News and Commentary for February 4

Keep your ears open. There's a lot going on and we have to help explain it to those who aren't paying attention.

Keep your ears open. There’s a lot going on and we have to help explain it to those who aren’t paying attention.

Story of the Day

We really are in the best of hands. “U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the Obama administration to check its new healthcare network for malicious software after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government helped produce the website, raising fresh concerns that private data posted by millions of Americans will be compromised.” The Belarusian Connection

Arizona Politics

Oldie, but worth a re-look as we get closer to August primaries. And what the heck is a “Prada socialist?” “And she discusses her seven pairs of glasses and her wardrobe, describing herself as “a Prada socialist,’’ saying people can still believe in fairness and justice ‘and still have fabulous accessories.’” Gay marriage debate sparks a feminism battle

Amnesty

Collapsing. “Entitlements: ObamaCare is already a fiscal nightmare for the country. Now Democrats, and even some Republicans, want to expand it to ruinous levels by making 12 million illegals eligible for subsidies. Adding these largely poor immigrants to the state health exchanges and Medicaid rolls threatens to explode the $2 trillion cost of ObamaCare by another $210 billion to $300 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Senate Budget Committee.” If You Liked Health Reform, You’ll Love Immigration Reform

Benghazi

Drip, drip, drip. “Former CIA Director Mike Morell may have altered the Benghazi talking points to benefit the Obama administration during the 2012 election, Catherine Herridge of Fox News reports.” Herridge: Fmr. CIA Director Morell May Have Altered Benghazi Talking Points to Benefit Obama Admin.

Big Government

“In January 2014, the Obama donor appointed to “investigate” the abuse declined to bring any charges against anyone, which leads to the question: Why did Lois Lerner take the Fifth? If there were no crimes committed, how could Lerner incriminate herself?” Obama: ‘Not a Smidgeon’ of Corruption in IRS Abuse

“Obama is just the extreme version of a widespread belief among many in both parties that an enormous, intrusive federal regulatory and redistributionist regime is necessary for “solving problems” that in fact are best left to individuals and state and local government. The only argument between the parties these days is over the amount and pace of expansion––spending, for example, $800 billion on food stamps over the next decade rather than $808 billion. This belief in problem-solving big government is more insidious and thus in the long run more dangerous than Obama’s ‘pen and phone.’” Executive Tyranny: The Problem’s Bigger Than Obama

I think we should all work in the government. It’s much more lucrative. “The IRS’ announcement Monday that it will pay cancelled 2013 bonuses has infuriated Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who wants to know why an agency with employees who “inappropriately” targeted conservative political groups would reinstate the rewards.” Senator rebukes IRS over decision to reinstate 2013 employee bonuses

Class Warfare

This: “Two phenomena: anti-Semitism and American class conflict. Is there any connection between them? In a letter to this newspaper, the noted venture capitalist Tom Perkins called attention to certain parallels, as he saw them, between Nazi Germany’s war against the Jews and American progressives’ war on the “one percent.” For comparing two such historically disparate societies, Mr. Perkins was promptly and heatedly denounced. But is there something to be said for his comparison—not of Germany and the United States, of course, but of the politics at work in the two situations? The place to begin is at the starting point: with the rise of anti-Semitism, modernity’s most successful and least understood political movement.” And this: Herein lies a deeper structural connection. On the global front today, the much larger and more obvious beneficiary of those same blessings is the democratic capitalist system of the United States, and the ultimate target of the ultimate negative campaign is the American people. Anyone seeking to understand the inner workings of such a campaign will find much food for thought in Mr. Perkins’s parallel.” Ruth Wisse: The Dark Side of the War on ‘the One Percent:’ Stoking class envy is a step in a familiar, dangerous and highly incendiary process.

Education

Maintaining the Education Plantation. “After Barack Obama gave a thousand campaign speeches on Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, and the economy, one of his first actions upon taking office as president was to begin gutting a tiny school-choice scholarship program in Washington, D.C. And now newly inaugurated New York mayor Bill de Blasio has, as one of his first agenda items, begun the gutting of the city’s charter schools, which are public schools that operate with some limited measure of independence from the usual education bureaucracies. Like President Obama, Mayor de Blasio is here engaged in plain, naked payback, rewarding the teachers’ unions that funded and manned his campaign by taking hundreds of millions of dollars away from projects they despise. If a private city contractor had bankrolled the mayor’s campaign and been repaid by having him hobble its competition, we’d call it simple corruption. And it is simple corruption, legal though it may be.” Save the Charter Schools

Elections

“The Republican plan for granting legalization up front, while withholding citizenship, is too clever by half. It is like saying that you can slide halfway down a slippery slope. Republicans may yet rescue the Democrats while demoralizing their own supporters and utterly failing the country.” GOP Could Blow 2014 Election With Unwise Push For Amnesty

