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An Overview of Stories in the News

This Page was last updated on:April 14th

Americans Must Never Surrender Freedom: Balancing between terrorism and freedomApr. 14: The Daily News: Americans Must Never Surrender Freedom! There has been much talk in the news of late about the NSA collection of telephone metadata.  One such report said this is not the same as listening to a person’s phone calls or reading text messages/email but instead it allows the intelligence community to see what numbers are being called by specifically identified numbers, doing so under a court-ordered warrant.  If this is the case we do not object to such activities.

We believe terrorist should be treated as enemy combatants and not as common criminals.  Some say, "don't terrorists have the same rights we have?"  NO! This is an important point; citizens have rights, but foreign terrorist don’t under our Constitution and they are governed under military jurisdiction.

Apr. 13: The Washington Times: Hillary Clinton all but erased from tragic story of the attack in Banghazi:
A huge wave of public testimony, reports and documents on what happened in Benghazi now floods Washington, and little of it focuses on the role of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton before, on, or after Sept. 11, 2012.  Over the past 18 months, there have been at least seven public congressional hearings and three fact-finding reports on the terrorist attack. If not invisible, Mrs. Clinton is certainly portrayed as being only in the background during Benghazi, unaware of key events. “Benghazi happened on her watch, so she will always have a connection to the attack,” P.J. Crowley, who was Mrs. Clinton’s top spokesman at State in her first year said. “There have been some efforts to make it about her, which I suspect will continue despite the lack of evidence.”

Apr. 13: Fox News: Sebelius says timeline for ObamaCare rollout “flat out wrong”
Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the timeline for the ObamaCare rollout was "flat-out wrong" and that the federal exchange could have used “more time and testing” before going online.  Sebelius, who led the agency through the problem-plagued rollout, made her comments in an interview that aired Sunday on “NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the first interview since she announced her resignation Thursday.

Apr. 13: The Washington Times: Bundy Bungle could leave dirt on Harry Reid’s Reputation:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said little as federal agents seized and then released cattle last week from the Bundy ranch in Reid’s home state of Nevada, but there is little doubt that the highly charged episode was threatening to become a political headache for him.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is headed by former longtime Reid aide Neil Kornze, who was confirmed by the Senate as BLM director on Tuesday, just as federal authorities descended on the cattle ranch outside Mesquite, Nev.

When civilian militia and supporters started to arrive to protest the government’s actions Kornze issued a statement that BLM would return the cattle and withdraw its agents from the ranch because of safety concerns after clashes between law enforcement and the Bundy family’s growing legion of supporters. Speculation spiked in recent days over Reid’s connection to the BLM episode, in which federal contractors seized about 400 head of cattle from 68-year-old rancher over his refusal to pay an estimated $1 million in grazing fees over 20 years. “It was likely pressure from upstairs, rather than weapons from the field, that changed his mind on the matter,” the liberal group Americans Against the Tea Party said in an online post. “Fact is, Harry Reid probably didn’t want his name attached to the biggest civilian massacre in U.S. history right before election season.”

 

Men on horseback pause for the National Anthem while gathering to support the Bundy family in its challenge against the Bureau of Land ManagementApr. 12: InfoWars.com: Feds Back Down in Cattle Stand Off:
[Photo: Kholten Gleave, right, of Utah, pauses for the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville , NV while gathering with other supporters of the Bundy family to challenge the Bureau of Land Management on Saturday. Jason Bean/Las Vegas Review-Journal/AP]


In an epic standoff that Infowars reporter David Knight described as being like “something out of a movie,” supporters of Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy advanced on a position held by BLM agents despite threats that they would be shot at, eventually forcing BLM feds to release 100 cattle that had been stolen from Bundy as part of a land grab dispute that threatened to escalate into a Waco-style confrontation.
Despite the fact that Bureau of Land Management officials agreed to cease their operation to seize Bundy’s cattle after a massive public backlash, Bundy demanded that Sheriff Douglas Gillespie disarm BLM officials and return his stolen cows.  When this didn’t happen, hundreds of Bundy supporters, including cowboys on horseback, descended on a nearby cattle pen outside of Mesquite where the seized cows were being held.  In a tense standoff, armed BLM feds, backed up by at least one SWAT team, threatened to shoot at Bundy supporters if they marched any closer to a line of vehicles.

Despite threats such as “one more step and you’re dead,” the protesters continued their slow march towards BLM agents as bullhorns blared.  Refusing to back down, the protesters marched straight past the armed men and towards the cattle pen.  After around 30 minutes, Bundy supporters saw the cattle being released about a mile away in the distance.  It cannot be overstated how much of a gargantuan victory this represents for the American people in their battle against big government tyranny.  “The people have the power when they unite,” Ammon Bundy told the Las Vegas Review Journal “The war has just begun.”

Apr. 12: The Daily Caller: GOP Members press DHS on Agency’s release of illegal alien criminals
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are pushing the Department of Homeland Security for more information about the thousands of criminal aliens that the agency has captured and released back into the United States. The members’ request come on the heels of a report, based on internal data from ICE, that found they charged only 25 percent of the potentially 722,000 deportable aliens they encountered.  The report further revealed that ICE released 68,000 convicted criminals during 2013.   The Congressional Research Service reports that some of those who were released subsequently committed 59 murders, 21 attempted murders and 542 sex crimes

Apr. 12: The Daily Caller: Racism?  It’s all about the Midterm Elections?
There’s something sinister on the airwaves. It’s sloppy, and it’s cynical, but sinister all the same, and it’s race-hate spewing from the absolute top of the Democratic Party. On Wednesday, Attorney General Holder told an audience that his being held in Contempt of Congress was unprecedented, hinting that it was done, in part, because of his race.  The same day Minority Leader Pelosi stoked the race-hating fires by saying the conservative opposition to amnesty “has a scent of Japanese internment” (not taking into account that Japanese internment took place under a Democrat Administration).

“Because the Democrats have made clear that they know they won’t have a lot of  success whipping up midterm excitement with six years of failed economics, one year of failed Obamacare, or Senate-floor ramblings about Charles Koch. So, in a bid to their base, the game plan is identity politics,” the Daily Caller reports.  “And just as in the past, it’s a campaign message that will be used to attack Republicans for anything and everything.

Apr. 12: The Hill: Democrats Just Don’t Understand Market Economics and Target Medicare Advantage Insurance Companies
A new Democrat bill would prevent Medicare Advantage (MA) plans from dropping providers in the middle of the year.   The measure is forthcoming from Representative DeLauro (D-CT) and responds to UnitedHealth's move to drop thousands of doctors from its MA policies at the end of last year.  But DeLauro just doesn’t understand that market economics.  When ObamaCare imposes cuts in the reimbursement rates health insurance companies need to respond by making cuts in order to remain profitable (e.g., they are not non-profit companies). 

Apr. 11: The Daily CallerObamaCare Taxes add Billions to rising premiums and an average increase of $354 per policyholder in 2014:
On top of rising premiums, Obamacare taxes are adding hundreds of dollars per year onto customers’ costs, according to new study from the American Action Forum.  Those who braved the health-care law’s exchanges will have to pay an extra $354 on average in 2014, reports the D.C.-based think tank, just due to seven taxes included in Obamacare. The vast majority of the country covered by employer-sponsored health insurance will be forced to pay a somewhat lower tab of $196 to cover the taxes. Those with self-funded employer-sponsored insurance are exempt from several of the largest culprits and will have the lowest added cost at $94 in 2014, which will drop to $59 by 2016.

Apr. 11: The Daily Caller: Federal Judge: Holder Gave Unprecedented Instruction for which he had no authority:
A federal judge criticized Attorney General Eric Holder for directing prosecutors to pursue shorter prison sentences for drug crimes before new guidelines for sentencing had been approved.  The U.S. Sentencing Commission approved the reduced sentences for federal drug trafficking offenses on Thursday. Holder endorsed the move last month, and the Justice Department instructed prosecutors not to object if defendants sought the newly-proposed guidelines during sentencing. 

Apr. 10: PCWorld.com: End of ICANN contract puts Internet freedom at risk, critics say:
The freedom and openness of the Internet are at stake after the U.S. government announced plans to end its contractual oversight of ICANN, some critics said Thursday. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced last month that it will end its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to operate key domain-name functions could embolden other nations to attempt to seize control, some Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee said.

Apr. 10: The New York Times: Sebelius Steps Down After Five Troubled Years with ObamaCare:
Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, is resigning, ending a stormy five-year tenure marred by the disastrous rollout of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, ObamaCare.  Mr. Obama accepted Ms. Sebelius’s resignation this week, and on Friday morning, he will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her, officials said.  The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, convince a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall.

Apr. 10: Fox News: House panel votes to hold ex-IRS “targeting“ Official in Contempt of Congress:
A House committee voted Thursday to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, as Republicans escalated their bid to "get to the bottom" of the former IRS official's role in the political targeting scandal.  The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 21-12 to hold Lerner in contempt. The party-line vote followed hours of heated debate on the committee.   The contempt measure heads next to the House floor.  "This is not an action I take lightly," House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), said before the vote. But he said lawmakers "need Ms. Lerner's testimony to complete our oversight work and bring truth to the American people." 

Apr. 10: Fox News: Emails Show Ranking House Committee Member Asked the IRS for Information on True the Vote:
Emails released by the House Oversight Committee show Democratic staff requested information from the IRS' tax-exempt division on True The Vote, a conservative group that monitors polling places for voter fraud. Apparently Cummings – the Ranking Democrat  -- requested information from True the Vote in October 2012 on its volunteer activities and training.  Five days later, the IRS sent True the Vote a letter requesting the group provide the agency with copies of its volunteer registration forms and additional information on its volunteer activities.   Cummings' staff requested more information from the IRS about True the Vote in January 2013.  Three days later, Lois Lerner wrote to her deputy Holly Paz: "Did we find anything?" and  "check tomorrow please." 

Continuing, from the Washington Free Beacon (April 9th): In a February 2014 Oversight Committee hearing, Cummings denied allegations by True The Vote attorney Cleta Mitchell who had said “We want to get to the bottom of how these coincidences happened, and we’re going to try to figure out whether any—if there was any staff of this committee that might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these Federal agencies. We don’t know that, but we—we’re going to do everything we can do to try to get to the bottom of how did this all happen.”

Meanwhile Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and five subcommittee chairmen sent a letter to Cummings Thursday demanding an explanation for his staff’s activities.

Apr. 10: Fox News: The Lois Leaner Files: The Case for Contempt of Congress:
The House Ways and Means Committee released a letter Wednesday detailing what it believes to be criminal misconduct by Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the ongoing IRS Tea Party targeting scandal. For those who want to understand how partisan bureaucrats can manipulate a powerful federal agency, the letter is a must-read.

Apr. 9: CBS News Las Vegas: Nevada Governor Calls Federal Cattle Roundup “Intimidation”
Nevada’s governor is criticizing a federal cattle roundup of 277 privately owned cows on land a local rancher's family has had it cattle graze on for over 140 years; calling it “intimidation.” The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) claims Bundy -- the rancher -- has been tresspassing on government land. BLM and National Park Service officials didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to Gov. Brian Sandoval’s call for them to “reconsider its approach.”   Sandoval says he’s most offended that federal officials have tried to corral people protesting the roundup into a “First Amendment area.”

Apr.9: The Times of Israel: Kerry focuses blame on Israel for collapse of talks
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that both Israelis and Palestinians were responsible for the current crisis in peace talks, but appeared to allocate the lion’s share of the blame to Jerusalem.  “Both sides wound out in a position of unhelpful moves,” Kerry said at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, delineating what he said led to the current impasse.  “The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof — that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said.

Apr. 8: Fox News: Contempt vote set for Lerner, House Report lays out allegations
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee formally laid out its allegations against Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal, in a report Tuesday -- ahead of a scheduled committee vote on whether to hold her in contempt of Congress.   The committee plans to vote Thursday on holding her in contempt for failing to testify twice before the panel. On Wednesday, a separate committee will consider referring her case to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution.   The moves come after lawmakers tried repeatedly to press Lerner for answers about the tax collecting agency and its targeting practices against conservative groups.  “Lois Lerner’s testimony is critical to the committee’s investigation,” the oversight report states. “Without her testimony, the full extent of the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party applications cannot be known, and the committee will be unable to fully complete its work.”

Apr. 8: Fox News: Krauthammer on IRS Scandal: “The administration wants to stonewall”
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that despite measures in the House to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify, the investigation into the IRS targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups is likely going nowhere.  “Nothing will come of the contempt vote. Nothing will come of the DOJ investigation, because the administration has no interest in investigating,” Krauthammer said. 

Apr. 8: Fox News: Surprise!  Most won’t be able to buy health insurance until the end of the year:
There is yet another ObamaCare surprise waiting for consumers: from now until the next open enrollment at the end of this year, most people will simply not be able to buy any health insurance at all, even outside the exchanges.  "It's all closed down. You cannot buy a policy that is a qualified policy for the purpose of the ACA (the Affordable Care Act) until next year on January 1," says John Divito, president of Flexbenefit which has 2,500 brokers.  John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas adds, "People are not going to be able to buy individual and family policies, and that's part of ObamaCare. And what makes it so surprising is the whole point of ObamaCare was to encourage people to get insurance, and now the market has been completely closed down for the next seven months."

Apr. 7: The New Republic: House GOP Leadership “Expands” ObamaCare?
When the House Leadership snuck through the “Doc Fix” a week or so ago it got Conservatives upset that they had tried, and succeeded with a parliamentary end run.  But along with this “fix”  the GOP Leadership also eliminated a provision of the Affordable Care Act that capped deductibles for small-group health plans at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families. 

Apr. 7: The Daily News: One Nation Under God:
Go to the column "One Nation Under God" penned by the "Three Musketeers" We find interesting that our great leaders found their faith from different views.  Franklin describes his own definition of religion one way, Washington another. But history speaks loudly of a common thread from our leaders of the past that seems to combined these elements; those who ask must be duly authorized by the governed, honestly seek His help through prayer, and be honestly seeking to find and act upon His will.  We strongly agree. 

In 1954 the words “under God” were added to the pledge of allegiance, making it clear that this is where the roots of our nation came from.  And by the way, it’s not “one nation, under God” its “one nation under God” one complete phrase and not an afterthought! In buildings all around our nation we see inscribed “in God we trust.”  We even carry this on our currency.  Our prayer is that this would be true; that it would not be just a slogan we find carved in stone but that it would be carved in the hearts and minds of the people of our nation, for only as we return to trusting Him will our nation continue under His protection.

Apr. 5: Roll Call: No pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in U.S. Military
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon said Friday afternoon there will be no pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in the military attached to this year’s defense spending bill.  The decision poured cold water on a behind-the-scenes bipartisan effort, headed up by another Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) to include such a provision in the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. After it was reported Wednesday that the ENLIST Act might be added to the NDAA a controversy erupted, with conservatives — led by committee member Mo Brooks (R-AL) who threatened to derail the NDAA if the leadership allowed inclusion of the provision. “It may stop the passage of the NDAA by bringing in an extracurricular issue that is wholly unrelated to national defense and national security,” Brooks told reporters on Friday prior to McKeon’s announcement.

Apr. 5: Yahoo News: Japan orders military to intercept any North Korean missiles deemed a threat:
Japan will strike any North Korean ballistic missile that threatens to hit Japan in the coming weeks after Pyongyang recently fired medium-range missiles, a government source said on Saturday.  A destroyer was dispatched to the Sea of Japan and will fire if North Korea launches a missile that Tokyo deems in danger of striking or falling on Japanese territory, the source said. Tensions have been building between North Korea and its neighbors since Pyongyang - in an apparent show of defiance - fired two Rodong missiles on March 26, just as the leaders of Japan, South Korea and the United States were sitting down to discuss containing the North Korean nuclear threat.

Apr. 5: Fox News: Congressional Retirements:  Part of the cause?  Gridlock and Dysfunction:
An exodus this year on Capitol Hill is creating a void in Congress, with some of its most experienced and skillful lawmakers suggesting the partisan gridlock is finally taking a toll.  The announcement this week by GOP Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, marked the eighth committee chairmen to retire this year from Congress -- four in the House and four in the Senate. In total, 23 House members are retiring this year.

The 12-term congressman’s decision not to seek re-election came just several days after Rep. Mike Rogers, another Michigan Republican and House committee chairman, said he also would leave in January.  Though Camp said he didn’t want to make the “mistake” of staying too long, as he had seen other congressional members do, he left with essentially no support for his plan to revise the country’s complicated tax code.

Apr. 4: The Foundry: Mozilla’s New CEO Resigns After Pro-Homosexual-Agenda Folks Mount Campaign Against Him
The chief executive of Mozilla resigned yesterday amid protests over his $1,000 donation in support of California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.   Brendan Eich’s 2008 donation was first revealed two years ago while he was serving in a senior role at Mozilla. But it was after his appointment as CEO last month that half of Mozilla’s board quit and company employees publicly voiced their disapproval. Others launched a public campaign seeking his ouster. In the wake of yesterday’s news, Andrew Sullivan, a leading advocate for redefining marriage, said the episode “should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society.”

Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society, warned that “bullies” were poisoning democratic discourse by attacking anyone who doesn’t share their view.   Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative and senior legal fellow, said the episode was an example of how the disclosure of political contributions served as a means to intimidate and harass an individual for his personal views.

Apr. 4: The Washington Examiner:  Holder didn’t take over 100 personal trips on the taxpayers dime it was only 27. Some contend this is 27 too many!
Attorney General Eric Holder disputed a Government Accountability Office report on his use of Justice Department airplanes for personal trips, saying it overstated the number of trips he took and failed to recognize that some trips were job-related.  Holder said DOJ looked at it and figured out from the time period that the GAO was looking at, we took not hundreds, but 27 personal and four combined [trips].

Apr. 4: The Washington Free Beacon: Senior CIA Manager jumps off building, committing suicide, in Northern Virginia:
A senior CIA official has died in an apparent suicide this week from injuries sustained after jumping off a building in northern Virginia, close to Tysons Corner,  CIA officials confirmed today. 

Apr. 3: Reason.Com:
Recent Poll: 75% of Americans believe politicians are corrupt, 70% use political power to hurt enemies
Americans don’t paint a pretty picture of their public servants in latest national Reason-Rupe poll.   Americans responded  that 75 percent of all politicians are “corrupted” by campaign donations and lobbyists  and said  70 percent use their political power to help their friends and hurt their enemies.  No wonder just 17 percent approve of the job Congress is doing.  Or that President Obama’s approval rating is just 43 percent, with 51 percent disapproving.

Apr. 3: Breitbart News: Border Patrol Chief: Obama’s Deportation Leniency Leading to Influx of Illegal Immigrant Children
The new head of Customs and Border Protection said on Wednesday that the Obama administration's leniency on deportations and deferred action programs have contributed to the increase in the number of illegal immigrant children crossing the country's southern border. Gil Kerlikowske told the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee that the agency's "facilities are not designed to hold these large numbers, nor are our ports of entry." Therefore, border patrol agents should not spend their time babysitting foreign children from south of the border. According to reports, the number of "immigrant children entering the United States has spiked from about 6,000 in fiscal 2011 to roughly 34,000 in fiscal 2013," and officials estimate that around 60,000 more "will have entered by the end of fiscal 2014."

Apr. 3: CNS News: Net Loss from ObamaCare in Maryland: 73K lose coverage | 60K sign up
The head of the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange testified Thursday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only 60,000 people have signed up for Obamacare through the state’s exchange - 13,000 less than the number of individuals reported to lose their insurance due to Obamacare. 

Apr. 2: The FoundryKrauthammer Blasts the ObamaCare “Phony” 7.1 Million enrollment number
The 7.1 Billion dollar figure is “meaningless,” Krauthammer said on “Special Report” on  Fox News, “because … we don’t know how many of them have paid, so it’s an  enrollment number that’s not [actual] enrollment.” 

Apr. 2: The National Journal: 15-20% of “Enrollees” Aren’t Paying ObamaCare Premiums, Insurers Say
Blue Cross/Blue Shield says 15 to 20 percent of its new customers aren't paying their first premium—which means they're not actually covered.  Roughly 80 to 85 percent of people who selected a Blues plan through the exchanges went on to pay their first month's premium, a BCBSA spokeswoman said Wednesday.  The new statistics, particularly from such a large carrier, help define how many people are actually getting covered under ObamaCare.  If the nationwide payment rate, across all carriers, remains at 80 to 85 percent, the 7.1 million sign-ups Obama announced Tuesday would translate into somewhere between 5.7 and 6 million people who are actually covered, while 6 million health insurance plans were cancelled due to ObamaCare.

Apr. 2: Fox News: Did Michigan just trigger a “Constitutional Convention?”
Momentum is building behind what would be an unprecedented effort to amend the U.S. Constitution, through a little-known provision that gives states rather than Congress the power to initiate changes.   At issue is what's known as a "constitutional convention," a scenario tucked into Article V of the U.S. Constitution. At its core, Article V provides two ways for amendments to be proposed. The first – which has been used for all 27 amendment to date – requires two-thirds of both the House and Senate to approve a resolution, before sending it to the states for ratification. The Founding Fathers, though, devised an alternative way which says if two-thirds of state legislatures demand a meeting, Congress “shall call a convention for proposing amendments.”

The idea has gained popularity among constitutional scholars in recent years -- but got a big boost last week when Michigan lawmakers endorsed it. Michigan matters, because by some counts it was the 34th state to do so. That makes two-thirds.  In the wake of the vote, Duncan Hunter (R-CA) pressed House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday to determine whether the states just crossed the threshold for this kind of convention. Hunter wrote.  “With the recent decision by Michigan lawmakers, it is important that the House – and those of us who support a balanced budget amendment -- determine whether the necessary number of states have acted and the appropriate role of Congress should this be the case."

But a Constitutional Convention could also open the entire document to changes that could further erode the protections found in the constitution, unlike amendments that come from a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate and that relate to specific measures like having a balanced budget amendment. 

Apr. 2: The Daily Beast: CIA Strikes Back on Benghazi
The CIA’s deputy director during the Benghazi attack responded to allegations Wednesday that he lied to Congress.   In a rare open hearing, Michael Morell, the deputy CIA director during the assault in Benghazi on Wednesday, fired back at reports he cherry picked intelligence for government-wide talking points in the aftermath of the attacks.  Morell has come under fire for allegedly lying to Congress and editing the Benghazi talking points, despite multiple streams of intelligence that were to the contrary to their substance.  Morell’s account differed from the testimony of the CIA’s station chief during the Benghazi attack who told lawmakers his assessment for the entire week of the attack was that the Benghazi incident was a terrorist attack and not a mob that had gotten out of control – the same conclusion the Senate Intelligence Committee came to.  One U.S. intelligence official who has worked on the intelligence on Benghazi told The Daily Beast this week that there nearly all of the human sources for the CIA in Benghazi also confirmed it was a terrorist attack along with considerable amounts of signal intercepts picked up by the NSA that evening.

Apr. 2: The Daily Caller: Government Report show the EPA tested deadly pollutants on unsuspecting humans in order to push their agenda:
The Environmental Protection Agency has been conducting dangerous experiments on humans over the past few years in order to justify more onerous clean air regulations.  According to a newly released IG report, the EPA conducted tests on people with health issues and the elderly, exposing them to high levels of potentially lethal pollutants, without disclosing the risks of cancer and death.   These experiments exposed people, including those with asthma and heart problems, to dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants, including diesel fumes, reads the report.  The EPA also exposed people with health issues to levels of pollutants up to 50 times greater than the agency says is safe for humans.

Apr. 2: The National Journal: Republicans Fear Obama will turn over control of the Internet to Russia and China:
An Obama administration plan to give up oversight of certain technical Internet functions could open the door to a takeover by authoritarian regimes, Republican lawmakers claimed Wednesday.  If Russia or China gain new influence over the management of the Internet, they could begin censoring content or blocking websites, the Republicans warned.  "Make no mistake: Threats to the openness and freedom of the Internet are real," said Republican Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which held a hearing on the issue Wednesday. "Leaders such as Vladimir Putin have explicitly announced their desire to gain control of the Internet."

