Saturday, February 15, 2014
◼ Angry at Ted Cruz, Republicans should remember what he represents - Byron York/Washington Examiner @ByronYork
There is at least one common thread in the shutdown and debt ceiling incidents, and that is Sen. Ted Cruz. For whatever reason, the Texas freshman has at times goaded his party to dysfunction, embarrassment, and defeat. (Not quite singlehandedly; others, like Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul, have also been done their bit.)
Many in the GOP believe Cruz is just out for himself. But even if that's true, they have to remember that he represents more than just Ted Cruz. There are a lot of Republicans -- it's not clear how many, but a significant portion of the party's base -- that cheers Cruz on when he battles with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. They want to see a Republican throw a wrench in the Washington spending machine, even if it creates chaos and damages the GOP's standing with independent voters. And it is that conviction that is really behind the party's problems; it is why Republicans would not enjoy smooth sailing even if Cruz were to retire tomorrow....
Senate Republicans met in their weekly lunch a few hours after Boehner's announcement. The short version of events is that McConnell urged colleagues to allow a vote on the House debt limit bill. If the GOP did not object, it could be passed with a simple 51-vote majority, and since there are 55 Democrats in the Senate who would vote for it, every Republican could vote against it and it would still pass. Problem solved; there would be no more default talk, and Republicans could go back to slamming Democrats over Obamacare.
Then Cruz stood up and said there was no way in the world he would stand by and allow a debt ceiling increase to be passed with just 51 votes. Cruz insisted on a 60-vote threshold, which the rules allowed him to do. That meant at least five Republicans would have to join Democrats for the debt limit to be raised....
◼ Fair or not, though, the problem with today’s Republican Party is that the only incrementalism people see is incremental surrender. Like the surrender they saw on the debt ceiling. And if the establishment doesn’t turn that perception around in a hurry, they won’t be the establishment for much longer. - David Harsanyi/The Federalist
As much as some of us are fans of “dysfunction,” tactically speaking, playing defense forever is no strategy. Yes, the establishment works tirelessly within the political realities of the day. Cruz, it seems, is more interested in changing the reality of his situation. Forcing a 60-vote threshold on the debt ceiling wasn’t only about the debt ceiling (which Cruz surely understood would be hiked), and it wasn’t only about his presidential ambitions (which he surely has), but creating the type of problems for the GOP that will help bring a bunch of Matt Bevins into the Senate and solidify his position.
◼ Ted Cruz is Winning - Ed Driscoll/PJMedia
...Faster please. As great as Cruz personally is, his actual value will become apparent if he really can change the culture in DC. As Milton Friedman once said, “It’s nice to elect the right people, but that’s not the way you solve things. The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things.”
◼ Ted Cruz, Rand Paul top huge Tea Party poll; Chris Christie, Jeb Bush dead last - Paul Bedard/Washington Examiner
The online poll of 62,000 grassroots activists provided exclusively to Secrets finds that conservatives and Tea Party organizers stand fully behind the heroes of their movement, including outspoken surgeon Ben Carson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
“There’s a resounding message in these poll results for the Washington establishment. This is not a survey of casual Republicans or sometimes voters. These are activists who pound the pavement, make the phone calls, and cast their votes in every election every year,” said Todd Cefaratti, founder of TheTeaParty.net.
“They have a message for the candidates of status quo Washington: We are coming for you. We will beat you. And we will send you packing from the halls of power,” he added.
◼ Ted Cruz takes heat for telling the truth about debt limit - Star Parker/Washington Examiner
Ted Cruz is one of the few who is actually doing his job.
Every time the debt ceiling comes up, Cruz forces the nation to pay attention. This stuff matters, and we should be grateful to him for refusing to quietly roll over as the nation sinks.
Throwing a brick through the window to wake up the nation to the mess that has been created is an act of patriotism. I am mystified by those who think it’s all a game of psychology.
Cruz’s antics make Republicans look bad, they say. Meanwhile, Obama and his party are having a field day with the Republican congressional cave-in, passing a condition-free debt ceiling increase.
◼ CNN’s Candy Crowley Invokes ‘The Sound of Music’: ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ted Cruz?’ - Newsbusters
◼ Ted Cruz forces GOP leaders to vote for bill they wanted to pass - Timothy P. Carney/Washington Examiner @TPCarney
In the recent intra-Republican drama, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to let Democrats suspend the debt limit, but he wanted all Republicans to get credit for opposing the move.
Sen. Ted Cruz didn't want to let McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP Conference get away with this approach. Cruz and allies say this maneuver is all about misleading the conservative base. If Republicans really oppose a suspension of the debt limit, then they should use the filibuster to block it. Republicans who are fine with such a suspension, Cruz reasons, ought to vote for it....
Democrats played this game last decade -- railing against debt-limit hikes (think Senator Obama) and holding votes to defund the Iraq war -- while happily letting the GOP win in the end. The result: a pacified Democratic base, and Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008.
McConnell would like to repeat that play. Cruz won't let him.
Around one hundred lawsuits challenging the president’s signature policy achievement are currently making their way through the courts.
Some of these lawsuits challenge very specific parts of the law, while others are challenging the law in its entirety. ◼ Here is a list of the six major legal challenges to the law.
Hotze v. Sebelius challenges the constitutionality of the employer mandate. The Fifth Amendment prohibits the government from taking private property for public use without “just compensation.” Steve Hotze, a doctor in Texas, is arguing that Obamacare violates this “takings clause” by mandating that his business give money to another business, specifically an insurance company, without any compensation....
Hotze is also challenging the law’s constitutionality under the Constitution’s “origination clause,” which requires that all spending bills originate in the House of Representatives. The substance of Obamacare was first introduced in the Senate by replacing the text of an unrelated bill that came from the House.
Matthew Sissel and the Pacific Legal Foundation are also making this argument in Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Hotze lost his case based on this argument, as did Sissel in a D.C. district court. Sissel, like Hotze, is appealing.
Should this argument succeed, the whole law would be struck down.
More, at the link
A dozen people ignoring a gun law? That, they can vilify. But... A hundred thousand law-abiding gun owners offering the middle-finger salute to their state? That's called #nullification.
It looks like, as conservatives predicted, the law has succeeded in absolutely nothing - except creating a massive new group of Connecticut felons. The vast majority of these people are - obviously - not guilty of any crime other than adhering to the letter of the United States Constitution....
Even in legal matters, there's safety in numbers - and the state knows it. They're well aware that this is too many people to allow some kind of gun-grabbing witch hunt. As a result, for now, they don't know what they're going to do.
