On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:
Michael Medved talks Ukraine with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters. PETERS: "The comparison between President Obama and Neville Chamberlain is grossly unfair...to Neville Chamberlain. Neville Chamberlain was trying to buy time while Britain desperately and frantically rearmed. Obama is shilly-shallying while America disarms." Bill Bennett and K.T. McFarland provide historical context regarding Russia and Ukraine. Mike Gallagher on David Jolly's special election victory in Florida. Bill Bennett spoke with Avik Roy, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who broke the Obamacare enrollment number news on his Forbes.com blog. Medved spoke with Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell on voter ID. Bennett discussed the topic of "Millennials" with Brad Wilcox, associate professor in the department of sociology at the University of Virginia. Medved spoke with Gov. Rick Perry at CPAC.
The president made a stunning admission today during his widely-anticipated interview with WebMD -- namely, some Americans might have to switch doctors under the “Affordable” Care Act.
But before we get to the clip, let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
“First, no matter what’ve you’ve heard, if you like your doctor -- or health care plan -- you can keep it.”
That’s about as clear and unambiguous as the president could possibly be: If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period. However, the president subtly shifted the goalposts today by suggesting it’s possible some Americans might lose their doctors at some point. From WFB:
“For the average person, many folks who don’t have health insurance initially, they’re going to have to make some choices. And they might end up having to switch doctors, in part because they’re saving money.”
Even if Americans save money by switching doctors -- a big "if" -- that was not the promise. The promise was not ‘if Obamacare becomes federal law, it's possible families and individuals might be forced to change doctors in order to save money.’ On the contrary, the promise was simple: the sacred doctor-patient relationship would not be tampered with under Obamacare. We now know, of course, that's not necessarily true.
Even so, it’s still galling to hear the president admit as much publicly. I wonder if other Democrats will follow suit.
The House of Representatives has passed a bill that includes a delay in the Obamacare individual mandate for ten years. The bulk of the bill prevents massive cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.
Earlier this week, President Obama quietly delayed the mandate until after the 2016 presidential election by offering Americans a "hardship exemption," but that won't stop Harry Reid from killing the individual mandate portion of this bill as it comes into the Senate.
The House has voted more than 50 times to completely repeal Obamacare.
The problem of illegal immigration in America is only getting worse as the years go by. And as those on both sides of the aisle pitch their “solutions,” it’s become all too clear that too often they aren’t addressing one of the root causes of the problem to begin with. It’s true our borders are not secure at all, despite what the Obama administration would like you to believe. But why the mad dash to enter the States? Simply put, there are jobs to be had—even though we’re a nation struggling with high unemployment.
A recent Op-Ed from the editorial staff at Bloomberg View making this point puts the problem in perspective in a very eye-opening way (emphasis mine):
As many as 8 million undocumented immigrants hold jobs in the U.S. In fact, they account for more than 5 percent of the U.S. labor force. Their unemployment rate might even be lower than that of the nation's black citizens.
And, stereotypes aside, the undocumented are hardly relegated to agriculture and domestic service. Construction, manufacturing and retail are among their biggest employers, according to the Migration Policy Institute. So, either quite a few of the nation's 6 million employers have welcomed undocumented workers into their factories and stores, or a smaller number of employers have hired an awful lot of them.
Either way, little is being done to stop the practice. Workplace enforcement is minimal. Fines are small. Amid all the political bellowing about the border, no one in Washington pays much attention to employers' practices.
Yet with 95,000 miles of shoreline, 500 commercial airports and a northern border that's twice as long as its southern one, the U.S. could transform its Southwest into North Korea and still not stem the flow of undocumented immigrants seeking work, many of whom simply overstay legitimate visas.
Essentially, if a foreigner knew they would not be able to find work in the U.S. we’d not only see less illegal immigration but unemployment rates among U.S. citizens would also decrease. What about E-Verify, you ask?
E-Verify can still be gamed. One independent study found that during a three-month period in 2008, about half the unauthorized workers whose backgrounds it checked were nonetheless approved for work. But DHS has been upgrading the system so that it can access additional databases and more carefully filter applications.