Apr. 2:  Breitbart NewsHouse Republican Leadership may try an amnesty end-run:Some House Republicans are quietly working to insert immigration legislation into the text of the DOD authorization bill that would allow so-called “DREAMers” to obtain permanent legal residency by joining the military.  Jeff Denham (R-CA) is leading the push to add the text of his “ENLIST Act” into the National Defense Authorization Act, which could come to the House floor as early as next month.  The effort, which has not previously been reported, is fairly advanced, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte – who killed the proposal as an amendment to last year's NDAA in a dramatic floor struggle – is weighing whether to approve the maneuver, which would circumvent his committee on one of its key matters of jurisdiction.  Meanwhile, top immigration hawks ripped the proposal as ill-conceived and a clear effort to build momentum for a comprehensive immigration bill.

Apr. 1: The LA Times: High deportation figures are misleading:
Immigration activists have sharply criticized President Obama for a rising volume of deportations, labeling him the "deporter in chief" and staging large protests that have harmed his standing with some Latinos, a key group of voters for Democrats. But the portrait of a steadily increasing number of deportations rests on statistics that conceal almost as much as they disclose. A closer examination shows that immigrants living illegally in most of the continental U.S. are less likely to be deported today than before Obama came to office, according to immigration data. Expulsions of people who are settled and working in the United States have fallen steadily since his first year in office, and are down more than 40% since 2009.

Mar. 30: CBS News: On the Eve of ObamaCare Deadline, the law remains a work in progress:
After six tumultuous months, open enrollment on the new Obamacare marketplaces comes to a close. Once enrollment is over, a look at the marketplaces will give the nation a better picture of how well the Affordable Care Act is functioning. It's already perfectly clear, though -- to voters and lawmakers alike -- that the law is a work in progress.

Mar.29: News10 – La Mesa, CA:
Couple Upset after receiving pre-marked Democrat Voter Registration from ObamaCare Exchange:
A local couple called 10News concerned after they received an envelope from the state's Obamacare website, Covered California. Inside was a letter discussing voter registration and a registration card pre-marked with an "X" in the box next to Democratic Party.  The couple received the letter and voter registration card from their health insurance provider Covered California, the state-run agency that implements President’s ObamaCare law.  For years they have always been registered to vote Republican. Now, they are perplexed as to how the voter registration card pre-marked Democrat ended up in their mailbox.  Covered California began mailing out voter signup cards to nearly 4 million enrollees last week after being threatened with a lawsuit by voting rights groups. But that does not explain the pre-filled out voter registration card.

Mar. 31: Link to The Daily News Column on Weighing Protection, Privacy, and Power Go to Last Week's Column on Federal Funding for the Ike Dike Go to the Column on Weighing Protection, Privacy and Power Go to the Column on Weighing Protection, Privacy, and Power The Daily News: Weighing Protection, Privacy, & Power:
We Americans still remember vividly Sept 11th, 2001, as we turned on our TVs to fearfully watch again and again two large planes slam into the iconic World Trade Towers.  In the aftermath, Americans demanded protection.  Congress reacted with what has become known as the Patriot Act.  Some in Congress were asked, “Why did you a vote for a bill to give the government such powers that are illegal according to The Constitution?”  One replied, “Who could vote against a bill called The Patriot Act!”  The lesson is don’t believe that a bill is what its title says it is!  The “Affordable” Care Act is not affordable and yes, Nancy (Pelosi), you need to read it before you pass it!

Mar. 29: The Daily Caller: Some Dems backing off of Obama’s Pick for Surgeon General
Dr. Vivek Murthy, 36, was nominated by President Obama for the Surgeon General post last November, but Democrats are backing off from his nomination reportedly due to his well-documented anti-gun advocacy. But his relative lack of medical experience might also come up in a confirmation hearing.  He completed his residency in internal medicine there in 2006. Murthy is a staunch left-wing activist who was part of the effort to get support for ObamaCare, organizing ObamaCare photo ops for the White House. 

Mar. 29: Fox News: Common Core emerges as potential election issue: Parents are fed-up
Parents across the country may hold the key to this year's mid-term elections as they vent their anger over the implementation of a controversial education achievement measure called the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the initiative in a bid, they say, to improve education standards in Math and English, and give new life to what many view as a sagging education system. Indiana recently voted to back out of Common Core.  But many parents see the initiative as a bid by the federal government to take over the education system. They are also angry over the "data mining" of students' personal information, and say the stepped-up standards are not age-appropriate and are leading to anxiety and depression in their children.  Analysts warn the parental opposition could spill over into the November elections.

Mar. 29: The Daily Caller: The socalled “War on Women” is it real?  Will it affect the GOP?
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller,  Live Action president Lila Rose ridiculed the Democrats’ “War on Women” mantra, calling the “fear-mongering” used by pro-choice advocates.   “The real face of the war on women is someone like Tonya Reaves who was killed at a Chicago Planned Parenthood at 24-years-old, hemorrhaging to death basically in their clinic until they finally four hours later called the ambulance, leaving behind a one year old son Alvin,” she said. “What we have done with this “War on Women” mythology, this rhetoric that somehow, to empower women, you need to give them abortion and hormone drugs — that’s the whole political discussion… treating their fertility as a disease and getting abortions and synthetic hormones to them. [That] is straight up insulting to women.”  Rose urged Republican candidates to confront “War on Women” rhetoric as they encounter it on the campaign trail.
[Here is a “Heads Up” and a promise!  On August 18th we will post a special column on the 94th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote.  We will give you some personal insights about the man who first introduced the amendment and his wife who fought for the cause.  By the way, they were both Republicans!  So stay tuned!]

Mar. 29: Fox News: Maryland reported to abandon $125 Million ObamaCare exchange, seeks new system
With just days to go before open enrollment ends on March 31, Maryland officials are reportedly planning to abandon its glitch-ridden ObamaCare website and replace the health exchange with technology from Connecticut’s marketplace.  The Washington Post reported late Friday that the board of the Maryland exchange will vote on changing the system that has cost at least $125.5 million at a meeting on Tuesday, the day after the end of the first enrollment period under ObamaCare.

Mar. 28: Fox News: New Questions about ex-CIA Director’s Benghazi claims ahead of testimony.
New allegations are raising additional questions about former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell's involvement in crafting the administration's flawed narrative on the Benghazi attack, ahead of his scheduled testimony next week on Capitol Hill.  Morell is set to testify publicly for the first time on Wednesday about his role in crafting the controversial Benghazi "talking points," which initially blamed a protest for the deadly attack.   Morell is being called to testify and explain potentially conflicting testimony he gave Congress about the talking points and the administration's role. House Intel Chair Mike Rogers  told reporters this week that the rare, open session should "allow Mr. Morell to answer the questions that we know many people have about what he knew and when he knew it." 

Mar. 27: The Daily Caller: House Conservatives up at arms over rush-through “Doc Fix” vote
Some conservatives are up in arms over a hurried Thursday vote on the so-called “doc fix” for Medicare, which they felt GOP leadership tried to slip by them.  The bill passed in a 30-second voice vote with very few members on the House floor.  The “doc fix” is a temporary patch to prevent a 24 percent cut to the amount of money the government pays doctors who take care of Medicare patients. The cut would take effect on April 1 if Congress does not move to prevent it. 

Mar. 27: The Washington Times:
Gun Control Activist California State Senator Arraigned on Gunrunning Charges!

A state senator (D-CA) with a reputation for clamping down on Second Amendment freedoms was arrested and arraigned on a range of federal charges late Wednesday — among them, for alleged gunrunning.  The local CBS affiliate in San Francisco, reported that Senator Yee was a huge gun control advocate. He has now been charged with conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and with conspiracy to illegally transport firearms. He’s also been charged with six counts of plotting to defraud citizens, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Mar. 27: The Weekly Standard: Economic Growth Half of what Obama said his policies would deliver:
"In 2009, President Obama predicted his policies would produce 4.2 percent growth in 2013—more than double the actual, anemic growth rate of 1.9 percent. Since making that projection, President Obama has had much of his economic agenda implemented: the $870 billion stimulus bill, Dodd-Frank financial regulations, Obamacare, restrictions on American energy, $1.7 trillion in higher taxes, unfettered regulation, etc. Our debt has soared from $10.6 trillion to $17.5 trillion on the promise that this would stimulate the economy and produce prosperity, yet now we’re left with none of the prosperity and all of the debt," the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee says.

Mar. 26: Fox News: Poll: Country weaker under Obama, not tough enough on Russia:
By a widening margin, more voters think the United States is weaker since Barack Obama became president.  And the highest number in a decade feels the country is less safe than it was before 9/11, according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.   The poll also finds most voters think President Obama has not been tough enough on Russia, although a majority still says the U.S. should stay out of the situation in Ukraine.

Mar. 26: Fox News: Obama Says Russian Energy Sector may be the target for the next round of sanctions:
President Obama threatened a new round of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, this time aimed at the country’s energy sector.  Obama said the crisis in Ukraine underscored Europe’s need to become less dependent on Russia’s rich energy sources.  He also acknowledged that additional sanctions could affect Russia’s neighboring countries but said the United States was committed to helping those nations find energy alternatives.

Mar. 26: Fox News: Issa: IRS Chief could face contempt over Lerner emails:
The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee threatened to hold the IRS commissioner in contempt of Congress if he does not turn over emails from embattled ex-IRS official Lois Lerner and others.  "We issued you a lawful subpoena, [Feb. 14th]" Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA told the commissioner, adding that delivering all emails from the four officials flagged is "not difficult."   Republicans argue they need to see Lerner's emails in part because she refuses to testify before the committee. Earlier this month, Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions before the House oversight panel for a second time.

Mar. 25: Fox News: Is it lawful? Obama admin. Extends ObamaCare signup deadline for some, not all?
The Obama administration will grant extra time to Americans who say they are unable to enroll in health care plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline, in a decision that swiftly drew Republican ridicule.   All consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will now have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.   But House Speaker John Boehner said the move has rendered another ObamaCare deadline "meaningless."  "The administration is now resorting to an honor system to enforce it. What the hell is this, a joke?" Boehner said Wednesday.  

Mar. 25: The Foundry: Steinem: Rights of a woman trumps rights of unborn children!
Liberal feminist icon Gloria Steinem turns 80 today. She once said that “A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”  Yet for all her talk about equality and rights; one right she worked diligently to deny millions of both sexes was the right to be born and celebrate birthdays of their own. Once again, in her view, a “woman’s right” trumped the rights of another—in this case, an unborn child. The fact the Supreme Court is hearing a case today about employers being forced to include abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans—even if it violates an employer’s conscience — is in many respects a testament to the work of Steinem and others. It’s a good example of how the “equal rights” she championed result in stepping on the rights of others.

Mar. 25: Fox Business: Another Key Piece Missing from ObamaCare:  Payments!
Much emphasis has been placed on enrollment stats as the Affordable Care Act’s inaugural open enrollment period comes to an end. But there’s a key function on the federal exchange that remains inactive: the mechanism reconcile payments between the government and insurance companies.  This “back-end mechanism” has been missing for the entirety of open enrollment period to, which launched Oct.1, meaning insurance companies have had to manually bill the government for subsidies and cost-sharing plans, a procedure that’s being dubbed an administrative nightmare.

Mar. 25: Breitbart.com: Senator Sessions: Report Demolishes Obama “Deporter in Chief” Myth
Fully 98 percent of individuals deported from the United States in 2013 were either criminals, apprehended while illegally crossing the border, or had been previously deported, according to a new analysis from Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).   The three-page document, labeled a “Critical Alert” by the senator’s office, found three executive actions by President Barack Obama providing amnesty to groups of illegal aliens meant that virtually no one who did not meet other criteria beyond simply being in the country illegal was deported.

Mar. 24: The Daily News: The Case for Federal Funding of an "Ike Dike"
The Case for Federal Funding of an Ike DikeApproximately 50% of the U.S. refining capacity resides along the Houston Ship Channel; half a billion dollars of goods travel up and down this channel every day, 365 days a year; the Constitution gives the Federal Government jurisdiction over navigable waterways -- of which the Houston Ship Channel is one; hurricanes can threaten the U.S. refining capacity along the channel making this a national security and national economic issue; consequently the federal funding of an "Ike Dike" along Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula and the installation of flood gates across the channel should be seriously be considered.

Mar. 24: The Daily Caller: IRS Commissioner to testify but still no contempt of Congress for Lerner:
Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner lives the life of a free private citizen at her more than $2.4 million Bethesda, MD property as congressional investigators continue to sit on possible contempt charges. Lerner has retreated from public view since pleading the Fifth Amendment again at a March 5 hearing. But Lerner sat for a “Q+A” with DOJ lawyers that was not under oath, but has still refused to answer Issa’s questions about her role in the targeting scandal. 

Mar. 24: The Daily Caller: New York Times Reporter: Obama Administration.
Greatest enemy of Freedom of the Press in a generation:

New York Times reporter James Risen called the Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation” on Friday, explaining that the White House seeks to control the flow of information and those that refuse to play along “will be punished.”  Risen made the remarks while speaking at Sources and Secrets conference — a meeting of journalism and communication professionals held in New York City. The foreign policy reporter, who is currently fighting a fierce court battle with the federal government over his protection of a confidential source, warned that press freedom is under serious attack in today’s America.  In a speech kicking off the conference, Risen claimed that the Obama administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting” and “create a path for accepted reporting.” Those who stray from that path, he cautioned, “will be punished.”

Mar. 24: The Daily Caller: ObamaCare’s regulatory costsmore than double benefits:
The annual costs of Obamacare regulations come in at $6.8 billion a year so far — around 2.5 times the total benefits of its heavy-handed regulations, according to a study released Monday.  A large portion of the costs come from the paperwork burden that Obamacare places upon states and private companies. Implementing the law takes 159 million paperwork hours a year for state governments and the private sector — an amount that would take close to 80,000 employees, working 50 weeks per year full-time. (That’s 40 hours per week, not Obamacare’s 30-hour work week threshold for full-time.)

Mar. 24: CBSNews St.Louis: Vatican Chief Justice: Obama’s Policies “Have Become Progressively More Hostile Toward Christian Civilization”
The Vatican’s chief justice feels that President Barack Obama’s policies have been hostile toward Christians.  The former archbishop of St. Louis stated that Obama is trying to “restrict” religion. “Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions,” Burke said. 

Mar. 24: The Daily Caller: Another case of not a “smidgen” of corruption?
Voter who cast a ballot six times for Obama gets EPA grant money!

The woman who admitted to voting for President Barack Obama six times worked for and sat on the board of a group that received an Obama administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant.  Melowese Richardson admitted in 2013 to voting six times for Obama’s re-election while working as a poll worker in Hamilton County, Ohio.  Initially convicted on state voter fraud charges and sentenced to five years in prison, Richardson served eight months before the George Soros-funded Ohio Justice and Policy Center helped lessen her sentence to probation. 

Richardson appeared last week at a rally with some Ohio Democrats and Al Sharpton, who publicly gave her a hug.  Richardson worked for and sat on the board of a Cincinnati-based environmental activist group called Communities United for Action, which received an EPA grant and attended a conference with former Obama administration Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

Mar. 23: Fox News: Oil spills into Galveston Bay after barge and ship collide:
Crews armed with infrared cameras planned to work through the night after a barge carrying nearly a million gallons of especially thick, sticky oil collided with a ship in Galveston Bay, leaking an unknown amount of the fuel into the popular bird habitat as the peak of the migratory shorebird season was approaching.  Booms were brought in to try to contain the spill, which the Coast Guard said was reported at around 12:30 p.m. Saturday by the captain of the 585-foot ship, Summer Wind. Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Kristopher Kidd said the spill hadn't been contained as of 10 p.m., and that the collision was still being investigated.

The ship collided with a barge carrying 924,000 gallons of marine fuel oil, also known as special bunker, that was being towed by the vessel Miss Susan, the Coast Guard said. It didn't give an estimate of how much fuel had spilled into the bay, but there was a visible sheen of oil at the scene.  Officials believe only one of the barge's tanks was breached, but that tank had a capacity of 168,000 gallons.

GOP Adopted ResolutionGalveston County Senate District 11 Convention: This weekend the local GOP adopted a resolution which will be considered for addition to the state party's platform when it meets in Fort Worth in early June. The resolution reads:
"Whereas approximately 50% of our nation's refining capacity is located on the Houston Ship Channel; Whereas the U.S. Constitution gives the Federal Government the responsibility for navigatable waterways; Whereas the safeguarding of our nation's refining capability is a national security and national economic issue, and Whereas our region is prone to hurricanes and storms; Because this is a national issue, Therefore be it resolved that we encourage the entire Texas Congressional Delegation to find federal funding to plan and construct an "Ike Dike" along Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula and storm gates across the Houston Ship Channel.

Mar. 23: The Daily Caller: Woodward: ObamaCare is like a car stuck in first gear… will stay stuck for years!
Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward likened Obamacare to “a car stuck in first gear” on Sunday, adding that Obamacare supporters he’s talked to believe it will be years before the law starts working.  The Administration is saying that about 5 million have signed up but is not indicating how many are the young people they need in order to fund the program and no word has been forthcoming on how many have actually paid their premiums.  Keep in mind over 5 million people had their previous health plans cancelled because of ObamaCare so there is no indication that any overall gains have been achieved as we are only eight days from the deadline for signing up.

Mar. 23: Fox News: Romney: Obama is “naïve” and lacked judgment regarding Ukraine and Putin
Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Sunday accused President Obama of being “naïve” about Russian President Vladimir Putin agenda and lacking the foresight to have prevented Putin from taking over a Ukraine peninsula.  "His faulty judgment about Russia's intentions and objectives has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face.”

Mar. 23: The Daily Caller:
Election analyst Silver predicts 60% of GOP taking over the Senate, but does that really change things?

Nate Silver, the former New York Times analyst who rose to prominence after correctly predicting every state that voted for Barack Obama in 2012, gave the Republican Party a 60 percent chance of retaking the Senate in November — a chilling prospect for Democrats who once found Silver’s predictions comforting.  The analyst broke down the GOP’s chances of picking up six seats, the amount they would need to take control of the U.S. Senate.

West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana are all expected to flip, with polls consistently showing wide Republican leads in those states. That means the party only needs to win three more states — and many more than that remain in play.  Of the competitive states, Silver rates Arkansas the most likely to be a GOP pickup, followed by Louisiana and North Carolina. But the chance for potential upsets in blue states like Michigan and Colorado also remain high.

The question then is, with the GOP in control of both houses of Congress will anything really change with Obama in the White House?  They will not have enough votes to overcome a Presidential veto and some of the new Republican majority will still be what some term “Republicans in Name Only” (Rinos).

Mar. 22: The Foundry:
'This Is Going to Ruin My Entire Life': 18-Year-Old Aspiring Firefighter Charged With Felony for Pocket Knife

Eighteen year-old Jordan Wiser is training to be a firefighter. He’s a certified emergency vehicle operator who works as a first responder when he’s not attending high school. And, after just spending 13 days in jail, he’s now facing felony charges for weapons possession.  The weapon? A pocketknife. It was in his EMT vest, and he uses it to cut through seatbelts when he’s practicing saving lives.

Mar. 21: Fox News: [Follow up to earlier story] UCSB Feminist Prof charged in confrontation w/pro-life teen:
A feminist studies professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) is facing criminal charges after a videotaped run-in with a teenage pro-life demonstrator in which she snatched an anti-abortion sign and got physical with the girl.  The UCSB Associate Professor  who also teaches courses in pornography -- Mireille Miller-Young -- was charged with misdemeanor counts for theft, battery and vandalism in the March 4 incident.  The charges came just days after 16-year-old Thrin Short and her parents met with prosecutors. 

Mar. 21: The Daily Caller: Sheriff Arpaio: Obama’s Admin. Deportation numbers are Smoke and Mirrors:
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the Obama administration’s statistics on the deportation of illegal immigrants are “smoke and mirrors,” claiming he sees the same criminals entering his jails “six, seven, eight times” and speculating that “they’re being let out the back door.” 

Mar. 21: The Daily Caller:
Obama’s Federal Safety Instructors allow Union Reps to accompany visits to non-union businesses – Illegal?

Union representatives from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are now accompanying federal government safety inspectors on site visits to review labor complaints at nonunion private businesses.  SEIU and other labor unions can accompany the government inspectors on site visits due to a quiet and contested Obama administrative rule clarification issued last year in response to a request from a union representative.  SEIU agents recently accompanied an inspector from the federal OSHA on three visits to nonunion work sites in the Houston area.  At some of the locations the building’s owner prohibited the union representatives access to their building.

The visits were made to investigate complaints by SEIU-friendly employees alleging that the nonunion janitorial company did not provide workers safety goggles and gloves in some instances. Though each of the inspections found proper goggles and gloves, OSHA fined Houston-based PJS for other alleged infractions related to not keeping certain safety data sheets or providing proper training information on use of cleaning chemicals.

Mar. 21: Fox News: Federal Prosecutors balk at Holder push to reduce drug sentences:
Federal prosecutors are at odds with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder over whether mandatory minimum sentences -- a key part of the government's so-called war on drugs -- should be rolled back.   Congress approved many of those harsh penalties in the 1980s. Under the guidelines, a dealer busted with 1,000 marijuana plants, for example, or large amounts of certain narcotics, could face five, 10, even 20 years behind bars.  As a result, prosecutors say, drug crime has gone down.  But Holder is leading the charge to lower the mandatory minimums a move that many prosecutors call a “terrible idea." 

Mar. 21: Fox News:
Another Glitch: Newly discovered ObamaCare error giving bad info on premium assistance:

A newly discovered glitch in the main ObamaCare website reportedly is giving thousands of people the wrong information about whether they qualify for premium subsidies.  Because of the glitch, some people may be initially told they qualify for subsidies when they don't. Others may be told they don't qualify when they do.   It's unclear how many people have been affected, but the mistake raises the possibility that thousands are giving up

Mar. 21:  BreitBart.com:  
Liberty Tax: White House, Media attack Drudge after he pays ObamaCare Opt-Out Penalty
A White House aide set off a stampede of liberal media criticism for Internet news pioneer Matt Drudge over Obamacare – but his critics don't seem to understand how small businesses pay taxes.  However Drudge set them straight!  You see, as a self-employed proprietor of The Drudge Report, he files as a small business.  Consequently, when he paid his first quarterly installment in 2014 he was required to pay the ObamaCare Individual Mandate tax because he opted to not have health insurance.  Case closed! 

Mar. 20: Fox News:  AMA warns ObamaCare rule could hurt doctors:
The largest doctors group in the country is raising alarm that an obscure ObamaCare rule could stick them with the tab for patients who skip out on paying their premiums.   At issue is a 90-day "grace period" which lets patients who are not paying their premiums keep coverage for 90 days before it can be canceled. This could leave doctors holding the bag for patients they have served but who have not paid the premiums for insurance.

Mar. 19: The Washington Times: Pentagon goes “hypersonic” with long-range rapid attack weapon:
An experimental scramjet-powered, ultrahigh speed strike vehicle is emerging as the Pentagon’s main choice for a new long-range, rapid attack weapon, a senior official says. Alan Shaffer, principal deputy assistant defense secretary for research and engineering, told a defense industry conference that prototypes and recent tests proved concepts for hypersonic arms, and several systems are part of a high-priority effort by  Pentagon weapons developers, despite the era of sharply-diminished defense spending.

Mar. 19: FEE (The Freeman)Economic Freedom Helps the Poor More than Government Aid:
Economic freedom does more to alleviate poverty than government aid, says Julian Adorney for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).  The study analyzes economic freedom and income inequality in the United States, finding that economic freedom decreases inequality, benefiting the poor and middle class more than the wealthy. Looking at the 50 states the study found that most gains went to the wealthy during the initial stages of economic freedom. However, at a certain point (and 21 states had already hit this point by 2004), that result shifts, leading income inequality to decline as states grow more and more free.  What is behind this decline?  Is it a loss of wealth by the rich or an increase in wealth to the poor?   The research showed it was the latter. 