◼ Obama reveals he knows the truth with his actions... - IJReview
Appearing on “The Kelly File,” Mitt Romney had some sobering thoughts on Obamacare’s effect on Americans’ health insurance, jobs, and the economy.
It’s a real mess. Look, the implementation of Obamacare is one part of the problem. I think the breach of promise and the whole structure of how its put together is the biggest problem, but the implementation having been an unmitigated mess.
It’s been very disappointing and very revealing to see the President go through and make these changes which is a very tacit and in fact explicit recognition that the law isn’t working and that this Administration has not done the job they promised they would do.
Friday, February 14, 2014
It turns out the 'Evil' Koch Bros are only the 59th biggest donors in American politics. Can you guess who is number one?
So who occupies the 58 spots ahead of the Evil Koch Bros? Six of the top 10 are ... wait for it ... unions. They gave more than $278 million, with most of it going to Democrats.
...So, if money is the measure of evil in American politics and the Evil Koch Bros only come in 59th, who is really the most evil donor ever?
Turns out it's Act Blue, which has given just short of $100 million in its lifetime, which only started contributing in 2004, 15 years less than the Evil Koch Bros.
A. Eighteen times.
It’s the law, you see.
The Galen Institute has compiled a list of all of the post-Thor’s gavel changes to the Affordable Care Act — there have been 35 legislative changes in total; 18 of these have occurred without the input of the, uh, legislative branch. It’s like someone there thinks elections should matter less or something.
◼ Read the Galen Institute’s list of 18 changes... — important stuff... And note this key — obvious, but key — quote: “Even this large number of changes hasn’t stopped the cascade of failures we are seeing today in the implementation of the law.”
◼ 35 Changes to ObamaCare…So Far - Galen Institute
◼ Welcoming Hillary back to the race: Supporters need to sharpen self-delusion skills - By R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr./Washington Times
These are what I have been calling for more than 20 years the media’s Episodic Apologists. Their professional lives have followed a well-worn arc since at least 1992, when the Clintons first emerged nationally — though the arc was there in Arkansas back in the 1980s.
At first, the Episodic Apologists are full of hope for the Clintons — they have such charisma, such political promise. Then, splat, they fall headlong into a scandal of their own making — Troopergate, Travelgate, Monicagate, Impeachment or Their Incomparable Exit from the White House.
California must allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms in public, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday, striking down the core of the state's permit system for handguns.
This one's going to the Supremes, maybe. Since there was a dissent, it might have to go to the entire bench of the 9th Circuit first...
◼ NINTH CIRCUIT STRIKES DOWN CA LAW RESTRICTING CONCEALED CARRY - Awr Hawkins/Breitbart via Kitchen Cabinet
◼ 9th Circuit rejects California “good cause” limitation on 2nd Amendment carry right - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion
The Ninth Circuit gets it right in holding that California cannot both bar open carry and crimp the ability of law-abiding citizens to get concealed carry permits.
◼ Court strikes California law restricting concealed weapons - Bob Egelko/SF Chronicle via Tim Donnelly
In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said San Diego County violates the Constitution's Second Amendment by requiring residents to show "good cause" - and not merely the desire to protect themselves - to obtain a concealed-weapons permit.
State law requires applicants to demonstrate good cause, as well as good moral character, to carry concealed handguns, while leaving the permit process up to each city and county. The ruling, if it stands, would require local governments to issue permits to anyone who claims a need for self-protection.
"The right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense," said Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain in the majority opinion....
The ban on openly carrying guns made it impossible for most law-abiding citizens in counties like SanDiego to "bear arms" for self-defense, O'Scannlain said in Thursday's ruling....
"The right to self-defense doesn't end at your threshold," (C.D. Michel, lawyer for the National Rifle and Pistol Foundation) said. He said the ruling was "probably the biggest Second Amendment win" since the Supreme Court's 2008 ruling and a follow-up decision in 2010.
◼ Federal Court Just Dealt a Major Blow to Anti-Gun Advocates in California - Jason Howerton/The Blaze
◼ Court gives NRA a big win for concealed carry gun rights in California - Washington Times
Petura v. San Diego sets up Supreme Court to resolve conflict between circuits
The National Rifle Association (NRA) funded the plaintiffs’ legal battle. Paul Clement was the lead attorney in the case and argued it before the Ninth Circuit.
“One of reasons the NRA thought this was a good case to bring was precisely the combination of California state law banning open carry and San Diego policy on licensing for concealed carry made it quite definitive that an ordinary, lawful citizen with an interest in self defense couldn’t carry no matter what,” Mr. Clement told me in an interview late Thursday.
The nightmare societies portrayed in novelist George Orwell's “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “Animal Farm” gave us the word “Orwellian” -- describing a too-powerful government’s efforts to deceive, control, rewrite history and reinvent ...
◼ Today’s liberal vanguard recrafts words to mean their opposites - Victor Davis Hanson/Washington Times
The nightmare societies portrayed in the George Orwell novels “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “Animal Farm” gave us the word “Orwellian.” That adjective reflects a vast government’s efforts not just to deceive and control the people, but also to do so by reinventing the meaning of ordinary words while rewriting the past itself.
America, of all places, is becoming Orwellian. The president repeatedly reminds the American people that under his leadership, the United States has produced a record level of new oil and natural gas. However, didn’t President Obama radically curtail leases for just such new energy production on federal lands?
Have the edicts on the barn wall of “Animal Farm” been changed again, with the production of new oil and gas going from bad to suddenly good?
Does anyone remember that the “Affordable Care Act” was sold on the premise that it would guarantee retention of existing health plans and doctors, create 4 million new jobs and save families $2,500 a year in premiums, all while extending expanded coverage to more people at a lower cost?
Only in Orwell’s world of doublespeak could raising taxes while the costs of millions of health plans soars be called “affordable.” Is losing your existing plan and doctor a way of retaining them?
The Congressional Budget Office recently warned that Obamacare would “keep hours worked and potential output during the next 10 years lower than they would be otherwise.” That nonpartisan verdict should be bad news for workers.
Not in our brave new world. The Obama administration says it is pleased that workers will now be freed from “job lock.”
What is job lock — a made-up Newspeak word right out “Nineteen Eighty-Four”? Work fewer hours, make less money and create fewer outputs — and be happy....
In politics, of course, the left and right, conservative and liberal, make up stuff. But Orwell, who also blasted the rise of European fascism, focused more on the mind games of the statist left.
Why? He apparently feared that the left suffered an additional wage of hypocrisy in more openly proclaiming the noble interests of “the people.”
Because of those supposedly exalted ends of equality and fairness, statists were more likely to get a pass from the media and public for the scary means they employed to achieve them.
