Hmm. Didn’t Obama just say that he won’t act unilaterally on immigration reform? Why, then, didn’t White House spokesman Josh Earnest rule out the possibility of using executive actions?
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Earnest said: “I don’t want to speculate about what sort of actions the president might or might not take."
The Hill provides the context:
Obama has come under pressure from immigration activists, who have challenged the president to act unilaterally now that a comprehensive immigration bill appears stalled in the House. The president was heckled twice during events in San Francisco on Monday while discussing immigration reform, with protesters each time demanding an end to deportations via executive order.
In 2012, the Obama administration announced it would stop deporting some illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children, assuming they met certain criteria. […]
But while the White House has ruled out a sweeping halt to deportations, it is unclear whether Obama could use his executive authority, which includes the ability to grant temporary work permits, to help some of those here illegally.
Earnest did go on to say, however, that fixing a broken immigration system is something that can only be done with Congress, echoing what Obama told one of the hecklers who interrupted his speech on Monday. Looks like we'll have to wait and see what the president actually does, not just says.
It's hard to escape the conclusion that the Obama administration is hostile to religion in general, and to Catholicism in particular.
There was his slam on Catholic education. His embrace of pro-abortion extremism. His willingness to have priests arrested if they performed mass on military bases (even voluntarily) during the sequester. And, of course, the hideous ObamaCare HHS mandate falls with particular violence on the First Amendment rights of Catholics.
So now it's dismaying -- but hardly surprising -- that the Obama administration is moving to close America's Vatican embassy. A bipartisan coalition of former ambassadors to the Holy See are expressing their opposition to the plan, which the administration is trying to justify on that post-9/11 catchall: Security.
But let's see it for what it really is: A slap in the face to America's Catholics.
Welcome to this story, CBS News. Better late than never. Note well that the report below cites the administration's own (conservative) estimates, and highlights yet another hand-picked Obamacare "success" story that has imploded under the crushing weight of the law's failure:
"NancyCare" was a cute little sound-byte while it lasted. Now she's canceled her company's previous insurance -- which is now unaffordable thanks to the "Affordable" Care Act -- and her workers are struggling mightily to obtain quality, reasonably-priced coverage through Obamacare's exchanges. Success! Nancy's change in tune is powerful for obvious reasons (although this unraveled "success" story is worse), but the most damning element of that clip is the short montage of Jay Carney lying through his teeth about how Obamacare's dropped coverage epidemic will not affect anyone covered by their company's insurance plan. Those statements were meant to reassure the large majority of Americans that they have nothing to worry about back when dumped coverage was dominating the news cycle. But the administration's internal estimates and projections tell a different story. As we've been warning for weeks, the second wave is coming, and it's going to be worst than the first. Congressional Democrats surely know this, which is why widespread angst is setting in. Some are planning to try to distance themselves from their president and their law; others are muttering about the evil insurance companies, or whatever. It will be fascinating to see how Hill Democrats react when the website is still broken for many users at the start of next week. The Washington Post describes the technical hurdles that still await Healthcare.gov -- including, you know, building and testing major elements of it:
The online system is still marred by defects that will create havoc for insurance companies if a significantly larger volume of applicants starts to sign up in coming weeks. Among them are the error-riddled reports that insurers are receiving about who has enrolled, a problem that could be disastrous if not fixed soon...Administration officials have sought to tamp down expectations, noting that improvements will be gradual in the coming weeks and months...Even if it does work better for consumers, there are still problems — particularly the scrambled reports insurers are getting about people who have signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov. Insurers say they are getting duplicate records and reports that misstate family relationships, such as listing a child as a spouse. In some cases, enrollment reports are disappearing. With these “orphan records,” insurers have no way of knowing whether a person is signed up for coverage, unless a new customer happens to call the company with questions. Until such errors stop, “you can’t open the floodgates” to large numbers of Americans using the Web site to sign up for coverage, said an insurance industry official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations with administration officials about how to improve the system.
The ripple effects of these flaws affect consumers, because the new coverage does not begin until they pay their first monthly insurance premiums. And without accurate information about new customers, health plans cannot send them correct bills. Beyond the troubles with enrollment forms, which have been evident since the marketplace opened on Oct. 1, insurers are anticipating problems if IT workers from the government and outside contractors cannot soon build other parts of the online system that are running behind schedule. For instance, starting in mid-December, the government and each participating insurance company are supposed to perform a monthly “reconciliation,” to make sure that each side has the same list of new customers, the benefits chosen by the consumers and the government subsidies for which they qualify. That feature of the online system, however, has not been built, according to people close to the industry and government officials. Nor can the system handle another feature, scheduled to be ready when health plans take effect on Jan. 1, in which insurers are to be paid extra government money, through a method known as “risk corridors,” if their new customers are old and require expensive medical care. “It’s not built, let alone tested,” the industry official said.
