discontent, a loss of mutual respect, a sense of slavery, and injustice“ and this among “godly and sober men.” As a result Bradford started granting private ownership of property hoping this would provide some relief from their continuing struggles. Every family was to maintain their own storehouse and trade with their neighbors for what they lacked. The result was an incentive to work and to provide for individual needs. There was a direct link created between the level of effort exerted and the reward thereto. Bradford reinstituted one of the basic principles of freedom!
Nov. 25: Fox News: CIA personnel testify they were on alert over the anniversary of 9/11 in Benghazi
Personnel working at the CIA annex in Benghazi were well aware that the 9/11 anniversary last year could be a flashpoint, according to recent testimony, and a notice was even posted on a bulletin board at the annex warning of potentially increased hostilities against western targets during that period. The new details emerged during recent closed-door briefings by CIA personnel including former contractors, according to those familiar with the testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
Nov. 25: The Hill: Admin. Says Healthcare Website will not be perfect on December 1st
Obama administration officials said Monday that some visitors to HealthCare.gov will experience outages, slow response times or try-again-later messages in December. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) delivered the message in the latest attempt to downplay expectations for Nov. 30, the administration’s self-imposed deadline for fixing ObamaCare’s federal enrollment site. CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said errors that persist past this weekend would be “intermittent” and, in line with a promise made by the White House, would not affect the vast majority of the site’s users.
Nov. 25: Fox News: ObamaCare policies with sky-high premiums on smokers could backfire:
ObamaCare may have backfired in its goal of making smoking so expensive that users quit, public health experts say, as sky-high insurance premiums force smokers to drop coverage altogether and lose smoking cessation programs along with it. "Tobacco surcharges are not proven to help tobacco users quit and there are major concerns that they will prevent people from getting health care coverage," the American Lung Association's Jennifer Singleterry said.
Nov. 25: The Hill: Obama “Fix” Could mean weaken heath care exchanges and higher costs:
The Obama administration is conceding that its decision to allow people to keep insurance policies that would otherwise be canceled under the Affordable Care Act could weaken federal health exchanges. Hundreds of pages of regulations made public Monday contain an acknowledgment that the decision, announced amid fierce criticism over canceled policies, would mean fewer healthy people would buy healthcare through the exchanges. Healthy participants are a critical component to the success of the exchanges, because they offset the costs associated with consumers considered to carry a higher risk.
Nov. 25: Fox News: Administration launches program to let users circumvent healthcare.gov
Trouble with the HealthCare.gov site appears to be so widespread that the Obama administration has opened the door for Americans to circumvent the site altogether. Under a plan announced Friday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government would allow people to deal directly with insurance companies instead of through the federally run exchange website. The move comes as the administration's self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline for fixing the site is just days away, and officials acknowledge it may not be fully operational by then.
Nov. 25: The Hill: Poll: Public happier with their own healthcare than ObamaCare
People in the United States view their own healthcare far more favorably than the national system, according to a new poll. In its annual healthcare survey, Gallup found that people tend to rate their own healthcare coverage more highly than they rate the quality of care in the United States. Sixty-nine percent of people rate their personal health insurance as excellent or good, while only 32 percent view the nation's as highly, according to the Nov. 7-10 poll.
Nov. 25: UK Telegraph:
Saudi Arabia not happy with Iran Nuke Agreement; Kept in dark by U.S.; may strike out on its own
A senior advisor to the Saudi royal family has accused its Western allies of deceiving the oil rich kingdom in striking the nuclear accord with Iran and said Riyadh would follow an independent foreign policy. Nawaf Obaid told a think tank meeting in London that Saudi Arabia was determined to pursue its own foreign and policy goals. Having in the past been reactive to events, the leading Sunni Muslim nation was determined to be pro-active in future.
Mr Obaid said that while Saudi Arabia knew that the US was talking directly to Iran through a channel in the Gulf state of Oman, Washington had not directly briefed its ally. "We were lied to, things were hidden from us," he said. "The problem is not with the deal struck in Geneva but how it was done." In a statement the Saudi government warned that a comprehensive solution should lead to the "removal of all weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear, from the Middle East and the Gulf".
A fellow of Harvard University's Belfer Centre and adviser to Prince Mohammad, the Saudi ambassador to London, Mr Obaid said Saudi Arabia would continue to resist Iranian involvement in the Syrian civil war. In particular he pointed to Iranian Revolutionary Guards involvement in battles in Syria on behalf of the regime.
Nov. 24: Yahoo News: Israel blasts Iran and US for Nuclear Arms “Historic Mistake”
Israel on Sunday lashed out at the Geneva nuclear deal brokered by world powers as being heavily stacked in Iran's favor, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it a "historic mistake." Following a months-long diplomatic campaign warning of the dangers of easing economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for steps to curb its contested nuclear program, senior cabinet ministers chimed in, with one saying Israel reserved the right to strike Iran on its own. Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that "what was achieved yesterday in Geneva is not a historic agreement but rather a historic mistake."
Speaking later at a ceremony in Jerusalem, he said that the more details emerged on the deal, "the more it becomes clear how bad the deal is for Israel, the region and the world." "Iran gets billions of dollars in sanction relief without paying an actual price," said Netanyahu. "Iran gets written permission to breach UN Security Council" resolutions. According to Netanyahu, the agreement "rescues Iran from a significant part of the pressure it was under, while giving it international legitimacy to continue its nuclear programe. This is a bad deal."
Nov. 24: The Daily Caller: Is it all a mirage? President makes prime time speech to a couple of White House Officials!
President Barack Obama used a seven-minute late-night TV speech to maximize the PR impact of his nuclear deal with Iran’s Islamist theocracy. Throughout the speech, the president repeatedly swiveled his head as if he were addressing a large audience. But there were only a few officials in the White House’s formal State Room as he read the speech from two teleprompters positioned to his left and right, according to the pool reporter.
“Good evening. Today, [swivel] the United States — together with our close [swivel] allies and partners — took an important [swivel] first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses [swivel] our concerns with [swivel] the Islamic Republic of Iran’s [swivel] nuclear program,” he declared.
According to the pool report, “In the room as the president spoke: Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic Communications and speechwriting, and several NSC staff members.”
Nov. 23: The Daily Caller: Democrats should have taken the ObamaCare Delay Deal when they had the opportunity:
Congressman Raul Labrador isn’t unrepentant for the Republicans’ role in the fight over Obamacare that led to a government shutdown by Senate Democrats and the White House — especially since the White House has unilaterally delayed multiple portions of the law since its implementation. “There wasn’t a single Republican that wanted to shut down the government,” Labrador said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller. ”We all knew that on October first there was a new healthcare law that was going to impact every American and that was the only opportunity we had to do a fight on Obamacare.” Labrador said Democrats fought so savagely against GOP proposals only to clamor for the very same changes that the GOP was requesting as soon as President Obama’s signature piece of legislation went into a tailspin.
Nov. 23 : The Daily Caller: George Will calls Obamacare and Nuclear Option “cynical lawlessness”
On Friday’s “The Kelly File” on the Fox News Channel, Washington Post columnist George Will explained that Obamacare’s collapse, from its disastrous rollout to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s launch of the nuclear option, helps to fulfill the so-called “progressive dream.” Will also said it seems as “…the president continues to waive this and suspend that and exercise what he calls enforcement discretion, the American people are beginning to feel that the law is in constant flux. And if the law is in constant flux like by the way the rules of the Senate, there is no law just as there are no more rules in the Senate anymore.”
Nov. 22: Burlington Free Press: State confirms healthcare Website security breach”
Officials overseeing the Vermont Health Connect website confirmed Friday there was a security breach on the system last month in which one user got improper access to another user’s Social Security number and other data. A report from state to federal officials overseeing the health insurance exchanges set up under ObamaCare said a consumer reported the incident with the Vermont Health Connect website on Oct. 17. The consumer, whom officials would not identify, reported that he received in the mail — from an unnamed sender — a copy of his own application for insurance under the state exchange. “On the back of the envelope was hand-written ‘VERMONT HEALTH CONNECT IS NOT A SECURE WEBSITE!’ This was also (written) on the back of the last page of the printed out application,” said the incident report.
Nov. 22: The Weekly Standard: Senator Franken: We may need to delay ObamaCare!
