Wednesday, October 22, 2014
As President Obama's negotiators met this April to continue discussions with Iran about its nuclear program, Secretary of State John Kerry was asked in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing whether the Obama administration would bring any deal it struck with Tehran for congressional approval. Kerry's answer was immediate and unequivocal.
“Well, of course, we’d be obligated to under the law,” Kerry said. “We would absolutely have to, and so clearly, what we do will have to pass muster with Congress. We well understand that.”
Six months later, the administration is less clear on the matter. Or maybe what's less clear is whether Kerry was sincere. The New York Times reports this week that administration officials are so eager to make a deal with the mullahs — whether or not it does “pass muster with Congress” — that “[i]f agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it.” In fact, Obama wants to prevent Congress from having any say in the matter “for years,” as one anonymous senior official put it.
The idea is to have Obama “temporarily” — which actually means “permanently but without formal congressional approval” — suspend sanctions against Iran. In exchange, Tehran would allow nuclear inspectors in and limit the number of nuclear centrifuges it has spinning.
Obama's trial balloon in a loyal media outlet this week suggests that he expects a deal that Congress would hate — one not in America's best interests. If so, it would not be the first time he was more inclined to side with Iran's government than with the overwhelming will of his own country's representatives on Capitol Hill....
American policy is not made by a single person acting unilaterally. The people also elect a legislative branch, the nearly unanimous input from which cannot be rendered meaningless by Obama's desire for a deal at any cost.
It's no surprise that Obama wants to sidestep Congress. He has done so repeatedly on less consequential matters, eliciting rebukes from the Supreme Court. Especially on a matter as serious as this one, he must do what his Secretary of State, on his behalf, promised, and bring any deal to Congress so that the people's representatives can decide.
Yesterday, on Al Sharpton’s radio show, President Obama said that even though the most vulnerable Democratic candidates have actively avoided campaigning with him, “The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress. So this isn’t about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me…I tell them…you do what you need to do to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn out.”
...It is one thing for a president to have bad poll numbers six years into his term and be a drag on the ticket. It is another thing for a president to crush the messaging of the candidates in his party and be unable to hide his own vanity. Democratic candidates don’t want President Obama to campaign for them and now they don’t want him giving any interviews either. The Democratic candidates are running, but President Obama won’t let them hide.
She was a crusading Twitter journalist in a bastion of organized crime who chose a photograph of Catwoman as her online avatar and christened herself Felina. Like a comic-book avenger, her alter ego defied the forces of evil in her real-life Gotham of Reynosa, a border city in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas located a short drive from McAllen, Texas. Tamaulipas is notorious as a state caught in the iron grip of organized crime. Extortion, kidnappings, shootouts, arson, bodies excavated from arid pits, all of this happens in Tamaulipas, practically on a daily basis, but hardly any of it gets reported because of a media blackout the cartels decreed four years ago that is as strictly enforced as martial law after a coup....
Until early in the morning of Thursday, Oct. 16, when this message from Felina @Miut3 was posted:
# reynosafollow FRIENDS AND FAMILY, MY REAL NAME IS MARÍA DEL ROSARIO FUENTES RUBIO. I AM A PHYSICIAN. TODAY MY LIFE HAS COME TO AN END.
The next message, sent moments later, is supposedly her warning friends and family not to make the same mistake she did, using social media to report on organized crime, because “there is no point.” The message after that is a warning to her followers and to three prominent citizen journalists that the cartels “are closer to us than you think.” The last message sent from Felina’s account is not written but rather consists of two photos: in the first, a middle-aged woman keeps her hands folded in front of her and looks directly at the camera; in the second the same woman is lying on a dirty floor with a coup de grace bullet wound in the face. The founder of Valor por Tamaulipas confirmed that the photos are of Felina. Twitter has since shut down her account.
◼ link - FOX
A Canadian soldier was shot dead and a suspect killed in a brazen attack on the Canadian Parliament complex in Ottawa Wednesday morning that left the nation's capital on lockdown just two days after a terror attack in Quebec, officials said.
Heroine Malala Yousafzai was due to get Canadian citizenship today from PM Harper. This is no coincidence. pic.twitter.com/azNp20sSdw— David Jack Smith (@davidjacksmith) October 22, 2014
...Board officials chalked up the implausible age snafu to previous practices that allowed residents not to provide their exact birthdays when registering to vote.
Some of the new voters — mostly women — simply wrote that they were “21+” — above the legal voting age.
There was a reason to be vague. Voter registration records are open to the public, so anyone with the inclination can discover the real age of anyone in the files.