Mar.18: MoneyMorning: Schiff Predicts 2/3's of America may lose everything in the looming crisis:
According to Peter Schiff, a record breaking stock market is distorting a frightening reality: The U.S. is being eaten alive by a horrific cancer that will ultimately destroy the economy and impoverish the vast majority of its citizens.  Schiff, the best-selling author and CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, delivered his harsh warning to investors in a recent interview on Fox Business.  "I think we are heading for a worse economic crisis than we had in 2007," Schiff said. "You're going to have a collapse in the dollar...a huge spike in interest rates... and our whole economy, which is built on the foundation of cheap money, is going to topple when you pull the rug out from under it."

Mar. 18: Fox News:
GOP bill would cut DOD civilian workforce shifting funds to the troops and readiness initiatives:

Several House Republicans have introduced legislation that would reduce the civilian defense workforce by 15 percent in six years and use the savings from the cuts to boost military readiness and support active-duty personnel.  The "Rebalance for an Effective Defense Uniform and Civilian Employees" Act would cut nearly 115,000 jobs from the Defense Department, from the current 770,00-person workforce down to roughly 655,000, GovExec.com reported.  “[Secretary of Defense Chuck] Hagel's recently announced military reduction plan trims the wrong side of the DOD. It would negatively impact our troops, compromise our national security, while failing to make the tough but necessary decisions needed to trim the civilian workforce at the DOD," Congressman Calvert (R-CA) the bill's sponsor said.

Mar. 18: The Daily Caller: Premiums rising faster than eight years before ObamaCare:
Health insurance premiums have risen more after Obamacare than the average premium increases over the eight years before it became law, according to the private health exchange eHealthInsurance. The individual market for health insurance has seen premiums rise by 39 percent since February 2013. Without a subsidy, the average individual premium is now $274 a month. Families have been hit even harder with an average increase of 56 percent over the same period — average premiums are now $663 per family, over $426 last year. The bottom line; health Insurance costs have risen faster under Obamacare than in the previous eight years.

Mar. 18: The Weekly Standard: Pastor Diagnosed with Cancer: “There is No Compassion in the Affordable Care Act”
"Back in January, Pastor Angran was diagnosed with stage three cancer of the esophagus. He had insurance, but because of a previous heart condition, it did not cover the treatments he needed for his cancer. He found that out just minutes before receiving life-saving chemo," says the local reporter.

Mar. 18: The Daily Caller: Obama lets insurers keep more profit and pay less for care:
Republican Tennessee Rep. Diane Black says that the Obama administration’s most recent Obamacare rule change will result in insurance companies keeping more profits while paying less for customers’ health care needs.

Mar. 17: The Las Vegas Review Journal: Harry Reid’s Constituent left with $407,000 Doctor Bills While Unsure of Coverage:
The hospital bills are hitting Larry Basich’s mailbox. That would be OK if Basich had health insurance. But he doesn’t, well maybe he doesn’t!  Thing is, he should be covered.

Majority and Minority Opinions on the "Fair Tax" by the Three Musketeers The Majority Opinion: The Case for the "Fair Tax" The Minority Opinion: Differences Regarding the "Fair Tax" Mar. 17: The Daily News: Two Columns about the "Fair Tax" [Majority Opinion | Minority Opinion]
On most issues the “Three Musketeers” agree. With the Fair Tax, however, there are some differences.  The three of us agree that the current tax system needs fixing, that we should move away from an income-based tax, that those being taxed should be aware of how much they are paying in taxes, and that there should not be double taxation.  We also agree that it would be good to repeal the 16th amendment and eliminate the agency (the IRS) that has so much power it can target, harass, and yes, even abuse taxpayers just because they disagree with the political point of view of the administration in the White House.

The differences come when you actually start reading the legislation (H.R. 25).  Nancy Pelosi said you need to pass the bill (ObamaCare) in order to know what is in it!  We all know what a disastrous mistake that was!  One needs to be careful when enacting legislation to make sure there are no unintended consequences.

Mar. 16: National Public Radio:
Venezuela In Turmoil for Basics – A perfect example of a planned economy!

Although the NPR story doesn’t make the connection between planned economies and the lack of available goods; for those with eyes to see it’s a perfect description of what happens when the free market is thrown out the window.  The story goes like this…[Read the story]

Mar. 15: The New York Times: Democrats in Distress?
Scott Brown, former Republican Senator from Massachusetts, is back and Democrats are scared to death.  It’s not that Democrats are particularly scared that Brown will be elected as a New Hampshire senator — although that’s a possibility – but that Brown, after making some real money working for Fox News since his loss to Elizabeth Warren two years ago, wouldn’t even be getting into the race if the political environment weren’t so toxic for Democrats.

Republicans have been white-hot for Brown to get in, and he finally pulled the trigger Friday, establishing an exploratory committee and asserting that “the Obamacare Democrats are on the wrong side” of a big political wave.  G.O.P. leaders think that even if Brown can’t win, he will force Democrats to spend a bunch of money in New Hampshire and curtail what they can spend in other more crucial races like Colorado, Alaska, Montana, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina and Michigan.  Brown jumping in was just one blast of bad news for Democrats. They also lost a special election last Tuesday in Florida, a defeat David Plouffe called “a screaming siren.” Alex Sink, a promising candidate, sunk after she could not overcome the blast of ads linking her to President Obama and his health care law

Mar. 14: The Times-Picayune: Louisiana Sues MoveOn.org over illegal use of servicemarks
Louisiana is suing national left-leaning policy group MoveOn.org in federal court, saying it violated trademark rules when it put up a billboard and commissioned television ads critical of Gov. Bobby Jindal that use the state's tourism logo and motto.  Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has been calling for MoveOn to take down the billboard that is currently up on the I-10 coming into Baton Rouge from Port Allen.   We have invested millions of dollars in identifying the Louisiana: “Pick Your Passion” brand with all that is good about Louisiana. No group should be allowed to use the brand for its own purposes, especially if it is for partisan political posturing," Dardenne said in a statement announcing the suit.   "MoveOn.org has every right to attack Gov. Jindal, the state's refusal to accept Medicaid or, for that matter, me personally. But they do not have the right to use our protected service mark, which is used solely for the purpose of promoting and marketing Louisiana. We own the mark and its use is under the direction of my office, not the Office of the Governor."

Mar. 13: The Foundry: Members of Congress are fed up...
... with President Barack Obama’s abuse of executive power.  Yesterday, the House passed a bill that would allow congressional lawsuits against Obama for his failure to enforce federal laws. The sponsor of the ENFORCE the Law Act, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), spoke of the President’s overreach in a speech on the House floor. (Play the Video)  “How does going from being a senator to a president rewrite the constitution?” he said, adding that, “We are not a country where the ends justify the means no matter how good your motivations may be.”  Gowdy argued that other arms of the executive branch are reviewed, checked, and disciplined “because process matters.”  “If a president does not faithfully execute the law, Mr. Speaker, what are our remedies?” Gowdy demanded. “Just sit and wait on another election?”

Mar. 13: Fox News: A Vote to Join Russia could leave Crimea without Water, Electricity:
As Russia’s stranglehold on Crimea tightens, the Ukrainian province to the north is warning it could make life on the peninsula miserable if the coveted region chooses sides with Moscow in Sunday's referendum.  Pro-Moscow officials in Crimea, who favor secession from Ukraine, have said they will seize all utilities and assets owned by the Kiev-based Ukrainian government if the referendum goes as expected. But Crimea's electricity, freshwater and natural gas all flows in from the province of Kherson, where leaders warn they will shut everything off if the referendum they say is illegitimate, goes forward.

Mar. 13: Fox News: Obama directs overhaul of overtime pay rules:
President Obama on Thursday directed an overhaul of overtime pay rules, in a move to allow potentially millions more workers to qualify for time-and-a-half pay.  Business groups already are warning the decision could backfire on workers, but Obama pledged to work with both businesses and workers as the new rules are crafted.

Mar. 13: Fox News: Pro-life teen defiant after alleged attack by feminist UCBS professor:
A teenage pro-life demonstrator who claims she was assaulted by a feminist studies professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB) during a campus event this month told FoxNews.com she is more determined than ever to protest against abortion.   Thrin Short, 16, and her sister Joan, 21, had handed out nearly 1,000 informational pamphlets during a March 4 outreach before things took an unexpected turn. An associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young approached the demonstrators and a group of students who had gathered and she became incensed, according to Thrin Short, mocking the demonstrators and eventually snatching a sign the girl was holding and walking off with it.  Miller-Young, whose faculty web page says she specializes in black cultural studies and pornography, was caught on video assaulting them as the girls tried to retrieve their stolen property.  Campus police are reviewing the video before determining whether charges should be brought. 

Mar. 13: Fox News: CIA sat on Benghazi investigation, U.S. personnel fuming:
American personnel on the ground in Benghazi the night of the 2012 terror attack are outraged after learning that the CIA's inspector general never conducted an investigation into what happened -- despite two CIA workers being killed in the attack and despite at least two complaints being filed by CIA employees.  Many in the agency were told, or were under the impression, that an investigation was in the works, but that is not the case.

Mar. 11: The Foundry:
Attkisson Leaves CBS News Citing Liberal Bias and Lack of Support for Investigative Journalism:
Sharyl Attkisson, an award-winning CBS News investigative reporter who doggedly pursued the Benghazi and Fast and Furious scandals, resigned from the network yesterday. Attkisson was reportedly frustrated by CBS News’ liberal bias and a lack of support for Investigative Journalism.

Mar. 13: McClathcyDC News: As Obama Stonewalls Keystone Pipeline;
Railroads could fill the gap and eventually augment the pipeline if the project moves forward:

Oil producers are finding ways to transport Canadian oil even without the president's approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.  While the Obama administration continues to hold off on approving the Keystone project, Canadian tar sands oil -- a very thick oil -- is being shipped via railroad. The rail system had previously been thought too expensive an option for transporting the oil, but producers are realizing that rail has certain advantages that negate those costs.  The railroad is faster and can go to more destinations.  Transportation by rail doesn’t require as much diluting of this thick oil product as it does if transported by pipeline.  And unlike a pipeline, trains go in two directions and can transport the “diluent” back to the producer after it is extracted from the oil, allowing it to be reused as the thinner for additional shipments. Within two years, Canada’s two largest railroads could transport between 600,000 and 800,000 barrels of Canadian crude every day.  The Keystone XL pipeline has a capacity of 830,000 barrels a day.  The bulk of this product is expected to be shipped to the Texas Gulf Coast which contains the largest concentration of refinery capacity in the U.S.

Mar. 13: Politico: Florida Loss exposes Democrat’s disarray on OamaCare:
Democrats can’t even agree whether Obamacare was the reason for their crushing loss in a Florida special election Tuesday.  Republican lobbyist David Jolly’s victory over Democrat Alex Sink has many Democrats privately worried and publicly split about how to talk about Obamacare. 

Mar. 12: The Daily Caller: ObamaCare is definitely Not as cheap as your cell phone bill:
One of President Barack Obama’s favorite new Obamacare sign-up pitches is that young enrollees, which the law banks on, can get health insurance for the price of a monthly cell phone bill.

Mar. 12: Stateline – PEW Charitable Trust News Service:
States Push Drug Testing for Welfare Applicants and Save Money:

Nearly half of U.S. states are considering measures to drug-test welfare applicants. This issue first began to gain steam about five years ago. Utah instituted a questionnaire and drug testing policy, spending $30,000 in its first year, resulting in 12 positive tests. In all, 250 people were denied benefits, the majority being because they did not complete the testing process. The state saved $350,000 in unpaid benefits.

Mar. 11: The Daily Caller: Six Reasons Lerner Waived Her 5th Amendment Rights:
A report released Tuesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform asserted that ex-IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights.  Lerner continues to stonewall California Rep. Darrell Issa’s committee, pleading the Fifth again in a divisive Oversight hearing last Wednesday convened to get to the bottom of the IRS’ improper targeting of conservative groups between 2010 and 2012. Oversight member Rep. Jim Jordan said  the committee is “moving” toward holding Lerner in contempt of Congress to compel her to testify.

Mar. 11: National Review: Replace ObamaCare, “STAT”
We cannot wait until 2017 to reform ObamaCare, says John Goodman, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis and a senior fellow with the Independent Institute. Goodman outlines the elements that form the basis of his proposal to reform the U.S. health care system. And explains why his reforms would provide  genuine access to care and protections for those with preexisting conditions.

Mar. 11: The Daily Caller: New enrollment numbers bad for ObamaCare:
The Obama administration announced new Obamacare numbers showing that they’ll need to sign up a whopping 1.8 million people in March to meet even their pared-down goals.  A total of 4.2 million people have selected a plan on Obamacare exchanges nationwide so far, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The Obama administration has already given up meeting its original 7 million-strong enrollment goal, but the new numbers suggest it may not reach its lowered 6 million enrollment target either.

Mar. 11: The Daily Caller:
Bill Young’s Seat goes to Republican Jolly and is seen as a test of ObamaCare’s Appeal:

Republican David Jolly is the new congressman for Florida’s 13th District.  On Tuesday, he beat out Democrat Alex Sink to take the seat that has been empty since Republican Rep. Bill Young passed away last year.  Jolly’s victory bodes well for Republicans heading into the 2014 midterm elections in November because Jolly had poor name recognition compared to Sink going into this race. In addition this is considered a swing Congressional district.

Mar. 11: The Washington Post:
Feinstein “PO’ed” Over possible CIA search of Intelligence Committee Computers:

A behind-the-scenes battle between the CIA and Congress erupted in public Tuesday as the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the agency of breaking laws and breaching constitutional principles in an alleged effort to undermine the panel’s multi-year investigation of a controversial interrogation program.  Chairman Feinstein (D-CA) accused the CIA of secretly removing documents, searching committee-used computers and attempting to intimidate congressional investigators by requesting an FBI inquiry of their conduct — charges that CIA Director Brennan disputed within hours of her appearance on the Senate floor.

Mar. 11: The Daily Caller:
Mummified body in Detroit votes after death! Who says we don’t need Voter ID? OR “Dying to Vote!”

Despite being dead since 2008, the mummified body of a 49-year old Detroit woman was recorded voting in the 2010 Michigan gubernatorial election.  The body of 49-year old Pia Farrenkopf was discovered in her garage on March 5, sitting in the backseat of her Jeep. It was found by a contractor who was going through the house since it’s being foreclosed on.  Although her remains are believed to be at least six years old, records in Oakland County show Farrenkopf voting in the 2010 gubernatorial election between Republican Rick Snyder and Democrat Virg Bernero. If they had Voter ID in Michigan– which we have in Texas – her vote would not have happened.

Mar. 11: National Journal: Clinton Aid Connected to Corruption scandal
The corruption scandal that has rocked local politics in D.C. now has a Hillary Clinton aide in the mix, one who has served as a close adviser and has been involved with Clinton's future plans for public life.  Minyon Moore, a close Clinton confidant, has been connected to the guilty plea of businessman Jeffrey Thompson, who admitted to federal prosecutors that he made $3.3 million in illegal campaign contributions. Court papers allege that Moore had asked him to pay for pro-Clinton efforts in Puerto Rico and four states,  according to the The Washington Post's Matea Gold and Rosalind Helderman. It doesn't appear there is evidence showing Clinton knew about it, prosecutors say.

Burns Strider, a longtime Clinton aide who now works with the pro-Clinton rapid-response group Correct the Record, called the allegations "bizarre and brazenly false." Strider defended Moore, with whom he's worked with over the years, and called The Post's reporting "irresponsible."

Fox News: Wyoming Welder Faces $75K a day EPA fine for building pond on his property
All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children.  But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the EPA which is threatening him with $75,000 a day fines.  The EPA says he violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam without a permit from the Corps of Engineers. Meanwhile  Johnson says he only built a stock pond -- a man-made pond meant to attract wildlife -- which is exempt from Clean Water Act regulations.

The property owner says he followed the state rules for a stock pond when he built it in 2012 and has an April 4-dated letter from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office to prove it.  But the EPA isn’t backing down and argues they have final say over the issue. They also say Johnson needs to restore the land or face the fines.  Johnson plans to fight. “This goes a lot further than a pond,” he said. “It’s about a person’s rights. I have three little kids. I am not going to roll over and let [the government] tell me what I can do on my land. I followed the rules.” 

Mar. 10: The Heritage Foundation: EPA: Regulation through sham litigation: The Sue and then Settle Phenomenon:
The Obama administration has used consent-decree settlements to advance its regulatory agenda, says Andrew Grossman, a visiting legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.  Sue and settle -- a phenomenon in which federal agencies enter into settlements with environmental litigants that commit them to taking regulatory action -- is not a new tactic, but it is being used more and more frequently by the current administration.  An outside group files suit against an agency, demanding that the agency take regulatory action. Rather than litigate the case, the agency enters into a settlement or a consent decree with the plaintiff, agreeing to issue new regulations.

The EPA entered into more than 60 of these settlements between 2009 and 2012, committing itself to publish more than 100 new regulations.  The tactic not only allows agencies to disclaim responsibility for unpopular actions, but these decrees are used to circumvent agency rulemaking procedures. Rulemaking is often accelerated, preventing the public from participating meaningfully in the regulatory process.  These settlements cover important policy questions (whether a regulation should be issued, what the timeline for that regulation should be, and what entities will be covered by the new rule), yet they take place behind closed doors without public input or scrutiny.

Mar. 10: Truthrevolt.org: Supreme Court Justice Goes Political!
On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated that she believed that women and minorities had to crash the halls of power in order to “change the dialogue in this country.” She  said “money” was the obstacle to women and minorities having a say in government, adding, “we’re going to have to work the political system at the highest level.”

Sotomayor was speaking at the University of Washington, pushing her book, My Beloved Life. A student questioned if she was optimistic about the future of the country. She stated, “I’m very optimistic about the power of minorities to change the dialogue in this country.”

Mar. 10: The Daily News: Taking a Look at the Case for a Flat Tax:Taking a look at the case for a Flat Tax
In our opinion, there are two immediate benefits of the flat tax. The first is it removes political and social engineering from the tax code and the hands of Politician’s leaving citizens free to choose their own paths and destiny. The Second is, if you have one flat tax rate that does away with deductions for this and credits for that, people will make decisions based upon what makes economic sense for them or their business and not upon whether they can avoid or take advantage of tax incentives or loopholes.  The result will be economic growth.

Mar. 8: The Daily Caller: DHS tells Border Patrol Agents: Run Away from Illegals throwing Rocks at them:
Top administration officials have directed 21,000 border patrol officers to retreat whenever illegal immigrants throw rocks at them, and to avoid getting in front of foreign drug-smugglers’ vehicles as they head north with their drug shipments.  The instructions say... “Agents shall not discharge firearms in response to thrown or hurled projectiles…"

Mar. 8: The Daily Caller: Will the IRS investigate the “left-wing” non-profit Center for American Progress?
The IRS still has not responded to allegations from a former Center for American Progress (CAP) employee that the left-wing think tank coordinates on editorial content with the White House — revelations that could threaten the organization’s nonprofit status.  Former ThinkProgress reporter Zaid Jilani wrote a piece this week detailing his experiences working for the liberal blog, which is run by CAP’s 501(c)(4) nonprofit Action Fund, the advocacy arm of White House counselor John Podesta’s think tank.

Mar. 7: The Daily Caller: Former Soviet Spy Chief claims Putin regime is an “intelligence agency dictatorship”
The highest ranking defector to flee from the old Soviet bloc has a message to share about Vladimir Putin — he’s still a KGB agent at heart and that mindset is heavily influencing his tactics for furthering Russia’s interests.

USS Truxtun (DDG-103)Mar. 6: Yahoo News: USS Truxtun (DDG-103) on the Way
to the Black Sea for Maneuvers:

A US guided-missile destroyer is en route to the Black Sea but naval officials said Thursday it was a "routine" deployment that was planned before the crisis unfolded in Ukraine.  The USS Truxtun departed the port of Souda Bay Crete Thursday to carry out joint training with Romanian and Bulgarian forces, the US Navy said in a statement.  "While in the Black Sea, the ship will conduct a port visit and routine, previously planned exercises with allies and partners in the region," it said.  The mission was "scheduled well in advance of her departure from the United States," it said.

Mar. 6: National Review: Ambassador Bolton: Our Biggest National Security Problem is Barack Obama!
With the Obama administration grappling with a crisis in Ukraine, former United Nations ambassador John Bolton took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday and declared that the country’s “biggest national-security problem is Barack Obama.” 

Mar. 6: The Washington Post: Survey Says: Health Insurance Marketplace Signing Up Few Uninsured Americans
The new health insurance marketplaces appear to be making little headway so far in signing up Americans who lack health insurance, the Affordable Care Act’s central goal.  A pair of surveys released on Thursday suggest that just one in 10 uninsured people who qualify have signed up for one.  Taken together the surveys provide preliminary answers to what has been one of the biggest mysteries: Is HealthCare.gov and the state marketplaces attracting their prime audience?

Mar. 6: The Daily Mail: Cruz tells CPAC: We need to abolish the IRS!
Senator Cruz (R-TX) told those attending the CPAC meeting near Washington he wants to replace the IRS with a smaller agency that would collect postcard-sized income tax returns based upon a “Flat” tax rate.  He would also wants to repeal ObamaCare.  The best line of the speech was 'By virtue of your being here today,' he jokingly cautioned the nation's largest annual gathering of politically conservative activists, 'tomorrow each and every one of you is going to be audited by the IRS.'

Mar. 5: The Washington Times: Senate blocks Obama’s “Cop-Killing Case” Civil Rights Nominee:
Senators blocked President Obama’s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division Wednesday in a bipartisan filibuster, with opponents saying his history defending a convicted cop-killer in the Supreme Court made him a poor choice.  The defeat of Debo P. Adegbile, who as an attorney for the NAACP backed appeals by former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, is a major blow to Mr. Obama. Democrats changed the rules last year to overcome filibusters with just 50 votes, but Majority Leader Harry Reid couldn’t even muster all of his own troops Wednesday.

Mr. Obama called the vote “a travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks,” and Mr. Reid lashed out at Republicans in thinly veiled accusations of racism.  “Maybe it’s time that America had a good discussion on civil rights,” the Nevada Democrat said. He blamed Republicans for problems with confirmations.   On Wednesday, however, seven Democrats joined Republicans, agreeing with criticism from police organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, that Mr. Adegbile’s support for Abu-Jamal was too much to stomach.

Mar. 5: The Daily Mail: IRS “Villian” Lerner Refuses again to testify
about TEA Party Targeting; may risk arrest for contempt of Congress:

The one-time head of the U.S. tax authority's branch overseeing nonprofits won't testify about a years-long scheme to target conservative groups.  Congress has the power to hold her in contempt, try her and imprison her in the Capitol jail.  Four separate Supreme Court rulings have confirmed the right of Congress to incarcerate Americans for contempt, although it hasn't been done in more than 75 years.  

In June 2012 the full House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt after he refused to hand over documents relating to the botched Operation Fast and Furious gun-running sting.  Holder, however, wasn't arrested.

Mar. 5: The Washington Examiner: Obama charged with blocking IRS probe, breaking promises to help:
A House chairman probing the IRS scandal on Wednesday said that President Obama has reneged on a promise to have his aides cooperate with the investigation, forcing the Ways and Means Committee to conduct a dragnet for emails and documents needed to smoke out the truth.  Rep. Dave Camp also revealed that federal agents conducting an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's bid to punish TEA Party and conservative critics of the president have yet to talk to a single target of the scandal. His committee has been frustrated with the administration's failure to cough up emails from Lois Lerner, who ran the IRS department that blocked Tea Party groups from winning the typically quick approval of tax exempt status.

Mar. 5: The Daily Beast: TV Anchor Quits On Air, can “no longer be "part of a network that whitewashes the actions of Putin”
An American anchor working for state-owned television station Russia Today quit on air on Wednesday. Liz Wahl, in the network's D.C. bureau, announced she could no longer be "part of a network that whitewashes the actions of Putin. I'm proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I am resigning." 