As the system improves, of course, the demand for high-quality identity fraud stands to increase commensurately -- as does off-the-books employment of undocumented workers. If Congress is serious about turning off the flow of undocumented immigrants, it will have to give DHS the resources it needs for workplace enforcement, including on-site inspections.
There has to be a will to make these policy changes, of course, which is more than half the battle.
Hillary Clinton may be the early conventional wisdom frontrunner for 2016, but the American people don't seem eager to be party to an unquestioning coronation. A nationwide survey conducted by Bloomberg shows that a majority of voters do not believe the former Secretary of State's claim that she was unaware of denied security requests ahead of the 2012 Benghazi massacre:
A new Bloomberg poll suggests Hillary Clinton has her own credibility issue -- when it comes to Benghazi. More specifically, 51 percent of voters say they don't believe Clinton when she says that she never saw requests for additional security before the attacks on the U.S. mission in that city in Libya in 2012. Another 41 percent say they do believe Clinton's denials...The poll should serve as a reminder that Americans aren't keen on trusting politicians these days -- even relatively popular ones like Clinton.
Our woefully under-protected diplomatic mission was overrun and sacked in a coordinated, Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11 eighteen months ago. Prior to the assault, the State Department denied repeated requests for an increased US security presence on the ground in the increasingly unstable North African nation. Indeed, existing security forces were actually pulled out of Libya prior to the deadly raid. Hillary Clinton's signature appears on one of the cables approving the change, though her defenders say the Secretary of State's signature is routinely attached to many memos that the principal doesn't actually see. The State Department also approved a security waiver for its Benghazi facility shortly after an attempted attack on the same mission in the summer of 2012, allowing it to continue operating below the department's bare minimum standards.
We have yet to hear any official explanations for this string of catastrophic decisions. A bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report released in January concluded that the attacks were preventable and that State dropped the ball. More than a year-and-a-half after the assassination of Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans, zero people have been held accountable for what happened that night -- neither in Washington DC, nor in Libya. Two of the central figures in advancing the deceitful "spontaneous protest based on a video" narrative have been promoted. Both were top aides to Sec. Clinton. A separate recent poll showed Benghazi to be one of the top negatives associated with the former First Lady's reputation. In other Clintonworld news, a political fundraiser at the center of a major scandal embroiling Washington, DC's mayor has admitted to also funding an illegal "shadow" campaign in several primary states during Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid:
A longtime adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton personally sought and secured the funding for what prosecutors say was an illegal shadow operation to boost Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, according to court papers released as part of a wide-ranging campaign finance investigation. Washington businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson, who pleaded guilty Monday to federal conspiracy charges in a case that has focused largely on D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s (D) 2010 campaign, told federal prosecutors that Clinton aide Minyon Moore asked him to fund pro-Clinton efforts in four states and Puerto Rico costing $608,750 during the hard-fought 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign, the documents show.
Clinton claims she knew nothing about that either. The Bloomberg poll cited above also contains bad news for Chris Christie, as a large majority of Americans say they don't believe the New Jersey governor's assurances that he was uninvolved in the lane closures scandal. A Democrat-led investigation into the matter has thus far turned up no evidence implicating Christie in the matter, over which he fired two top aides.
Perhaps because of Tuesday's demoralizing defeat in Florida's special election, amnesty advocates have significantly stepped up pressure on Democrats to act on immigration reform, whether the Republican majority in the House wants to or not.
Yesterday, we reported on building Spanish language media pressure on the White House to cease all deportations. Today, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the author of the Senate's amnesty bill, posted a threat on twitter and Facebook to Republicans.
The link in Schumer's tweet leads to this Facebook post where Schumer explains:
It's crystal clear where the issue of immigration reform is headed, and Republicans have only two choices to make. They can either help pass comprehensive reform which will greatly reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, grow our economy by bringing in needed workers in high tech and agriculture areas, and provide a hard-earned path to eventual citizenship for the 11 million in the shadows, or they can sit idly by and watch the President greatly curtail deportations while 11 million continue to live in limbo here in America. The choice is clear; a reform bill has the support of liberals, moderates, and conservatives and all we need is the courage of the Republican leadership to make the right and obvious choice. -cs
You don't often see threats more stark than this. Schumer is flat out saying, "Either pass my amnesty bill now or Obama will stop protecting the border entirely."