“It’s a left-over vestige from a bygone era,” explained Board of Elections executive director Mike Ryan....
Residents who registered after 2006 are required to provide their true birth dates. The board, under state law, must remove voters from the rolls who fail to do so. A voter without a date of birth who shows up on Election Day won’t be in the register, and will be declared ineligible to vote. They can fill out an affidavit ballot, but it won’t count.
But the old-timers are not affected.
James O’Keefe Strikes Again: Lawlessness and racism, unleashed by Colorado's vulnerable "vote-by-mail" system.
◼ The guerilla filmmaker has exposed how voter fraud is both easy and condoned in Colorado. - John Fund/National Review
James O’Keefe, the guerilla filmmaker who brought down the ACORN voter-registration fraudsters in 2010 and forced the resignation of NPR executives, politely disagrees. Today, he is releasing some new undercover footage that raises disturbing questions about ballot integrity in Colorado, the site of fiercely contested races for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and the governorship. When he raised the issue of filling out some of the unused ballots that are mailed to every household in the state this month, he was told by Meredith Hicks, the director of Work for Progress, a liberal group funded by Democratic Super PACS.: “That is not even like lying or something, if someone throws out a ballot, like if you want to fill it out you should do it.” She then brazenly offered O’Keefe, disguised as a middle-aged college instructor, a job with her group.◼ O’Keefe Video: Voter Fraud Ground Zero in ‘Ghetto Aurora’ J. Christian Adams/PJ Media
The video of O’Keefe’s encounters with other operatives is equally disturbing. He has a conversation with Greenpeace employee Christina Topping, and suggests he might have access to unused ballots from people who have recently moved out of college fraternity houses. “I mean it is putting the votes to good use,” she responds. “So really, truly, like yeah, that is awesome.”
...I understand that Donna Brazile devoutly wants to wish away the notion of voter fraud. But by overwhelming margins, the American people believe it is a real problem and support steps to combat it. Indeed, a Rasmussen survey in 2013 found that a greater percentage of African Americans viewed voter fraud as a serious problem than did whites. That is because, as former Democratic congressman Artur Davis of Alabama told me: “Minority voters are often the biggest victims of voter fraud as reform movements in cities and depressed rural areas are crushed by fraudulent machine voting. I have seen it with my own eyes in Alabama.”
As with his expose of ACORN, James O’Keefe deserves credit for once again uncovering the potential for corruption at the ballot box while too many journalists keep their noses buried in campaign-finance reports. Both kinds of reporting are valuable, but O’Keefe appears to be a rare bird interested in ballot integrity.
A Greenpeace activist supporting Senator Mark Udall has been caught on undercover video by James O’Keefe claiming “Ghetto Aurora” is a great town in which to commit voter fraud. I can’t find Ghetto Aurora on a map, but the activist says it is in Colorado.
It’s no surprise that the best place to commit voter fraud is Colorado.
If you deliberately tried to design an election system to aid fraud, here’s how you’d do it: you’d put ballots in the hands of folks that you have some indication no longer live where they did long ago. You’d make sure folks got ballots, even if many of the counties had more people on the voter rolls than people alive. Then you’d make sure that voting is decentralized, out of the sight of election officials, so that there is no way to know who is really voting on the ballots.
Check, check and check. Welcome to Colorado’s new vote-by-mail system.
"Thanks to a new California law, honest people trying to scrape by doing repair or construction work now face greater barriers to feeding their families." The law would make even the "most hardened Craigslist repair guy tremble."
In the midst of a struggling economy, California has decided to crack down on the nefarious handymen that you hire to fix your stuff. Thanks to a new California law, honest people trying to scrape by doing repair or construction work now face greater barriers to feeding their families.
California has long required costly licenses for construction contractors. For decades, the “Joint Enforcement Strike Force” (a group that sounds more like a legion of stormtroopers than a gaggle of nosy bureaucrats) has been “protecting” consumers from choosing who they want to hire. But the large contractors who might have to compete against unlicensed scallywags have asked the California government to do more. The state responded with a law that will make the most hardened Craigslist repair guy tremble.
Under this new law, the Joint Enforcement Strike Force will now have “full access to all places of labor” to check that contractors are licensed to do honest work. The new law also subjects unlicensed evildoers to criminal prosecution. As for the repeat offender who continues to enter into voluntary exchanges with abandon, a second offense will result in at least a $5000 fine and ninety days in jail. What else were California prisons going to do with all of that empty space, anyway? And Californians won’t find many cheap offers to fix stuff cluttering Craigslist anymore, because it’s now a crime for anyone to “advertise for construction or work of improvement unless that person holds a valid license.” But consumers won’t be accomplices in the crime of earning a living. Instead, if you hire the friendly neighborhood handyman to fix a leaky roof, you may be a “victim of crime” entitled to restitution for your “economic loss....”