Mar. 5: CNBC News: Feds Give 2 Year Compliance Extension for Non-Compliant Health Plans,
thereby Avoiding Impact Prior to the 2014 Election

The Obama administration will let people with health insurance plans that don't comply with Affordable Care Act standards keep them through October 2017 if their states allow it, officials said Wednesday in announcing a series of final ObamaCare rules.   In addition the administration also extended ObamaCare's open enrollment for next year by a month. The rules gave a financial break to the types of self-insured health plans run by many unions, excluding them for two years from the $63-per-capita "reinsurance contribution" assessed for each enrollee. All of this was done administratively without going to Congress for statutory authority.

Mar. 4: McClatchyDC Report: Military’s Top General Offers Grim Outlook on Nations Defense Capabilities:
The nation’s top military commander painted a dark picture Tuesday of future U.S. defense capabilities clouded by shrinking Pentagon budgets and adversaries’ technological advances that he said would erode American battlefield superiority.  Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, predicted that it would become increasingly difficult to balance the competing demands of protecting allies abroad, securing Americans at home and deterring future wars. 

Mar. 4: Insurance Journal: House Passes Flood Insurance Legislation:
The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday evening passed legislation to curb some of the premium increases in the nation’s flood insurance program that have been causing “sticker shock” for property owners. H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, sponsored by Reps. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA), passed 306-91 under a “suspension of the rules” requiring a two-thirds vote in favor. The measure reverses some of the changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) introduced by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

Mar. 3: Fox News: Rumsfeld on Ukraine: “Its is US weakness that has shaken the world”
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Monday that he believes “U.S. weakness has shaken the world” and has created a power vacuum that has led to instability and crises such as the one in Ukraine.  Rumsfeld said under the Obama administration the U.S. has been perceived as a world power in decline, and wields far less influence than it used to.

Mar. 3: Fox News: Netanyahu & Obama reiterate Alliance as Peace Deadline Looms:
President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traded jabs Monday as the leaders met in Washington, both aware that the window for a negotiated peace deal was closing.  Netanyahu bluntly told Obama that Israelis expected their leader not to compromise on their security. His comments came as Obama sought to reassure him on Iran diplomacy and put pressure on him for Middle East peace talks.  "The Israeli people expect me to stand strong against criticism and pressure," Netanyahu told reporters during a brief joint appearance Monday.  But facing a U.S.-imposed April deadline, the Israeli leader added, "Israel has been doing its part and, I regret to say, the Palestinians have not."

Netanyahu's comments underscored the slim prospects of reaching an agreement to the long-running conflict, despite a robust effort led by Secretary of State John Kerry.  Despite the bleak outlook, Netanyahu said Monday the relationship between the U.S. and Israel is a turn on the old James Bond line: “It’s stirred but not shaken. It’s unshakeable.”

Taxing the "Wealthy" Affects All of Us!Mar. 3: The Daily News: Taxing the "Wealthy" Affects All of Us [Corporate Taxes and Targeting those with wealth]: There are those – political leaders – who would put the burden of paying for our Federal government’s voracious appetite to spend and borrow money on the shoulders of what they term the “wealthy.”  But keep in mind; many of those with wealth are the very people who are creating the jobs for those of us who are less fortunate.  Targeting those who have worked hard and taken the risks in order to gain wealth can result in hurting, not helping, those who need a helping hand. 

Mar. 3: Fox News: IRS emails shed light on dispute between Lerner and Congressional Investigators:
Emails obtained by Fox News continue to shed light on the ongoing dispute between congressional lawmakers and former IRS official Lois Lerner over her long-sought testimony on the IRS targeting scandal.  The release of the emails follows a bizarre public back-and-forth on Sunday that started when committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA., told “Fox News Sunday,” that Lerner, a central figure in the targeting scandal, would testify, after pleading the Fifth Amendment last year.

Mar. 3: Fox News: Christian alternative to ObamaCare growing fast as March 31st Deadline nears:
With just weeks left to sign up for insurance on HealthCare.gov, a growing number of people are opting to enroll in a Christian alternative to traditional health insurance.  Nationwide networks of fellow believers help share each other's major medical bills through what's known as health care sharing ministries.  "It works just like insurance. I have an insurance card. I show it just like anyone else would. I have a deductible. I have a monthly premium that I pay," explained Eileen Wade, who joined the health care sharing ministry, Medi-Share, in 2011. 

Mar. 3: The Daily Caller: Poll shows 33% of Americans have been hurt by ObamaCare:
33 percent of Americans report that Obamacare has personally had a negative impact on them, according to the new poll released Monday by Rasmussen Reports

Feb. 27: Fox News: Intel Committee Chair poised to recall ex-CIA Chief Morell over Benghazi Testimony, Weighing Same for Petraeus: Republican allegations that former CIA Acting Director Mike Morell misled Congress over the White House's role in crafting the flawed Benghazi “talking points” took a dramatic turn Thursday, with the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee telling Fox News it's likely Morell will be recalled to testify. Investigators also are reviewing the testimony of former CIA Director David Petraeus, Morell’s old boss, to assess whether he should be recalled as well.

Feb. 27: Fox News: Surge in concealed weapon permits follows California court second amendment decision: Gun owners are flooding the sheriff's offices in two California counties with applications for concealed weapon permits following a bombshell ruling two weeks ago by a federal appeals court that citizens need not justify their requests.  Orange and Ventura counties have dropped the "good cause" standard for issuing conceal carry permits after the requirement was struck down  Feb. 13 by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.

Feb. 27: The Hill: Report: Obama considered scraping HealthCare.Gov and starting over:
President Obama considered scrapping HealthCare.gov and starting over at the height of the website's problems last fall, according to a report in Time magazine.  The revelation underscores the total chaos that faced the White House and federal health officials in October when ObamaCare's enrollment website was barely functioning.  

Feb. 27: The Daily Caller: Restaurant Chain Adds Obamacare Surcharge to bills:
A chain of Florida restaurants are making customers pick up the tab for the company’s mandatory participation in the Affordable Care Act — with a surcharge to every bill to help cover the cost of providing healthcare to their employees.

Feb.26: Fox News: House GOP unveil tax reform plan
House Republicans on Wednesday unveiled a comprehensive overhaul of the nation's convoluted tax system, urging their colleagues to once and for all hammer out a simpler tax code -- but running into skepticism from party leaders out of the gate.   House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mi, wrote the plan, which was three years in the making, and included some ideas touted by President Obama.  Among other changes, the plan would reduce income tax rates and establish just two brackets. It would also hit investment managers, big banks and top earners wi

th additional taxes and fees to offset those revenue losses.

Feb. 26: Townhall.com:  Rubio Tears Communism Apart after Senate Democrat Harkin praises Cuba:
Senator Rubio (R-FL) took to the Senate floor to comment on the remarks by Senator Harkin (D-IA). Rubio said "...
[Harkin] talked about the great doctors they have in Cuba and I [Rubio] have no doubt about that because I have met them in the United States when they defected because in Cuba doctors would rather drive a taxi cab or work in a hotel than be a doctor. … I heard him [Harkin] talk about how everybody in Cuba can read. The problem is that they can only read censored material and they don’t have access to the Internet… You can have literacy but if you don’t have access to the information, what’s the point of it? … Let me tell you what the Cuban [government] is really good at. They don’t know how to run their economy. They don’t know how to run a country. They don’t know how to govern a people. What they are really good at is repression! … and they aren’t just good at it domestically, their good exporters of these things too.


Feb. 26: Fox News: Two days after the Administration announced major cuts in military spending they want $300 Billion for roads and railways: Just two days after the Pentagon outlined major cuts to the U.S. Army and other military programs, President Obama is calling for a whopping $300 billion commitment for America's roads, bridges and mass transit systems -- though as much as half comes from a tax plan that has bleak prospects on the Hill.  

The Russian Intelligence gathering ship of the Meridian-classFeb. 26: Yahoo News: Russian Spy Ship Docked in Havana:
A Russian warship was docked in Havana Wednesday, without explanation from Communist Cuba or its state media. The Viktor Leonov measuring 300 feet long and 14.5 meters wide, was docked at the port of Havana's cruise ship area, near the Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

The Vishnya, or Meridian-class intelligence ship, which has a crew of around 200, went into service in the Black Sea in 1988 before it was transferred seven years later to the northern fleet, Russian media sources said. Neither Cuban authorities nor state media have mentioned the ship's visit, unlike on previous tours by Russian warships. The former Soviet Union was Cuba's sponsor state through three decades of Cold War. After a period of some distancing under former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, the countries renewed their political, economic and military cooperation. The ship is armed with 30mm guns and anti-aircraft missiles. Its visit comes as isolated Havana's current economic and political patron, Venezuela, is facing unprecedented violent protests against President Nicolas Maduro's government.

Feb. 26: Fox News
Greenpeace co-founder: No scientific proof humans are dominate cause of climate change:

A co-founder of Greenpeace told lawmakers there is no evidence man is contributing to climate change, and said he left the group when it became more interested in politics than the environment.  Patrick Moore, a Canadian ecologist and business consultant who was a member of Greenpeace from 1971-86, told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee environmental groups like the one he helped establish use faulty computer models and scare tactics in promoting claims man-made gases are heating up the planet.  “There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years,” he said.

Feb. 26: Fox News: Federal Judge strikes down Texas prohibition on homosexual “marriage”
but postpones action pending appeal:

A federal judge declared a same-sex “marriage” ban in deeply conservative Texas unconstitutional on Wednesday, but will allow the nation's second-most populous state to enforce the law pending an appeal that will likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Judge Orlando Garcia issued the preliminary injunction after two homosexual couples challenged a state constitutional amendment and a longstanding law. His ruling is the latest in a tangled web of lawsuits across the country expected to end up in the Supreme Court next year.

Feb. 25: The Hill: Biden: New Voter ID Laws tied to “hatred”
Vice President Biden said new voter ID laws in North Carolina, Alabama and Texas were evidence of “hatred” and “zealotry” during a Black History Month event at the Naval Observatory on Tuesday.  The vice president said his votes to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act were among his proudest as a senator, and expressed frustration with a recent Supreme Court ruling striking down a crucial provision of the law.

The ruling struck down a provision of the law that required certain jurisdictions with a history of voting suppression to clear any changes in their voting laws with the Justice Department. The court said Congress could update the pre-clearance formula, but lawmakers have not been in a hurry to do so.   In the meantime Galveston County has held two elections and is now in the process of conducing a third under the Texas Voter ID law.  In the first two, over 12,000 votes were cast and only one of those was denied because the voter failed to provide a valid photo identification.  “This was not even a blip on the radar,” Galveston’s Chief Deputy Clerk for Elections said.

Feb 25: Fox News: Increased domestic spending my be behind proposed military cuts, a CBO report suggests:
As the Obama administration announces proposed sweeping defense cuts this week, a Congressional Budget Office report documents how increases in other areas of domestic spending may be forcing the White House to reduce money for the military.

Feb. 25: The LA Times: Supremes Ruling Expands Warrantless Search Authority:
Police officers may enter and search a home without a warrant as long as one occupant consents, even if another resident has previously objected, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a Los Angeles case.  The 6-3 ruling, triggered by a LAPD arrest in 2009, gives authorities more leeway to search homes without obtaining a warrant, even when there is no emergency.

Feb. 24: Yahoo News: Obama wants to shrink size if military to pre-WWII levels
(Those who fail to know history are doomed to repeat it!)

The Pentagon plans to scale back the US Army by more than an eighth to its lowest level since before World War II, signaling a shift after more than a decade of ground wars.  Saying it was time to "reset" for a new era, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recommended shrinking American forces from 520,000 active duty troops to between 440,000 and 450,000. The Pentagon had previously planned to downsize the ground force to about 490,000. Several members of the Senate Armed Services Committee immediately expressed reservations about the budget proposal.

Feb. 24: The Washington Times: Rice has no regrets over Benghazi leaving McCain almost speechless!
If you tell a lie long enough, maybe somebody will believe it! National Security Adviser Susan Rice insisted Sunday she used “the best information we had at the time” when she described the deadly 2012 Benghazi attack but Senator John McCain isn’t buying it!  The Arizona Republican said he was “almost speechless” after learning of Ms. Rice’s’s comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” which marked her first interview on a Sunday talk show since her first disastrous appearances to discuss Benghazi.

Column: Who Got Us Into this Mess?Feb. 24: The Daily News:
The Question is Who Got Us into this Mess?

The lack of self financial control on a personal level our legislators seem to take to Washington with them.  Recently Congress voted to completely eliminate -- for a period of 13 months -- the statutory limit on Federal Government borrowing.  Twenty-eight House Republicans joined the Democrats in allowing this to happen.  In the Senate even Republican Senator Cornyn cast a procedural vote to let the measure go forward.  So, for the next 13 months, there will be no restraint on government borrowing.  The estimates are this will increase (add to) our current national debt more than a trillion dollars.  Our voracious spending and commensurate borrowing further expands the enslavement of our nation.  How do we pay for these spending habits?  You guessed it, taxes!  The more spending, the more taxes are needed to pay for it.

Feb. 24: Insurance Journal: House Releases text of Flood Insurance Bill
Last week the House GOP leaders put the final touches on legislation that would significantly water down the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, easing many premium increases and allowing below-market rates to be passed on to people buying homes with taxpayer-subsidized policies. Biggert-Waters was designed to wean hundreds of thousands of homeowners off of subsidized rates and required extensive updating of the flood maps used to set premiums, but its implementation has stirred anxiety among many homeowners along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and in flood plains, many of whom are threatened with unaffordable rate increases.

Under the GOP bill, those currently benefiting from below-market rates would preserve their “grandfathered” status. It also would allow homeowners to pass on government-subsidized premiums to people who buy their homes instead of requiring purchasers to pay actuarially sound rates immediately. People whose second home is in a flood zone and those whose properties have repeatedly flooded would continue to see their premiums go up by 25 percent a year until reaching a level consistent with their real risk of flooding.

Last month the Senate last passed a bill to delay the implementation of Biggert-Waters. The House measure is likely to be considered as soon as next week.

Feb. 22: Fox News: Governors face off in Washington over Minimum Wage Hike:
President Obama and fellow Democrats are trying to use the annual Washington meeting of governors to rally support for increasing the federal minimum wage, as their Republican counterparts argue the idea is a jobs killer.  The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that as many half a million jobs could be lost if the minimum wage is increased and has admitted that this could be a low estimate.  In addition, some economists have pointed out that those who may lose their jobs are those who can least afford to do so.

Feb. 22: The Daily Caller: Former NRA president Heston to get U.S. Post Office Stamp!
The United States Postal Service has announced that former NRA President Charlton Heston will be honored with his own stamp. The stamp is part of their “Legends of Hollywood” series, and while the specific issue date has not yet determined, it will be issued sometime in 2014.  Heston was a five term president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003 and a tireless advocate for Second Amendment rights.

Feb. 22: The Hill:  Obama under pressure to slow illegal immigrant deportations
President Obama is coming under fire to do more with his executive power to slow record-level deportations of illegal immigrants now that immigration reform legislation is almost certainly dead until after the election.  But that’s a tough call for the president, since it would give ammunition to GOP critics who say they don’t trust he’ll enforce immigration laws.

Feb. 22: New York Post: Christine O’Donnell: I was a victim of the IRS
Whether Democrat or Republican, do you really want your private tax information leaked with impunity?   The story in the New York Post lays out what happened to Christine O'Donnell after she announced her plans to run for the senate representing Delaware.  " I wasn’t the only one preyed upon by the IRS," she says. "The agency admits to targeting conservative nonprofits, asking them for membership lists and other data not required while delaying their tax-exempt status. And opponents of President Obama have been subjected to audits soon after criticizing the administration."  (See the testimony of the founder of the King Street Patriots on this Website)

Feb. 21:  The Hill: House GOP to go after the IRS:
Less than two months before taxes are due, House Republicans will attempt to pass a slate of bills aimed at protecting taxpayers from Internal Revenue Service abuses.  Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) is the author of two of the bills to be considered next week, both of which respond to the targeting scandal.  One of his bills is the Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act which would require the IRS to tell taxpayers when it shares their tax information with another government agency, and limits the time people can be subjected to an IRS audit to one year. 

The other bill is the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act which would prevent the IRS from asking about people's religious or political beliefs.  Both bills will be called up under a suspension of House rules which requires a 2/3's vote for passage, meaning at least some Democrat votes will be required for final passage.

Feb. 21: The Daily Caller: FCC scraps media survey amid allegations of trying to regulate the news:
The Federal Communications Commission canceled a plan to evaluate the coverage of major media outlets Friday after a tidal wave of media criticism alleged the agency was attempting to influence and regulate the news media industry and its decision making on news coverage.  One local news outlet in Houston likened the study to the movie “Hunt for Red October” where the political officer had equal power with Captain. 

Feb. 21: Politico: FCC backs off newsroom study:
The Federal Communications Commission will amend a proposed study of newsrooms in South Carolina after outcry over what some called "invasive questions," the commission's chairman said Friday.  The survey was meant to study how and if the media is meeting the public's “critical information needs” on subjects like public health, politics, transportation and the environment.   As a person who served for years in Washington as part of a federal regulatory agency, I can tell you that just having a federal regulator on site has a chilling affect.

Feb. 21: The Hill: Lawmakers to grill Pentagon on deadly attack that killed 30 SEAL team members:
A congressional panel on Thursday will hold a hearing on a mysterious helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed members of the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6 unit.  Many questions about the Aug. 6, 2011 attack, which killed 30 Americans, will be asked during the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on National Security.  Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who heads the panel, told The Hill that the hearing is aimed at getting answers from the Pentagon and "honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice."

Feb. 21: The Daily Caller: Once the ObamaCare model, Massachusetts now the law’s disaster:
Obamacare is an absolute mess in Massachusetts.  Nearly eight years ago, surrounded by legislative leaders and Senator Ted Kennedy, then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signed historic health legislation into law.  Starting in 2007 — over a period of three years — Massachusetts spent $3.4 million developing a first-in-the-nation online health exchange, which allowed the state’s citizens to purchase health coverage. And when President Obama campaigned for the passage of his own federal health law, he leaned on the Massachusetts experiment as a model for the nation. But with the Federal take over of the state run exchange not one person has purchased health care coverage.

Feb. 21: Roll Call: Cantor: GOP finishing work on ObamaCare Alternative:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA, reiterated on Friday that the House plans to bring up a bill to replace President Obama’s health care law.  In a memo to members laying out the House agenda for the remainder of the winter, Cantor noted that the replacement is being finalized, and said that in the meantime, Republicans will work to target parts of the law with which they disagree.  “As we continue to work to finalize our Obamacare replacement plan, we will also act to highlight and address the serious consequences of the law,” he said.

Feb. 21: Fox News: Poll: 66% say Congress should continue to investigate Benghazi
The latest Fox News poll finds that most Americans think Congress should continue to investigate the Obama administration’s handling of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  Sixty-six percent of voters want Congress to keep investigating the White House’s handling of Benghazi.  That includes 50 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 83 percent of Republicans.  About a third opposes lawmakers continuing to investigate the attack (31 percent).

Feb. 21: The Washington Post: Issa’s suspicions that Hillary Clinton told Panetta to stand down on Benghazi:
“We need to have an answer of when the secretary of defense had assets that he could have begun spinning up. Why there was not one order given to turn on one Department of Defense asset? I have my suspicions, which is Secretary Clinton told Leon [Panetta] to stand down, and we all heard about the stand-down order for two military personnel. That order is undeniable.

Feb. 18: Fox News: Congressional Budget Office: Hiking the Minimum Wage would lift pay but cost jobs
A plan by President Obama and fellow Democrats to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would cost roughly 500,000 jobs but increase wages for roughly 16.5 million Americans, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.  The CBO also said the half million job estimate could be a low figure.

Feb. 18: The Daily Caller: Gingrich: Kerry should resign over global warming remarks:
Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich took to Twitter to call for Secretary of State John Kerry to resign for calling global warming the “world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”  Gingrich  tweeted out his disgust with Kerry’s comments:

Does kerry really believe global warming more dangerous than north Korean and Iranian nukes? More than Russian and Chinese nukes? Really? ? —
Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) February 18, 2014

Feb. 18: CNS News: Obama has more than doubled U.S. Debt, now up 106% and rising
The marketable debt of the U.S. government has more than doubled--climbing by 106 percent--while President Barack Obama has been in office, increasing from $5.749 trillion at the end of January 2009 to $11.825 trillion at the end of January 2014, according to the U.S. Treasury's latest Monthly.

Part Three in a Series on Taxes and Tax ReformFeb. 17: The Daily News: Taxes: Is a Paradigm Shift Worth Considering?
We question how effective a government can be at protecting freedom when its tax system is used to promote or enforce habits.  To the largest extent possible we think taxes should be habit neutral and non-intrusive of our freedoms.  We also believe the practices of “hiding” tax collection and deceptions such as withholding or auditing based on political preference will only result in higher taxes and a decrease in our freedom.  Stopping this tyranny can only be accomplished if we move away from an income tax.  Please don’t misunderstand; all three of us pay our taxes under our current laws.  But we believe there may be a better way and that a paradigm shift might be worth considering. 

Rear Admiral Lee speaks out about religious freedom in the militaryFeb. 16: YouTube:
Address by Rear Admiral Lee at the National Day of Prayer:
This video was taken during the National Day of Prayer last year. We found it to be a powerful message and have posted it here within this timeline. It addresses politically correct actions taken by the current administration to restrict religious freedom and free speech within our military forces.

Feb. 16: Fox News:
Obama Violating the Constitution, but little can be done about it:
Washington Republicans on Sunday restated their argument that President Obama has violated the Constitution by using executive orders to alter ObamaCare but acknowledged they likely have no recourse or ability to stop another incident. 

Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, told “Fox News Sunday” that congressional Republicans think the president abused the government’s separation of powers by using the executive orders to sidestep Congress and delay the law’s employer mandate.  However, he said critics would be challenged to win in court because Congress lacks the so-called “legal standing” to present the case and they would have a “tough time” finding somebody hurt enough by the delays to be a good plaintiff.

“The president knows this is wrong,” said Lee, among the most outspoken ObamaCare critics. “What gives him the ability to rewrite the law?”

Feb. 16: The Hill: Tax Code a “rotten, dysfunctional mess,” new Senate Finance chairman Wyden says:
The new head of the Senate Finance Committee wants to renew more than 50 tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013 as his first goals in the post.  Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said on Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital” that the measures, known as tax extenders, will be the first in a “two-step drill” toward more comprehensive tax reform.   “My first choice would be to first go to comprehensive tax reform, rather than to have to proceed with the extenders,” he said.

Feb. 16: The Washington times: Obama’s executive actions can backfire on Democrats if GOP takes the White House – GOP could dismantle his healthcare law
President Obama’s repeated use of executive powers to ease the rollout of his health care law could be setting the stage for Republicans to roll back the overhaul’s most controversial parts if they retake the White House in 2016, say analysts who have tracked the law’s shifting landscape.

The president has tweaked or delayed Obamacare’s mandates on employers and individuals without Congress on multiple occasions, each in a bid to put out a political firestorm caused by the law’s rocky rollout.  Although he is taking advantage of discretion built into the Act, those executive powers also would give “a future President or other ACA opponent room to throw a monkey wrench into the works and help try to dismantle the law from the inside,” said L. Glenn Cohen, a health policy analyst at Harvard Law School.

Feb. 16: Fox News: Texas abortion clinic shut down, doctor’s license suspended:
State officials in Texas have shut down a Houston abortion clinic and suspended its director’s medical license for not complying with a new law that says abortion providers must maintain admitting privileges at a local hospital.  The Houston Chronicle reports the Department of State Health Services revoked A Affordable Women’s Medical Center’s license on Friday, representing the first time Texas officials have evoked a new law mandating abortion clinic doctors secure admitting privileges at a hospital not more than 30 miles from their clinic that provides either obstetrical or gynecological services.  The law took effect Nov. 1, 2013.

Feb. 14: Insurance Journal:
House Speaker Promises Vote on Flood Insurance Measure

The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is promising to take up legislation to delay certain flood insurance premium increases during the week of Feb. 24.  The details of any House bill remain a mystery but the House version is expected to differ from the broad Senate version passed earlier this month (67-32). The Senate bill would effectively cancel all increases that are being implemented under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 for four years.

