The Friday Filibuster: The one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about this week in politics.
59% of Americans support building the Keystone XL Pipeline.
92% of the 114th Congress are Christians.
106.5 is where the Youth Misery Index stands, according to the Young America’s Foundation—a record high.
The White House botched its own infrastructure plan this week by falsely claiming to have a long-term plan to fix the bankrupt Highway Trust Fund. President Obama also claimed this week that his administration’s policies are responsible for the nation’s recovering housing market. In reality, however, his signature housing initiative harmed nearly as many homeowners as it helped. Finally, President Obama announced on Friday his proposal to make community college "free" for the first two years for those willing to work for it. Kevin Glass discusses the problems associated with this plan.
It may be a new year but Obamacare is not getting a fresh start, with ballooning deductibles for the middle class, many key parts of the website still under construction, and a legal cloud hanging over the law. Meanwhile, the law’s impact has reached the ivory tower. The Harvard professors who championed the ACA are very, very upset that they will have to pay more for health care. And White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest floundered in his response to a question about the story.
Terror in Paris:
Terrorism struck France this week in the largest attack in the country since 1961. Heavily armed and well-trained jihadists stormed the Paris office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 and injuring 11 others. The jihadists, who’ve been linked to al Qaeda, shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and said that they “have avenged the Prophet Muhammad.” The magazine and its editors were no strangers to threats and attacks from radical jihadists over the years for publishing cartoons that mocked Muhammad. But the magazine’s editor-in-chief said back in 2012 that he wasn’t afraid—he’d rather die standing than live on his knees. The magazine will print 1 million copies of its next issue, roughly a 16-fold increase of its usual amount. Meanwhile, some Western media outlets showed how much they’ve lost their free speech spine, going so far as to censor the Muhammad cartoons in their reports of the story. AP defended the move, saying they won’t use ‘deliberately provocative’ images—but it’s a policy that hasn't been applied evenly and consistently. Mark Steyn said that newspapers that are censoring the cartoons are dishonoring the dead. USA Today, for their part, published a column justifying the slaughter.
The White House strongly condemned the attack but questioned the magazine’s judgment back in 2012. Video also surfaced of President Obama speaking at the UN in 2012 saying that ‘the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.’ The American Left, meanwhile, is trying to distance Islam from the attacks. But terror continued in the country through Friday, as jihadists held hostages in two locations, which appeared to be coordinated and linked attacks. By early afternoon (EST), however, all three jihadists had reportedly been killed, but there are conflicting reports over whether any hostages were killed.
Monday kicked off the new Republican controlled 114th Congress. Among the new members is Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected, and she happens to be staunchly conservative. John Boehner managed to stave off challenges to his speakership and was reelected. On the agenda is restoring the 40-hour work week, which Obama has promised to veto, and passing the Keystone Pipeline, which, again, Obama has threatened to veto, falsely claiming that the House Keystone Pipeline Act would preempt state law. New Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz wasted no time subpoenaing Eric Holder over Fast and Furious. And a very pro-life Congress will, once again, consider the 20-week abortion ban. In related news, the extremely liberal senator from California, Barbara Boxer, has announced, as many expected, that she’s retiring.
Campaigns and Elections:
Democratic leaders in Iowa are practically begging someone to challenge Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state, meanwhile, is keeping an eye on possible opponents, including former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb. There were many developments on the Republican front this week. Mike Huckabee announced that he’s leaving his post at Fox News to consider another presidential run; Jeb Bush’s massive fundraising operation has been set in motion; and Gov. Scott Walker said he thinks the next president should be a governor (wink, wink). There are also reports that Walker’s assembling a team for a possible 2016 run. Meanwhile, pollster Nate Silver thinks Chris Christie is too moderate to win a GOP nomination.
Around the World:
Christian persecution around the world is at its highest level in modern history, according to an Open Doors USA report. Sadly, the trends suggest the worst is yet to come thanks to the rise of Islamic extremism worldwide. In a further attempt to appear legitimate, ISIS has created a budget. And with the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, the country’s new president has suggested the U.S. reconsider its exit deadlines. Meanwhile in Cuba, despite ‘normalizing’ diplomatic relations, escape attempts from the country are actually increasing. And the Obama administration isn’t quite sure if Cuba has released 53 political prisoners, which was one of the conditions for normalizing relations with the community country in the first place.
Graphics by Feven Amenu.