Interesting history lesson. This: Henry Waxman and George Miller are retiring from the House and not running for re-election after 40 years as a congressmen from southern and northern California. Also retiring and not running for re-election is Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa. Senator Max Baucus of Montana will resign if, as expected, he is confirmed as ambassador to China. Both were first elected to the House in 1974 and were later elected to the Senate. These four are just about the last members serving in Congress of the 75 Democrats first elected to the House in the Watergate year of 1974. And this: “The Class of 1974 also shifted the House and the congressional Democratic party from hawkish to dovish. One of its first acts in March 1975 was to block funding for South Vietnam when it was under attack by the North. Saigon fell in April. In the 1980s the Democratic House kept pushing back on Reagan foreign policy. In 2002, Nancy Pelosi, who holds the seat once held by Phil Burton, led most House Democrats to oppose the Iraq war resolution. Pelosi says she is staying on, even as her ally Waxman and her consigliere Miller leave the House. The 201-member caucus she leads has more black and Hispanic members and fewer young doves and reformers than the 291-member caucus Waxman and Miller entered nearly 40 year ago. Still, the Class of 1974 has left a mark on history — though not as much as one Democrat who narrowly lost a House race that year, a 28-year-old Arkansan named Bill Clinton.” The Democratic class of 1974 passes from the scene

Freedom

What the hell is happening in our country? “The House Armed Services Committee hearing focused on religious liberty, following growing reports of discrimination and reprisals against soldiers who expressed or practiced their religious beliefs, in particular Christian military members. The statement included information about the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition, a group of 23 non-profit organizations, which documented examples of those discrimination reports, including an officer who was ordered to remove a Bible from his desk so as not to offend anyone, and an Army chaplain’s assistant who was ordered to remove a social media post that expressed her own religious and moral views.” Gen. Boykin to Congress: Religious Liberty Must Be Affirmed, Cherished in Military

Foreign Policy

Weak. “Whether all these incidents are minor or serious, and whether they are random or interconnected and perceived as proof of the loss of U.S. deterrence, depends on which particular bad actor is studying them to try to guess whether the Obama administration will do anything should a provocateur start a war or attempt to redraw a regional map. In short, our Icarus-in-Chief, without much foreign-policy experience but with youthful zeal and good intentions, soared far too high for his flimsy waxen wings. Now they are melting, and as the American commander-in-chief careens back to earth, lots of those below are wondering what will come next. Still, there is a lot of irony as Obama freefalls to earth.” Our Icarus-in-Chief: Obama’s global fantasies are falling to earth along with him.

The Left

This: “During the 1950s, American society saw a great expansion of the middle class, with rising incomes and rates of home ownership. Rather than rejoicing over the large number of Americans who had escaped poverty, many liberals were torn. These days, there is a wave of nostalgia for the 1950s, but many commentators of the time saw it as a soul-deadening period of homogenization and middlebrow culture, of men in “flannel suits” who lived in ticky-tacky houses. Consumerism ran rampant while middle-class Americans were busy keeping up with the Joneses. A raft of clichés belittled the lives of middle-class Americans and tried to denigrate this era of economic progress.” And this: “Which brings us back to Obamacare. Its success or failure will ultimately hinge on whether middle-class Americans either benefit or are hurt by the new law. If the latter occurs, popular support will continue to plummet, and Democrats will suffer. Modern liberalism makes claims to technocratic superiority, believing that enlightened elites can make choices in a planned economy on behalf of the benighted. That proposition is being tested in the health care debate, but its fate will ultimately be in the hands of middle-class Americans.” Opiate of the Elites

Big Government doesn’t work. This: “Obama will seek to overcome “disability” through executive orders—as in raising the minimum wage for federal contractors. Leaving aside increased unemployment from the effects of raising the minimum wage, the entire effort promises to be lost in a bureaucratic bog, with litigation lasting into the next administration. Having worked in an agency established by executive order, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), I can add from my own experience the confusion of trying to enforce civil rights on federal contractors. First of all, an executive order implements a federal law or a constitutional power—the most famous executive order being Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, based on Article II war powers. Obama’s action regarding a pay increase may be unconstitutional, for it may violate the statute that it implements, the Federal Property and Administrative Practices Act of 1949. And this: “A little while later, as we were leaving the Oval Office and walking under the colonnade, Obama said, “I just wanted to add one thing to that business about the great-man theory of history. The President of the United States cannot remake our society, and that’s probably a good thing.” He paused yet again, always self-editing. “Not ‘probably,’ ” he said. “It’s definitely a good thing.” One trusts as true the first-draft Obama more than his self-edited version.” Obama’s Left-Wing Foot

Michelle Obama

Whitewashing the truth of obesity. “Despite $4.5 billion in funding for the Let’s Move campaign, USDA hyper-regulations, and multiple executive actions created to influence personal habits, the government has little to show for its efforts. The declining obesity rates the president cites began years before Michelle Obama had any say, and there’s no indication that Let’s Move has greatly helped the process.” Let’s Move? Fat Chance