Minnesota senator Al Franken, a Democrat, opened the door to a delay of the Obamacare individual mandate in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio. Senator Franken says he would be open to a brief delay in the individual mandate if the problems with HealthCare.gov aren't fixed by the end of the month, according to Minnesota Public Radio. “I think then we have to consider extending the deadline for the mandate, but let’s hope that doesn't happen," Franken told MPR. Franken has so far been relatively quiet about potential changes to the health-care law, but he now joins a growing group of Senate Democrats in seats that could be targeted by the GOP in 2014 who are speaking up on the issue.
Nov. 21: CBS News – Pittsburgh: Diocese Wins Delay against ObamaCare
A federal judge in western Pennsylvania says Catholic groups don’t immediately have to comply with mandates in the federal health care overhaul law. The Diocese is challenging its participation in the health care program because it would be required to provide its employees with contraceptives. There were strong words earlier this month from Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese leader Bishop David Zubik as he testified in federal court on the issue. He told the court: “The issue with the services in the mandate is that they either go against preservation of human life or involve the actual taking of human life.” Churches are exempt from the mandate, but charitable organizations, including Pittsburgh Catholic Charities, were not.
Nov. 21: Fox News: Democrat-controlled Senate detonates the “Nuclear Option” which may come back to bite them.
President Obama, openly expressing his frustration with Senate Republicans, applauded Majority Leader Harry Reid's success Thursday at invoking the so-called "nuclear option" as Democrats voted to strip the minority party of its primary power to block nominations -- the filibuster. But Republicans and even some Democrats warned that the Senate may have just opened a Pandora's box -- and with little debate, approved a change that could haunt the chamber for years to come. "This was nothing more than a power grab," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
In a rapid-fire set of developments on Thursday, the Senate narrowly approved a rule change that would limit the ability of the minority party to block key presidential appointments. Instead of needing 60 votes to break a filibuster, Democrats will now need only 51. Judicial nomination statistics show that Obama has a confirmation percentage of 76 percent -- though majority leaders have had to try to break a filibuster far more in the last five years than in recent decades.
Following the vote Thursday, even some Democrats emerged as tough critics of the decision. Reid used what is known in Senate slang as the "nuclear option." To change Senate rules of this kind, it typically takes 67 votes. But Reid used a highly controversial shortcut and did it with just 51 votes.
Retiring Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., a prominent and influential moderate, put out a 2,300-word statement explaining in great detail why Reid's action Thursday could cause lasting damage. "Changing the rules, in violation of the rules, by a simple majority vote is not a one-time action," he warned. "If a Senate majority demonstrates it can make such a change once, there are no rules that bind a majority, and all future majorities will feel free to exercise the same power, not just on judges and executive appointments but on legislation." Levin argued that the move opened the floodgates for the majority to change important rules on a whim going forward.
Nov. 21: The Hill: Cruz: Democrats want to pack court with judges to protect ObamaCare:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Senate’s leading critic of ObamaCare, denounced a vote Thursday to prohibit filibusters against appellate court nominees as a scheme to save the health law. “The heart of this action is directed at packing the D.C. Circuit because that is the court that will review the lawless behavior of the Obama administration implementing ObamaCare,” he said. “President Obama and the administration refuse to follow the plain text of the law and the D.C. Circuit is the court of appeals that has been holding the administration accountable."
Cruz said the rules change, which passed Thursday with only 50 Democratic votes, “was designed to pack that court with judges that they believe will be a rubber stamp.” The vote to pass the rules change was 52-48, with the two Independent Sens. Angus King (ME) and Bernie sanders (VT) voting with the Democrats and three Democrats voting against the change.
Nov. 21: Politico: Reid’s actions now raises the stakes in Senate races for 2014:
Elections, as the saying goes, have consequences. And Thursday’s historic vote in the Senate to obliterate the filibuster for most presidential nominees makes Election 2014 that much more consequential. With only 51 Senate votes – a simple majority – now needed to clear presidential nominees for cabinet posts and federal judges, the power of the majority has been significantly enhanced. “There’s no question it’s going to make things more intense” in next year’s races, said Trent Lott, a former Mississippi senator and majority leader.
And while Democrats who’ve been encouraging Reid for years to push the nuclear button rejoiced, many of them acknowledged that it would increase the pressure on the party to retain its majority. “Now that Senate Democrats have made this decision, it’s absolutely critical that we keep control of the Senate after the 2014 election,” said Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “What happened today reinforced the stakes that are at play.”
Nov. 21: Politico: Krauthammer: The GOP will return the favor! The Nuclear Option
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer isn’t sad over the Senate rules change invoked by Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday. In fact, he’s absolutely gleeful. “I am extremely happy the Democrats are doing this because they are likely to lose the majority in the coming years,” he said on Fox News on Thursday. “The Republicans will return the favor in spades in the future.”
Krauthammer explained that beyond the immediate win for Democrats on pushing through nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the long-term ramifications of the rules change could benefit Republicans. “The prospects are very strong that the Democrats will lose the Senate next year and there is an excellent chance of [them] losing the White House,” he said. “When Republicans come into you power, they’re going to include Supreme Court nominees.” “That will be a devastating blow to the liberals on the court and to the liberals in the country. So I don’t think testimonies will remember this day with any joy in the near future.”
Nov. 20: Fox News: State employees at Benghazi knew they were in a death trap and made distress calls for help:
State Department employees at the Benghazi compound knew they were in a death trap and made a series of radio distress calls to the CIA annex during the terror assault last year, according to congressional sources familiar with recent testimony on the attack from five CIA personnel. Sources told Fox News that the radio calls, which were described in closed testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, were characterized as almost frantic, with State Department employees who knew they could not defend themselves "pleading" for their lives.
Nov. 20: The Daily Caller: Congress takes up probe into bogus unemployment data:
The House Oversight Committee has joined an investigation into the faking of Census Bureau unemployment data that began in the New York Post Sunday. “These allegations are shocking,” Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, chairman of the subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census, wrote in a letter Monday night to U.S. Census Bureau Director John Thompson. “If true, there may be a systemic problem at the Philadelphia Regional Census Office, where the alleged data fabrication occurred. These allegations also raise the prospect that the fabrication of data is a widespread problem.” Farenthold was referring to Jon Crudele’s Post story quoting a Census employee reportedly caught faking results, as well as an anonymous source asserting that the corruption is widespread.
Nov. 20: The Hill: Feds consider new gun regs
The Obama administration is working on new gun control regulations that would target stolen and missing weapons. Police have a hard time tracking firearms that disappear from gun shops, which “just feeds the sort of already large and existing secondary market on guns,” said Sam Hoover, a staff attorney with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. It is unclear precisely what the draft regulations, drawn up by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and under review at the White House’s regulations office, would do.
Nov. 20: The Washington Post:
New health plans sold through exchanges not accepted at some prestigious New York City hospitals
New Yorkers buying a health plan on the state’s new insurance exchange should read the fine print if they’re interested in getting care at some of the city’s top hospitals. Not all are participating in the new plans created by ObamaCare. As of this week, not one of the plans for sale on New York’s health benefit exchange would cover treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, one of the world’s largest and most respected cancer hospitals. That could mean that the 615,000 individuals and 450,000 small business employees expected to eventually get their insurance through the exchange would have to go someplace else for treatment, or pay the bill out of their own pockets.
Nov. 20: The Daily Caller: O’Keefe video captures non-profit ObamaCare enrollment conspiring to engage in illegal activity
An official with the nonprofit Obamacare enrollment group Enroll America conspired to give people’s personal information to what he thought was a political action committee, according to James O’Keefe’s latest video, provided to The Daily Caller. Enroll America, which Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted to fundraising for, is a “nonpartisan” 501(c)(3) nonprofit that critics accuse of working as an unofficial Obamacare navigator across the country. Enroll America’s Texas state communications lead Christopher Tarango conspired to provide a list of potential Obamacare enrollees, obtained through the “commit cards” that the group hands out door to door to help them pick insurance plans, to an O’Keefe investigator posing as the representative of a political action committee.
Nov. 20: The Hill: Oops! ObamaCare site crashes on Sebelius:
The troubled HealthCare.Gov website crashed in front of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday in Miami.
A local CBS reporter jumped in while Sebelius was doing a test run on the site to say, “the screen says 'I’m sorry but the system is temporarily down.' ”
“Uh oh,” Sebelius responded.