And we know this is the case because just this week Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged that Obama's supposedly record deportation numbers are driven almost entirely by deportations at the border, not from deporting people already inside the country.
“Under the Obama administration, more than half of those removals that were attributed to ICE are actually a result of Border Patrol arrests that wouldn’t have been counted in prior administrations,” Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) asked Johnson during a congressional hearing Tuesday.
“Correct,” Johnson confirmed.
Schumer is right about one thing: Republicans have only two choices here: 1) They can cave to Obama's lawless threats thus rewarding Obama for his illegal actions and setting a precedent that would be copied in every other policy area, or 2) they can stay strong, force Obama to act unilaterally, and then use the courts to rein in his out of control imperial presidency.
It is that simple.
Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has begun seeking campaign staff while aggressively courting New Hampshire's political elite, marking what local Republicans consider serious steps toward launching a Senate campaign against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
The stakes are high for the GOP's national push for the Senate majority this fall as well as for Brown's own political ambitions.
The longtime Massachusetts resident, having recently relocated to his seacoast New Hampshire vacation home, is expected to launch an exploratory committee to enter the race as soon as Friday, according to several New Hampshire Republican officials who spoke directly to Brown about his plans.
The move officially allows him to begin raising money and hiring staff. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose his plans before an official announcement.
Circling back to my point earlier, Alex Sink didn’t even vote for Obamacare and her candidacy went down in flames. It may be that Brown, after watching Congressman-elect David Jolly (R-FL) celebrate his victory on national television (an extremely flawed candidate, by the way, as so many have pointed out) that he finally decided to take the plunge after all. Brown, of course, ran for re-election against a formidable opponent in a blue state in 2012; now he doesn't have to run in Massachusetts, Obamacare is a train wreck (as predicted), and well-known Democratic congressional candidates are losing special elections on favorable terrain. If Brown is intent on making a political comeback, is this not his chance?
Then again, perhaps not:
Some believe Brown's political future could suffer permanent damage should he ultimately disappoint New Hampshire Republicans by backing out of the Senate race after so much hoopla. But should he run and lose, Brown's resume would be tainted with two high-profile losses in two years.
To which I would simply say: So what? If worst comes to worst, he joins a law firm or renegotiates his contract with Fox News (which, incidentally, he just renewed). No politician ever got very far playing it safe.
At the same time, if Brown does go all in, he would instantly change the contours of the race overnight and give Republicans a fighting chance in New Hampshire. Democrats are already defending at least four vulnerable U.S. Senate seats in red states. How much money and resources can they afford to re-allocate to New England? Not a whole lot, it would seem:
With finite resources, they would rather not devote additional time or resources to a New Hampshire seat that was supposed to be safe.
But Democrats and their allies are already preparing for a worst-case scenario, having spent roughly $360,000 combined on television advertising against Brown in recent weeks. Conservative critics spent heavily to weaken Shaheen earlier in the year, led by the tea party ally Americans For Prosperity, which spent roughly $700,000 on television ads knocking Shaheen's support for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
Of course they wouldn't. And best of all, Republicans in New Hampshire actually want Brown to run:
Jamie Burnett, a veteran New Hampshire Republican strategist, called Brown the "one potential candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire that people are genuinely excited and hopeful about."
"People have gotten their hopes up," Burnett said. "They would be disappointed if he didn't run."
This wouldn’t be the first time Brown would leave his supporters in the lurch if he bowed out at the last minute. But for the first time since leaving office, it seems, he can't deny the rumors any longer.
I'd be very surprised if he doesn't run.
UPDATE: More tea leaves:
BREAKING: Scott Brown cancels scheduled April Iowa trip in further sign of focus on NH Senate run— Jon Keller (@kelleratlarge) March 14, 2014
Roy Ortiz, an illegal immigrant living in Colorado, was recently rescued from dangerous flood waters by first responders. Now Ortiz, who barely speaks English, is thinking about suing them because "mistakes were made." The argument? Rescuers failed to get him out of a submerged car fast enough and now he's having bad dreams. Ortiz is demanding $500,000 in damages which if awarded, would be paid out by taxpayers.