Obamacare

Is there ANYTHING working as it relates to Obamacare? “First, Amy Goldstein of  The Post reveals that the appeals process guaranteed in the Obamacare law does not actually exist. The story outlines an almost comical process that requires citizens who seek a fair hearing to have an innocent, HealthCare.gov-generated mistake corrected to fill out a seven-page paper form that is then inexplicably shipped to Kentucky, where it is entered into a government database that isn’t actually connected to anything. It’s a digital dead end for those who dare to complain. Typical. As a result, 22,000 Americans who have submitted an appeals request remain without proper coverage and they have no recourse. And, according to The Post, in the latest show of non-transparency from this administration, officials have “not made public the fact that the appeals system for the online marketplace is not working.” There is “no indication that infrastructure . . .  necessary for conducting informal reviews and fair hearings had even been created, let alone become operational,” and administration officials are refusing to give any information as to when the appeals process might start moving. This is an administration that wants to hide things rather than fix things.” The Insiders: Obamacare – The incompetence and denials keep coming

Run Scott, run! “New Hampshire is a good example of a state where the Obamacare disaster could make a Senate race unexpectedly competitive. Without Obamacare dragging her down, incumbent Jeanne Shaheen would be a prohibitive favorite for re-election. But a recent poll shows her in a dead heat with Scott Brown, who has moved to the state and is mulling the possibility of a run.” Obamacare In New Hampshire

“And, now to the video. This is fast-food fry cook Darnell Summers, who has been working with his union to get higher wages. He’s clearly pushing for a minimum wage raise, here, and President Obama is happy to talk about that. What he’s not happy to address is the part of the question where Summers notes he’s been knocked down to part time work because his employers are trying to avoid the expense of Obamacare. These are real people, who were promised far better than this, being hurt by a law that was supposed to help them. They are not figments of Fox’s imagination. They are not Republicans obstructing anything. They’re the people Obamacare has failed to serve.” Video: Meet ObamaCare’s unintended consequences

“There is much to like in their proposal. It would extend tax credits to help all Americans purchase insurance, getting around the tax code’s previous bias towards those who receive insurance through their employer. It would ensure the widespread availability of bare-bones catastrophic coverage without resorting to Obamacare’s individual mandate. It takes important steps towards reforming Medicaid and providing coverage for those with medical conditions. And it has laudable goals for deregulating health markets and empowering consumers to make health choices based on cost and quality, a development that would drive health care costs downward. The proposal isn’t perfect. It maintains Obamacare’s provision allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, for instance, an unnecessary exercise in infantilizing young Americans. Nor does it make any serious efforts to address Medicare, a program that will require reform sooner rather than later. That said, the plan still represents an important step forward: articulating an alternative to health care policy that empowers individual consumers rather than government. That’s precisely the necessary direction as the nation attempts to dig out from the wreckage of Obamacare, a law that deserves to be discarded at the first possible opportunity.” After Obamacare, what?

Our tax payer dollars at work. “Obamacare supporters are hoping the day after Valentine’s Day will be the day young people in America show health insurers some love. And they’re banking on women to make it happen. Feb. 15 is “National Youth Enrollment Day,” a nationwide series of concerts, rallies, and online campaigns aimed at convincing more young people to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. It’s the latest and largest piece of an effort that borrows heavily from President Obama’s reelection campaign, a plan that’s been slowed by the difficult rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s online portal.” Inside The Plan To Get More Young Americans To Enroll In Obamacare

President Obama

Forgotten, meaningless words. “There was one other area Obama talked about in Peoria 259 weeks ago: fiscal restraint. It almost seems ludicrous now after his four straight years of trillion-dollar-plus deficits and another contentious debate looming this month over raising the national debt limit yet again, well above the current fiscal hole that’s $17 trillion deep. “We’ve got to get serious about starting to live within our means,” said Democrat Barack Obama. No, really. He said that. You can see on the C-SPAN video below. “Instead of leaving debt for our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren,” said the Great Spender, who’s created more debt than any other modern-day president. “That’s not the responsible way. That’s not how folks here in Peoria operate in their own lives, and they should expect the government is equally responsible.” Unfortunately, Americans have come to expect so much less from this man and his government.” Five years of Obama promises: What’s changed?

“I can’t recall any previous president, even when lying or shading the truth, saying that he had said something in a public speech when he had not (if you can think of such an incident, let me know). This is what is called a bold-faced lie, an egregious lie—and a lie that depends for its success on the collusion of the press.” Obama: degrees of lies

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Filed under 2014 Elections, AARP, Amnesty, Arizona Politics, Benghazi, Big Government, Class Warfare, Education, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Michelle Obama, Obamacare, President Obama, Story of the Day, The Left

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