Right now in America, the words and deeds of both past and present become reality only when the leaders put them in the correct service of the people.
The United Nations estimates it would cost $30 billion a year to end world hunger. That sounds like a lot, but the world spent more than ten times that amount in 2012 on global warming mitigation, according to a recent Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) study.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Jonathan Turley: The left’s indifference to Obama’s executive power grabs is beginning to border on a cult of personality
◼ “Beginning”? - Allahpundit/HotAir
There’s nothing here that you haven’t heard before if you watched him testify before Congress in December but it’s still worth watching for two reasons. One is his tone, which has grown darker and more apocalyptic since then. More than once here he warns that Obama’s “enablers” are destined to rue the fact that they remained silent “during this period.” Precedents are being set that will be built on by future presidents of both parties; for all the complaining about executive overreach by Democrats circa 2006 and Republicans today, the cold realities of power are what they are. I’m tempted to say that it was O’s latest unlawful delay to ObamaCare’s employer mandate that soured Turley’s mood, but I don’t think that’s it. I think it was the State of the Union, where Obama embraced bypassing Congress as formal policy. Look out for the phrase “borders on authoritarianism.”
The other reason to watch is his debunking near the end of the “power of the purse” strategy to check Obama. Mike Lee told the Weekly Standard two days ago that that’s the way he thinks Congress should rein in the president: They’re not going to roll the political dice on impeachment and they can’t sue for lack of standing, but they can go ahead and cut off Obama’s money in areas where he’s exceeded his constitutional boundaries — in theory. The problem with that approach, says Turley, is that O’s not above unilaterally moving money around that’s been appropriated for other purposes.
◼ Jonathan Turley, principled liberal - neoneocon
Jonathan Turley is a liberal star, a constitutional law professor with impeccable credentials:
Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school’s history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POPS), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.But Turley has an interesting quirk that makes him unusual in another way: he thinks for himself.
Prior to joining the George Washington University, he was one of the youngest professors to be offered tenure at the Tulane University Law School.
◼ ‘Liberating’ workers from their jobs will weaken economic growth - Washington Times
Almost lost in the polemics over Obamacare’s depressing impact on employment was the troubling overall outlook presented recently by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Prospects for both the budget and the economy in general are declining, in the CBO’s view, with potential consequences severe enough that they demand further attention.
◼ Levi Russell, a spokesman for the group, told Breitbart News that the "Mailbox" ad feels different from other staid commercials because it "cuts through the hyper-political talking points around Obamacare and connects with the heart.
"Real people are hurting. Real people are losing access to their family doctor or finding their insurance plan cancelled out from under them. We want to share that frustration and anxiety, and get past the latest smoke screen from [White House spokesman] Jay Carney," he continued. "Far too often, conservatives tend to spend too much time on the numbers, facts, and stats, and not enough time on the personal impact of the issues we engage on. The reality is there are millions of Obamacare victims, and this ad connects us with them, rather than the latest CBO report."
The Fox News poll finds that 74 percent think end running Congress through executive orders is “not the way our government is supposed to work.” This includes 93 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of independents, but also, surprisingly enough, 54 percent of Democrats.
Meanwhile, a plurality of voters, 24 percent, give Obama an F on the economy. Only nine percent give him a A, while 22 percent give him a B, another 22 percent rate him a C, and nine percent say he gets an “incomplete.”
Voters continue to be pessimistic over the future of the economy. Fifty eight percent think the worst is yet to come. That’s up from 52 percent a year ago, and it’s the highest level recorded since April 2009.
...The 12-page indictment alleges that, while serving as executive director of the federally funded Housing Montana, McClure, between 2008 and 2010, paid herself “significant sums” for consulting services, although she was already on the payroll as a full-time employee.
She also made payments to her family and used federal money for personal travel, to pay family bills and to buy consulting services, the indictment alleges.
She also is accused of charging homeowners for a $750 warranty that did not exist, converting a laptop for personal use, inflating the hours she was to be compensated and writing herself a $21,000 check to which she was not entitled....
Politically, and this is important, a debt ceiling fight / shut down battle would give the Democrats more political bullets. Political reality is if your opponent has the gun, you don't buy them the bullets. One vote is important and always is but in this case it may be future multiple votes and voters that matter for those of us that are again disappointed in no change in Federal government spending habits.
This does allow Republicans to focus on Obamacare going into 2014 in both the Senate and the house. Speaker Boehner, the Republican leadership and even Democrats will go home next week to many Americans like me who are angry at the repeated congressional failures to be responsible and cut spending. Boehner and his Republican cohorts had better fight hard to accomplish the correct policies for America between now and November 2014.
◼ Filling our monthly bitter-pill subscription - John Hayward/Breitbart's Conversation
The real problem is not so much the intractable Barack Obama as the intractable and invisible Harry Reid. Reid is the hit man who quietly murders every good bill to emerge from the Republican House. On the rare occasions when someone at the press bothers to point a camera at him, the results are sickening and repulsive to the American people ("Why should I care about kids with cancer when government employees are suffering?") but that almost never happens. The public doesn't know how he scuttles pro-growth House bills or "fills the amendment tree" to poison legislation. They blame the Republican Party in a nebulous sense for do-nothing gridlock, when it's really this one guy who is personally responsible for most of it. His invisibility means President Obama never has to pay the political price for openly vetoing bills that would sound great to the voters. For whatever reason, the GOP leadership doesn't even try to explain that to the American people.
Instead, the GOP leadership accepts a media narrative that blames them for everything, especially when they think some of the blame can be dumped on those conservative and Tea Party upstarts they hate. They fight internal battles with glee, but shrink from external conflicts with the Democrats, afraid to use anything resembling the fiery language routinely deployed against them.
...Observers said his and Kaine’s investments in TransCanada competitors are troubling given their public positions on Keystone.
“This is not an ‘appearance of conflict of interest,’ it is a bald-faced conflict of interest,” said Ron Arnold, executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.
Arnold, the author of Ecology Wars: Environmentalism as if People Matter, said the two legislators should “divest themselves of the tainted investments and recuse themselves from remarks and votes on the issue....”
◼ “So here we’re going to go through a complete revolution of one-sixth of the U.S. economy — the dislocation of doctors, hospital, patients and plans everywhere, including insurers — in order to achieve a result in a decade where we have essentially the same number of uninsured. So what was this all about?” - Daily Caller
◼ Obamacare is what Obama wants it to be - Washington Examiner Editorial
The employer mandate move is merely the latest in a long list of unilateral changes Obama has made to his signature law. His administration delayed the implementation of income verification requirements for those applying for federal health insurance subsidies; minimized the impact of a “reinsurance fee” on labor union health care plans; and announced he wouldn’t enforce rules in the law that had spurred insurers to cancel millions of health care plans, undercutting his promise that those who liked their plan could keep it.