Ortiz and his attorney appeared on Fox News The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson yesterday to explain.
Since the 9/11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, not a single person has been arrested or killed for their murders. Further, not one State Department or Defense Department employee has been fired as a result of the failures leading up to the attack, which included a major failure to provide adequate security to the compound. Security was repeatedly requested and denied by people working in Benghazi leading up to the 9/11 attack.
So why no consequences? It turns out the investigation into what happened in Benghazi is pretty much nonexistent.
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.
Former Ambassador Chris Stevens, another State official and two ex-Navy SEALs working for the CIA were killed in that attack.
Many in the agency were told, or were under the impression, that an investigation was in the works, but that is not the case.
One person close to the issue told Fox News: "They should be doing an investigation to see what the chief of base in Benghazi and station chief in Tripoli did that night. If they did, they'd find out there were some major mistakes."
This source claimed an investigation would likely uncover a lot of details the public does not know.
Asked why such a probe has not been launched, a CIA spokesman said: "CIA's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) always reviews carefully every matter that is brought to its attention, and takes appropriate action based on a variety of factors."
This is part of the classic Obama administration playbook. We've also seen this scheme play out in the IRS targeting scandal. 1. Something horrible and scandalous happens 2. Important people like the President, Secretary of State or head of another government agency express outrage and vow to get to the bottom of what happened 3. Questions from press go unanswered as government officials cite an "on going investigation" 4. An investigation into what happened is never actually launched 5. Time erases the scandal from the headlines, resulting in no justice for victims and no consequences for perpetrators.
Here's a flashback of President Obama saying "we're investigating" and promising to bring the Benghazi killers to justice.
“What happened in Benghazi is a tragedy. We’re investigating exactly what happened. I take full responsibility for that fact. I send these folks in harm’s way, I want to make sure they’re always safe and when that doesn't happen, that we figure out what happened and make sure that doesn't happen again. But my biggest priority now is bringing those folks to justice and I think the American people have seen that’s a commitment I'll always keep.”
More than a year after the attack we don't have an investigation and there is no justice. Turns out, President Obama's "priority" was just another one of his broken promises.
The Public Integrity section of the Justice Department -- that's the part that routinely assists in the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases against elected officials -- has been rejecting the efforts of FBI agents to use its resources in an investigation of Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mike Lee (R-UT).
People familiar with the probe said both FBI agents and local investigators have been frustrated for months by the Justice Department's inaction on the initial accusations and evidence against the two senators, and those concerns were recently elevated to FBI headquarters.
The special agent in charge of the Utah office was summoned earlier this month to Washington to meet with senior FBI officials, and the bureau’s Utah office has been instructed that the FBI agents working the case may only assist in the state probe and cannot pursue federal criminal investigative leads — unless Justice finally approves a corruption probe.
The frustrations have prompted discussions of seeking a special prosecutor who would bypass the Justice Department and U.S. attorney’s office and evaluate the evidence independently.
As has been noted here before, this is not Harry Reid's first trip to the rodeo when it comes to allegations of corruption.
What is novel -- and noteworthy -- is the DOJ's seemingly inexplicable unwillingness to involve itself in the case. After all, there is apparently some substantiation for the allegations, and supposedly, instances like these are precisely why our tax money is going to subsidize a Public Integrity section at Justice.
On the other hand, this is Eric Holder's DOJ, and Harry Reid has, as a piece in Politico recently put it, "been President Obama's most important and most consistent ally in the legislative branch." One wonders whether that might have anything to do with the DOJ's apparent disinterest in the allegations of his wrongdoing.
Note also that there must be someone in the Public Integrity section with, ahem, some integrity. This story sounds like it came straight from a DOJ leaker, presumably, someone who is appalled at what is happening there.
Between CBS deep-sixing critical investigative pieces about the administration and the DOJ refusing to investigate an administration ally, it's interesting to speculate on how many more organizations are systematically covering up for this president and his party.