The secretary held events in Orlando and Miami on Tuesday encouraging people to sign up for healthcare despite the problems the administration has had in getting the website up and running.
Nov. 20: Freebeacon.com: North Carolina small businesswoman says ObamaCare is taking a Bite out of her business:
A North Carolina small business owner said she is being driven to drink more alcohol because of the stress brought on by Obamacare’s regulations, drawing laughter at a hearing about the new exchanges Wednesday. The founder of early2surg, Sheila Salter, produced a chart showing she was taking a $4,584 bite out of her business due to Obamacare’s mandate that plans have at least 10 “essential benefits” she didn’t want at a hearing about the new health exchanges Wednesday.
Nov. 20: The Hill: Obama hits new low with Democrats
President Obama’s relationship with congressional Democrats has worsened to an unprecedented low, Democratic aides say. They are letting it be known that House and Senate Democrats are increasingly frustrated, bitter and angry with the White House over ObamaCare’s botched rollout, and that the president’s mea culpa in a news conference last week failed to soothe any ill will.
Nov. 20: Roll Call: Don’t Bet on a tax code rewrite anytime soon
In the current congressional climate, it’s wiser to assume something won’t happen than it is to assume it will — even when it’s the chairman of an important committee proposing a sweeping policy rewrite. That advice should prove good for assessing the meaning of this week’s biggest legislative policy revelations: the plans for revamping the federal tax code that Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus has been gestating for years, which he has started parceling out in modest daily installments.
One of the top Democratic tax-writers on the Hill for more than a decade, the Montana Democrat has been defying initial expectations and working as hard as he’s able to marshal whatever political capital he has behind an overhaul. He still dreams of defying all the odds and realizing his biggest legislative achievement in the next year before his four decades representing Montana in Washington come to an end. “Once we get the ball rolling, many are going to say, ‘Hey, maybe there’s something to this. Maybe there’s an opportunity there to help the country create jobs and therefore an opportunity for political benefit,’” he told reporters in beginning his big reveal Tuesday.
Nov. 20: The Hill: House votes to block Government Fracking Rules:
The House passed legislation Wednesday evening that would block the Department of the Interior from regulating hydraulic fracturing — or "fracking" — in states that already have their own regulations in place. Members passed the bill 235-187 with the help of 12 Democrats; two Republicans voted against it. The bill, H.R. 2728, is one of three energy bills House Republicans brought up this week to speed up the process of extracting and moving energy across the country, which the GOP said would help lower energy costs and create jobs.
President Obama's veto threat against the bill, and the likelihood that the Senate will ignore it, means it stands almost no chance of becoming law. Nonetheless, Republicans argued that pending rules from Interior would only slow down energy production and job creation in states that are already regulating fracking. "Hydraulic fracturing has been safely and effectively regulated by states for decades," said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). "So the Obama administration's proposed regulations are unnecessary, they're redundant, and it simply wastes precious time and money duplicating what is already being done successfully."
Nov. 19: Real Clear Politics: Krauthammer: This is a level of incompetence that is indescribable:
In saying that he was never told “directly” that there were problems with the Website is “sort of a Clintonian way for him to protect himself in case there is a memo that comes out in which he was informed by another person.” Krauthammer said. “But what's happening here is the unraveling of the cover up. This is not a cover up of corrupt misconduct, it's a cover up of cosmic incompetence of the fact that they began to be told in March and nobody acted. So, we now know the secretary of HHS knew, high officials in the White House knew way back in December and then pretended in a hearing two weeks later to Congress, it's all working well.
Nov. 19: Fox News: Supreme Court refuses to block Texas abortion restrictions:
In its 20-page ruling, the panel of appeals court judges acknowledged that the law's provision requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital "may increase the cost of accessing an abortion provider and decrease the number of physicians available to perform abortions." However, the panel said that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that having "the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate" a law that serves a valid purpose, "one not designed to strike at the right itself." The provision has led at least 12 clinics in the state to stop performing abortions since the ruling. Many hospitals with religious affiliations will not allow abortion doctors to work there, while others fear protests if they provide privileges.
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to block controversial Texas abortion restrictions that have been called some of the strictest in the country and have led a dozen abortion clinics in the state to stop performing the procedure. The court by a 5-4 vote denied a request by Planned Parenthood to block a ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, allowing key parts of the Texas abortion law to stay in effect while the lawsuit challenging the restrictions moves forward.
Nov. 18: Galveston County Daily News:
Where there are no absolutes there is no compass to guide us:
On October 28th, NBC News reported “Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that… ‘40 to 67 percent’ of customers will not be able to keep their policy” due to changes in their policies and the ObamaCare regulatory requirements.
This means the administration knew for three years that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them. And yet even through most of 2013 they were saying, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan… If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.” This shows an abandonment of having absolutes like always telling the truth, and it’s just one reason why more people no longer trust their government.
Nov. 18: Capitol City Project: Homes raided, subpoenas issued, conservatives and friends of Scott Walker are targeted:
In Wisconsin, dozens of conservative groups and allies of Gov. Scott Walker are undergoing political intimidation from the left at the hands of a special prosecutor. Subpoenas have been issued demanding correspondence and donor information of right-leaning organizations and individuals and raids have been conducted resulting in law enforcement officers taking computers and files in a secret investigation, according to reports.
Nov. 18: Politico: Judge won’t allow Holder to appeal now in Holder contempt of Congress case:
A federal judge has refused Attorney General Eric Holder's request that he be allowed to proceed now with an appeal in a case where the House of Representatives is seeking to enforce subpoenas for documents related to the controversial Operation Fast and Furious gun investigation. In a ruling Monday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said her September 30 ruling rejecting Holder's request to dismiss the lawsuit was not such a close call that it deserved immediate review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Nov. 18: The Blaze: If these claims are true, the Administration is headed for another scandal:
The U.S. government in the final months leading up to the 2012 presidential election released “faked” unemployment data, according to a bombshell report from the New York Post. Recall that the unemployment rate from August to September dropped precipitously to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent. This raised suspicion among certain members of the business community, most notably former General Electric CEO Jack Welch. Unbelievable jobs numbers,” Welch said in an Oct. 5 tweet, “these Chicago guys will do anything…can’t debate so change numbers.”
Nov. 18: The Daily Caller: Emails Reveal: IRS Officials said Lerner threw Cincinnati Office under the bus!
An IRS official blasted Lois Lerner for her attempt to blame the agency’s targeting scandal on low-level employees in Cincinnati, according to newly released emails. “Cincinnati wasn’t publicly ‘thrown under the bus’ (but) instead was hit by a convoy of Mack trucks,” wrote Cindy Thomas, former director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Cincinnati, in a May 10, 2013 email to Lerner obtained by the House Ways and Means Committee. Thomas wrote the email on the very day that the IRS targeting scandal broke when Lerner, a senior agency official based in Washington, D.C., admitted that her exempt organizations division engaged in improper targeting of conservative groups.
Nov. 18: Fox News: Obama Official lowers the bar on deadline to fix ObamaCare website:
The Obama administration is lowering the bar again on the problem-plagued ObamaCare website, saying that it will be “greatly improved” by month’s end -- not fixed. “The consumer experience … will be greatly improved for the vast majority of users by November 30,” Henry Chao, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ deputy chief information officer, will tell House investigators on Tuesday.
Nov. 18: Roll Call: Will the Supreme Court take on the ObamaCare Contraception Coverage Issue”
On Nov. 26, the court is scheduled to meet privately to decide which of four cases, if any, to take up this term that challenge the Obama administration’s requirements that most health insurance plans cover birth control free of charge. Opponents say the requirements violate their religious freedom. If the justices decide to take up one or more of the challenges, a ruling could be expected by the beginning of the summer. And the general consensus seems to be that the court will choose to weigh in on the question.
Nov. 18: Fox News: Students suffer sticker shock as premiums for ObamaCare skyrocket and plans get cut:
While millions of Americans are watching their individual polices get canceled due to ObamaCare regulations, the new health care rules are also having a major impact on college campuses. For decades, universities and colleges have offered students bare-bones policies. But because of the Affordable Care Act, those policies no longer cut it – and universities are forced to decide whether to offer significantly higher-cost plans or cancel coverage altogether. The new rules affect a broad swath of American schools, especially the small ones.