Never mind all that, Sebelius said just today (!), everything's still "definitely on track." Does she not read the Washington Post? And if you think stories like these are bad, just wait for the news accounts about people who thought they'd signed up for Obamacare, but actually aren't. What happens when some of these people have accidents or receive a terrible diagnosis? What happens is a logistical nightmare, a new bout of horrific press for the law, and more nail-biting among Democrats over numbers like this:
What a difference a month makes. A new CNN/ORC International poll indicates a dramatic turnaround in the battle for control of Congress in next year's midterm elections. Democrats a month ago held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates. But the Democratic lead has disappeared. A new CNN/ORC poll indicates the GOP now holds a 49%-47% edge.
I'll leave you with lefties' latest coping mechanism: Finding individual people who haven't been harmed by Obamacare. Via the crowd that shrugs off millions of cases as "anecdotes:"
Barbara Neff, 46yo, CA Had $3k-$5k deduc, often rejected from coverage b/c of pre-ex NOW: $2K deduc. $24/m premium http://t.co/cnrFb1w1nu— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) November 26, 2013
BREAKING: Guy at Think Progress found 1 woman in California who's now paying less for health care.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) November 26, 2013
As if the American public needed another reason to hate the legislative branch.
National Journal reports Washington lawmakers have now given themselves so much vacation time this holiday season that they won’t even be in session long enough to conduct the people’s business satisfactorily, a job for which we pay them.
Do they even read public opinion polls anymore, I wonder? Or just not care? Hard to tell sometimes:
Congress will soon be forced to debate yet another short-term, stopgap bill to keep the government open, not because a budget deal can't be reached, but because lawmakers haven't left enough time to reach one.
The House and Senate have already left town for Thanksgiving. And once they return, both chambers are in session concurrently for just four days—Dec. 10 through Dec. 13—before Congress adjourns again for the holiday recess.
Simply put, there won't be enough time for budget negotiators to solidify the details of an agreement that sets spending levels for the rest of fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015 – much less sell it to their respective caucuses – before a Dec. 13 deadline.
But that's not the only deadline being threatened by Congress's vacation schedule. Funding for the federal government expires Jan. 15. So if House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., fail, as expected, to reach agreement by Dec. 13, lawmakers will return to Washington the week of Jan. 6 staring down another government shutdown, with only about a week to do something about it.
All told, the two chambers of Congress have scheduled just 10 days in session together between Nov. 22 and Jan. 15, out of a possible 51 days, not counting Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
Keep working, America. Someone has to while our elected representatives do…whatever it is they do when they’re not in Washington. Meanwhile, the author also points out lawmakers will probably pass a short-term, 90-day CR deal shortly after the Thanksgiving or New Years Day holiday. But that remains to be seen; after all, ten days isn’t a whole lot of time to reach an agreement.
In the past, there were lots of excuses lawmakers could employ to explain away legislative failures: partisanship, gridlock, or, my personal favorite, Republicans. But that’s unlikely to fly when the public knows you’re slacking off. How else to describe the fact members of Congress will only be in session for ten days over the course of a two month period? Needless to say, it doesn't look good.
Remember when James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas exposed those supposedly nonpartisan Obamacare navigators being unmistakeably partisan? Well, the watchdog group’s investigation has already had some dire consequences for those caught on camera.
Chris Tarango, Texas Communications Director for Enroll America, a Sebelius-linked group dedicated to signing people up for Obamacare, resigned following a Project Veritas investigation. The video exposé showed Tarango conspiring to release private data to help a political action committee.
Tarango’s resignation came Friday night after Project Veritas released its undercover investigation capturing the communications head stating he would help “do whatever it takes” to get out the vote for a Democratic candidate in an upcoming Texas state-house race. Among other damning statements, Tarango also told the undercover investigator his organization was “all Obama people.”
During a recent broadcast, the Texas-based news station KCEN shared a statement that Enroll America sent them in response to the scandal. Try not to laugh:
“We absolutely don’t work with any partisan organizations, campaigns or candidates. Even the suggestion by any of our staff that such activity could occur is inappropriate, and the employee seen in the video has resigned from his role…”
Obviously they haven’t watched the video. Whether or not the organization admits it, partisan behavior did occur on Enroll America’s watch.