◼ Goldberg told host Jon Scott that the Democratic strategy of harping on the “War on Woman” was “demeaning and sexist” in that it treated all women as though they had the same, narrow priorities. - Daily Caller
First, ask what have the last two Democratic administrations done for boys, men and fathers? Because of “The Woman’s Vote” and his powerful feminist base, Democratic President Obama has given us a Cabinet-level White House Council on Women and Girls. Despite extensive and repeated calls for a gender equivalent White House Council on Men and Boys, Democratic President Obama has refused even to consider the multitude of problems facing males in today’s economy and society.◼ Why Would Any Man Vote Democrat? - Dr. Helen Smith/Pj Media
The average individual Obamacare insurance deductible is 5 times higher than employer-sponsored coverage. Affordable?
Patricia Wanderlich got insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year, and with good reason: She suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2011, spending weeks in a hospital intensive care unit, and has a second, smaller aneurysm that needs monitoring.
But her new plan has a $6,000 annual deductible, meaning that Ms. Wanderlich, who works part time at a landscaping company outside Chicago, has to pay for most of her medical services up to that amount. She is skipping this year’s brain scan and hoping for the best.
“To spend thousands of dollars just making sure it hasn’t grown?” said Ms. Wanderlich, 61. “I don’t have that money.”
About 7.3 million Americans are enrolled in private coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than 80 percent qualified for federal subsidies to help with the cost of their monthly premiums. But many are still on the hook for deductibles that can top $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families — the trade-off, insurers say, for keeping premiums for the marketplace plans relatively low. The result is that some people — no firm data exists on how many — say they hesitate to use their new insurance because of the high out-of-pocket costs.
Insurers must cover certain preventive services, like immunizations, cholesterol checks and screening for breast and colon cancer, at no cost to the consumer if the provider is in their network. But for other services and items, like prescription drugs, marketplace customers often have to meet their deductible before insurance starts to help.
While high-deductible plans cover most of the costs of severe illnesses and lengthy hospital stays, protecting against catastrophic debt, those plans may compel people to forgo routine care that could prevent bigger, longer-term health issues, according to experts and research.... KEEP READING
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
WFB reported that Ebola czar was listed on Friday as a trustee to think tank with ties to Democracy Alliance - two days later his name is removed…
Third Way, a progressive think tank with ties to the Democracy Alliance, has removed newly appointed Ebola czar Ron Klain from its website, following a Washington Free Beacon report.
The Free Beacon reported Friday on Klain’s status as a trustee for Third Way, and his past experience lobbying on behalf of a drug company that was accused of denying life-saving drugs to dying cancer patients.
I can't wait to get egg all over your undercover-Polk-award-winning face later this week, and prove, @DavidCornDC, you are a fraud.— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) October 21, 2014
◼ Two weeks before Election Day, most of the nation's likely voters now expect the Republican Party to take control of the U.S. Senate, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. And by a growing margin, they say that's the outcome they'd like to see. - Associated Press By JENNIFER AGIESTA and EMILY SWANSON
...Among all adults, 38 percent say they'd like the Democrats to wind up in control of Congress, to 36 percent for the Republicans. But the GOP holds a significant lead among those most likely to cast ballots: 47 percent of these voters favor a Republican controlled-Congress, 39 percent a Democratic one. That's a shift in the GOP's favor since an AP-GfK poll in late September, when the two parties ran about evenly among likely voters.
Women have moved in the GOP's direction since September. In last month's AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.
In all, the poll finds that 55 percent of likely voters now expect Republicans to win control of the Senate, up from 47 percent last month. Democrats have grown slightly more pessimistic on this count since September, with 25 percent expecting the GOP to take control now compared with 18 percent earlier.
What's deeply important to likely voters after the economy? About three-quarters say health care, terrorism, the threat posed by the Islamic State group and Ebola.
◼ EDITORIAL: Pete Peterson for California secretary of state - Fresno Bee
ENDORSEMENT: ...We recommend Peterson. He is an expert in civic engagement whose passion for democracy and voting, and knowledge of technology should enable him to jump-start a Secretary of State's Office that is decades behind the times and an embarrassment to California, which prides itself on being cutting edge.
Peterson initially wasn't given much of a chance at winning because he was a little-known centrist Republican in a blue state.
...Peterson, executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University, offers a refreshing alternative to voters tired of the political job-hopping in California.