Nov. 18: The Daily Caller: Hateful Michigan State Professor resumes teaching duties:
William Penn, the Michigan State writing professor who was suspended just a few days into the semester after unleashing a torrent of verbal abuses aimed at Republicans, Christians and athletes, will resume his teaching duties in January. MLive.com reported that Penn has been assigned to teach two courses at MSU beginning next semester. The professor claimed that Republicans refused to pay their taxes and supported voter ID laws in order to disenfranchise black people. One student even reported that Penn had threatened to punish students who disagreed with him by giving them bad grades.
Nov. 18: The Hill: Kerry to push UN disabilities treaty – A threat to U.S. sovereignty:
Secretary of State John Kerry returns to Capitol Hill this week to continue his push for a United Nations treaty on the rights of people with disabilities. The Senate's failure to ratify the treaty was one of Kerry's great disappointments as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations panel. Opponents, led by conservative home-schoolers and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), have denounced the treaty as a power grab by U.N. bureaucrats. They argue it could threaten parents' ability to homeschool their children.
Meanwhile, Legal authorities in England applied the “best interests of the child standard,” the same standard advanced by the UN Disabilities Treaty, to break apart a family and prevent the mother from homeschooling her disabled son. The sad incident illustrates the dangers of the treaty—now being considered in the U.S. Senate.
Read more >>
Nov. 17: Fox News: DC Insurance Head canned after criticizing “Obama Fix”
The District of Columbia’s insurance commissioner says he was fired after questioning President Obama’s plan to fix ObamaCare and saying the city might not follow his suggestions. Commissioner William White told The Washington Post on Saturday that he was called into Mayor Vincent Gray’s office the prior day and told the Democratic mayor “wants to go in a different direction.”
Nov. 17: The Hill: Insurance industry warns against the Obama “fix”
Top insurance industry officials warned Sunday that President Obama's push to delay health plan cancellations would only make things worse. Obama announced his proposed fix last week after insurers cancelled millions of individual market policies. The cancellations have created a massive political headache for Democratic lawmakers and a president who repeatedly asserted that Americans would be able to keep their plans.
Nov. 17: Fox News: Can Obama’s Care be saved?
On Friday, 39 Democrats in the House of Representatives voted in support of a bill put forward by GOP Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan that proponents claimed would allow millions of people who had received cancellation notices since ObamaCare went into effect October 1 to stay on their health plans. By way of comparison, only 22 House Democrats voted to delay the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and 35 voted to delay the employer mandate, when both issues came up for a vote July 17. The number of Democrats who crossed the aisle in support of the Upton bill hours after Obama offered a one-year extension to millions whose individual policies were canceled underscores the problem the administration faces.
Nov. 17: The Daily Caller: Author demands non-profits stop financing acts of terror:
Edwin Black, a self-proclaimed progressive and Pultizer Prize-nominated investigative journalist from Chicago, recently released a scathing book about misdirected charitable funds on the world stage. Black’s book, “Financing the Flames” exposes a dark world of powerful, well-funded supra-governmental non-profits,” who are advancing and supporting a culture of conflict in the world, including payments for acts of terror there.
Black calls what he has uncovered “philanthropic abuse,” as groups such as the New Israel Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Institute, the Soros organizations and others are diverting donor funds to finance acts of terrorism and destabilize legitimate governmental authorities to nunde the world toward global governance. [I found this story interesting because my dad, Aaron M. Sargent, raised similar questions back in the 1950s about the activities of foundations like the Ford Foundation.]
Nov. 16: WND.Com: Gay columnist blast same sex marriage agenda
An openly homosexual columnist in Ireland has written a piece blasting his country for considering same-sex marriage, warning the state has no business reinventing the family and undermining children’s “right” to a mother and father. Paddy Manning, writing in the Irish Daily Mirror, says “Same-sex marriage is not some warm, fluffy equality bunny; it’s a bare-faced state power grab. The state gets to entirely remake marriage, not as the man/woman/child model we’ve inherited from 10,000 years of history and across all cultures, but as an anything-goes irrelevant partnership agreement between adults.”
Nov. 16: Fox News: House GOP Pressures EPA to drop coal plant carbon rules:
Republican leaders on the House Commerce Committee are calling on the EPA to withdraw its proposal to impose carbon dioxide limits on power plants. Committee leaders sent a letter to EPA director McCarthy on Friday, asking her to withdraw the proposed regulations, arguing that the agency is trying to "impose standards beyond the scope of its legal authority." In September, the EPA released a proposal to set emissions caps for new coal-fired power plants that would likely require the industry to use carbon-capture technology, which involves burying the carbon underground. Critics argue the technology, which is still under development, is too expensive, not commercially available and poses serious safety risks.
The agency maintains the technology has been “adequately demonstrated” based on three government-funded projects. The lawmakers argue the EPA is prohibited by law from using the projects to justify its proposed regulations.
Nov. 16: Fox News: Holder asks for appeal in the Fast and Furious case holding him inn contempt of Congress
Attorney General Eric Holder wants to appeal a recent judge’s ruling that allows the House to continue with its contempt case, related to Holder’s refusal to turn over documents concerning the Justice Department’s failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-tracking program. Holder made the request Friday night to U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, asking that the Justice Department be allowed to put the case in front of a federal appeals court before Jackson makes any final decisions.In September, Jackson rejected the Obama administration’s request to have the case dismissed.
Nov. 16: Politico: Slain border agent’s family loses suit against the Feds
A federal judge has dismissed the bulk of a lawsuit brought by the parents of a Border Patrol agent killed in 2010 at a crime scene where weapons linked to Operation Fast and Furious were found. U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell dismissed claims the family of agent Brian Terry made against various federal employees. The federal government had stepped into the case to assume any liability on the part of the workers. The judge said payments to officers like Terry are governed by federal laws covering employee retirement and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
Nov. 16: Fox News: CIA personnel asked to sign additional non-disclosure forms after the attack on Benghazi
At least five CIA personnel, including government contractors, were asked to sign a second non-disclosure agreement after the Benghazi terrorist attack, Fox News has learned. While the three-page NDA, obtained by Fox News, does not contain specific references to the 2012 attack which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, it does contain standard language that unauthorized disclosures could lead to "temporary loss of pay or termination" and "in some circumstances, constitute a criminal offense."
Nov. 16: The Daily Caller: One Month After the Shutdown Ended Where Are We?
It’s Nov. 16, 2013, and the partial government shutdown ended one month ago today. In those four weeks, and the two prior, everything conservatives said would happen has happened. What’s more, the Democrats’ united stand against them has turned into a retreat — and is primed to become a rout — as they amend ObamaCare’s disastrous rollout, President Obama “apologizes” for his failures, and electorally vulnerable Democrats break ranks and flee. In the end, real people simply weren’t affected by the shutdown, so they won’t vote on it — a distinction Obamacare does not share.
Nov. 16: The Daily Caller: Obama planning internet speech to supporters:
President Obama will ask his most ardent followers on Monday evening to help bail out his rapidly sinking Obamacare project. The 8:15 p.m. online speech will be delivered to Obama’s Organizing for Action supporters, and Obama is expected to ask them to save the Obamacare program, which has eliminated health insurance plans of at least four million Americans. Obamacare’s launch has been so politically painful that many Democratic legislators have threatened to abandon ship even before it becomes operational on Jan. 1. Obama will also try to go on the political offensive by urging his followers to push for the Senate-passed, business-backed immigration reform bill.
Democrats say the bill is popular and will help Americans. But GOP leaders in the House have temporarily stalled it because of opposition from voters who are already worried about unemployment, outsourcing and automation. If it becomes law, the bill would provide a work permit to one extra Democratic-leaning immigrant or guest-worker for every.
Nov. 16: Fox News: Experts Warn: Obama’s “fix” for cancelled insurance plans could raise the costs of premiums
President Obama's proposal to allow insurance companies to keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be canceled under the federal health care law could lead to an increase in premiums, according to insurance industry experts and state regulators. America's Health Insurance Plans, the main industry trade group, said Obama's offer comes too late and could lead to higher premiums, since companies already have set 2014 rates based on the assumption that many people with individual coverage will shift over to the new markets created under the law.