The actual text of the legislation he signed is secondary to what best serves his political purpose at the time. While Republicans are attacked for wanting to sabotage Obamacare whenever they propose reasonable changes through the constitutional legislative process, it has been deemed perfectly acceptable for Obama to unilaterally make sweeping alterations.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
FBI agent Kevin Kelley was investigating Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 when he checked the wrong box on a terrorism form, erroneously placing Rahinah Ibrahim on the no-fly list.
What happened next was the real shame. Instead of admitting to the error, high-ranking President Barack Obama administration officials spent years covering it up. Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and a litany of other government officials claimed repeatedly that disclosing the reason Ibrahim was detained, or even acknowledging that she’d been placed on a watch list, would cause serious damage to the U.S. national security. Again and again they asserted the so-called “state secrets privilege” to block the 48-year-old woman’s lawsuit, which sought only to clear her name.
Perhaps I spend too much time lurking around left-leaning blogs, but there are many myths taken as fact without any additional analysis.
One of the most prominent? The notion that red states take the most aid from the government.
...liberal economist Paul Krugman blogged that “Aaron Carroll of Indiana University tells us that in 2010, residents of the 10 states Gallup ranks as ‘most conservative’ received 21.2 percent of their income in government transfers, while the number for the most liberal states was only 17.1 percent.”
...But as solid as the statistics Krugman provided might seem, we’re left with one glaring problem: States aren’t people. Could it be possible that liberals within conservative states are the ones taking the welfare dollars?
A ◼ survey by the ◼ Maxwell Poll on the political affiliation of those receiving government aid showed this to be the case.
Type of Benefit Received - % Voting Dem - - - % Voting RepAttributing the problem to red states is false; the problem lies in the blue parts of the red states.
Disability (from Govt.)..............64%.......................25%
◼ Next time the media says “red states” are the poorest, remember this - Matt Palumbo/Rare
Paul Krugman and the left would like us to believe that red states are the poorest states.
PolitiFact rated such a claim as “true” noting, “The Census data also show that 9 of the 10 states with the lowest median household income were Red: Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina and Oklahoma.” Whether or not a state is red or blue is based off how they voted in the 2012 election.
In another case of how sloppy PolitiFact’s “fact checking” can be, they didn’t even take cost of living differences into account when determining which states were the poorest.
Or that half of those “red” states have Democratic Governors....MORE, AT THE LINK.
◼ Krugman reports no individual level data, so let me. - Tino Sanandaji/A Research Fellow at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics/Super Economy
The Maxwell Poll has detailed information about welfare use....Hardly surprising, we see that in a two-party split, 60-80% of welfare recipients are Democrats, while full time Workers are evenly divided between parties.
◼ (S)imilar results in this recent NPR-Poll.Among the Long Term Unemployed, 72% of the two-party support goes to Democrats.
Obama's IRS made a new regulation on tax preparers, even though it had no authority to do so. http://t.co/tGl1xd59An Seeing a pattern?— Timothy P Carney (@TPCarney) February 12, 2014
“The IRS may not unilaterally expand its authority through such an expansive, atextual, and ahistorical reading of” the law. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit used these words in a Feb. 11 ruling that struck down an Obama administration regulation on tax preparers.
Federal judges should copy this phrase and be ready to paste it into rulings -- sometimes replacing "IRS" with "Health and Human Services" -- as President Obama continues to act as legislator in chief, making and amending laws as he sees fit, separation of powers be damned.
In the same week Obama illegally delayed the employer mandate and out of thin air created a bizarre loyalty oath to administer to companies suffering from Obamacare, a federal court unanimously smacked down his IRS for executive overreach.
The latest IRS case wraps in a tight ball all of the defects of Obama's governing style -- the constantly revolving door between private and public sectors, a rogue IRS, skirted ethics rules, burdensome regulations that crush Mom and Pop and favor big business, and, above all, the usurpation of Congressional prerogatives by the executive branch.
After the GOP-led House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to increase the nation’s debt ceiling with no strings attached, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) vowed to seek out a 60-vote threshold when the Senate votes on the measure.
When the debt ceiling bill, passed in the House with the help of 28 Republicans, reaches the Senate on Wednesday, Cruz plans to object to the simple majority vote, the Texas senator’s office confirmed. This could very well mean a Cruz filibuster.
CNN: Michelle Obama's State Dinner Dress Cost Up To $12,000 - More than median yearly household income worldwide
◼ "FLOTUS was wearing a black and liberty blue Carolina Herrera gown," the pool reporter said. - Daniel Halper/Weekly Standard
◼ Tone deaf: First dogs Bo and Sunny Obama dine like 1 percenters - Twitchy
Attention, peasants: beloved Empress Michelle wishes to share photos of her palace dogs dining on fine china https://t.co/LjTQP4HKh9— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) February 11, 2014
◼ CBS: Hey, how much does a State Dinner cost? - HotAir
◼ White House France state dinner guest list - Chicago Tribune
◼ State dinner menu, guests unveiled - Politico
◼ It’s Hard Out Here For a King - Washington Free Beacon
...The menu, meanwhile, offered a 2,500-calorie feast of quail eggs, caviar, dry-aged beef, and “twelve varieties of potatoes,” while showcasing “the talents of our Nation’s cheese artisans,” who will soon be free to quit their jobs thanks to Obamacare....
◼ Sacrebleu! At 2,500 calories, state dinner menu is triple Michelle’s ‘healthy’ lunch - Washington Times
CNN: Michelle O's dress 'cost around $12,000'...
More than median yearly household income worldwide...
Beef, caviar and Mary J. Blige...
Hollywood-Heavy Invite List...
MCDONALD'S Offers Valentines Day Romantic Dinner...
In the wake of a $6 billion-per-year tax increase on high earners in the Golden State, Nevada brokers have reported big jumps in luxury home sales.
Rand Paul, Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks, and lead counsel Ken Cuccinelli are announcing a class action lawsuit against President Obama, James Clapper, Keith Alexander, and James Comey over violations to the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
◼ Rand Paul: Want to know why I am filing a lawsuit against the NSA? Read this Exclusive: Stop the NSA while we still can - Rand Paul, Matt Kibbe and Ken Cuccinelli
...There can be no justification for the preservation of a domestic surveillance program that has utterly failed in its stated goals.
In addition to the NSA's privacy violations, the existence of government spying serves as a significant obstacle toward citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech.