Backers of a House bill — the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act — that copies the Senate bill say they have more than 225 co-sponsors. However, House leaders, including Speaker John Boehner, have said they will not back the broad Senate approach but might consider more targeted relief.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA, this week said that the House will consider a “modified version” of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act the week of Feb. 24.  “The Senate bill irresponsibly removes much needed reforms and imposes additional costs on taxpayers,” Cantor said in a statement. “The House will act to protect the flood insurance program but also protect homeowners from unreasonable and unrealistic premium increases.”  Cantor said legislative text and additional details will be available at a later date.

True the Vote Testimony on Capitol HillFeb. 2014: CSpan: Congressional Testimony on IRS Targeting:
Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote and the King Street Patriots, relates her experiences after she applied for tax exempt status through the IRS. Her story includes visits from multiple federal agencies such as the FBI, ATF, and OSHA, numerous audits by the IRS, and intrusive questioning by the IRS as to her personal information. She claims she will not be deterred by this harassment and federal invasion of her privacy. She has fought back by suing the Internal Revenue Service.

Feb. 13: The Weekly Standard: Obamacare enrollment Rate Slows Markedly in January
On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that enrollment in the Obamacare private exchanges increased by 1.146 million in January. This suggests a drop-off of approximately half a million, or 29 percent, from the December numbers.  Yet this still underestimates the true extent of enrollment dropoffs since the numbers in December were for four weeks and the January numbers cover five weeks for an approximate 49 percent drop-off in new enrollees.

Feb. 13: The Hill: Vulnerable Democrats want IRS to step up restrictions on campaign spending:
Senate Democrats facing tough elections this year want the Internal Revenue Service to play a more aggressive role in regulating outside groups expected to spend millions of dollars on their races.  In the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, the Democrats are publicly prodding the agency instead of lobbying them directly. They are also careful to say the IRS should treat conservative and liberal groups equally, but they’re concerned about an impending tidal wave of attack ads funded by GOP-allied organizations. Much of the funding for those groups is secret, in contrast to the donations lawmakers collect, which must be reported publicly.

Feb. 12: The Daily Caller: Claims: Obama IRS nonprofit rules violate federal law:
The Obama administration violated federal law with its new proposed IRS rule for nonprofit groups and for making a false statement about that rule, according to claims by multiple attorneys and reported by The Daily Caller.  The administration’s extensive new IRS rule for 501(c)(4) nonprofit groups was secretly devised by disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner and other Obama administration officials while the IRS was targeting conservative nonprofit groups between 2010 and 2012.  The rule, which contains many provisions, would place much more stringent controls on what would be considered political activity by the IRS, effectively limiting the standard practices of a wide array of nonprofit groups.

Feb. 12: Breitbart.com: Cornyn votes for consideration of a bill to eliminate the debt ceiling for one year:
Spend what you want with no restraint! $18.2 Trillion in Debt expected!

The Senate passed the "clean" debt ceiling bill, sending the legislation to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. The bill suspends the debt limit altogether until March 15, 2015.   The vote to pass the bill was 55-43. An earlier procedural vote to advance debate passed 67-31, with John Cornyn (R-TX) joining mostly Democrats to invoke cloture.   Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas forced the 60-vote procedural vote. Two GOP Senate aides told Breitbart News that McConnell forcefully urged him not to do so at a closed-door meeting yesterday.

Feb. 12: National Review: Cruz Warns GOP Establishment: Come November the People will Remember:
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday issued a warning to “establishment politicians from both parties” following the Senate’s vote to raise the debt limit without any spending cuts attached.  Earlier in the day, 12 Republicans, including John Cornyn (R-TX) voted with Democrats to end debate on the measure. Cruz, who had insisted on a 60-vote threshold, said Wednesday’s vote was an affront to “Americans of all political stripes understand that we cannot keep spending money we don’t have.”  “There are too many members of Congress who think they can fool people and they will forget about it the next week,” Cruz said. ”But sometimes, come November, the people remember.”

Feb. 11: The Washington Post: How John Boehner decided to give up the debt limit fight:
This week’s debt-limit drama ended as it began: with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH), standing alone before his colleagues, seeking consensus but receiving only silence and stares in return. He would push a “clean” bill, averting default more than two weeks before the Treasury Department’s debt-limit deadline.  “We’re not going to make ourselves the story,” he said. He spoke about the need for the party to not get mired in damaging endeavors. Boehner’s delivery was crisp; his decision was final.  The room of Republicans sat up, stunned… But they didn’t speak up or clap.

Part 2 of a series of columns on Taxes: The 16th Amendment and the IRS's Abuse of PowerFeb. 10: The Daily News:
Taxes: The 16th Amendment and the IRS's Abuse of Power:
For over two thousand years people have viewed the tax collector with disdain.  Scripture tells us that many Jews would not associate with such people.  Why?  Because they abused their own people simply because they had the power and authority to do so!  Apparently, similar practices are still with us.  The saying “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!” is correct.  What we are seeing from the current administration and the IRS is an abuse of power.  Targeted organizations seeking tax-exempt status were being asked questions way beyond what was reasonably required to determine tax-exempt eligibility.

Just prior to the Super Bowl the President was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly and was asked if the IRS had abused its power.  He responded that there had not been  “even a smidgen of corruption” and blamed a few “bone headed decisions” and Fox News for the problems facing the IRS.  Here is a question: If there is no corruption why did Lois Lerner plead the 5th before a Congressional Committee?

Feb. 9: Fox News:  GOP objects to Obama Administration easing immigration rules for terror supporters:
The Obama administration's use of an executive directive to ease the rules for people trying to enter the United States or stay in the country even though they have given “limited” support to terrorists or terror groups is causing problems for Republicans working on immigration reform.  “President Obama should be protecting U.S. citizens rather than taking a chance on those who are aiding and abetting terrorist activity and putting Americans at greater risk," says Virginia GOP Rep. Robert Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and part of the GOP House leadership team working on immigration reform.  He and other Republican lawmakers argued that the administration is relaxing rules designed by Congress to protect the country from terrorists.

Feb. 8: The Daily Caller: Is the Obama Administration Waving White Flag on Canceled Plans?
The Obama administration’s admission that it may extend the exemption for health insurance plans canceled due to Obamacare regulations could signal an end to the war on “junk plans.”  Low estimates from the Associated Press put the total of canceled plans at 4.7 million; in contrast, Obamacare exchanges across the country can only claim that 3 million Americans have selected private plans via online exchanges (actual enrollment could be even lower).

Feb. 8:  The Hill: Medicare fight looms over midterm election
Health insurers are arming themselves for an aggressive campaign to beat back cuts to Medicare Advantage.  Insurers are hoping this will convince the administration to abandon the cuts that officials are expected to announce on Feb. 21. 

Local Politics: Private Meet and Greet held on Galveston Island for County Judge Mark Henry & District Attorney Jack Roady. Over 40 attendees enjoyed the great discussion, questions and good food.
Mark Henry addresses over 40 invited guests at a private Meet and Greet on Galveston Island
February 8th in Galveston
Jack Roady addresses over 40 invited guests at a private Meet and Greet on Galveston Island

Feb. 8: The Times of Israeli: Iran TV airs simulated video of attack on Israel and U.S. Aircraft Carrier:
Iranian state TV on Friday ran a documentary featuring a computerized video of Iran’s drones and missiles bombing Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ben Gurion Airport and the Dimona nuclear reactor in a hypothetical retaliation for an Israeli or American strike on the Islamic Republic. The clip was broadcast amid a clear escalation of anti-American rhetoric and even action by Iran: On Saturday, an Iranian admiral announced that Iran had dispatched warships to the North Atlantic.

Feb. 7: The Hill: Treasury Secretary sets deadline for debt ceiling debate:
The Treasury Department will all but completely exhaust its abilities to pay the nation's bills by Feb. 27 unless Congress raises the debt ceiling, according to a new letter sent to lawmakers Friday by Secretary Jack Lew. The nation’s borrowing cap took effect once again on Friday after the Government shutdown deal eliminated the debt ceiling altogether for three months, thereby doing away with any restraint on spending for that period of time.

Feb. 7: InfoWars.Com: TSA Agents interrogate Jewish Author for Reading Conservative Jewish Paper:
Award winning Jewish author Phyllis Chesler was questioned and had her bag searched at New York’s JFK Airport as a result of a TSA agent’s suspicions over the fact that she was reading a conservative Jewish newspaper.  The incident happened on Wednesday afternoon after Chesler’s flight to Florida was delayed due to the recent ice storms.  As soon as Chesler pulled out a copy of The Jewish Press, a popular English language weekly with a conservative political bent, a TSA agent eyed her with suspicion, approached the author and asked to see the newspaper.  After the TSA agent scrutinized the cover of the newspaper and showed it to another security official, Chesler was ordered to open her luggage, which the two agents then proceeded to rifle through.

Feb. 7: Americans for Tax Reform:  Olympics: Achieve Glory and Pay Up to the IRS!
As 230 U.S. Olympic athletes gear up to compete in the 2014 Winter Games, the only thing colder than the slopes at Sochi is the fact that any prizes awarded by the U.S. Olympic Commission (USOC) will be taxed by the IRS. Many Americans don't realize that the U.S. taxes income earned abroad, and as such even the winnings of Olympic athletes are subject to the reach of the IRS.  The USOC awards prizes to U.S. Olympic medal winners. Some top earners such as Shaun White could end up paying over a third (39.6 percent) of their winnings to the IRS. 

Feb. 6: Fox Nation: The IRS Scandal is Still Going on Today (Video)
During a congressional hearing into the Internal Revenue Services’ admitted targeting of conservative groups prior to the 2012 election cycle, an attorney representing some of those groups severely chastised President Barack Obama for asserting during an interview with Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly that there was not a “smidgen” of corruption at that agency. After citing a number of items of evidence which support the claim that the IRS unfairly targeted conservative groups, attorney Jay Sekulow said that the IRS scandal goes “as high as it gets.”

Feb. 6: Fox News: Learner Helped Craft New Crackdown on Tax Exempt Political Targeting:
The official at the center of the IRS scandal involving the targeting of President Obama’s political enemies secretly helped craft new rules for the agency that critics say would make such heavy-handed tactics legal.  Emails obtained by the House Ways and Means Committee show IRS executive Lois Lerner working on the new rules in secret with Obama Treasury officials at the height of the targeting.

Feb. 6: Fox News:
Targeted True the Vote Founder files ethics complaint against Ranking Congressman she claims tried to intimidate her:

A conservative activist targeted by the IRS and other agencies claimed Thursday that Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings also tried to intimidate her, filing a formal complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics alleging an "abuse of power."   Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote and the King Street Patriots, aired the allegations during a hearing hosted by the committee on which Cummings sits. An attorney working with her also questioned whether Cummings might have encouraged the IRS and other agencies to target her groups.

Feb. 5: The Hill: Boehner unveils Benghazi Website:
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Wednesday unveiled a website detailing the GOP's Benghazi probe amid mounting pressure from conservatives that he's not doing enough. 

Feb. 5: The Hill: House GOP leaders struggle for debt-ceiling plan that appeals to Democrats:
Republican leaders are scrambling for a debt-limit plan that can win Democratic votes after determining that none of their original ideas would gain enough GOP votes to pass the House.  After canvassing members early in the week, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his lieutenants on Wednesday abandoned plans to tie an increase in the nation’s authority either to the repeal of a provision in ObamaCare or to the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  The leadership had wanted to find a plan that could win 218 Republican votes, but they determined on Wednesday that was not possible. 

Feb. 5: The Daily Caller: New York NRA memberships nearly double as gun control legislation is enacted
Membership in a New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association nearly doubled in a year after Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed harsh gun control measures in the wake of last year’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  New York now boasts 41,000 NRA members, up from the 22,000 members in January 2013, making it the largest NRA affiliate chapter in the country — surpassing even Texas.

Feb. 5: Fox News: Calls mount to end ban on exports as U.S. Oil Production booms:
When the Arab oil embargo of 1973 shocked the U.S. into long gas lines and rationing, Congress approved what was a no-brainer at the time -- a ban on exporting crude oil produced at home. But today, with domestic oil production booming, some are questioning whether that ban should stay in place. The new concern is that the U.S. has more oil than its refineries can handle. Supporters of lifting the export ban argue that oil is a world commodity -- and more of it on the global market will drive everyone’s gas prices down and create jobs in the U.S.

Feb. 5: The Daily Caller: Kerry to Israeli Critics: I’ve been attacked before by people using real bullets:
John Kerry invoked his Vietnam War service to push back against an Israeli cabinet member who criticized his recent comments on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  Kerry suggested that if his Israeli-Palestinian peace effort fails, there could be an delegitimizing campaign and possible boycotts. Israel’s economy minister Naftali Bennett harshly criticized Kerry’s failure to speak out against the delegitimization campaign at the conference. “We expect our friends around the world to stand beside us, against anti-Semitic boycott efforts targeting Israel, and not for them to be their trumpet,” he said in a statement.

Feb. 5: Fox News: Widow of fallen cop blocked from testifying on Obama DOJ pick:
The Philadelphia district attorney is speaking out against President Obama's nominee for a top Justice Department post, saying his link to the case of a convicted cop killer "sends a message of contempt" to police -- as the widow of the fallen officer is apparently denied the chance to testify. 

Feb. 5: Fox News: CBO Chief: Obamacare creates a disincentive to work:
The head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office delivered a damning assessment Wednesday of the Affordable Care Act, telling lawmakers that ObamaCare creates a "disincentive for people to work," adding fuel to Republican arguments that the law will hurt the economy.  The testimony from CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf comes after his office released a highly controversial report that detailed how millions of workers could cut back their hours or opt out of the job market entirely because of benefits under the health law. 

Feb. 5: Fox News: House Committee to investigate why Obamacare site has no appeals process:
A House committee will investigate why the ObamaCare website does not allow customers to appeal errors created when enrolling online for insurance, Fox News learned Wednesday.  The investigation is being conducted by the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and began with a letter this week asking Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to send officials to Capitol Hill no later than February 21 to discuss the issue.  The problem was reported first by The Washington Post and has reportedly impacted about 22,000 Americans. Among the reported concerns are customers thinking they were overcharged for polices and believing the site steered them into buying the wrong policies. 

Feb. 4: The L.A. Times: Obamacare enrollees hit snags at doctor’s offices:
After overcoming website glitches and long waits to get ObamaCare, some patients are now running into frustrating new roadblocks at the doctor's office. 

Feb. 4: The Telegraph: Kerry Labeled “anti-Semite” after warning of possible boycott of Israel:
US Secretary of State has been labeled an 'anti Semite' for warning of a possible economic boycott if Israel fails to reach a peace accord with the Palestinians.  Secretary of State Kerry triggered an angry backlash from Israeli leaders on Sunday after warning Israel faces an economic boycott if it failed to reach a peace accord with the Palestinians. The uproar came as Kerry held cordial talks with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif in Munich at which the pair vowed to intensify nuclear diplomacy.

Ministers in Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet accused Mr Kerry of effectively endorsing "anti-Semitic" efforts to impose sanctions on Israel by issuing the warning."The risks are very high for Israel," Mr Kerry told the conference. "People are talking about boycott. That will intensify in the case of failure.

But perhaps the Secretary of State is not familiar with U.S. Law!  The place I used to work (the Bureau of Industry and Security within the Department of Commerce) enforces a law that prohibits companies from participating in the boycott of Israel.  The BIS Website says it this way:

"The Bureau is charged with administering and enforcing the Antiboycott Laws under the Export Administration Act. Those laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain other countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott."  

Feb. 4: The Daily Mail: Lockheed Martin fires first portable laser weapon that could replace missiles:
It is a weapon that could mean the end of traditional missiles. Lockheed Martin revealed is has tested the a 30-kilowatt electric fiber laser, the highest power ever fired. The firm says the weapon could eventually be mounted on jets, tanks and fighter planes - and will more than triple in strength before being used in combat.

Feb. 3: The Daily Caller: Bipartisan Fox News Panel Universally Agrees Obama was lying about Benghazi:
A bipartisan Fox News panel universally agreed that President Obama was lying about the Benghazi attacks during his Sunday interview with Bill O’Reilly. Even as a Democrat, Kirsten Powers felt compelled to agree. “I don’t understand why the administration can’t just tell the truth about this,” she said. “And that they keep saying things that... we know aren’t true.

Taxes: The More They Have, The More They Want!Feb. 3: The Daily News: Taxes: The More They Have, The More They Want!
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” He was right! With the existence of government come taxes. He also once observed, “[m]oney has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. [T]he more of it one has the more one wants!” We find this to be true of both people and governments. Because taxes provide government with its only real source of power; governments are powerless without it. Limiting government means necessarily limiting its spending along with limiting taxation to pay for such spending. This week we start a new series on Tax Reform.

Feb. 3: The Washington Free Beacon:
From bad to worse – U.S. Intelligence suspects malware from Belarus in Healthcare.gov
:
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 intelligence agencies notified the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency in charge of the Healthcare.gov network, about their concerns last week. Specifically, officials warned that programmers in Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, were suspected of inserting malicious code that could be used for cyber attacks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the concerns.

Feb. 3: The Daily Caller: Obama’s intervention in the FBI investigation is fine, White House Says:
White House spokesman Jay Carney Monday waved off concerns over the president’s prime-time public interference in the FBI investigation of the Internal Revenue Service. “Obviously we do not interfere with Justice Department investigations,” Carney said. But Obama’s public intervention during a FBI investigation might amount to obstruction of justice, said one lawyer who has been watching the scandal. If the president is “engaged in any activity designed to influence the Department of Justice from impartially and adequately fulfilling their duties, that’s obstruction,” the lawyer said.

Feb. 3: Washington Examiner: NRA: 2014 Election Do or Die – Will Take on Bloomberg and Obama:
Expecting former New York City Mayor Bloomberg to “double down” on his nationwide anti-gun efforts in the 2014 elections, an invigorated National Rifle Association is planning a massive ground game to win Republican control of the Senate, according to officials.  

Feb. 3: The Hill: GOP Leadership appears to tap immigration reform brakes:
Senior House Republicans appear to be tapping the brakes on their push for immigration reform after rank-and-file members raised questions about the wisdom of tackling the issue in an election year under President Obama. 

Feb. 2: Fox News: Obama and O’Reilly face off head to head
President Obama, in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, tried to put behind him the scandals that have hung over his second term, suggesting his administration did not mislead the public on the Benghazi attack and going so far as to say the IRS targeting scandal had “not even a smidgen of corruption.”  He adamantly rejected the suggestion that the IRS was used for political purposes by singling out Tea Party groups seeking tax exemption.  “That’s not what happened,” he said. Rather, he said, IRS officials were confused about how to implement the law governing those kinds of tax-exempt groups. “There were some bone-headed decisions,” Obama conceded. 

Obama also downplayed the controversy over how the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks were described by the administration.  He said he considers any such strike an act of terror and that he was told by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the time only that it was an “attack” -- and that the more important issue is whether security lapses have now been fixed.  He also said his administration didn't try to “hide the ball” regarding the attacks, in which four Americans were killed including Ambassador Chris Stevens.  The same man who told the American people that if they like their health plan they can keep their health plan said, “We revealed to the American people exactly what we understood at the time.” 

On the rocky launch of the health care exchange system, Obama said he anticipated problems with the rollout of ObamaCare in October, particularly with the HealthCare.gov website because computer programs have glitches.  “But neither I nor anybody else anticipated the degree of problems with HealthCare.gov,” he said.  He argued that total enrollment is now just about a month behind schedule and that young people, key to making ObamaCare work, are enrolling at a good rate.  He failed to answer when asked repeatedly why he kept Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the job.

Feb. 2: BreitBart News: Kerry Slammed after Threatening Israelies
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is once again the target of criticism, direct and indirect, by Israeli leaders after he suggested that Israel could face "delegitimization" and "boycott" campaigns without a peace deal with the Palestinians.  That remark, made Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, prompted Economy Minister Naftali Bennett to slam Kerry: "We expect our friends around the world to stand beside us, against anti-Semitic boycott efforts targeting Israel, and not for them to be their amplifier," Bennett said on Saturday evening.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also responded, albeit indirectly, dismissing the threat of boycotts: "Firstly, they only serve to make the Palestinians become more entrenched in their stance of refusal. Secondly, no pressure will make me abandon the State of Israel's vital interests, of which security of the civilian population is foremost."  The U.S. State Department attempted to clarify Kerry's anti-Israeli remarks Sunday, saying that Kerry's remarks were a warning, not a threat, and that the Obama administration did not support boycotts.

[The Administration might want to consider the scripture passage that says I will curse those who curse My people and bless those who bless them!  In addition, trying to force a peace accord upon Israel first will not work and second is asking for trouble down the road as those who would try to eliminate the Jewish state will become even more embolden.] 

Feb. 2: Yahoo News: Ryan: U.S. Immigration Reform clearly in Doubt
Republicans will be unlikely to compromise on immigration reform unless U.S. borders are first secured, and the possibility of a broad immigration bill reaching President Barack Obama's desk this year is "clearly in doubt," Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) said on Sunday. 

Feb. 1: The Daily Caller: D’souza says he is going to proceed with work on next film:
Conservative writer and documentarian Dinesh D’Souza is not intimidated by the federal election-law charges filed against him late last week. “I’m going to proceed with my work and my ideas and the film will be unimpeded by what’s going on,” D’Souza told The Daily Caller, referring to his forthcoming feature documentary “America,” which he said will “knock out the moral underpinning of modern progressivism.”

Feb. 1: Fox News: Keystone opponents vow civil disobedience, starting Monday:
Environmentalists and other opponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline are ramping up their opposition to the project following the release Friday of a  largely favorable State Department report -- vowing to hold vigils, jump into the November elections and even perform acts of civil disobedience.  The report raising no major environmental concerns bolster the hopes of the oil industry, some union groups, congressional Republicans and others that President Obama will soon approve the $7 billion project, after a roughly five year wait. They say the Canada-to-Texas pipeline will create tens of thousands of jobs and make the United States less dependent on foreign oil.

However, within hours of the release of the report, opponents were pressing forward with a lawsuit to challenge the project, public protests and an effort to inject the issue into this fall’s elections. Among the critics is a coalition of landowners and environmentalists that says there is still cause for denying a federal permit. And farmers and ranchers in Nebraska are planning to run for seats on a state board that regulates power stations that are needed along the project’s route. Meanwhile, national activists say they have recruited more than 75,000 volunteers willing to participate in civil disobedience, should Obama approve the project.

Feb. 1: Roll CallPolls show No Impact from State of Union Address:
Tens of millions of Americans watched President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, but the speech had no appreciable impact on his depressed poll numbers.  In the two national polls released since the speech — daily tracking polls from Gallup and Rasmussen Reports — the president’s approval ratings barely budged after three full nights of post-speech polling.   Gallup had the president at 41 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval before the speech. Post-speech polling released Saturday found Obama at 42 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval — essentially unchanged.  In Rasmussen’s polling, the president went from 48 percent approving and 51 percent disapproving before the speech to 48 percent/50 percent Saturday. The firm said the speech “had no immediate impact.”

Feb. 1: USA Today: States see record high in long-term joblessness
In 28 states, a third or more of the unemployed have been without a job for six months or longer, leaving them with no unemployment insurance safety net following the expiration of extended benefits in December. 

Jan. 31: The Washington Post: Labor Union Officials: Obama Betrayed us on health-care rollout:
Labor leaders who have spent months lobbying unsuccessfully for special protections under ObamaCare warned this week that the White House’s continued refusal to help is dampening union support for Democratic candidates in this year’s midterm elections.

Jan. 31: Roll Call: Former Member of House Appropriations decries “Arrogant and Offensive” Treatment:
Although some young appropriators say they are seeing their conservative views respected on the House spending panel, one former member said that was not her experience on the committee.  Wyoming Republican Lummis said the specialized culture of appropriators included “arrogant leadership that treated members like non-members,” and that the dismissive treatment of some lawmakers extended to staff members.

“Members of the committee have very little to do with crafting anything except the budget riders, and they aren’t really included in drafting the spending components in the bill,” she said. “It doesn’t give members, especially conservatives, much of a chance to make some suggestions about program consolidations or prioritizing spending.”