Nov. 16: Yahoo.com: UnitedHealth drops thousands of doctors from insurance plans:
UnitedHealth Group dropped thousands of doctors from its networks in recent weeks, leaving many elderly patients unsure whether they need to switch plans to continue seeing their doctors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The insurer said in October that underfunding of Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly could not be fully offset by the company's other healthcare business. The company also reported spending more healthcare premiums on medical claims in the third quarter, due mainly to government cuts to payments for Medicare Advantage services.
Nov. 15: The Washington Times: Diagnosis for ObamaCare? Incurable!
What does the president know about exactly? First, he was unaware of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups. Then he did not know about the National Security Agency’s massive spying on Americans. Now we’re supposed to believe Obama didn’t know about the massive problems facing the rollout of his signature policy? Really Mr. President? “So ultimately, I’m the head of this team. We did fumble the ball on it, and what I’m going to do is make sure that we get it fixed,” promised Obama. Fumble is an understatement.
Nov. 15: The Washington Times: Saving ObamaCare: How we could see its collapse:
President Obama needs young and healthy people to buy expensive health care policies they do not need on the exchanges in order to subsidize the old and the sick. He needs America to blame insurance companies, and not the government, for all the problems with Obamacare. And he needs — after the inevitable failure of the exchanges — America to trust the government enough to accept being placed on Medicaid or another government-run health insurance program. If all three things do not occur, the progressive dream of single-payer healthcare will die.
Nov. 15: RollCall: The 39 House Democrats Defied Obama’s Veto Threat:
President Barack Obama vowed to veto legislation that would let insurers keep selling old policies to new customers, as well as revive them for existing customers for another year, but 39 Democrats defied the White House and party leadership Friday and voted in favor of the Upton bill.
Nov. 14: The Daily Caller: Krauthammer: Obama can’t put the ObamaCare Humpty Dumpty back together again
On Thursday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer deplored President Obama’s announcement of a so-called fix to his health care law as a political gesture that has nothing to do with the law itself.
Nov. 14: The Washington Times: Petition drive against Colorado’s Third State Senator faces deadline:
The recall effort against the third—and one might say most notorious—of three Colorado Democrat senators, Evie Hudak, is within 19 days of its deadline to collect a goal of 26,000 signatures. Organizer Mike McAlpine says he is confident that they will reach their goal and will be successful in recalling her.
Hudak is the one who was famously indifferent to rape victim Amanda Collin’s testimony, telling her that even had she been allowed to carry her concealed carry pistol on the night she was attacked, statistics were not in her favor. In keeping with that cold attitude toward victims of violent crime, those supporting Hudak have been harassing people collecting signatures and intimidating people trying to sign the petition to recall her.
Nov. 13: The Daily Caller: Voter Turnout in Texas nearly doubles under new Voter ID Law:
The first Texas elections under a contentious new photo ID law drew interesting conclusions for an off-year election that normally draws a low amount of voters. There were nine proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution, and the number of votes tallied was nearly double what it was in 2011. Democrats and civil rights groups have long argued that voter ID requirements suppress turnout, particularly in poor and minority communities.
Two years earlier, without the Voter ID law in place, about 672,874 Texans voted on 10 constitutional amendments. This year that number reached 1,099,670.
Nov. 13: Roll Call: GOP Lawmakers Release Holder Articles of Impeachment:
A group of House Republicans are tired of waiting for answers from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — they want him impeached and will formally introduce their charges Thursday. As Roll Call previously reported, a small group of GOP lawmakers have been drafting articles of impeachment for Holder over a string of controversies, including a Department of Justice refusal to turn over documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, a refusal to uphold certain laws — namely the Defense of Marriage Act, the Controlled Substances Act and the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 — and a refusal to prosecute IRS officials who accessed tax records of political donors and candidates without authorization. The articles of impeachment also charge that Holder provided false testimony to Congress — a “clear violation” of law.
Nov. 13: Fox News: Details emerge about Americans badly injured in Benghazi attack
In addition to the four Americans killed in the Benghazi terror attack last year, at least two other Americans were severely injured in the fighting that night, Fox News has learned. The latest details are emerging as the House Intelligence Committee hears this week from contractors who were on the ground in Benghazi. Fox News has learned that they will give their accounts in closed, classified sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.
Nov. 13: Fox News: Poll: 65% want Congress to keep investigating the Benghazi attack:
As the House Select Committee on Intelligence meets with witnesses to the Benghazi attack, Americans by a two-to-one margin want Congress to continue to investigate the Obama administration’s handling of the terrorist attack that killed four Americans including a U.S. ambassador.
Nov. 13: Fox News: HHS reports 106K have enrolled for ObamaCare through the exchanges:
The Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday that more than 100,000 people have selected a health care plan through the ObamaCare exchanges -- a number that, likely due to widespread website failures, falls far short of the administration's goal. The administration had originally hoped to sign up a half-million people in the first month of open enrollment. Now more than six weeks into the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov and other state-based exchanges, HHS announced Wednesday that 106,185 people had selected a plan as of Nov. 2. And just 27,000 did so via the federal exchanges. The announcement had been highly anticipated, as lawmakers have been pressing the administration for weeks on official figures.
Nov. 13: The Daily Caller:
No guarantees from White House Chief Technical Office that HealthCare.gov can be fixed by the deadline”
White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park declined to guarantee that HealthCare.gov would be fully functional by the end of November, the date by which the administration has said it plans to have the website to be running more successfully. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the Obamacare enrollment website was unlikely to be fully functional by that November 30 deadline, citing an official with knowledge of the project.
Nov. 13: Fox News: Dems give Obama until Friday to fix health plan cancellations:
House Democrats delivered a fix-it-or-else ultimatum Wednesday to President Obama, giving his administration until Friday to find an affordable solution for the millions of Americans losing their health plans under ObamaCare -- or risk some Democrats backing a Republican solution. The ultimatum from President Obama's own party is another sign of the unrest within the Democratic caucus about the cancellation notices.
Nov. 12: CBS Sacramento:
CA Insurance Commissioner: More than 1 Million Californians lose health insurance due to ObamaCare
Health insurer Anthem Blue Cross of California has agreed to a two-month extension of about 104,000 individual policies after failing to give the required 90-day cancellation notice, state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced Tuesday. The policies had been set to expire on Dec. 31 but will be extended until Feb. 28 for those who choose to re-enroll.
Nov. 12: Politico: Democrat Poll: NC Senator Kay Hagan’s lead vanishes:
Incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is near the top of national Republicans’ target list for 2014 — and a new poll shows her lead over her potential GOP challengers has all but evaporated. That’s a huge difference from PPP’s September poll, which gave Hagan leads of anywhere from 12 points to 17 points against all possible GOP challengers.
Nov. 12: Roll Call: ObamaCare: Origination Problems?
While the GOP has long argued that the law is not permitted per the nation’s founding documents, the Supreme Court almost entirely upheld the law in June 2012. But it’s that Supreme Court decision itself that has 40 House Republicans eager for their day in court. Republicans filed an amicus brief over the weekend with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, hopeful that because the Supreme Court ruled the health care law a tax, and because, they say, the bill originated in the Senate, a court will rule that the 2010 health care law violates the Constitution’s Origination Clause.
Nov. 12: The Daily Caller: Carney hints at changes to ObamaCare to offset cancellations:
White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama is considering regulatory help for people whose insurance has been canceled, following a statement by former President Bill Clinton urging the insurance be restored. “The president has tasked his team with looking at a range of options as he said to make sure that nobody is put in a position where there plans have been canceled and they can’t afford a better plan,” Carney said Tuesday.
Nov. 12: Fox News: White House trying to put the genie back in the box?
A blunt critique from Bill Clinton on President Obama's handling of the rocky ObamaCare rollout is prompting the White House to pledge another set of health law fixes -- though in doing so, it could inadvertently build the case for those calling for a delay in the law's implementation. Aside from scrambling to fix the broken HealthCare.gov website, the administration is now trying to deal with the millions of Americans who have received cancellation notices. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president's team is trying to figure out a way to offer relief to some of those policyholders.