In other undercover videos, Project Veritas caught Obamacare navigators with Enroll America admit to working with Battleground Texas, a Democratic grassroots organization in Texas, while still claiming to be a “non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(3),” as well as encouraging applicants to lie on their applications.
These are just a few instances of partisanship and fraud from the people tasked with enrolling people in the Affordable Care Act. Who knows how many other navigators are secretly working with pro-Democratic groups to promote their own political agendas.
At least one thing's for sure. Obamacare continues to provide one scandal after another.
Well I guess the saying “every vote counts” is ringing true in Virginia today. The Virginia State Board of Elections has certified Democrat Mark Herring’s 165-vote lead in the Attorney General race. With this victory, there is now a completed Democratic victory in the 5 statewide offices that had elections this year in Virginia.
According to state law, the Republican, Mark Obenshain, has 10 days to decide whether he wants to ask for a recount. Concerns were raised earlier this month about how provisional ballots were being counted in (Democratic-leaning) Faifax County.
In the past Virginia was known as a red state, but over the past several election cycles it appears that it is now purple and perhaps even on its way to being completely blue. Close elections are not a rarity in Virginia though. Now that the state is split on its political affiliation, many recent elections have been too close to call on election night. In 2005 the Republican ended up winning the Attorney General race by 360 votes after picking up 37 votes in a recount defeat.
With so few votes separating the two candidates, this must be an awfully tough choice for Mr. Obenshain to make. This is a choice that should be made carefully and one must consider the pros and cons of taking on this recount.
UPDATE:Mark Obenshain plans to request a recount in the AG race on Wednesday morning, according to his campaign. Out of 2.2 million votes cast on election day, only 165 separating the two contenders, it makes sense for the election board to take another look.
Today, the Court announced it will hear the appeal and the Obama White House is confident the Supreme Court Justices will rule in the government's favor:
"We believe this requirement is lawful and essential to women’s health and are confident the Supreme Court will agree. We do not comment on specifics of a case pending before the Court. As a general matter, our policy is designed to ensure that health care decisions are made between a woman and her doctor. The President believes that no one, including the government or for-profit corporations, should be able to dictate those decisions to women....These steps protect both women’s health and religious beliefs, and seek to ensure that women and families--not their bosses or corporate CEOs--can make personal health decisions based on their needs and their budgets."
Private companies and CEOs are in no way dictating women's decisions by not supplying abortion-inducing drugs. Birth control is easy to get! Plan B is potentially simpler to obtain than cold medicine. As Bedsider.org says: "grab birth control along with a gallon of milk and the latest gossip magazines." No one is dictating what a woman does or buys in her private life.
Mandating private business owners to compromise their personal beliefs for what has been incorrectly labeled an "essential" health care right is dictatorship.
David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO, founded the company on Christian principles. His expressed goals of helping families and promoting life would be fundamentally compromised under the Obamacare law. The fine for not complying to the HHS mandate would cost the company at least $475 million every year.
If the Court recants the 10th Circuit Court's July decision, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. could set the precedent for all future challenges to the HHS mandate. As noted when the federal government filed the appeal in September, two key laws are up for judicial interpretation:
“One of these statutes is the glaringly-obvious First Amendment “free exercise clause” which demands Congress make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
The second is the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act which states the “government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” Exceptions apply when the rule has a compelling government interest and is being furthered under the least restrictive means.”
In June, the lower court which ruled in Green's favor wrote in its Opinion:
"As is particularly relevant to this case, one aspect of the Greens’ religious commitment is a belief that human life begins when sperm fertilizes an egg. In addition, the Greens believe it is immoral for them to facilitate any act that causes the death of a human embryo."
The previous ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby was sound and constitutional. Despite the White House's confidence in the outcome of this appeal, the Supreme Court Justices' job is to uphold the law.
Although liberals claim the GOP is dominated by men out of touch with women, the latest research reaffirms that parents with daughters are much more likely to identify as Republican - supporting another recent study that showed boys with sisters were also more likely to become Republicans. Even when controlling for education level, age, religion, and gender, having daughters correlated with politically conservative beliefs.
The Pew Research Center reports on the so-called "daughter effect":
Not only is the daughter effect statistically significant, it’s substantively large. They found that overall, “compared to those with no daughters, parents with all daughters are 14% less likely to identify as a Democrat….[and] 11% more likely to identify as a Republican than parents with no daughters,” they write in the journal Sociological Forum.