“We were not even allowed to read the report language after we had voted for our product in subcommittee. They were ripped out of our hands, and I’m not exaggerating. That was just offensive,” she said. “It was just a grandstanding power play, totally inappropriate to treat duly elected members of Congress that way. It was a silly, ‘we’re in charge and you’re not’ kind of effort.”

Jan 31: WND News: Texas Congressman: We can defeat amnesty executive orders:
The Democrat plan to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens in the U.S. can be thwarted, despite apparent wavering by House Republican leadership, contends a Texas congressman.  Rep. Culberson, R-TX, insisted that if President Obama tries to advance amnesty or any other initiative through illegal executive orders, he can be stopped, because the House holds the purse strings and can cut off funding for actions that can’t be justified legally. 

Jan. 31: The Daily Caller: 22 Senators say Obama Climate Change will hurt the poor:
If President Obama is serious about tackling income inequality, he should reconsider his plan to tackle global warming (now called climate change as the ice caps expand and the temperatures are getting colder), 22 senators argue.    The poorest Americans will be hit the hardest by Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the senators note, which aims to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2050. Obama’s climate plan would ban new coal-fired power plants unless they use costly, unproven carbon capture technology.

Jan. 31: Fox News:
Freedom of the Press: Holmes Defense plan to take Fox News Reporter case to the Supreme Court:

Lawyers for the man accused of killing 12 people at a Colorado movie theater said Friday they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to require a Fox News reporter to reveal the confidential sources she used in a story about defendant James Holmes.  The defense wants reporter Jana Winter to identify the law enforcement officials who told her that Holmes sent a notebook containing violent images to his psychiatrist before the 2012 attack.  Holmes' lawyers say whoever spoke to Winter violated a gag order and should be punished. They also say that officers might have lied when they denied under oath being Winter's sources, undermining their credibility as potential trial witnesses.

New York state's top court ruled in December that Winter did not have to testify in Colorado because she is protected by her home state's shield law, which says reporters do not have to identify confidential sources.  A Colorado court issued a subpoena for Winter's testimony, but because she is based in New York, that state's courts would have to enforce it.  Winter has said she would not identify the sources, even though the Colorado court could sentence her to jail for contempt of court for refusing.  Holmes' lawyers revealed their plans to appeal to the Supreme Court at the end of a hearing on a defense motion to bar evidence from crime scene reconstruction experts. The defense said such evidence is unreliable.

Jan. 30: Insurance Journal: Senate passes delay in Biggert-Waters Act:
The Senate passed a bill Thursday to delay certain flood insurance rate hikes and create a national registry for licensing insurance agents by a vote of 67-32. The bill delays the implementation of certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and creates the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB). Known as the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014,” it was sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). Its fate now rests with the House of Representatives where some Republican leaders have expressed opposition to the flood insurance delay provisions. Both Texas Senators voted against passage of the measure.

The Senate bill would halt premium hikes by retaining most flood insurance subsidies for four years to give the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) time to complete an affordability study and guarantee that its flood maps are accurate. The bill would also grandfather low rates for homeowners placed into a flood zone for the first time or moved into a higher-risk flood zone due to remapping. The NARAB section promises to make it easier for agents and brokers to be licensed in states other than their own.

Jan. 29: The Daily Caller: Bachmann says House is Preparing to sue Obama for overreach – He is not a King:
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann says House conservatives are preparing to sue President Barack Obama for executive overreach in response to his threats of unilateral action on a host of issues.  “He’s the president of the United States — he’s not a king,” the Republican lawmaker told reporters after Obama’s State of the Union address. “He may think he’s a king, he may declare himself king, but that’s not what he is under our Constitution.”    Bachmann said an effort is underway in Congress to take back their “authority under the Constitution as the House of Representatives.” She said the plan is to introduce legislation allowing lawmakers to hire an attorney, so “we can force the president to act under the Constitution.  We’ll sue the president of the United States and force him to no longer act unilaterally,” she said.

In his address at the Capitol Tuesday night, Obama said he plans to take unilateral action on the minimum wage for federal workers. He suggested he might go solo on guns, for example.   “I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” he said.  Bachmann says Obama will have a fight ahead. “If he wants to go forward with his unilateral activity, he better be prepared for the lawsuit that the United States Congress will bring,” she said.

Jan. 29: Fox News: Gun Control Issue Muzzled in the State of the Union Compared to 2013:
One year after using the State of the Union address to make an impassioned plea for gun control, President Obama took a more muted approach to the subject, vowing to press forward whether Congress liked it or not.  But with Obama's gun control agenda considered all but dead on Capitol Hill, Obama made his declaration without the impact of guests who lost loved ones in high-profile shootings, as he had a year earlier, and he devoted considerably less time to the subject.

Jan. 29: National Review: Buchanan: Boehner Will Lose Speakership if he pushes for immigration reform:
Pat Buchanan warns that an imminent Republican debate over immigration will play into the hands of the Democratic party. With the widespread unpopularity of Obamacare, Republicans should instead focus on the embattled health-care law ahead of the 2014 midterm election.

Jan. 29: Fox News: Millions of Calls to the IRS Go Unanswered!
Have a question on your tax returns? Don't ask the IRS.  As tax day looms, an annual watchdog report to Congress finds the IRS is falling short when it comes to answering Americans' questions about the convoluted tax code.   The National Taxpayer Advocate found only 61 percent of people seeking to speak with a customer service representative last year got through to anybody -- leaving nearly 20 million calls unanswered. 

Jan. 29: Fox News: Obama Lowers Expectations in the State of the Union Address:
Three years ago, President Obama closed his 2011 State of the Union address by declaring: "We do big things."   Today, however, it's Obama's struggle to push forward on the "big things" -- including tax reform, entitlement reform and gun legislation -- and a vexingly brittle relationship with Congress that threatens to curb his second term ambitions.   His annual address on Tuesday gave only passing mention to big-ticket legislative goals. Obama is instead vowing to use his executive powers to take what could only be described as modest steps in 2014 on the economy and education. 
"I didn't hear any new ideas, that's for sure," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, told Fox News after the address.  The speech reflected the frustrated state of Obama's presidency in his second term. After enjoying the benefits for two years of a Democratic majority in Congress -- which he used to pass the health care law, the stimulus and other major bills -- a more Republican-dominated Capitol Hill continues to stymie Obama's wish list in his second term.

Jan. 28: Free beacon: Pentagon Concerned by China’s New High-Speed Missile:
China’s recent test of a new ultra-high speed strike vehicle highlights growing concerns that Chinese military advances will overtake those of the United States in as few as five years, a senior Pentagon official told Congress Tuesday. 

Jan. 28: Fox News: Obama vows to act “without legislation” saying leaving many behind:
President Obama is vowing to sidestep Congress to pursue economic initiatives he claims will “expand opportunity for more American families.” The president hammered the theme of income inequality, arguing that the economic “recovery” largely has benefited those “at the top” while leaving many Americans struggling to break into the middle class.“Some require congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you,” he said.  “But America does not stand still – and neither will I.  So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.” 

Advisers have signaled that the president in 2014 will rely more on executive actions to pursue portions of his agenda, with the understanding that passing anything controversial through Congress is an uphill battle. Obama took a first step in that direction on Tuesday morning, approving an increase in the minimum wage for new federal contract workers, from $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

Meanwhile, Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, who plans to deliver the Tea Party response, said in prepared remarks that Americans indeed face an “inequality crisis” – but one stemming from the government.  “Throughout the last five years, President Obama has promised an economy for the middle class; but all he’s delivered is an economy for the middle-men,” Lee said in the excerpts.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA., who is delivering the official GOP response, also said in prepared remarks that the Republican vision for the economy "empowers you, not the government."  She said Obama's policies are "making people's lives harder" and Republican plans would "close the gap" -- "without more spending, government bailouts and red tape."

Jan. 28: The New York Times: Top Republicans want legal status for some immigrants:
The House Republican leadership’s broad framework for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws will call this week for a path to legal status — but not citizenship — for many of the 11 million adult immigrants who are in the country illegally, according to aides who have seen the party’s statement of principles. For immigrants brought to the United States illegally as young children, the Republicans would offer a path to citizenship. But even before the document is unveiled later, some of the party’s leading strategists and conservative voices are urging that the immigration push be abandoned, or delayed until next year, to avoid an internal party rupture before the midterm elections. 

Jan. 27: Fox News Latino: Immigration reform could hinge on a few quiet TEA party members:
They’re not the conservative faction that has been front and center in the opposition to giving undocumented immigrants a chance to legalize their status and stay and work in the United States. The toughest stumbling block to a comprehensive immigration reform agreement in the House of Representatives, The Hill reports, may well be a quiet group -- a handful of TEA Party conservatives -- who aren’t the kind we see as of fixtures in front of the cameras.

Jan. 27: Fox News: Senate Republicans pitch ObamaCare alternative on eve of State of the Union Speech:
Seizing on the public's continued anxiety over the ObamaCare rollout, Senators Hatch (UT), Coburn (OK), and Burr (NC), unveiled a sweeping alternative proposal they say would gut the law's mandates and taxes while preserving consumer protections.   The proposal, dubbed the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment Act, would repeal the president's marquee legislative achievement while instituting new reforms that  the senators say would give states and individuals more flexibility and purchasing power.

Jan. 27: The Times-Picyume: Senate Votes 86-13 to begin debate to delay flood insurance hikes:
The Senate voted 86-13 Monday to begin debate on legislation that would delay for four years most flood insurance premium increases resulting from a 2012 law. The large margin was a positive sign for those seeking to delay rate increases that they say would price coverage too high for many policyholders. Sixty votes were needed to bring the bill up for debate.

But in a setback Monday night, the White House signaled opposition to the bill, though it stopped short of issuing a veto threat."Delaying implementation of these reforms would further erode the financial position of the National Flood Insurance Program, which is already $24 billion in debt," the Office of Management and Budget said on behalf of the White House. "This delay would also reduce FEMA's ability to pay future claims made by all policyholders."

The Senate will next consider several amendments, with a final vote possible as early as Wednesday. The bill has 181 sponsors and co-sponsors in the House, but faces opposition from influential leaders of the House Financial Services Committee where the Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform act originated. Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, has also expressed opposition, but later said he wants to work on a solution to unaffordable premium increases.

Jan. 27: Fox News: Filmmaker  prosecution revives accusations of conservative targeting:
Less than a year after the IRS admitted to singling out TEA Party and other like-minded groups, federal agencies and prosecutors once again are facing accusations of going tougher on conservatives than their liberal counterparts.  In a case that riled conservative filmmakers and producers, federal prosecutors last week announced campaign finance charges against Dinesh D'Souza, the documentarian behind an anti-President Obama film released during the 2012 presidential campaign.

Jan. 27: PoliticoCruz to Clinton: Talk is Cheap!
Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday issued a sharp retort to comments made by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi embassy attack in 2012: “The pattern with Hillary and the pattern with President Obama is virtually the same,” Cruz (R-TX) told Gretchen Carlson on Fox News. “Talk is cheap." She needs to stand up and demand action,” he added.  Cruz’s sharp words follow remarks by Clinton on her tenure at the State Department in which she bemoaned the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Jan. 27: The Daily Caller: Krauthammer: Obama’s threat to bypass Congress is all bluster:
Charles Krauthammer has a message for his conservative compatriots: Be not afraid! President Obama’s pledge to override congressional defiance is nothing but a “pathetic” bluff, with the right-wing commentator noting that “in the end, there’s very little he can do.” Krauthammer spoke with Fox News’ Greta van Susteren on Monday about Obama’s promise to override congressional disapproval of his agenda through executive orders. The columnist noted that while the president’s promise is “unconstitutional” and contrary to Article I of the Constitution, at the end of the day it’s nothing but bluster.
“What makes it sort of pathetic,” he explained, “is that it sounds like a tough threat and it is unconstitutional — it’s not how you ought to be president of the United States. But in the end, there’s very little he can do.”

Jan. 27: The Hill: Obama in State of the Union has one shot and can’t afford to miss:
President Obama’s legacy and the future of his second term hang in the balance in Tuesday’s pivotal State of the Union address.  Obama will step to the podium reeling from a lost year, and with the window for him to exert his influence closing slowly but surely.“As much as I hate to admit it, this is probably going to be it,” one former senior administration official said of the speech. “He has one shot here, and he can’t afford to miss.”

Galveston County Daily News ColumnJan. 27: The Daily News: What Constitutes A Nation?
What is a Nation?  Is The United States a nation?  We are united by our nationhood of borders, language and culture.
Why Borders? Without strong borders, those who wish us harm can enter as easily as those who desire the American Dream.
Should we have one language? Consider the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11.
What about our culture? Culture is the glue that holds us together.

Jan. 26: The Daily News: Cloture Vote on Bill to Delay Biggert-Waters Act Set for Monday Afternoon:
The Senate bill delaying expensive rate hikes in flood insurance faces a key test Monday, when the Senate will consider ending debate on the bill and proceeding to an actual vote.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has scheduled a cloture vote on Senate Bill 1926 for 4:30 p.m. Central time on Monday.  At least 60 senators must approve the motion before the Senate can vote on the bill.

But while local business leaders and homeowners, along with their counterparts in other coastal communities in other states, are fighting Biggert-Waters, support for the changes remain. House Speaker John Boehner earlier this month told The Associated Press that he wouldn’t support repealing the act, although his office later issued a statement saying that he would listen to “alternative ideas” to help homeowners and taxpayers. [See related columns on the Flood Insurance issue by the Three Musketeers] And U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, also has come out against making any changes to Biggert-Waters as well as called for the eventual end of the flood insurance program altogether.

Jan. 26: Politico: McCaul: Maryland mall shooting shows vulnerabilities:
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Sunday that the recent shooting at a suburban Washington mall, while not a terrorist attack, shows the dangers of malls as a target.  “This is not a terrorist threat at all, probably more a domestic squabble," Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "It does highlight the vulnerability of shopping malls to shootings, soft targets like we saw in the Kenya shopping mall case, and that's the kind of scenario we do not want to see happen in the United States.”   McCaul told host Bob Schieffer that ultimately, isolated shooters are difficult to stop.

Jan. 26: Politico: Pfeiffer & McConnell forecast battle over debt ceiling debate:
In back-to-back interviews Sunday, White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took opposite positions on what Congress should do as the nation approaches the upcoming debt ceiling.  “Nothing has changed in our position. I hope Republicans follow the lead of your next guest, Sen. McConnell, who said right afterwards that they would not go down this path again,” Pfeiffer contended.

Meanwhile Senator McConnell said "Some of the most significant legislation passed in the last 50 years have been in conjunction with the debt ceiling. I think for the president to ask for a clean debt ceiling when we have a debt the size of our economy is irresponsible. So we ought to discuss adding something to his request to raise the debt ceiling that does something about the debt or produces at least something positive for our country.”

Jan. 25: The Hill: Ryan lays out anti-poverty agenda:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) criticized liberals Saturday for seeking to expand programs he said have adversely affected the poor, laying out reforms he said will reverse the course of the country’s 50-year effort to lift people out of poverty.  Ryan proposed collapsing various welfare programs into a universal credit that tapers off, giving parents more means to educate their children, and job training programs that match employers with those seeking employment.  Ryan said the policies currently coming out of Washington are only “deepening the divide” between the wealthy and the poor.

Jan. 25: The Daily Caller: While Congress has the lowest voter approval rating ever, GOP members say White House doesn’t want to work with them:
South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy rejected the White House’s contention that President Obama’s willing to cooperate with congressional Republicans, claiming that “he doesn’t have an interest in working with us.”  Gowdy spoke with Fox News’ Greta van Susteren about Obama’s promise to use the powers of his office to unilaterally shape government policy. Following the president’s remarks last week suggesting he would work around any congressional opposition through executive orders — a move some Republicans view as unconstitutional — White House press secretary Jay Carney assured reporters that President Obama sincerely wishes to work with House Republicans on issues of mutual agreement.

Gowdy called Carney’s bluff. “Jay Carney can’t cite a single solitary example where this administration has wanted to work in good faith with House Republicans,” he said. “Now, from 2008 to 2010 they didn’t have to deal with us. They had all the gears of government and they gave us Obamacare. When the president has the cards, he calls the bet. When he doesn’t have the cards, he blames Bush, tsunamis, hurricanes, Fox News, racial animus, everyone but himself.”

Jan. 25: The Daily Caller: Isn’t the President above blaming others, CNN on Lemon asks:
CNN host Don Lemon challenged a Democratic commentator to defend President Obama’s attack on Fox News during a recent interview, asking, “Isn’t the president above that?”  Lemon spoke with liberal commentator Hilary Rosen and conservative columnist Reihan Salam about the president’s comments in an interview with The New Yorker published this week. “The issue,” Obama claimed during that interview, “has been the inability of my message to penetrate the Republican base so that they feel persuaded that I’m not the caricature that you see on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.”  The CNN anchor seemed perplexed by President’s Obama’s griping. “Can the president really blame Fox News for his problems?” he asked Rosen. “I mean, there are liberal outlets that do the same thing on the other side.”

Jan. 25: The Daily Caller: Supremes exempt Nuns from ObamaCare birth control mandate while the case goes on:
A Catholic organization won’t have to comply with the Obamacare contraception mandate until a final decision has been made on the case, the Supreme Court announced Friday.  The entire court extended a temporary injunction put in place on December 31 by Justice Sonia Sotomayor that allowed the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Colorado convent and charity, to forgo filling out contraception mandate paperwork while their case against the Obama administration is ongoing. 

Jan. 24: The Hill: Pro-Immigration Reform Republicans redouble efforts:
Republican and business advocates for immigration reform (like the U.S. Chamber) said Friday they were encouraged by signs that the House GOP plans to take up the issue after months of delay.  A group of prominent members, are expected to call for a path to legalization for many of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, along with strengthened border and interior security, a guest-worker program, and an enhanced citizenship verification system for employers.

Jan. 24: The Hill: Obama has had enough time on Keystone Pipeline, GOP Senators say:
Senate Republicans are pressing President Obama to make a decision quickly on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.   In a letter sent to Obama on Friday they lay out the history of the project, stating that Obama has had "more than enough time" to review the TransCanada oil-sands pipeline.   "Given the length of time your administration has studied the Keystone XL pipeline and the public’s overwhelming support for it, you should not further delay a decision to issue a presidential permit," states the letter, which was spearheaded by Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and John  Barrasso (R-WY).  Every one of the Senate's 45 Republicans signed the letter. 

Jan. 23: Roll Call: Schumer: Administration and IRS Must “Redouble Efforts” on campaign finance enforcement:
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, said Thursday that Democrats, the administration and the IRS must immediately “redouble” efforts to close loopholes created by a recent Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates for money into politics.  “One of the great advantages the tea party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created this ill-advised decision,” said Schumer, referring to Citizens United, in an afternoon speech at the Center for American Progress. “Obviously, the tea party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”

Jan. 22: The Hill: TransCanada calls Keystone XL the “safest pipeline to date”
TransCanada’s CEO called Keystone XL “the safest oil pipeline built in America to date” during a Wednesday conference call highlighting the opening of its southern leg.   Oil began flowing on Wednesday through the pipeline southern leg from Cushing, Okla., to Nederland, Texas.  The northern leg remains under review by the State Department, and the Obama administration is under heavy pressure from environmental groups to reject it.  Several green groups on Wednesday decried the opening of the southern leg, criticizing President Obama.

Jan 22: The Hill: Sec. Lew: The Debt Ceiling Limit will be reached the end of February:
Congress will likely need to raise the debt limit by late February to avoid a missed payment, according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.  In a letter sent to lawmakers Wednesday, Lew said the timeline for a borrowing boost has moved up slightly. In the letter, Lew says,  “I respectfully urge Congress to provide certainty and stability to the economy and financial markets by acting to raise the debt limit before February 7, 2014, and certainly before late February.”

October’s deal to end the government shutdown unfortunately suspended the nation’s $16.7 trillion borrowing cap until Feb. 7. On that date, the borrowing limit will be automatically increased to cover all governmental borrowing done during the suspended period.

Jan. 22: Fox News: Administration fears part of health care system is so flawed it cound backrupt insurance companies
While the administration publicly expresses full confidence in its health care law, privately it fears one part of the system is so flawed it could bankrupt insurance companies and cripple ObamaCare itself.  "Week after week, month after month," says John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, "the Obama administration kept telling us everything's working fine, there's no problem and then they turn on a dime and fire their contractor."  To justify a no-bid contract with Accenture the administration released documents from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services that say if the problems were not fixed by mid-March, "they will result in financial harm to the government."  It says that without the fixes "the entire health care reform program is jeopardized."  

Jan. 22: WMD News: Obama threatens Fox News reporter’s career over Benghazi
Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren charges that the Obama administration tried to press her to shut down a colleague’s reporting on the jihadist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that cost the lives of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. She recently asserted the administration made an extensive effort to conceal what happened in Benghazi. She cited U.S. officials’ refusal to include the Fox News Channel in several Benghazi briefings along with a warning that her colleague’s career would be ruined if she persisted in her reporting on the attack.  The Fox News host recalled a “disturbing phone call from a good friend in the Obama administration” shortly after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, which the administration initially blamed on a protest of an anti-Islam video.

Jan. 22: WND News: Department of State’s own guards attached the U.S. consulate in Benghazi
The recently released 88-page Senate report on the Benghazi attack reveals that the Islamic militia hired to protect the fated U.S. special mission had “vandalized” and “attacked” the mission in the months prior to Sept. 11, 2012.  The new detail raises the question of why the State Department, headed at the time by Hillary Clinton, would continue to employ the 17th of February Martyrs Brigade, an al-Qaida-linked organization, to provide external security to the U.S. facility and why this was not mentioned in the State Department Accountability Review Board report on the attack.

Jan. 21: Fox News: Supreme Court considers how unions force workers to pay them:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday weighed what one justice described as a "radical" change in the way labor unions force workers to pay them.   Though the case has flown somewhat under the radar, the arguments before the high court underscored the potential impact of the dispute. The justices posed tough questions to both sides, without giving a clear indication as to which way they might rule. But they repeatedly stressed that a ruling against the unions here would be significant.   "You're essentially destroying not just the ... shop, but you're destroying the ability of the union to get money even from the people who don't agree with what it's doing," Justice Antonin Scalia told the plaintiff's attorney. 

At issue are the complaints of home health care workers in Illinois, who object to having to pay "fair share fees" to compensate the union for its work. The workers say the fees violate the First Amendment by compelling them to associate with the union.  Though lower courts have thrown out the lawsuit, if the Supreme Court agrees it could undermine the ability of unions in several states -- not just Illinois -- to collect fees from home care workers. That would, then, chip away at union budgets and membership in the public sector.

Jan. 21: The Washington Examiner: Wall Street advisor: Actual unemployment is 37.2% with the “Misery Index” the worst in 40 years:
Don't believe the happy talk coming out of the White House, Federal Reserve and Treasury Department when it comes to the real unemployment rate and the true “Misery Index.” Because, according to an influential Wall Street advisor, the figures are a fraud.  In a memo to clients, David John Marotta calculates the actual unemployment rate of those not working at a sky-high 37.2 percent, not the 6.7 percent advertised by the Fed, and the Misery Index at over 14, not the 8 claimed by the government.

Jan. 21: CNSNews.com: Record 20% of households were on Food Stamps in 2013
A record 20% of American households, one in five, were on food stamps in 2013, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The numbers also show there was a record number of individuals on food stamps in 2013 and that the cost of the program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was at an all-time high.  The USDA says that there were over 23 million households on food stamps in the average month of fiscal 2013, an increase of 722,675 from fiscal year 2012, when there were 22.3 million on food stamps in the average month.

Jan. 21: Yahoo News: Fugitive U.S. Secret Leaker Fears for His Life
The Russian lawyer of Edward Snowden said Tuesday that the fugitive US intelligence leaker has feared for his life since reading of explicit threats against him by unnamed Pentagon officials.  "There are real threats to his life out there that actually do exist," Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russia's state-run Vesti 24 rolling news channel.  "These statements call for physical reprisal against Edward Snowden," Kucherena said.