Nov. 12: Fox News: GOP Senators block Obama court nominees:
Senate Republicans have blocked another of President Barack Obama's picks for one of the nation's top courts. Tuesday's near-party line vote derailed Obama's selection of Georgetown University law professor Cornelia Pillard to fill one of three vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. It was the latest skirmish in a long-running nominations battle that has intensified partisan tensions in the Senate. The vote was 56-41 in favor of ending GOP procedural delays that have blocked Pillard from winning confirmation. But that was four votes short of the 60 votes Democrats needed.
The D.C. circuit court is considered one of the nation's most powerful because it rules on administration orders and regulations. Its eight current justices are divided evenly between Democratic and Republican nominees. It is clear that Obama is attempting to move this court to the left by the appointments he has tendered.
Nov. 12: The Hill: Reid lacks the votes to go “Nuclear”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is short of the 50 votes he would need to advance President Obama’s stalled judicial nominees via the “nuclear option,” according to sources who have advocated for filibuster reform. Reid is feeling pressure from labor unions and liberal advocacy groups to consider changing Senate rules after Republicans filibustered two of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation’s second most powerful court.
Senate Republicans blocked Patricia Millett, an accomplished apellate litigator, on Oct. 31, and held up Cornelia Pillard, a Georgetown law professor, on Tuesday. Democrats expect Republicans to filibuster Robert Wilkins, a third nominee to the court, in the near future. A senior Democratic aide said Reid has not conducted a recent whip count and questioned how outside groups or rank-and-file Democratic senators would know the vote count if the leader attempted a rule change immediately. "Any declarative statements at this point are extremely premature," said the senior aide.
The fight over the court picks has major ramifications for the rest of President Obama’s term. The court handles most of the legal challenges to federal agencies, putting it at the center of fights over regulations — including the healthcare reform law and Obama’s push to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The 11-seat court is now evenly split, with four active judges who were nominated by Republican presidents and four who were put forward by Democrats. Senate Republicans say Obama is trying to “pack the court” with judges who will uphold his agenda. “President Obama and Senate Democrats are attempting to transform the D.C. Circuit into a rubber stamp for liberalism and big government,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) wrote in a National Review op-ed last month.
Nov. 11: The Galveston Daily News:
Military, Veterans Desereve the truth: During the War of Independence, Nathan Hale, on General George Washington’s request, volunteered for an intelligence gathering mission in New York City. Many of the officers had been asked and refused to volunteer. Hale volunteered even though he was taller than most men of his day and would stand out. If caught he would be hanged as a spy.
September 11, 2012, the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Four brave Americans were killed. Two of these men were told not to engage. They disregarded these orders and went to the rescue of their fellow countrymen. Many lives were saved by the actions of these two men. At the same time military units and commanders who had the power to intervene were ordered to Stand-down. We owe it to these brave souls, our active duty military and to our veterans to find out why our military had orders not to help.
Nov. 11: The Daily Caller: The number of people not in the labor force hits a historic high:
[At this rate there could be more people not working than working within four years]
A record high 91,541,000 Americans did not participate in the labor force this October. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 932,000 people dropped out of the labor force last month. The BLS defines a person “[n]ot in the labor force” as age 16 and older who are not employed and not considered to be unemployed as they have not looked for work in the four weeks prior to the survey.
Nov. 11: The Daily Caller: IRS lost $4 billion to Identity Thieves while investigating the TEA party:
The Internal Revenue Service sent $4 billion to identity thieves filing fraudulent tax returns in 2012, at the same time it was devoting resources to invasive politically targeted audits of not-for-profit groups, according to a recent report released by Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George. The IRS, which is now overseeing Obamacare’s complicated implementation and collecting its tax penalties, sent 343 tax refunds to a single address in Shanghai, and another 655 tax refunds to one in Lithuania, according to CBS News.
Nov. 11: The Wall Street Journal: The ObamaCare Dozen run for cover:
The torrents of ObamaCare monsoon season aren't letting up, so Democrats are scrambling to help the victims: namely, their own careers. The Senators up for re-election in competitive states in 2014 are starting to panic, though they still aren't offering solutions for anything other than their own growing political jeopardy.
Nov. 11: CBS Seattle: Oregon Healthcare Exchange has yet to enroll a single person:
With a reputation as a pacesetter in health care, Oregon laid out bold plans for complying with the federal overhaul. The state wouldn’t just create a health insurance exchange, a complicated undertaking in its own right. Oregon officials set out to build one of the biggest and best in the nation — a model that other states would want to copy. But more than a month after Cover Oregon’s online enrollment was supposed to launch, the reality is nobody has enrolled in Oregon!
Nov. 11: Forbes: Opinion: ObamaCare will be repealed well in advance of the 2014 elections
[This is an interesting opinion piece. Only part of it is included here.]
Prediction: even if Healthcare.gov is fixed by the end of the month (unlikely), Obamacare is going to be repealed well in advance of next year’s election. And if the website continues to fail, the push for repeal—from endangered Democrats—will occur very rapidly. The website is a sideshow: the real action is the number of people and businesses who are losing their health plans or having to pay a lot more. Fixing the website will only delay the inevitable.
Nov. 11: The Daily Caller: McCain says tons of people want him to run again for President
John McCain is apparently fielding a “spate of emails and letters and phone calls” from people who want him to run for president again. But, the Republican senator from Arizona told the Arizona Republic that he’s not really considering another run for the White House: “‘Particularly since the shutdown, I’ve had a spate of e-mails and letters and phone calls saying, ‘Run for president again,” McCain told The Arizona Republic. ‘As you know, I’m seriously thinking about running for re-election to the Senate.
Nov. 11: Fox News: Reports of the VA forcing chaplains from the program for quoting scripture and praying:
Two Baptist chaplains said they were forced out of a Veterans Affairs chaplain training program after they refused orders to stop quoting the Bible and to stop praying in the name of Jesus. When the men objected to those demands, they were subjected to ridicule and harassment that led to one of the chaplains leaving the program and the other being ejected, according to a federal lawsuit filed Friday.
The Conservative Baptist Association of America is suing Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki; the group’s suit alleges two of its chaplains were openly ridiculed by the leader of the San Diego-based VA-DOD Clinical Pastoral Education Center program. “Not only was the treatment these men received inappropriate, it was also a violation of federal law and the religious freedom guarantees of the First Amendment,” said John Wells, an attorney representing the Colorado-based denomination. “No American choosing to serve in the armed forces should be openly ridiculed for his Christian faith,” he said, calling it one of the most blatant cases of religious discrimination he has ever seen.
Nov. 9: The Hill: A Rundown of Obama’s Apologies
President Obama this week apologized for problems that have plagued the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but it wasn’t the first time he expressed regret. This article outlines apologies by President Obama from October 8, 2013 to February 12, 2007
Nov. 9: Fox News: Shakeup at Guns and Ammo:
The top editor of Guns & Ammo became the second employee of the venerable firearms magazine to lose his job after a column advocating gun control backfired, prompting rifle-toting readers to unload on the publication. In a statement posted Wednesday on the InterMedia Outdoors-owned magazine’s homepage, Jim Bequette apologized to “each and every reader” of the magazine for Dick Metcalf’s column that appeared in its December issue, which generated “unprecedented” controversy and left readers “hopping mad” in regards to the magazine’s commitment to the Second Amendment
Nov. 9: Fox News: Issa Subpoenas White House Tech Official for ObamaCare hearing
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued a subpoena late Friday to Todd Park, President Obama's top adviser on technology, requiring him to appear before his committee next week and testify on the glitch-ridden rollout of ObamaCare. The California Republican rejected the administration's offer to receive a briefing from Park later this month and said his unwillingness to testify "continues an unfortunate pattern of the current administration when it comes to matters of transparency and Congressional oversight."
Nov. 9: Politico: GOP talks about ObamaCare Insurance Cancellations:
Republicans used their weekly address to talk about Obamacare on Saturday — this time by declaring that if President Barack Obama is truly sorry about all of the canceled health plans and the broken website, he’ll do something about them.
Nov. 8: Roll Call: House Dems to Huddle with White House on ObamaCare Law Fixes:
White House staff will huddle with Democratic aides on Friday to discuss administrative tweaks to the health care law that would allow individuals to keep their insurance policies even if those policies don’t meet some standards established by the law. A House Democratic leadership aide told Roll Call that Obama administration officials are scheduled to meet on Capitol Hill with aides to the chamber’s Democratic leaders and ranking members of committees. Tthe meeting is significant given the Thursday NBC interview in which Obama said he was sorrry that some Americans are frustrated about losing their current policies. Friday’s Capitol Hill meeting suggests that the White House hopes to quickly resolve the political furor over the canceled plans.