Their startling conclusions are based on data collected two decades ago from 661 respondents with biological children interviewed for the 1994 General Social Survey conducted by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center...
This research complements another study, which was based on a longitudinal survey of over 3,000 individuals and showed that boys with sisters were also more likely to be Republican. The Pew Research Center covered the sibling study earlier this year:
At the extreme, they found that young men who grew up with sisters but no brothers in their household are 8.3 percentage points more likely to identify with the Republican Party than boys who grow up with only brothers.
The sister effect is smaller but still statistically significant when it comes to attitudes explicitly related to gender roles. Men who had sisters were 3.8 percentage points more likely to agree that “a woman’s place is in the home” than men who did not, wrote Healy, an economist who teaches at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Mahhotra, a Stanford University political scientist.
At least some of the researchers interpret their findings to support the liberal narrative of the GOP's backwards gender stereotypes:
Researchers have found that sisters are more likely than their brothers to help wash the dishes, sweep the floor and do other traditionally gender-stereotyped tasks around the house. For example, in the data they examined, about 60% of boys but 82% of girls 10 and older with younger siblings told interviewers they were expected to help with the dishes.
This early exposure to gender stereotyping, the researchers argue, translates into more socially conservative views in later life.
However, these studies also have the potential to back a powerful GOP defense that - far from waging a "war on women" - Republican men actually have a stronger connection to women as a result of the profound influence of their daughters and sisters in their own lives. Perhaps someone should tip off Burning Glass.
“Up Late With Alec Baldwin” has been canceled by MSNBC following the host’s homophobic outburst at a New York City photographer earlier this month.
The decision to fire Mr. Baldwin was made in part due to his “diva-like” behavior toward colleagues, the Post said.
A spokesman for Mr. Baldwin had an issue with the term “fired,” but said, “The show is not coming back. He had questions on whether he wanted to continue.”
Host Martin Bashir, on the other hand, still has his. Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro provides some context:
Bashir read his misogynistic vile from a teleprompter. Meaning a producer put it there. And then MSNBC tweeted it. He's still employed.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 26, 2013
And probably will continue to be. If anything, MSNBC’s decision to cut Baldwin loose but keep Bashir on the payroll will only fuel the outrage fires even more. Baldwin's comments were hurtful and unacceptable, of course, but he didn’t go as far as to spend time researching, scripting, and broadcasting a scatological monologue on national television that deeply offended a former conservative female vice presidential nominee, not to mention men and women everywhere. How is Baldwin’s behavior more offensive to the network than Bashir’s? Why did he get let go, and Bashir didn’t?
Sources close to the situation insist that Baldwin was not been fired from the NBCU news cabler, but that the sides “mutually” agreed to end the show in light of the dust-up.
That dust-up, of course, was when Baldwin was caught red-handed uttering that anti-gay slur. So his conduct, it can be said, at the very least influenced the network’s final decision to cancel the show. Still no word about what will happen to his former colleague, though. We’ll see if this latest development changes anything.
In Oregon, Obamacare is being called an "epic failure" by lawmakers as the state-based exchange continues to fail. It's been nearly two months since the pro-Obamacare state launched their state based exchange site on October 1 and not a single person has been able to sign up. Things have gotten so bad, paper applications and fax machines were brought in to help expedite the process (yes, you read that correctly).
“I think just about everybody in Oregon is surprised and frustrated with where we are right now,” said Jesse O’Brien, a health care advocate for the Portland-based consumer advocacy group OSPIRG. “With Oregon having a reputation as a state that supports health reform and with a governor that is very enthusiastic, I think everyone was expecting we’d be in a much different position.”
“It is such an epic failure, literally it’s mind-boggling,” said state Rep. Jason Conger, a Republican from central Oregon who’s running for Sen. Jeff Merkley’s seat next year.
In addition, we've seen three major security breaches in the past week with Oregon residents receiving the confidential personal information, including full names and social security numbers, belonging to someone else. But the bad news doesn't end there.
The Oregon exchange came with a $305 million price tag for taxpayers all over the country and not a single person has been enrolled. John Kartch at ATR has the numbers from the Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services:
I think this is probably how people working on the Oregon exchange probably feel right now:
Democrat Congressman: I Am Paying More For Insurance Under Obamacare...And It's A Good Thing | Greg Hengler
EXCLUSIVE: Democrat Who Attacked Conservative Marilinda Garcia Has History of Unhinged Behavior | Katie Pavlich