Jan. 21: The Times of Israel: Iranian warships en route to the Atlantic Ocean, a first ever action by Iran
Iran’s navy has dispatched warships on a mission to the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in history, an Iranian news agency said.  The flotilla, consisting of a Khark logistic and helicopter-carrier warship and Sabalan destroyer, could journey as much as 25,000 nautical kilometers in the next three months, Fars News reported Tuesday.  No specific military mission was identified, and no ports of call were mentioned.

Jan. 21: LifeNews.com: An Overwhelming 55 Million Babies Killed since Roe v. Wade Decision
Yesterday evening,” Kristan Hawkins wrote, “I was sitting in my living room working while watching my sons play. I began to think about what my life would have been without them. How different I would be. How their lives have already made this world a different place since they were born. How much I would hurt if I had chosen abortion.  Then, I thought of the more than 55 million lives that have been taken in the U.S. since 1973, and I became overwhelmed at the tragedy. Tragedy for the babies, their mothers, their fathers, families, and us.  Who is our nation missing? What price is our society paying for the ultimate deceit of abortion?”

40 years ago today, seven men on the Supreme Court decided in favor of a case presented to them from a 27 year-old, unknown, post-abortive lawyer, Sarah Weddington. That case was Roe v. Wade and it legalized abortion in all 9 months of pregnancy, for any reason, in the United States.  Today,” Hawkins continues, “this 27 year-old is writing to you as a survivor of that decision. The undeniable fact is that nearly a third of my generation is missing. We are missing brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, husbands and wives.” [Related Story]

Jan. 21: The Daily Caller: When a Democrat lies, it’s never actually a lie according to the mainstream media
Ever notice? When a Dem gets caught red-handed telling a lie, it’s very, very rare for the media to actually call it a lie. Even Obama’s monumental whopper — “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” — still has its diehard defenders.  This week’s example is Texas state senator, gubernatorial candidate, and heroine of abortion enthusiasts across the country: Wendy Davis. As it turns out, she said a bunch of stuff about her past that just isn’t so!  (See story below)  Well, she’s a politician. It’s to be expected. But she’s also a Democrat who’s championing one of the left’s most treasured policy goals, abortion on demand, so she must be protected.  “Gaffe.”  Whatever you do, don’t call it what it is: a lie.

Jan. 20: The New York Times: Parties Seize on the Abortion Issue in Midterm Races:
When the Republican National Committee gathers for its winter meeting here on Wednesday, the action will start a few hours late to accommodate anyone who wants to stop first at the March for Life, the annual anti-abortion demonstration on the National Mall. And if they need a lift to the meeting afterward, they can hop on a free shuttle, courtesy of the Republican Party.  “We thought it only fitting for our members to attend the march,” said Reince Priebus, the party chairman.

Abortion is becoming an unexpectedly animating issue in the 2014 midterm elections. Republicans, through state ballot initiatives and legislation in Congress, are using it to stoke enthusiasm among core supporters. Democrats, mindful of how potent the subject has been in recent campaigns like last year’s governor’s race in Virginia, are looking to rally female voters by portraying their conservative opponents as callous on women’s issues. 
[For more on our view of women’s rights, stay tuned.  We will have a special editorial column in August 2014!]

Jan. 20: The Daily Caller: Texas Democrat’s Real Texas Story:
Intriguing new details reported by The Dallas Morning News show that Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate and liberal hero Wendy Davis has consistently twisted the truth about her own life story.  Davis, a state senator, became famous nationwide after she blocked a bill seeking to place limitations on abortion with an 11-hour filibuster featuring her tale of perseverance and against-all-odds grit.

According to the Davis legend – as exemplified by Davis in her campaign video “A Texas Story” – the state senator was married, had a child, and divorced all by the time she was 19.  She lived in a trailer and worked to raise her daughter and make her way through college, eventually landing in the hallowed halls of Harvard. But Davis had a bit more help than she lets on in stump speeches.

Davis actually divorced her first husband  at the age of 21, not 19 and only lived in a trailer for a few months before moving in with her mother and then into an apartment of her own.  She met and began dating Jeff Davis, a lawyer and former Fort Worth city councilman 13 years her senior.  It was the benefits arising from that marriage that Davis has glossed over in telling her story.  Apparently Jeff Davis paid for the final two years of her education.  Then, when she was accepted into Harvard Jeff  Davis dipped into his 401(k) and took out a loan.  Davis reported that the day after he made the final payment on the loan, his wife filed for divorce!  “It was ironic,” he told The Dallas Morning News. “I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left.”

Weekly Column from the Daily NewsJan. 20: The Daily News: What should be taught in our schools? 
We believe the most important things that can be taught are the building of an honest character, the ability to think for one’s self, and skills to solve problems.  Learning information, some of which is important, is secondary to developing personal integrity, learning how to think things through and coming to a reasoned conclusion that can be supported by truth.  These skills are basic to maintaining the freedoms in our country.

Theories should be taught as theories not as fact!  The truth is we have a planet named earth.  It is fine-tuned so that it flies through space at just the right speed so it’s not drawn into the sun and destroyed and not too fast so that it flies off into outer space.  We would say this proves the existence of God since the chances of this happening randomly is highly unlikely.  Others would say this all happened according to chance. Regardless of that debate, personal commentary should not be introduced into instruction.

Jan. 19: Daily Caller: Report says most of the people who signed up for ObamaCare previously had health insurance coverage, belying the rhetoric that the new healthcare law was to get insurance for those who were not covered.
Is the Affordable Care Act only affordable for people who already have health insurance?  Halfway through ObamaCare’s open enrollment period, insurers, brokers and healthcare consultants are finding that the vast majority of ObamaCare enrollees already had health insurance before switching to the exchange, the Wall Street Journal reports.  Some of them may have had their individual policies cancelled by ObamaCare. Others may have seen their employers drop their insurance. And still more may have found taxpayer subsidies attractive. But whatever the reason, most enrollees so far already had insurance before ObamaCare was even launched.

Jan. 19: Fox News: Federal Judge “shoots down” Chicago Gun Sales Ban
After ruling Chicago’s ban on firearm sales a breach of constitutional rights earlier this month, a federal judge is giving the city 180 days to formulate a new law governing gun stores.  Judge Edward Chang of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, granted the city’s request for time to craft an ordinance reflecting, as one municipal official said, “many detailed components, including zoning, licensing and operational requirements for gun dealers."

Jan. 19: Fox News: Egypt prosecutors send ex-president Morsi case for trial:
Egypt's prosecutors referred to trial Sunday the country's former Islamist president on charges of insulting the judiciary and defaming its members to spread hate-- the fourth case filed against Mohammed Morsi since his July ouster, the state news agency reported.  Morsi is already facing three separate trials on various charges, including inciting the murder of his opponents, conspiring with foreign groups and organizing jailbreaks-- all of which can carry the death penalty. Only one case has opened and it is due to resume next month.

The new case includes 24 other politicians, media personalities, activists and lawyers, accused in separate incidents of insulting the judiciary in public, on television or on social media websites over the past three.

Jan. 19: Politico: Three Obama Veteran operatives involved with pardon of Rich and now advising president on clemency for Snowden:
Top Obama administration officials facing high-profile calls for clemency or a plea deal for Edward Snowden have life experience that counsels extreme caution: the political explosion they witnessed after President Bill Clinton pardoned financier Marc Rich more than a decade ago.  Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director James Comey and new Obama White House counselor John Podesta all played roles in the Rich saga, wrestling with the complex questions of what tactics and compromises officials should consider when an American is holed up overseas, beyond the reach of the U.S. justice system.

Jan. 19: Fox News: Senator Leahy says Senate will push for NSA limitations:
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Sunday the upper chamber will continue working on legislation to limit NSA spying, suggesting President Obama has not gone far enough in making changes to protect Americans’ privacy.  “There’s a concern that we have gone too much into Americans’ privacy,” the Democratic lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “There’s still going to be legislation on this.”

Jan. 18: Yahoo News: Israel plans new ring of protection against rockets and mortars:
Israel plans to deploy a new missile shield known as "Iron Beam" next year which would use a laser to blow up short-range rockets and mortar bombs, a defense industry official said on Sunday.  The system is designed to deal with threats that fly on too small a trajectory (e.g. 4.5 miles) to be engaged efficiently by Iron Dome, the Israeli interceptor credited with an 80 percent success rate against rockets fired by Palestinian militants.

Iron Dome is complemented by Arrow II, an Israeli interceptor designed to shoot down ballistic missiles at atmospheric heights. Israel plans to integrate them with the more powerful rocket interceptors Arrow III and David's Sling, both of which are still in their testing phases.

Jan. 18: CBS – San Francisco: Talk about discrimination in the TV/Movie industry: Actress Ousted from “Frisco” Production after Endorsing TEA Party Candidate!
A famed actress is facing backlash in San Francisco’s Latino community, after she voiced support for a conservative candidate for California governor.  Maria Conchita Alonso starred in a campaign ad for Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of San Bernardino County, a Tea Party favorite who is seeking the Republican nomination.  Alonso is an actress of Cuban and Venezuelan descent. She is perhaps best known for her role in the movie “Moscow on the Hudson” which also starred Robin Williams. 

Leo Lacayo, a prominent San Francisco Latino Republican, has been pushing his party to be more moderate on immigration. He thinks Alonso is being treated unfairly.  “It was a political ad, it was a funny ad,” Lacayo said. “That anybody would lose employment over what their political leanings are is absurd.”

Jan. 17: InsuranceJounal.Com: Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance rate hikes postponed:
The $1.1 Trillion funding bill that passed congress this week includes language on flood insurance that would block the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from spending any money for the remainder of this fiscal year (through Sept. 30, 2014) to enforce higher premiums under Section 207 of Biggert-Waters. This section ends current “grandfathered” subsidized rates for existing policyholders who are now facing premium increases due to remapping. These properties were built in accordance with building codes at the time of construction but are now considered to be out of compliance due to new flood maps. The bad news for many coastal residents is that the Senate Leadership does not seem to support a four year delay in implemention of the act.

Jan. 17: Roll Call: GOP to Huddle on Immigration at Upcoming Retreat:
The annual House Republican retreat will feature an open session on an immigration rewrite, during which members will be allowed to freely speak about the contentious issue. The official schedule has yet to be released, but sources involved in planning the yearly getaway told Roll Call that the weekend event will feature a session dedicated solely to immigration policy changes.

Jan. 16: Breitbart.com: Gallup: Only 3% of Americans Rank Immigration Reform as a Top Priority in 2014:
New polling data from Gallup shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans do not think handling immigration reform is even close to a top priority for 2014. Immigration places well behind other issues like healthcare, jobs, the economy, dissatisfaction with Washington politicians, the debt and deficit, lack of money, ethics and moral issues, poverty, the gap between the rich and the poor, education, foreign aid and others. In fact, only three percent of Americans think the issue is a priority that must be dealt with this year.

Jan. 16: Fox News: What’s in the $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill? 
[On this Website we try to provide just a summary and then let you go to the actual source for the details,
but in this case we link (above and in the story below) right to the details!]

The huge 1,582 page compromise-laden bill funds every agency of government, pairing increases for for some. The massive bill was rushed through both the House and the Senate in three days, leaving little time for Members of Congress to read and digest what the legislation really did. With the passage of this legislation, the automatic sequester cuts -- which were the only real deficit and spending reductions in Washington -- were avoided. Follow the link above to see a report on what is in the bill.

Reuters:$1.1 Trillion Omnibus spending bill passes the House:
The spending measure fills in the details of a budget agreement passed in December in the aftermath of a 16-day shutdown of many government agencies in October. The shutdown was prompted largely by disputes over funding for "Obamacare" health insurance reforms. Although many programs will get a slight increase over 2013 levels and avoid steep cuts previously slated for this year (the only real cuts we were seeing in Washington), the proposed bill does not provide any increase for implementation of ObamaCare.  According to a House Republican summary, a public health fund will be reduced by $1 billion to prevent Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from "raiding" these funds to spend on Obamacare insurance exchanges.

Jan. 16: Fox News: World’s greatest hacker calls Healthcare.gov security “shameful”
Security expert -- and once the world's most-wanted cyber criminal -- Kevin Mitnick submitted a scathing criticism to a House panel Thursday of ObamaCare's Healthcare.gov website, calling the protections built into the site "shameful" and "minimal."  In a letter submitted as testimony to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Mitnick wrote: "It's shameful the team that built the Healthcare.gov site implemented minimal, if any, security best practices to mitigate the significant risk of a system compromise."

Jan. 16: The Weekly Standard: Official: Nobody knows how many people have actually paid for ObamaCare coverage:
An official from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services admitted at a House hearing today that no one knows how many people have actually paid for Obamacare coverage: "So we don't know at this point how many people have actually paid for coverage?" asked a member of Congress. "That's right," the CMS official conceded.

Jan. 16: National Review: Democrat Super PAC Slams ObamaCare in Ad
A new ad from a Democrat super PAC indicates that, despite the claims of Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and others, at least some Democrats are wary of embracing Obamacare in upcoming midterm elections. In the TV spot, the Democratic political action committee House Majority PAC highlights Arizona congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick’s criticism of the bungled HealthCare.gov website. Kirkpatrick is a vulnerable Democrat running for reelection in November. 

Jan. 15: KTVZ.Com (Oregon-Regional News Coverage): Lawmakers grill “Cover Oregon” Exchange Director
State lawmakers grilled the leader of Oregon's troubled health insurance exchange about whether Cover Oregon's technology and reputation can ever recover from widespread problems with its online enrollment system.  Several Republican lawmakers asked if it's time to drop Cover Oregon and have the federal government run Oregon's exchange instead, as it does for 36 other states.

Jan. 15: Yahoo NewsObama to Democrats: I’ll act with or without Congress!
President Barack Obama has told Senate Democrats he plans to use his executive authority to act in 2014 when Congress stands in his way. Obama met with senators from his own party Wednesday at the White House. The White House says Obama and Democrats discussed proposals to raise the minimum wage and efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Education initiatives and jobs measures were also on the agenda. The White House says Obama wants to work with Congress to make progress, but will also act on his own to get things done. The meeting was the first such session of 2014 and comes two weeks before Obama is set to deliver his State of the Union address.

Jan. 14: CBS News-DC: Obama on Executive Orders: I’ve Got a Pen and I’ve Got a Phone!
Calling for “all hands on deck” to assist the economy, President Barack Obama is urging his Cabinet to identify ways to keep his administration relevant to people struggling in the up-and-down recovery.  With two weeks left before delivering an economy-focused State of the Union address to Congress, Obama is picking up the pace of his jobs message and demonstrating how he can advance his economic agenda administratively and through his ability to coax action from important interest groups.  “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said Tuesday as he convened his first Cabinet meeting of the year.

Obama continued: ”And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”  The problem is when the Presidential Pen oversteps its authority and infringes on the Congress!

Jan. 14: Fox News:The Benghazi Transcripts:
Top DOD Officials briefed Obama on Attack “not video or protest”[Just one more lie by the American leader]

Minutes after the American consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Sept. 11, 2012, the nation's top civilian and uniformed defense officials -- headed for a previously scheduled Oval Office session with President Obama -- were informed that the event was a "terrorist attack," declassified documents show. The new evidence raises the question of why the top military men, one of whom was a member of the president's Cabinet, allowed him and other senior Obama administration officials to press a false narrative of the Benghazi attacks for two weeks afterward and why the President himself fostered the misconception (lie?) that the attack was in response to a video.

Jan. 14: The Wall Street Journal: America’s Dwindling Economic Freedom Drops U.S. out of the Top Ten:
World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.  For 20 years, the index has measured a nation's commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating 10 categories, including fiscal soundness, government size and property rights. These commitments have powerful effects: Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity and social progress. Botswana, for example, has made gains through low tax rates and political stability.

But as the U.S. economy languishes, many countries are leaping ahead, thanks to policies that enhance economic freedom—the same ones that made the U.S. economy the most powerful in the world. The record of increasing economic freedom elsewhere makes it inexcusable that a country like the U.S. continues to pursue policies antithetical to its own growth, while wielding its influence to encourage other countries to chart the same disastrous course.

Jan. 14: ABC NewsDozens of Trade-Offs in $1.1 Trillion Budget Bill
A massive $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through October and finally put to rest the bitter budget battles of last year is getting generally positive reviews from House Republicans eager to avoid another shutdown crisis with elections looming in 10 months.  Veteran Republicans said the favorable response to the all-encompassing spending bill reflected the desire of the rank and file to avoid a repeat of the politically damaging budget standoffs with the White House that led to last year's 16-day partial government shutdown. The government closure sent congressional approval numbers plummeting and roughed up Republicans in particular. They've regained support amid the troubled rollout of President Barack Obama's health care law.

Jan. 13: The Washington Times: Supreme Court Justices skeptical of Obama’s recess appointment claims
The Supreme Courtjustices were skeptical Monday of President Obama’s claim of almost unlimited appointment powers, saying he appeared to be trampling on the founders’ vision when he tried to do an end-run around the Senate in 2012.  While the justices appeared to struggle with how far to go in their ruling, most of them, including Mr. Obama’s nominees to the court, took dim views of the president’s move to name three members to the National Labor Relations Board in January 2012.

If they ruled narrowly, they could simply invalidate Mr. Obama’s appointments by finding he tried to make them when the Senate considered itself in session, not in recess. But the court also could go further and limit the president’s recess powers to the short period after the Senate adjourns at the end of each year.  In 90 minutes of oral arguments, the justices fought over whether the word “happen” means something different from what it did in the late 1700s  [Article II Section 3:  The President shall have Power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.]  They also debated the separation of powers between the branches, and sparred with the Obama administration’s solicitor general, about the president’s expansive claims. 

Jan. 13: The Weekly Standard: Bailing Out Health Insurers and Helping ObamaCare is in the planning
A prominent consultant to health insurance companies— recently wrote in a remarkably candid blog post that, while Obamacare is almost certain to cause insurance costs to skyrocket even higher than it already has, “insurers won’t be losing a lot of sleep over it.”  How can this be?  Because insurance companies won’t bear the cost of their own losses—at least not more than about a quarter of them.  The other three-quarters will be borne by American taxpayers.

Jan. 13: Fox News: Stats show Administration lags on attracting young people to ObamaCare
The administration is lagging behind its goals for attracting young people to the ObamaCare exchanges, according to newly released statistics.  Of those who signed up for health insurance through the ObamaCare insurance exchanges, less than 25 percent are between 18 and 34 years old. Experts predicted that the program will need roughly 40 percent of enrollees to be in that prime demographic in order to be fiscally solvent. 

Administration officials, though, were upbeat in describing the numbers. They said they're in a "solid place," and noted that this age group makes up just 26 percent of the general population.  About 1.8 million people enrolled in new individual health plans through the law in December, bringing the total number of new enrollments through Dec.28 to about 2.2 million.  Monday’s report is the first time the government has released demographic data on the performance of President Obama’s signature health care overhaul.

Column on Education, First of two columns

Jan. 13: The Daily News: Education is an Issue Close to Home!
Today, in America, we are still plagued by students who are not educated.  Businesses are complaining that they need to train new employees so they become productive for the company.  Some cannot read and compute well enough to function in the business world, and don’t get us started on their command of the English language!  Instead of continuing with our centralized approach to education, would it make sense to consider the New Zealand approach? [Read the column to learn more about the New Zealand approach]

Jan. 12: The Daily Caller: Psychologist: Make liberals defend Socialism instead of trying to defend Freedom:
For Dr. Timothy Daughtry, a clinical psychologist says too many citizens think they have done their civic duty if they show up to vote and return to their normal lives.  They are “like summer tourists in politics,” whereas the progressives are like the “locals.”  “We’ve got to get active now or we are going to lose this republic,” Daughtry says. The danger is, he says, that “our country is being taken away from us right under our very noses.”  It’s a historic debate being played out about whether Americans are citizens or subjects of their government.

Conservatives are on defense too much to succeed, he thinks, but also believes that help is on the way as citizens are waking up to the problems caused by both political parties.  “We have to make the left start defending socialism instead of us defending liberty,” Daughtry said.  Mainstream America started waking up when Republicans and Democrats in Washington started embracing bailouts.  Then, the widespread unpopularity of Obamacare became surprisingly irrelevant to a government that “rammed it through anyway.”  Educational textbooks depicting American history through a distorted lens of progressive ideology that glorifies redistribution is another “red flag” waking up parents, Daughtry believes.

Jan. 12: The Hill: Obama’s use of executive power faces reckoning at Supreme Court:
Nothing less than the boundaries of executive power are at stake Monday as the Supreme Court considers whether President Obama violated the Constitution during his first term.  Oral arguments slated for Monday will center on a trio of recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that were deemed unconstitutional by lower courts.  If they uphold the decision, experts say the justices could endanger hundreds of NLRB decisions.
 
Even more significant are the ramifications for future presidents, with the court poised either to bolster or blunt the chief executive’s appointment powers.  “Rulings like this have implications that last for centuries,” said Michael Lotito, an employment and labor attorney and co-chairman of Littler Mendelson's Workplace Policy Institute.  Presidents have for decades used recess appointment powers when the Senate is away to install judges and fill top federal vacancies that ordinarily would be subject to confirmation proceedings.  But with the disputed NLRB appointments, Obama became the first president to appoint nominees when the Senate was in a “pro-forma” session, when the upper chamber is briefly called to order and adjourned every few days.  The sessions are intended to prevent recess appointments, and usually only a handful of senators are present for them. In filling the NLRB posts, the Obama administration claims that the Senate is generally not available to conduct business during the sessions, so the president’s recess appointment power is in effect.

Jan. 12: The Hill: Ted Cruz Obama Administration is lawless
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) contends the Obama administration has been "lawless" in a host of recent actions.  In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, the outspoken conservative said the president's decisions to delay portions of the healthcare reform law and install contested nominees amount to a flagrant disregard for the law and longstanding tradition.  "The pattern we've seen under President Obama, disregarding the law, is really one of the most troubling aspects of this presidency," he said. "When he disagrees with the law…he simply refuses to comply with it."

Cruz's remarks came as the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case Monday challenging a trio of contentious recess appointments the president made to the National Labor Relations Board. Lower courts have deemed them unconstitutional, and Senate Republicans have asked the high court to overturn them.

Jan. 12: The AustralianRumours of marriage problems threaten to overshadow Michell Obama’s 50th Birthday:
A leading American divorce mediator will visit Washington this week to offer members of Congress advice on ending the "tiresome bickering" between Republicans and Democrats.   If US tabloids are to be believed, she may need to visit the White House first.  Michelle Obama's extended absence from Washington and a flurry of renewed speculation about the  state of the first couple's marriage are threatening to overshadow her 50th birthday party at the White House on Saturday.  Not for the first time in their 22-year marriage the Obamas are approaching what should be a happy family milestone under a cloud of rampant tabloid innuendo, summed up by a National Enquirer headline: "World exclusive: Obama marriage explodes!"

The Enquirer has earned a measure of respectability in Washington with its reporting of political scandals - most notably its exposure of the double life of John Edwards, a former senator and once a Democratic presidential contender.  Yet its so-called bombshell Obama report was based on nothing more substantial than the vague allegations of an unnamed "Oval Office insider" who claimed the first couple "are now sleeping in separate White House bedrooms" - tame stuff compared with the adventures of the president's French counterpart Francois Hollande.

Jan. 11: The Hill: Democrats plead with Obama to abandon Social Security Cuts”
Democratic senators are pleading with President Obama to abandon his proposal to trim Social Security benefits before it becomes a liability for them in the midterm elections.  The president proposed a new formula for calculating benefits in his budget last year, in hopes that the olive branch to Republicans would persuade them to back tax increases in a broader fiscal deal.  But Democratic lawmakers say Obama should shelve the idea now that they are facing a difficult midterm election where they need to turn out the liberal base to preserve their Senate majority. 

“I’m not sure why we should be making concessions when the Republicans show absolutely no willingness to do the same,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).   Democrats acknowledge it may be awkward for Obama to rescind his proposal, but say it would unwise of him to repeat the offer in the budget that is due out next month.  “I think it’s difficult for the president to pull it back after he already floated it but I would love to see it shelved until Republicans show they’re actually going to do something on their side of the ledger,” Murphy said.