We have already seen government agencies like the IRS specifically target law-abiding citizens for their political views. The willingness of ordinary people to criticize the government will be greatly compromised by being under the constant, watchful eye of the government, and anyone deemed guilty of suspicious activity may consider an audit the least of their worries.
For all these reasons, we have elected to file a class action suit on behalf of all Americans whose rights have been violated by the NSA's unconstitutional spying programs.
We are requesting a ruling confirming that the blanket collection of Americans' telephone metadata without reasonable cause violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and requiring that these programs be halted immediately and that all previously collected data be purged from government databases.
It's time to hold government officials accountable for their habitual trampling on the Constitution and on our rights as individuals. Our case will be an important step down the road of restoring our Constitution and reining in our own overreaching federal government.
◼ Barbie vs. realistic doll: Guess which one Demi Lovato likes? - LA Times
Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that her resignation coincided with an FBI inquiry into her role at an Obama reelection campaign fundraiser in 2012.
Put on your super-shocked faces, everyone: Former Obama administration official Hilda Solis, who is now running for yet another government position in Los Angeles, is embroiled in yet another union corruptocracy scandal. The Hope and Change hits just keep on coming.
Solis served as President No More Business As Usual's first secretary of labor. Remember waaaay back then, when "most transparent administration in history" had not yet become an automatic punchline? Well before Solis' confirmation, it was already clear she was a poster child for left-wing sleazeball politics...
After stepping down from her Obama cabinet position last year, Solis is back in the political spotlight. With massive union backing of some $500,000, she's running for the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Question: Why did she step down from her cushy White House post? Inquiring local reporters in Los Angeles wanted to know.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that her resignation coincided with an FBI inquiry into her role at an Obama reelection campaign fundraiser in 2012. When the paper asked the Solis campaign whether she had informed Obama of the FBI probe, a spokesman responded tersely: "It is inappropriate for a cabinet official to (discuss) private communications with the president."
Oh, now we care about what's appropriate? LOL.
◼ San Diego mayoral race results: Kevin Faulconer vs. David Alvarez - ABC 10
Congratulations Kevin Faulconer on pulling ahead in the San Diego's Mayors Race! 2014 is a year for Republicans! ... pic.twitter.com/XUA1kFJ0Y4— OC Republicans (@OCGOP) February 12, 2014
Kevin Faulconer led City Council colleague David Alvarez 55.24 percent to 44.76 percent Tuesday evening in the San Diego's mayor's election.
Faulconer has 131,404 votes and Alvarez has 106,492 votes with 85.9 percent of precincts reporting....If Faulconer wins, he would regain control of the city's top seat for the Republicans.
Alvarez picked up last-minute endorsements from fellow Democrats President Barack Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown. He is also supported by organized labor and other Democratic officials.
A HUGE victory in California! Republican, Kevin Faulconer is the new Mayor of San Diego. Battlefield California... http://t.co/RmJS05TCcZ— Breitbart2Million (@Breitbart2Milli) February 12, 2014
◼ Obama Turnout Machine Crashes in San Diego—Loses Mayor’s Race by Nine Points - JOhn Fund/National Review Online
Kevin Faulkoner recaptured the mayor’s office in San Diego for Republicans in a special election yesterday. The polls were skin-tight leading into yesterday’s election, and unions poured in millions to keep control in the nation’s eighth-largest city.
But in the end the vaunted Obama election model — flood the zone with negative attack ads and excite the base of the Democratic party — flopped. Faulkoner defeated fellow City Council member David Alvarez by nine points in a city that Barack Obama carried by 63 percent to 37 percent only 15 months ago.
Democrats were stunned at the margin.
Partly the Faulkoner blowout was the result of the lower turnout of a special election called to replace disgraced Democratic Mayor Bob Filner. But partly it came from a renewed ability of Republicans to reach out to independent and moderate voters with the need to practice fiscal restraint and sound management. “It’s been less than a decade since public-employee unions drove San Diego into near-insolvency, and people were reminded of that,” says Jason Roe, a political consultant in San Diego.
“All of this for a document marked ‘unclassified’ at the top,” the Senate aide said. “This is complete insanity. People are right to wonder why an agreement the president hails as a milestone is being guarded from the public like gold at Fort Knox.”
...Members of Congress and staffers with high-level security clearances are being forced by the White House to consent to top-secret security measures in order to view the deal text, which is off limits to the American public, according to a senior Senate aide familiar with the process....
“Why is it that members of Congress have to go to a super secret location, a cone of silence … to look at the deal?” Ros-Lehtinen asked a panel of nuclear experts last month during a House hearing.
Ros-Lehtinen described the secret document as “quite eye opening” and wondered why the Obama administration continues to keep it under lock and key.
Over the past six months, this Committee has investigated the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups. Though our investigation is not complete, and the IRS still has many more documents to provide to the Committee, we have discovered a concerted effort by the IRS to limit the ability of those targeted conservative groups to operate and engage in constitutionally protected public debate.
Another one of those Obama scandals that the mainstream media refuses to report about is the IRS Scandal. When it broke last May we learned that the IRS singled out conservative groups to delay their applications for 501(C)(3) non profit status. At the start of Tuesday's Ways and Means Committee hearing, the IRS scandal got bigger. Committee Chair Rep Camp began Tuesday's meeting with a statement that included the fact the IRS also targeted conservative groups who already had non profit status, for audit....
The lengths this administration went to prevent free speech is totally incredible. The IRS audits were an abuse of power meant to intimidate the conservative groups into silence. And the fact the mainstream media doesn't cover this story is outright shameful!
◼ Camp Opening Statement: H.R. 3865, “Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014” (Remarks as Prepared) - waysandmeans.house.gov
“This has been a big, bureaucratic, former-Soviet-Union-type investigation, which means that there was no investigation”
Turns out it was a lot of hoop-de-doo and much ado....
The FBI finally has begun to contact some of the tea party groups targeted by the Internal Revenue Service for inappropriate scrutiny in the first public signs that the administration’s criminal investigation is progressing.
A lawyer representing some of the tea party groups that battled the IRS for tax-exempt status told The Washington Times that a “small number” of his clients were recently contacted, seven months after the investigation was supposed to have begun.
That's usually how you do investigations -- you figure out the conclusion and then, as you're finishing up your report, you reach out to the actual victim-witnesses to hear whatever lies you'll have to mention in your footnotes.
◼ Report: No federal criminal charges expected in IRS targeting of tea-party groups - Allahpundit
The DOJ lawyer who’s heading the investigation is an Obama donor and the FBI, after seven months of supposedly investigating this, only recently contacted tea-party groups targeted by the IRS....