Nov. 8: The Hill: ObamaCare data hub to go dark for repairs:
ObamaCare's federal data hub will undergo routine maintenance from Saturday night to Tuesday morning, temporarily preventing HealthCare.gov from verifying if users are eligible for premium tax credits.
Nov. 8: Politico: Only 5 enrollments completed in DC ObamaCare exchange:
Only five people have fully completed the enrollment process in the D.C. insurance exchange, according to information compiled by lawmakers from four of the insurance companies participating in the exchange. Two people enrolled in CareFirst BlueShield plans during October and three enrolled in Kaiser Permanente plans during the month. No enrollment data has been collected by UnitedHealthcare or Aetna as of Nov. 4 or Oct. 24, respectively, the companies said. The information was collected by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
Nov. 8: The Hill: Keep Your Plan bill puts Obama in a bind:
House Republicans are pouncing on President Obama’s apology for cancelled insurance plans to push him into backing legislation that would change ObamaCare. The president on Thursday said he was “sorry” that Americans were losing their healthcare plans despite his frequent assurances that individuals with insurance could keep them. Obama said he was seeking an administrative fix, but Republicans say they have a ready-made solution in the Keep Your Plan bill that they plan to bring up for a vote next week.
Nov. 8: The Hill: Obama Grasps for climate legacy as second-term agenda crumbles:
President Obama has a chance to craft a second-term legacy on climate change even as the rest of his agenda runs aground in Congress. Gun control legislation is dead; immigration reform is on life support; and reaching a fiscal deal with Republicans appears to be a long shot. To make matters worse, what was supposed to be his signature first-term achievement — ObamaCare — is suffering from a disastrous rollout.
But there’s one thing that’s going right for Obama: Executive action on climate change is moving full-speed ahead at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “He may be able to do more through climate change [rules] because the EPA has the authority,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told The Hill on Thursday. The most far-reaching piece of Obama’s climate plan is carbon emission standards for the nation’s fleet of existing power plants, by far the largest single source of industrial carbon emissions. The EPA is also writing standards for new plants. “I think climate change, immigration reform are both sort of legacy issues,” Blumenthal said. “The measure of his presidency will be whether he has left changes in law and regulation, but also a heightened awareness, which I think he has been doing.”
Nov. 7: Editorial Comment: Interesting, isn’t it, how the Democrat-controlled Senate would not negotiate on ObamaCare during the government shutdown debate and now, after shutting down the government for 16 days, they are getting nervous. They could have avoided the shutdown if they were willing to compromise by just considering one of the four funding proposals floated by the Republican controlled House.
Nov. 7: Politico: Democrat Senators give White House tight deadline to fix ObamaCare:
At the pleading of senior White House officials, Senate Democrats are holding off on demands to delay major aspects of the health care law until the Obama administration has the opportunity to fix the website problems that are thwarting enrollment in the program. Democratic senators facing reelection have a green light to bash the White House and call for certain legislative fixes. But they’ve been urged by senior administration officials not to insist on delaying the controversial law’s core: The mandate for individuals to purchase insurance coverage or face penalties. Their requests are being heeded — for now. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who attended a tense two-hour meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday over the issue, stressed that senators should give the administration just “a little bit” of breathing room.
Nov. 7: Real Clear Politics: Obama Apologizes “I am sorry” about canceled health care plans:
“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” the President said. “We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we're going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this,” he said on NBC News, November 7th.
Nov. 7: The Hill: Issa may subpoena White House Tech Expert
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is threatening to subpoena a key ObamaCare official who declined to attend a hearing on the law's rollout next week. Issa wrote Thursday that he may legally compel Todd Park, the chief technology officer at the White House, to testify if Park does not agree to appear on his own. "Your role in the development and rollout of HealthCare.gov … uniquely positions you to provide testimony that will be valuable for both Congress and the public," Issa wrote in a letter to Park. "If you continue to refuse to testify at the committee's Nov. 13, 2013 hearing, the committee will be forced to consider the use of compulsory process to require your attendance."
Nov. 7: Real Clear Politics: Krauthammer on Obama’s Apology: “The President is Toxic”
“The thing is called Obamacare,” Krauthammer said. “There's no running away from it. It's got his name on it. You see the president, you think about the policy and you know it's a disaster. And the problem for the Democrats is, they are hostage to a bunch of geeks working right now late into the night trying to fix a system which is not just the glitches we talked about. The architecture, the underlying structure of it is wrong,” Krauthammer continued.
Nov. 7: The Daily Caller: New Book looks at Hitler’s use of Gun Control to disarm Jewish people
Stephen Halbrook has recently released “Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and ‘Enemies of the State’.” This famed Second Amendment attorney attempts to take a scholarly look at gun control in Germany before-and-after Hitler took power. But Halbrook doesn’t shy away from pointing out what he sees as parallels, if not comparisons, between what happened then with what is happening in America now.
Nov. 7: CBS News: North Carolina Botched Traffic Alert System Provided a laugh!
On Wednesday, the NCDOT sent out an alert which reads: “A High severity incident has been Added for I-40 Eastbound in Wake County in Raleigh,” before going on to list the incident as “Vehicle Accident: Women Drivers, Rain, ObamaCare.” The message then advised drivers: “Stay Home.”
WTKR News Channel 3 reached out to the NCDOT officials who said the erroneous message occurred due to a botched test of the system. According to the transportation officials, the systems were being analyzed at the time of the incident and messages were only supposed to be sent internally. The IT contractor reportedly did not follow protocol, and the alerts were sent to the public mistakenly. “The individual violated procedures by failing to turn off the external feed while testing and for the inappropriate test message content. The contractor was let go immediately for this action,” DOT officials said in a statement.
Nov. 7: Reuters: Snowden persuaded NSA workers to give up passwords
Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden used login credentials and passwords provided unwittingly by colleagues at a spy base in Hawaii to access some of the classified material he leaked to the media, sources say. A handful of agency employees who gave their login details to Snowden were identified, questioned and removed from their assignments, said a source close to several U.S. government investigations into the damage caused by the leaks. Snowden may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers at the NSA regional operations center in Hawaii to give him their logins and passwords by telling them they were needed for him to do his job as a computer systems administrator, a second source said.
Nov. 6: The Daily Beast: CIA Contractor’s Testimony could undermine Obama on Benghazi
Rep. Devin Nunes has kept his powder dry for more than a year when it comes to Benghazi. On Wednesday, however, he made it known to House Speaker Boehner that Congress’s investigation has, in his view, failed to answer important questions about the lead up, night of, and aftermath of the attack. In a letter to Boehner, Nunes writes “there are significant discrepancies” between the timeline of events at Benghazi offered last year by the Obama administration to Congress and the account of “witnesses on the ground in Benghazi.”
Nov. 6: Fox News: Common Core lessons interject politics into elementary school classrooms:
It's exactly what critics of the Common Core school curriculum warned about: Partisan political statements masquerading as English lessons finding their way into elementary school classrooms. Teaching materials aligned with the controversial national educational standards ask fifth-graders to edit such sentences as “(The president) makes sure the laws of the country are fair,” “The wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation” and “the commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.” The sentences, which appear in worksheets published by New Jersey-based Pearson Education, are presented not only for their substance, but also to teach children how to streamline bulky writing.
“Parents should insist on reviewing their children’s school assignments,” said Glyn Wright, executive director of the Eagle Forum, a think tank that opposes implementation of Common Core. “Many parents will be shocked to find that some ‘Common Core-approved’ curriculum is full of inappropriate left-wing notions, disinformation, and fails to teach the truth of American exceptionalism and opportunity.”
The politically charged lesson appears in a worksheet titled “Hold the Flag High,” in which students are taught about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. The assignment asks students to make examples of sentences; “less wordy by replacing the underlined words with a possessive noun phrase.” They are then presented with a half-dozen sentences describing the job duties of a U.S. president.