Jan. 11: Fox News: Conservatives question U.S. Chamber’s plan to spend millions to defeat TEA Party-style candidates in 2014
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it will back “pro-business” candidates against Tea Party-styled opponents in this year’s elections, largely in response to conservative lawmakers fueling last year's partial government shutdown fight.  Dan Holler, spokesman for Heritage Action for American, says conservatives are interested in economic growth and job creation and suggested the chamber’s efforts might be more about Big Business protecting its influence in Washington and beyond.  “If ‘pro-business’ candidates are interested in removing government impediments to growth and job creation, they'll find support amongst conservatives,” Holler told FoxNews.com on Saturday. His comments were similar to those of Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, which often backs Tea Party candidates.  “It looks to me like the chamber is more interested in protecting incumbents and the special deals of some of their members, and that’s where we’re going to disagree in primaries,” Kibbe told Bloomberg News.  

Jan. 11: Fox News: Obama Administration cutting ties with HealthCare.gov contractor
The Obama administration is cutting ties with contractor CGI Federal over its handling of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov, months after the troubled Oct. 1 launch.  The Washington Post first reported that federal health officials plan to sign a year-long, $90 million contract with Accenture. The government's contract with CGI was up at the end of February anyway, but the administration apparently is deciding not to renew it. According to the Post, officials concluded CGI was not effective in fixing the myriad problems with the federal ObamaCare website.  But the chair of the House Energy Committee is saying  "A change in contractors does not change the sad state of this law."

Jan. 10: The Hill: Senator Reid backs down in unemployment fight:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says he is now open to considering Republican amendments to a bill extending emergency unemployment benefits through most of 2014.  On Thursday, Reid clashed with several Republicans after saying he didn't want to consider any changes to an amended version of the bill. Reid's amendment paid for an 11-month extension by extending the sequester for another year, into 2024.  Republicans have other ideas on how to pay for the benefits, but Reid dismissed them.  "We get nowhere with dueling amendments," Reid said. "We have learned that in the past. Dueling amendments don't do the trick."

Jan. 10: Roll Call: House Passes First  anti-ObamaCare bill of 2014, this time with Democrat support:
More Democrats defected on the House’s first anti-Obamacare bill of 2014 than on any other Obamacare-related vote to date, a blow to party unity and leadership’s advice that rank-and-file members stand strong against GOP “gotcha” bills.  The legislation, which would require victims of security breaches through the HealthCare.gov insurance exchanges to be notified within two days, passed 291-122. Sixty-seven Democrats joined Republicans to vote for the bill. Democratic leaders were expecting defections from the rank and file, particularly from more moderate and vulnerable incumbents. But it wasn’t immediately clear whether they were expecting fractures of this magnitude.

Jan. 10: National ReviewWebsite of Top House Republican Drops Opposition to Amnesty
A key Republican player on immigration may be changing his tune on amnesty.  In January 2012, the “Immigration Reform” page on the official House website of Representative Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said: “In no event should we grant amnesty to those who have broken our laws and entered the country illegally. Doing so would simply invite more illegal immigration in the future.”  Throughout 2012 and much of 2013, the Virginia Republican’s House “Immigration Reform” page denounced “amnesty.” As late as April 2013, it said “we must not grant amnesty to individuals who have broken our laws.” Now, though, this prohibition has been scrubbed from his “Immigration Reform” page.

Jan. 10: Roll Call: GOP Turns to Courts to take on Obama Administration
Republicans are bringing their objections to Obama administration policies to a courtroom near you.  It doesn’t seem to be a concerted strategy, but rather an outgrowth of the use of executive actions that they oppose. Only controlling the House of Representatives, prospects for legislation to block the regulations are not good.  “I’ve never been a big fan of lawsuits. Normally you should be able to settle disputes between the branches using the various powers each branch has, but I’ve signed on to a few including the recess appointments,” Sen.  Sessions (R-AL) said. “There’s a very, very strong pushback among the American people concerning the president’s executive orders. They feel like he passed Obamacare, then he just amends the law without Congress. I hear that all the time.”

The recess appointments matter looks to be a landmark case on executive powers. It will be argued before the highest court in the land on Monday.   That morning, lawyer Miguel Estrada will appear at the Supreme Court representing the interests of Senate Republicans in a case challenging the constitutionality of recess appointments made by President Barack Obama. Senate Republicans filed an amicus brief and have been granted 15 minutes to make their case in the dispute between the National Labor Relations Board and Noel Canning.

Jan. 9: Insurance Journal: Biggert-Waters Supporters Urge Congress to go easy on the needy and require the wealthy to pay full price:
Opponents of delaying Biggert-Waters flood insurance reforms and stopping the resulting premium hikes say the negative effects are being exaggerated and instead of gutting all of the reforms, Congress should target its fix, including using means-testing, to those who most need premium relief. The current Senate bill (S.1846) to delay the Biggert-Waters reforms for four years will add to the already substantial debt of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and disproportionately help wealthy property owners at taxpayers’ expense, warns SmarterSafer.org, a coalition of business, taxpayer and environmental groups that opposes the delay.

A day after Senate sponsors of the bill held a press conference to rally support for the Senate bill and call attention to the cases of skyrocketing premiums, opponents of a delay held a press briefing to urge Congress to uphold most of the Biggert-Waters changes. The Senate is expected to take up the measure, which has 29 sponsors, next week.  The Senate bill would delay premium increases for four years, or six months after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proposes policy changes and regulations to address affordability issues, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates would occur during calendar year 2018.  The Senate bill would not block rate increases for most business properties, secondary homes or repeat flood properties. Rates on those properties are scheduled to increase by 25 percent per year until they reach full cost.

While more than 80 percent of NFIP policyholders pay cost-based rates, about 1.1 million out of more than 5 million policies are subsidized, according to government statistics.

Jan. 8: Insurance Journal: Senate Delays Vote on the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act
A measure that would delay the imposition of “market rate” based flood insurance premiums for four years has been held up by because the Senate has been focusing on the issue of unemployment insurance.  After that issue is addressed, it is likely the Senate will take up the flood insurance legislation.  The measure was originally scheduled for consideration on the floor this week. (Read the entire article)

Jan. 8: BreitBart.com News: Obama donor to head the IRS targeting investigation:
The attorney heading the internal investigation into potential unfair targeting of conservative groups by the IRS is Barbara Bosserman a frequent and significant donor to both the Democratic National Committee and President Obama, Rep. Darrell Issa revealed today, in what he calls a "startling conflict of interest" that jeopardizes the investigation.   Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder revealing new information that reached the committee on who is conducting the internal investigations at the IRS regarding the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups. Bosserman's leadership raises all sorts of questions about the investigation's fairness. Issa's investigations revealed that she has been a loyal financial backer of the DNC since 2004 and has donated multiple times personally to President Obama's two campaigns. Her personal donation total reaches $6,750 to both the party and President Obama. Choosing someone so openly and obviously partisan to lead an investigation into partisan targeting of opposition groups is "unbelievable" and "highly inappropriate," Issa asserted.

Jan. 8: The Hill: Chairman Issa threatens perjury probe of Sebelius:
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) on Wednesday accused Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of providing “false and misleading” testimony to Congress and threatened to open an investigation.  In a letter to Sebelius, Issa said he would give her an opportunity to “clarify or amend” her testimony prior to “further investigative action by the Committee.”  “Providing false or misleading testimony to Congress is a serious matter,” Issa warned in the letter.

Jan. 8: The Daily Caller: EPA overrides Congress Again, Giving Wyoming town to Native American Tribe:
Have you heard the story of the residents of Riverton, Wyoming? One day they were Wyomingans, the next they were members of the Wind River tribes — after the Environmental Protection Agency declared the town part of the Wind River Indian Reservation, undoing a 1905 law passed by Congress and angering state officials.  The surprise decision was made by officials of the EPA, the Department of Interior, and Department of Justice early last month, and has invoked the ire of Gov. Matt Mead, who has vowed not to honor the agency’s decision and is preparing to fight in court.

“My deep concern is about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state’s boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law,” Mead said in a statement. “This should be a concern to all citizens because, if the EPA can unilaterally take land away from a state, where will it stop?”

Jan. 8: Fox News: Former Gitmo detainee likely involved with the Benghazi Attack:
The State Department is on the cusp of publicly designating a former Guantanamo detainee, Sufian bin Qumu, and his group, Ansar Al-Sharia, as "foreign terrorist entities "over his alleged role in the Benghazi terror attack, Fox News has learned. The designation, which restricts travel and allows the U.S. government to freeze financial assets, is expected to include three branches of Ansar Al-Sharia in Libya. The group’s name means “supporters of Islamic law.”

Jan. 8: Fox News: NASA gets go ahead on extending the international space station ops by four years:
The $100 billion-plus International Space Station (ISS) is set to have its operations extended by four more years.  NASA plans to announce this week that the White House has approved the station’s operations to continue until 2024, according to documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel. The four-year extension will cost NASA approximately $3 billion a year from 2012 to 2024, cutting a large portion out of the agency’s annual budget of $17 billion.

The administration's approval does not guarantee that the station will survive past its current end date of 2020. Congress still needs to approve a budget that will allow the station to stay in orbit an extra four years. The plan must also have the backing of the next president.  Many top NASA officials have expressed that the ISS is critical for future space exploration. The potential for an extension is expected to reassure NASA's international partners that the U.S. is committed to the station's future.

Jan. 8: The Washington Times: Iraqi Ambassador seeks Obama engagement in his county’s al Qaeda crisis:
Iraq’s ambassador to Washington says the Obama Administration doesn’t fully grasp the consequences of failing to more aggressively combat a surging al Qaeda threat inside his country, pointedly suggesting that President Obama has been less engaged with Baghdad than his predecessor.  “The administration has to have a better understanding of any adverse impact of any delay in provision of support to Iraq,” Ambassador Lukman Faily told The Washington Times in an interview Wednesday. “It cannot afford a whole town or province of Iraq falling to al Qaeda and becoming a safe haven. It’s against the U.S. strategic interest. It’s against the U.S. national security to do that.”

Jan. 8: The Daily Caller: Limbaugh tells conservatives who oppose comprehensive immigration reform: You are about to get “Played!”
Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has bad news for conservatives opposed to “comprehensive” immigration reform — you’re about to get played.  The conservative radio host claimed on Wednesday that the silence of Republican leaders on immigration means they are planning to support amnesty. “[Republicans] are joining the Democrats because the Chamber of Commerce wants these workers and they’re heavy Republican donors, so both parties are making a move on this,” Limbaugh said.

Jan. 8: The Hill: If we win, we’ll fix the Senate, McConnell says
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Wednesday pledged to fix the Senate if Republicans win the majority this fall.  He called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to shift power back to the committees and allow more votes on amendments. He also called for longer work weeks in the nation’s capital.   Reid and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) subsequently headed to the Senate floor to rebut McConnell’s claims.

The Kentucky senator, who is up for reelection in 2014, said his proposed changes would help lift the partisan gridlock that stymied the Senate last year. Democrats, meanwhile, blame the paralysis on Republican filibusters and obstruction.  “My purpose is to suggest that the Senate can be better than it has been, and that it must be if we’re to remain great as a nation,” McConnell said.

Jan. 6: The Hill: Federal Judge Strikes Down Chicago Gun Law
A federal district court judge in Chicago ruled Monday that the city’s ban on gun sales is unconstitutional.  In a 35-page opinion, Judge Edmond E. Chang from the Northern District of Illinois wrote that the city’s law “goes too far.” Chang was appointed by President Obama in 2010.   Chang delayed the effect of his ruling, however, in order to allow the city time to respond.

The Story of a Pencil and the Free Market Jan.6: The Daily News: The Story of a Pencil and the Free Market:
The astounding fact is that I -- a pencil -- am not the product of a master mind.  No one dictated or forcibly directed the countless actions which brought me into being. What I represent is a free market where people are free to make individual decisions.  No one person can make a pencil.  It takes millions of people making individual decisions to make just one of me. Today, we are seeing an intrusive government interfering with the free market. Taxpayer dollars paid to subsidize “green” energy producers while private money and companies are ready to build the Keystone XL pipeline but the Administration is dragging its feet on approving the project. When the government picks winners and losers it inevitably makes wrong choices even though it thinks it knows better than we do about what is best for us!

Jan. 6: The Weekly Standard: CNN: Former White House Official Acknowledges Obama “Maybe’ Not Good at Governing” -- “Only good at campaigning”
"I talked to a former Obama White House person, just before Christmas, when Obama was sort of adrift, figuring out what to do, his poll numbers were pretty low. And he said, 'Look, the president needs to find an issue to campaign on. This is what he's good at. He's really good at campaigning. Maybe not governing,' according to this Democrat," Hamby said this morning on CNN.

Jan. 6: Fox News: Supreme Court puts Homosexual “marriage” on hold in Utah:
The Supreme Court on Monday put homosexual marriage on hold in Utah, giving the state time to appeal a federal judge's ruling against Utah's same-sex marriage ban.  The court issued a brief order blocking any new same-sex unions in the state. The ruling comes after a Dec. 20 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates gay and lesbian couples' constitutional rights.  The decision, in one of the country's most conservative states, touched off a flurry of court filings as some jurisdictions started issuing marriage licenses.   More than 900 homosexuals have “married” since the Dec. 20 ruling. 

The high court order will remain in effect until the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether to uphold Shelby's ruling.  In another filing on Monday, the state of Utah argued that Shelby's "unlawful injunction" interferes with the state's enforcement of its own laws. The state's request to the Supreme Court was filed with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who handles emergency appeals from Utah and the five other states in the 10th Circuit. Sotomayor turned the matter over to the entire court.  The action now shifts to Denver, where the appeals court will consider arguments from the state against same-sex marriage as well as from the three gay and lesbian couples who challenged the ban in support of Shelby's ruling.

Jan. 6: Fox News: Families of Benghazi press for a House Select Committee to Investigate attack:
Three family members of victims of the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack demanded Monday that House Speaker John Boehner create a select committee to investigate the assault that killed four Americans  during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012.  In a letter hand-delivered to Boehner, Smith’s mother, Pat Smith, and uncle, Michael Ingmire, as well as Woods’ father, Charles Woods, pressed Boehner to form a select committee to investigate the Benghazi scandal.  “Your reluctance to lead and resistance to create a Select Committee on Benghazi must end,” the letter read. “More than 75 percent of all House Republicans – with the conspicuous absence of those in leadership or committee chairmen – have co-sponsored Rep. Wolf’s Select Committee bill. Few bills in this Congress demonstrate such overwhelming support from Republicans."

Jan. 6: Fox News: Supreme Court Refuses to grant ObamaCare reprive to Doctor’s Group:
The Supreme Court has refused a group of doctors' request to block implementation of the nation's new health care law.   Chief Justice John Roberts turned away without comment Monday an emergency stay request from the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. and the Alliance for Natural Health USA. They asked the chief justice Friday to temporarily block the law, saying Congress had passed it incorrectly by starting it in the Senate instead of the House.  Revenue-raising bills are supposed to originate in the lower chamber.  They also wanted blocked doctor registration requirements they say will make it harder for independent non-Medicare physicians to treat Medicare-eligible patients. Still pending is a decision on a temporary block on the law's contraceptive coverage requirements, which was challenged by a group of nuns.

Jan. 6: The Hill: White House credits slow growth in healthcare to ObamaCare
The White House on Monday said ObamaCare was partly responsible for slowing the growth of healthcare spending, even as the agency tasked with implementing the law said the impact was “minimal.”  The new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found healthcare spending rose by 3.7 percent in 2012, the fourth year in a row that the increase was at a near-record low.  “For years, healthcare costs in America skyrocketed, with brutal consequences for our country,” wrote the White House.  “The Affordable Care Act, for the first time in decades, has helped to stop that trend.”   The White House acknowledges that a slow economy has played a role in keeping cost growth low, but it argues that the trend persisted in part because of ObamaCare as the economy improved. 

Jan. 5: Politico: ObamaCare: If you can’t win the game, just move the goal posts!
Top White House economic adviser Gene Sperling downplayed on Sunday a previous administration goal of enrolling 7 million people in Obamacare by the end of March.  "There's no magic number," the director of the National Economic Council said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "The key is to enroll as many people as we can."  Pressed by host David Gregory on how the administration would define Obamacare's success, Sperling said: "Success is having an ongoing strong market."

Jan. 5: Politico: Budget battle nears the finish line:
House-Senate negotiators are slated to meet Monday in hopes of narrowing their last differences over a $1 trillion-plus omnibus spending bill that attempts to fill in the blanks after December’s budget deal and avoid another shutdown next week.  If last month’s agreement said how much Congress can spend this year, the giant appropriations measure now spells out where the dollars will go. Hundreds of pages long, it literally touches every corner of the government. But its very scope also invites conflict over everything from Wall Street’s banks to Appalachia’s coal industry — championed by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY).  The challenge now is to find balance — and be fast about it.

Jan. 5: The Daily Caller:
Funny Money: How student loan money was used to cook the books to make ObamaCare look good:
Cato education scholar Neal McCluskey revealed how a little-reported feature of the Affordable Care Act uses shady accounting to hide its overall cost.  “The change in student loans was part of Obamacare — and why was it part of Obamacare?” McCluskey said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller. “So that the profit they were supposedly making from the student loans could then be plugged into how much money would come from Obamacare, so it didn’t look like it cost as much.”

Jan. 5: Politico: Senator Johnson to sue OPM over ObamaCare:
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) plans to file a lawsuit Monday against the Office of Personnel Management over its policy permitting lawmakers and Hill staff to receive Obamacare subsidies for their health plans.  Johnson and other opponents of the policy say that the OPM decision to allow the government to fund a portion of members and staffers’ health insurance is not authorized in the text of the Affordable Care Act.

Jan. 4: Fox News: Rand Paul to sue over NSA spying practices:
Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, is suing the Obama administration over the National Security Agency’s spying practices in an effort to “protect the Fourth Amendment,” he told host Eric Bolling Friday on "Hannity."  “The question here is whether constitutionally, you can have a single warrant apply to millions of people,” Paul said. “So we thought, what better way to illustrate the point than having hundreds of thousands of Americans sign up for a class action suit.”

Jan. 4: Fox News (Bulls and Bears): Video: Will ObamaCare cause the economy to flat line?
Gary B. Smith of thechartman.com says he can’t see how ObamaCare can do anything other than cause the economy to falter.  “I can’t see how this can’t kill the economy!”  Although we may see some examples where people are getting more coverage for less, the information we are seeing across the board tells us that most of the costs are going up and so are the deductibles.

John Layfield of Layfieldreport.com said about 2/3rd of the states wanted nothing to do with the exchanges because of what it would cost to have them so the Federal Government had to step in and offer them. 

Jan. 3: Fox News: Exposing the World’ Greatest Lie: ObamaCare and Socialized Medicine
ObamaCare, opposed by a clear and consistent majority of citizens, immediately caused millions of Americans to lose their health insurance along with their choice of doctor and hospital, and millions more to pay far higher insurance premiums.  While the focus has been on the embarrassing roll-out that, at a minimum, demonstrated both the incompetence and the poor judgment of this administration, the true harm of this law is still to come as new government authority over U.S. health care dramatically increases. (Read the entire summary)

Jan. 3: The Daily Caller: House Committee Outraged: Obama Administration banned Christmas Cards for Veterans:
The Obama administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) prohibited veterans from hearing Christmas carols or receiving gifts wrapped in Christmas-themed wrapping paper, prompting outrage from a congressional committee.  VA officials in Iowa City, Iowa told representatives of the American Legion that they could not hand out gifts to veterans wrapped in wrapping paper that featured the term “Merry Christmas.”  Additionally, the VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia — which treats veterans — banned Christmas carolers from singing Christmas songs with religious references in public areas.

Jan. 3: NBC News: Mayor of Flower Mound, Texas Declares 2014 the Year of the Bible:
The mayor of Flower Mound is receiving a lot of attention after declaring 2014 the "Year of the Bible."  The mayor, Tom Hayden, made the proclamation during a regularly scheduled city council meeting in the Dallas-area suburb last month.  "I ask that you join with me, … in Proclaiming 2014 to be the 'Year of the Bible' in Flower Mound, Texas, and encourage all residents in their own way to examine the principles and teachings found in the Bible," Hayden said during the Dec. 16 meeting.  Along with the proclamation, Hayden promoted a website set up and administered by staff of the Calvary Chapel Church in Flower Mound.  Among the site's many features is a daily selection of verses from the New King James version of the Bible.

Jan. 3: CNS News: Uncle Sam’s New Year’s Binge: Borrowing $1,088 Per Household in one day:
Uncle Sam—AKA your federal government—went on a New Year’s Eve binge, adding a net of $125,202,709,546.99 to its total debt in just the one day of Dec. 31, 2013, according to the U.S. Treasury.  That equals approximately $1,088 for each of the 115,013,000 households the Census Bureau currently estimates are in the U. S.   Overall, in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, which ended on Dec. 31, the total debt of the federal government jumped $613,787,258,252.83 which equals $5,336 for each household in the country.

Jan. 3: CBS News: Doctor’s Office Spends two hours on hold with ObamaCare Health Insurer for Patient while seeking Authorization to conduct surgery:
The new year brought relief to some Illinois patients newly insured under the nation’s healthcare law. Others still weren’t sure whether they were covered, despite their best efforts to navigate the often-balky new system. By Thursday, the first business day of the new insurance system, it became clear that snags in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act still remained. On the plus side, the law’s protections mean consumers can no longer be denied coverage if they’re in poor health. But early problems with the federal HealthCare.gov website led many people to wait until last week to sign up, and insurers are still processing enrollment forms. 

Jan. 3: PoliticoAdministration faces tough fight on contraception cases:
As a new round of religion-based challenges to President Barack Obama’s health care law head to the Supreme Court, advocates on both sides of the issue say the administration’s arguments are likely facing a chilly reception. On Friday, the Obama administration urged the court to reject a plea from an order of nuns who say a provision of Obamacare conflicts with their opposition to birth control. Already, the Supreme Court is preparing to hear two cases filed by private companies who say contraception provisions in the law violate their firms’ rights to religious freedom.

Jan. 3: Fox News: Detroit Police Chief says more citizens should be armed:
Detroit’s police chief has a solution to help drive down crime in one of the nation’s most dangerous cities: arm more citizens.  James Craig made the comments at a police press conference Thursday, when he announced a 7 percent drop in violent crime in 2013, The Detroit News reported. Although urban police typically favor gun control, Craig said his views evolved after working in Los Angeles and Maine, where concealed weapons permits are more easily obtained.

Jan. 3: Fox News: Meanwhile Obama Administration proposes new executive actions on gun background checks:
The Obama administration on Friday proposed two new executive actions to make it easier for states to provide mental health information to the national background check system, wading back into the gun control debate after a months-long hiatus.  Vice President Biden's office announced the proposals Friday afternoon. Both pertain to the ability of states to provide information about the mentally ill and those seeking mental health treatment to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. 

Jan. 3: The HillClemency for Snowden should be off the Table: Napolitano Says
Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday that she “would not put clemency on the table” for NSA leaker Edward Snowden.  “I think Snowden has exacted quite a bit of damage and did it in a way that violated the law,” Napolitano said in an interview airing on "Meet the Press" this Sunday.  She said damage from Snowden’s actions will be seen for years to come.

Jan. 2: The Washington PostNSA seeks to build quantum computer that could crack most types of encryption:
In room-size metal boxes ­secure against electromagnetic leaks, the National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.  According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer” — a machine exponentially faster than classical computers — is part of a $79.7 million research program titled “Penetrating Hard Targets.” Much of the work is hosted under classified contracts at a laboratory in College Park, Md.

Jan. 2: The Daily Mail: “They had no idea if my insurance was active or not” – ObamaCare confusion reigns as frustrated patients walk out of hospitals without treatment:
Hospital staff in Northern Virginia are turning away sick people on a frigid Thursday morning because they can't determine whether their Obamacare insurance plans are in effect.  Patients in a close-in DC suburb who think they've signed up for new insurance plans are struggling to show their December enrollments are in force, and health care administrators aren't taking their word for it.


Go to the 2013 Chronology of News Coverage
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