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
◼ Every single person in the country should be able to get this... - IJ Review via Conservative Daily
◼ Tim Donnelly: The Sacramento Bee joined me there:
'I feel like I've died and gone to heaven,' the Republican candidate for governor said as he walked in.
Donnelly lingered at the counter, and he shook his head when he saw a customer filling out paperwork required to buy a gun in California.
'That's what you ought to be filming,' the Legislature's most outspoken gun rights advocate told his videographer. 'Look at all the paperwork you've got to do to exercise your Second Amendment rights.'
◼ Lengthy Power Outages Possible - AccuWeather
◼ GEORGIA WARNED: 'CATASTROPHIC' - FOX NY
"Last time I was totally unprepared, I was completely blindsided," said Lisa Nadir, of Acworth, who sat in traffic for 13 hours and then spent the night in her car when the storm hit Jan. 28. "I'm going to be prepared from now on for the rest of my life."
Nadir was telecommuting from home Tuesday and she had kitty litter in her trunk in case she needed to put it down on icy roads for extra traction....
◼ SEEN FROM SPACE
◼ Hundreds of flights cancelled - AP
◼ Roads deserted - Daily Mail
When asked to elaborate on the 'catastrophic' warning, Brian Hoeth, a meteorologist at the service's southern regional headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, said forecasters were talking about an ice storm that happens only once every 10 to 20 years for the area.
Forecasters predicted crippling snow and ice accumulations as much as three-quarters of an inch in area from Atlanta to central South Carolina. Wind gusts up to 30 mph could exacerbate problems.
◼ Panicked Shoppers Fight Over Food - Infowars ◼ Via Drudge
◼ Major Storm Targets Battered East Coast - CBS DC
◼ 'Snow Rage' Afflicts Storm-Weary Locals - CBS NY
◼ EXPERT PREDICTS COMPLETE FREEZE OF GREAT LAKE - CNS News
Lake Superior hasn’t completely frozen over in two decades.
But an expert on Great Lakes ice says there’s a “very high likelihood” that the three-quadrillion-gallon lake will soon be totally covered with ice thanks to this winter’s record-breaking cold.
The ice cover on the largest freshwater lake in the world hit a 20-year record of 91 percent on Feb. 5, 1994.
◼ Is the latest delay of ObamaCare regulations politically motivated? Consider what administration officials announcing the new exemption for medium-sized employers had to say about firms that might fire workers to get under the threshold and avoid hugely expensive new requirements of the law. - Chris Stirewalt/FOX
Obama officials made clear in a press briefing that firms would not be allowed to lay off workers to get into the preferred class of those businesses with 50 to 99 employees. How will the feds know what employers were thinking when hiring and firing? Simple. Firms will be required to certify to the IRS – under penalty of perjury – that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in their staffing decisions. To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs. You can duck the law, but only if you promise not to say so.
◼ The iron fist is getting stronger and stronger - PJMedia via Mark Levin
Companies Must Now Swear — to the IRS — That None of Their Layoffs Are Because of Obamacare.
This is one way to skew the Obamacare stats and turn the IRS into the Democrats’ personal political army in a stroke....Company officials will be trapped in a catch-22. They can lay off as many people as they want because of Obamacare. But because they’ll have to swear to the IRS that their decisions had nothing to do with Obamacare, they can’t speak publicly about what’s happening. What a great way to silence the people who are on the front lines of dealing with Obamacare’s horrific effects.
◼ President Who Lied About Obamacare Demands Businesses Not Tell Truth About Obamacare Firings - Soopermexican/IJReview (mage source)
Here are the 28 Republicans who voted with the Democrats to pass the 'clean' debt ceiling increase http://t.co/dPSkkVduWh— The Right Scoop (@TheRightScoop) February 11, 2014
John Boehner gave up. Again. http://t.co/4v7UsLrEdR— The Fix (@TheFix) February 11, 2014
GOP-led House passes ‘clean’ debt ceiling increase, without any conditions http://t.co/uYD7RthL9k— TheBlaze (@theblaze) February 11, 2014
◼ Boehner Goes for Clean Debt Limit - Bill Kristol/Weekly Standard
...The speaker has followed a long and winding (and at times confusing!) path to a reasonable outcome, one that lets Democrats own the debt increase, and lets conservatives have a clean shot at advancing key parts of their legislative agenda....
◼ UPDATE: HOUSE PASSES 'CLEAN' DEBT LIMIT INCREASE - Jonathan Strong/Breitbart
The vast majority of Republicans voted against the bill, while nearly 200 Democrats carried it across the finish line. 28 Republicans voted “yes.”
Speaker John Boehner, who usually does not vote, voted "yes," as did Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Whip Kevin McCarthy. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan voted "no."
Cantor blamed the debt ceiling increase on Democrats. "House Republicans need more responsible and willing partners in Washington so we can finally and boldly address our long term debt crisis," he said in a statement.
Ryan called the vote a "missed opportunity."
"We need to pay our bills today and make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow," Ryan said in a statement after the vote.
The House GOP's inability to force even a modest fight on the debt ceiling prompted an outcry from conservative groups, including several calls to replace the current House leadership.
◼ Group calls for Boehner's head - Seth McLaughlin/Washington Times
The Senate Conservatives Fund says that it is time for House Speaker John Boehner to go and they will keep track of the GOP lawmakers that support their effort to oust him from his leadership post.
The group, which is targeting several incumbent Republicans in primary races this year, said Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, has sold out small government principles on too many occasions and the last straw came this week when House GOP leaders signaled they were going to support a bill to increase the nation’s borrowing limit without attaching any strings to reduce spending.
◼ CBO Director Warns 'Large and Growing Federal Debt' Could Produce 'Fiscal Crisis' - CNS News
◼ Boehner and Cantor Declare No Debt Ceiling Increase Without Obamacare Delay and Keystone Approval - Red State
Oh . . . what? What’s that you say? Oh. Sorry.
That was back last year.
How many times are they going to yank the football away from themselves before Republican voters kick them to the curb?
◼ NANCY PELOSI TO DEMS: 'DON'T GLOAT' - Tony Lee/Breitbart
The caving was that bad.
◼ Shocker! Leftist group paid to review right - Aaron Klein/WND
Though President Obama insists the Internal Revenue Service is not guilty of the political targeting of nonprofits, WND has learned the agency contracts with an avowedly “progressive” organization supported by George Soros to process data filed by smaller tax-exempt groups.
The federal agency process sends details contained in the annual filings for organizations with $50,000 in annual receipts or less to the Urban Institute, which is funded at least partly by government payments as well as contributions from far-left activist George Soros.