Nov. 6: Fox News: White House side steps legislative efforts to formalize Obama healthcare promises:
The White House on Tuesday refused to state its position on legislative proposals aimed at formalizing President Obama's promise that people who like their existing coverage should be allowed to keep it under the new health care law. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced bills permitting insurers to reinstate plans that fall short of the coverage requirement under ObamaCare after insurance companies began sending out millions of cancellation letters, often citing the new health care law as the reason.
Nov. 6: The Daily Caller: Sebelius: It’s possible for convicted felons to become ObamaCare Navigators:
Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius acknowledged Wednesday that it would be possible for a convicted felon to become an Obamacare navigator — one of the workers responsible for helping people deal with the ins and outs of the healthcare law.
Nov. 4: The Galveston Daily News: World View: Is your chart turned upside down?
Without God people are free from guilt and consequences for their actions. So the old tried and true “paradigms have to be shifted” (their words). They call themselves Liberals or Progressives but their world view is upside down. If you turn a chart over your results are the exact opposite of what the same chart right side up is indicating.
Nov. 3: The Daily Caller: Forget the Website crashes: The real $1 Trillion Problem with ObamaCare is yet to emerge:
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, Dr. Robert Nirschl dismissed the recent issues suffered by HealthCare.gov and the media feeding frenzy surrounding it, arguing that the systemic flaws within the law had not yet surfaced, and that when they do, it will be catastrophic. “As the law unfolds and as people are seeing the derogatory effects of it — I mean, the granddaddy of that situation was Prohibition. That was not sacrosanct... ...so whenever I hear some of our politicians say: ‘Well, this is the law of the land, and so we can’t do anything about it.’ Well, as an example, Martin Luther King did a lot about it. I think that when the people really see what it’s all about it... ...should go the way of Prohibition.”
Nov. 3: The Daily Caller: White House still claims Americans can keep their current health plans:
The White House Website still informs visitors that if they like their healthcare plan, “they can keep it” — even as millions of Americans are receiving cancellations notices from their insurance provides, thanks to HHS’s Obamacare regulations. Under a banner that trumpets “The Health Insurance Market Place is now open” is a paragraph that reads: “For those Americans who already have health insurance, the only changes you will see under the law are new benefits, better protections from insurance company abuses, and more value for every dollar you spend on healthcare. If you like your plan, you can keep it, and you don’t have to change a thing due to the healthcare law.”
This strident claim falls flat on its face — many Americans have received cancellation notices from their insurance companies, forcing them onto the HealthCare.gov website, where equivalent plans would cost hundreds of dollars more. The White House has been trying to deflect criticism since NBC News reported that White House officials were aware before the launch of HealthCare.gov that millions of Americans would lose their coverage as health insurance companies struggled to comply with stringent new regulations. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that as far back as 2009, White House officials debated whether they could keep their promise to individually insured Americans.
Nov. 3: The Hill: Iraq comes back to haunt President Obama
An explosion of violence in Iraq risks turning the troubled country into a political liability for President Obama.
During last year's reelection campaign, the president managed to both earn credit for withdrawing all U.S. troops and avoid blame for the deteriorating security situation. But a surge in terror attacks this year that has left more than 7,000 people dead has drawn bipartisan concerns about Obama's Middle East policies -- concerns that broke out into the open during Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's visit to the White House this week.
“By nearly every indicator, security conditions in Iraq have dramatically worsened over the past two years,” a bipartisan group of Senate leaders on national security issues wrote to Obama on Tuesday.
The Senate letter was signed by the chairmen and top members on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations panels: Levin (D-MI), Menendez (D-NJ), Inhofe (R-OK), Corker (R-TN), McCain (R-AZ) and Graham (R-SC).
The deteriorating security situation in Iraq is but one in a string of recent developments that have lawmakers worried about an erosion of U.S. influence in the Middle East under Obama. Other examples include the president's reluctance to play a greater role in the Syrian conflict or to forcefully denounce abuses under Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi – or his subsequent overthrow by the military.
Nov. 2: The Daily Caller: Photo of the year?
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Memphis Friday to discuss health care and the beleaguered healthcare.gov insurance website. Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey later tweeted: “Just presented Sec Sebelius with ‘Websites for Dummies.’” Sebelius is seen here [left] with the book before handing it off to an aide. [She doesn't look happy!]
Nov. 2: The Daily Caller:
President Jimmy Carter is Calling Obama an incompetent loser:
It’s been a disastrous couple of weeks for President Obama. His signature legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is a slow-motion train wreck. His poll numbers have tanked. Now, things have gotten so bad for Obama that former president Jimmy Carter has called President Obama incompetent in the family-friendly pages of Parade magazine. “He’s done the best he could under the circumstances,” Carter said of Obama in an interviewed published on Thursday. “His major accomplishment was Obamacare, and the implementation of it now is questionable at best.”
Nov. 1: The Hill: Court strikes down mandate for birth control in ObamaCare:
A federal appeals court on Friday struck down the birth control mandate in ObamaCare, concluding the requirement trammels religious freedom. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court — ruled 2-1 in favor of business owners who are fighting the requirement that they provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control.
“The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote on behalf of the court .“They can either abide by the sacred tenets of their faith, pay a penalty of over $14 million, and cripple the companies they have spent a lifetime building, or they become complicit in a grave moral wrong,” Brown wrote.
The Obama administration said that the requirement is necessary to protect women’s right to decide whether and when to have children. The judges were unconvinced, however, that forcing companies to cover contraception protected that right.
Nov. 1: The New York Post: Obama Donor’s firm hired to fix the Web mess it created:
A tech firm linked to a campaign-donor crony of President Obama not only got the job to help build the federal health-insurance Web site — but also is getting paid to fix it. Anthony Welters, a top campaign bundler for Obama and frequent White House guest, is the executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group, which owns the software company now at the center of the ObamaCare Web-site fiasco.
Nov. 1: CNBC: Kudlow: Liberal entitlement-state dream is crumbling:
“May I ask this question? Why is it that Americans don't have the freedom to choose their own health insurance? I just don't get it. Why must the liberal nanny-state make decisions for us? Why must the government tell me and everyone else what we can and cannot buy?” Kudlow of CNBC asks.
In his commentary Kudlow goes on to say, “NBC News pulled the plug this past week on President Barack Obama's promise that ‘if you like your own plan, you can keep it.’ Ditto for keeping your own doctor. The plug was pulled because NBC learned that Team Obama knew—for three years—that stiff new regulations would prevent the grandfathering of existing health-care plans. And not just a few plans. But plans that could affect as many as 15 million individuals. Incidentally, equally punitive regulations will hit more than 90 million employer-sponsored health plans next year" Kudlow said.
Nov. 1: The Washington Times: Obama signs Executive Order Preparing for Global Warming:
President Obama issued an executive order Friday directing a government-wide effort to boost preparation in states and local communities for the impact of global warming. The action orders federal agencies to work with states to build “resilience” against major storms and other weather extremes. For example, the president’s order directs that infrastructure projects like bridges and flood control take into consideration climate conditions of the future, which might require building structures larger or stronger — and likely at a higher price tag.
“The impacts of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies and public health across the nation,” the presidential order said. “The federal government must build on recent progress and pursue new strategies to improve the nation’s preparedness and resilience.” There’s no estimate of how much the additional planning will cost.
Nov. 1: Reuters: UK: Snowden reporter’s partner involved in espionage and terrorism:
British authorities claimed the domestic partner of reporter Glenn Greenwald was involved in "terrorism" when he tried to carry documents from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden through a London airport in August, according to police and intelligence documents. Miranda was not charged with any offense, although British authorities said in August they had opened a criminal investigation after initially examining materials they seized from him. They did not spell out the probe's objectives.
not fair." The problem stems from the same issue other Americans have with the looming arrival of Obamacare: insurance premiums set to increase for just about everyone in the country. And people whose employers offer "Cadillac" coverage (like Congress and their staffers receive) will be hit harder. On Friday Politico reported that the Office of Personnel Management intends to rule that the government may continue to contribute to the health care premiums of lawmakers and their staff.
The ruling means that despite an amendment that made all members of Congress and their staffs subject to the same law they are imposing on the rest of America, they won’t have to pay for it. Instead, taxpayers will be footing the bill. Before the deal was announced, Thursday night Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that “Members of Congress and their staffs must enroll in health marketplaces as the Affordable Care Act requires.” Pelosi made no mention of the looming Office of Personnel Management deal.
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