The IRS page directs groups to file with the Urban Institute, although apparently other providers also can file the Form 990 documentation, which is required of every nonprofit, small and large.
The IRS.gov page on the “Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations – Form 990-N (e-Postcard)” includes instructions to file online, and includes a direct link to the Urban Institute.
...A leader of a small exempt organization, who did not want his name used, told WND, “By unconstitutionally using a left-leaning ‘think tank’ to decide who lives or dies, Obama has turned the IRS into a conservative tar pit run by liberal policy activists. By denying 501c(4) status to conservative 501c(3) nonprofits, they are already trapped as non-political entities. Where most non-501c(4) organizations advocate for something in their area of interest, they are corralled for mass sacrifice on the altar of radical liberalism. I predict we will see mass revocations of thousands of good conservative corporate charters, most likely done all at the same time so we cannot stop them in time. This must be stopped now and a transparent, objective, non-partisan method for reviewing 990-N forms implemented immediately before the mass execution takes place.”
◼ Say My Name - Washington Free Beacon
Washington Free Beacon reporter Alana Goodman’s scoop featuring new insights on former First Lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Monday made waves around the country Monday, becoming a discussion topic on every cable news channel and broadcast network.
However, some in the mainstream media couldn’t bring themselves to say the “Washington Free Beacon” had reported the new findings on Clinton, with some substituting “conservative website” or even “anti-Clinton website.”
◼ Free Beacon founder Michael Goldfarb fires back at MSNBC hack Andrea Mitchell - Twitchy
◼ Ted Cruz has one of the funniest and most engaging social media presences of any politician, and his birthday greeting video he tweeted to Sarah Palin is no exception. - SooperMexican/IJreview
A sobering look at how not dealing with the deficit in the CalSTRS teacher retirement fund will harm the next generation.
◼ As Days Go By: Why Jerry Brown Must Act THIS Year On CalSTRS - Fox&Hounds Daily via Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
The #1 rule of defined benefit pension plan management is that plan sponsors should supply enough cash each year to fund the “annual required contribution” (ARC). Failure to pay the ARC produces pension deficits.
The #1 violator of that rule is California.
In 2013, the California teachers pension fund (CalSTRS) received only 44% of its ARC. The skipped contribution — $3.5 billion — was the largest skipped ARC in the country. California has been skipping ARC’s for so long that, on Valentine’s Day last year, CalSTRS asked Governor Jerry Brown and the State Legislature for a $240 billion cash injection over 30 years, starting with $4.5 billion this year. 329 days later, Governor Brown responded: Wait till next year.
CalSTRS’s debt has been the easiest can for Brown and the Legislature to kick down the road. It doesn’t need to be repaid until the fund runs out of money (CalSTRS says that happens in 30 years, financial economists say earlier), the press pays little attention because there are no current consequences, and the can is kicked at innocent people — the next generation — who don’t know they’re being assaulted.
But because the can grows every time it’s kicked, the consequences for that generation are devastating. Each kick attracts interest at 7.5 percent per annum and, more perniciously, that interest is paid invisibly because it’s added to the balance due, just like the accrued-interest mortgages that helped cause the financial crisis. As a result, $20 billion of new debt today becomes a $160 billion balance due when CalSTRS runs out of cash. That’s on top of CalSTRS’s existing debt, which is also invisibly accruing interest at 7.5 percent per annum.
If unaddressed, CalSTRS’s debt will grow to more than $600 billion by the time it runs out of money – i.e., when cans may be kicked no more – and sends the next generation into a crisis unlike any before seen in California. That generation would have to choose between making pension payments to retirees or providing K-12 education and other public services, setting the stage for an intergenerational war.
◼ Legislature Wakes Up to Pension Problem - Jon Coupal/HJTA
...Unfortunately, until now, Sacramento’s approach to these unfunded liabilities is probably why the phrase “kicking the can down the road” was coined. Even Governor Brown, who has espoused government frugality and responsibility -- while increasing state spending -- ignored the unfunded pension systems in his proposed state budget.
In fairness to Brown, two years ago, he proposed a fairly decent pension reform package. But by the time the Legislature got through with the governor’s plan, all that remained was some modest changes to address the worst of pension abuses including a few to prevent “pension spiking.”...
...Sandra Goins, executive director of South Bay United Teachers, the umbrella union for teachers in the Centinela Valley, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Palos Verdes Peninsula school districts, blurted out, “That’s obscene. That places him above the president of the United States — the leader of the free world.”
◼ MAKING IT UP AS HE GOES: EMPLOYER MANDATE DELAYED AGAIN - LOUISE RADNOFSKY and THEO FRANCIS /Wall St. Journal ◼ Via Drudge
Most employers won't face a fine next year if they fail to offer workers health insurance, the Obama administration said Monday, in the latest big delay of the health-law rollout.
◼ Obama Rewrites Obamacare - Wall St. Journal
Another day, another lawless exemption, once again for business.
◼ BOEHNER: Exempts Corporations, Not Families
“Once again, the president is giving a break to corporations while individuals and families are still stuck under the mandates of his health care law. And, once again, the president is rewriting law on a whim. If the administration doesn’t believe employers can manage the burden of the law, how can struggling families be expected to? This continued manipulation by the president breeds confusion and erodes Americans’ confidence in him and his health care law. We need fairness for all, with relief from ObamaCare for every American.”
◼ Directly Violates Text of Affordable Care Act - CNS News
President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department issued a new regulation today that for the second time directly violates the plain and unambiguous text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by allowing some businesses to avoid the law’s Dec. 31, 2013 deadline to provide health insurance coverage to their employees.
Initially, on July 2, 2013, the administration unilaterally delayed the deadline for the employer mandate until 2015. Now, the administration is unilaterally delaying it for some businesses until 2016....
In sum, the law says that employers with “at least 50 full-time employees” must provide “minimum essential coverage” in the “months beginning after December 31, 2013” or pay a fine. The new declaration from the Obama administration’s Treasury Department says this part of the law no longer applies. It says employers with between 50 and 99 employees need not provide coverage until 2016 and larger employers need only provide coverage to 70 percent of their employees next year.
◼ Krauthammer: 'This is stuff you do in banana republic' - The Right Scoop VIDEO FROM FOX
◼ CBO Backtracks on Controversial Predictions - National Journal
◼ FIT: Gym members forced to pay new tax - FOX NY
◼ 'Avalanche' of Regs Still to Come: 28 paperwork rules will cost $1.4 billion a year to comply with - Washington Free Beacon
◼ OBAMA: 'I Can Do Whatever I Want' - Weekly Standard
BUT WAIT! THERES'S MORE!
◼ Shock: Hidden In WH Employer Mandate Deal – Employers Not Allowed To Fire Anyone (Video) - Nice Deb
On Monday night’s Kelly File, Megyn Kelly covered the ObamaCare Employer Mandate delay, focusing “on one little nugget” that was “found under a mountain of new regulations” which stipulates that in order to be eligible for this latest this gift from the White House, “the employer may not reduce the size of its workforce or its overall hours of service of its employees.”
“Basically”, she continued, “what the government is telling employers is that you will not fire a single person. You will not lay off a single person – if you want to take advantage of our gift. ...
Monday, February 10, 2014
“Attention Members, Holders of Black Card Memberships will be required to pay a tax on these memberships starting January 1, 2014 as required by the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act. This is not a change in your membership fee but rather a tax required by the government.”
Obamacare was sold to the American people as a program that would improve healthcare for everyone, but yet there have been millions of cancelled policies, 2.3 million full-time jobs lost, and skyrocketing premiums for the young and healthy. Clearly, it makes little sense to tax those who have all-inclusive gym memberships and try to maintain physical fitness.
The “myRA” plan Obama unveiled in his State of the Union address would also be outlawed in the private finance world because it offers no investment diversification and amounts to a conflict of interest, violations that call for fines up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison.
“If private sector plan sponsors offered this plan to their participants, they would be called crazy. They could also go to jail,” according to an analysis by the investment firm Marotta Wealth Management.
Obama's retirement plan has been heralded in some circles as a good way to get low- and middle-income Americans to put money away for their retirement tax free.
But Marotta mocked the $15,000 cap and single investment offered. “Can Obama truly believe that saving $15,000 over 30 years will contribute significantly to the retirement challenges that real families face?”...
Twenty-two ISIS members were killed, and 15 were wounded, in the explosion at the camp, which is in a farming area in the northeastern province of Samara, according to the police and army officials. Stores of other explosive devices and heavy weapons were also kept there, the officials said.
Eight militants were arrested when they tried to escape, the officials said.
The militant who was conducting the training was not identified by name, but he was described by an Iraqi Army officer as a prolific recruiter who was “able to kill the bad guys for once.”
◼ Democrats are picking up where they left off in 2013, lying to the public about Obamacare. - Guy Benson/Townhall
The president says his signature program has signed up more than nine million Americans so far through the state exchanges and Medicaid expansion. He's made this claim on numerous occasions, including last month's State of the Union address, and during his Super Bowl Sunday conversation with Bill O'Reilly. We've noted that the president's math doesn't add up; his exchange enrollment figures don't factor in a substantial subset of non-payments, which experts estimate to be in the vicinity of 600,000....
The Washington Post's fact-checker dings Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) with 'four pinnochios' for repeating the White House line:
Even if one took the high end of these estimates, the most one could claim is that about 4 million people have gained insurance because the Affordable Care Act, but that’s being extraordinarily generous. In the meantime, given the fuzzy nature of the numbers and the wide publicity devoted to the recent surveys, Durbin has little excuse for going on national television and claiming that every one of these people had been previously [un]insured. This has now become a Four Pinocchio violation.
◼ Is the terrorist threat enough for all Americans to give up their Constitutional rights? - By David H. Laufman/Washington Times
In the latest fallout from Edward Snowden’s leaks of classified information, a federal court last week dealt an unprecedented blow to the government in criminal prosecutions where a defendant has been subject to communications intercepts under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
For the first time in FISA’s 36-year history, a federal district judge ordered the Department of Justice to disclose to the defense the government’s application for FISA surveillance of the defendant — despite an affidavit from Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. stating that such disclosure would harm U.S. national security.
The case thus represents a further erosion in the judiciary’s willingness to accept government invocations of “national security” without more critical examination.
◼ Mike Rowe Reveals the Secret to America's Success in Ad for Bigtime Employer the Left Loves to Hate - IJ Review
Work. It’s what makes America the country it is. It’s time we rediscover that as a nation and stop punishing those who want to get ahead and make things go.
◼ ARCHIVE OF 'CLOSEST FRIEND' REVEALED... - Alana Goodman/Washington Free Beacon ◼ Via Drudge
CLINTONS: SEX FILES...
ALL THOSE WHINY WOMEN... 'PATTERN OF SLEAZE'...
SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE 'NECESSARY'... MORE...
Nobody in White House was 'tough and mean enough'...
◼ What difference, at this point, do The Hillary Papers make? - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion
Much of the portrayal is of the bitter, brutal, belligerent Hillary we all know.
But her early support for single-payer, despite later denials, is directly relevant to the Obamacare debacle that will be an issue in the 2016 election.
◼ Why does Rand Paul keep bringing up Monica Lewinsky? - CS Monitor
◼ Six fascinating discoveries in the Free Beacon's 'Hillary Papers' story - Charlie Spiering/Washington Examiner @charlesspiering
...Partisan sniping will probably prevent a good discussion of the safety net's costs and benefits -- and the value of work. That's too bad, because it's a discussion worth having.
◼ Just when you think the Washington Post has hit rock bottom, they sink deeper into the tar-pit - Doug Ross
◼ Freedom for the job-locked: Dems’ desperate defense of Obamacare-induced unemployment - Jonah Goldberg/National Review Online via AEI
...Democrats insist this is a boon. Indeed, many are talking about it as an act of liberation (which reminds me of an 11-year-old headline from the Onion: “IBM Emancipates 8,000 Wage Slaves”).
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi says the CBO report vindicates Obamacare, because “this was one of the goals: to give people life, a healthy life, liberty to pursue their happiness. And that liberty is to not be job-locked, but to follow their passion.” Pelosi is particularly invested in this view. She’s been mocked for years now for her repeated claims that Obamacare is an entrepreneurial bill because it would let Americans quit their jobs to, among other things, “write poetry.”...
...The dispute goes back to a series of statements from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the lead Obamacare agency.
In September, CMS informed insurers that Ryan White funds "may be used to cover the cost of private health insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-payments" for Obamacare plans.
In November, however, it warned "hospitals, other healthcare providers, and other commercial entities" that it has "significant concerns" about their supporting premium payments and helping Obamacare consumers pay deductibles and other costs, citing the risk of fraud.
The insurers told healthcare advocates that the November guidance requires them to reject payments from the Ryan White program in order to combat fraud, said Robert Greenwald, managing director of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, a position Louisiana Blue still maintains.
"As an anti-fraud measure, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has implemented a policy, across our individual health insurance market, of not accepting premium payments from any third parties who are not related" to the subscriber, Maginnis said.