Tuesday March 4th, 2014
"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
Updated 1033 PST
World & National
Another ObamaCare Delay
The Obama administration is set to announce another major delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act, easing election pressure on Democrats.
As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements.
Prolonging the “keep your plan” fix will avoid another wave of health policy cancellations otherwise expected this fall.
POLL: Outlook bleak for Dems...
One in Three Say They've Been Personally Hurt by Obamacare
One-third of Americans say the Affordable Care Act has had a negative impact on them personally, while 14 percent say the law has helped them, according to a new Rasmussen survey. The poll finds that public dissatisfaction with Obamcare remains nearly as high as it was during the height of the website’s problems last year.
Rasmussen finds that more people say they have a “very unfavorable” opinion of the law than have a favorable opinion of it at 41 and 40 percent, respectively. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they view the law unfavorably, just shy of a high of 58 percent in November of last year. Of the 40 percent who have a favorable opinion, only 16 percent view the law ”very favorably.”
Putin Says No Immediate Need to Invade Easern Ukraine, Leaves Threat Dangling
Vladimir Putin said he sees no immediate need to invade eastern Ukraine as the Obama administration prepares $1 billion in loan guarantees for the cash-strapped nation and threatens sanctions against Russia.
In his first public remarks since Russian forces took control of the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine, President Putin still reserved the right to use force to protect ethnic Russians. There’s “no such necessity” to do so at present, he said. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kiev to present a financial aid package to the interim government, which needs as much as $15 billion in the coming years to stay afloat.
Putin calls using force in Ukraine a 'last resort'
President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday Russia reserved the right to use all options in Ukraine to protect compatriots living in “terror,” but that Moscow would use force only as a last resort.
Breaking his silence on events in Ukraine since the removal of Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovich, Putin skirted questions about Russian servicemen taking control of the Crimea region, saying armed men who seized buildings were local forces.
He also distanced himself from Yanukovich and said retaliation against Russia over Ukraine would be counterproductive, warning that anyone imposing sanctions should think of the damage they would incur.
Texans vote in primaries shaken by Tea Party influence
Texans went to the polls on Tuesday in primary elections where the top candidates for governor were expected to post easy wins and favorites of the conservative Tea Party movement are trying to topple established Republicans in several races.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, will win his race easily, opinion polls show. Attorney General Greg Abbott, the leading Republican candidate for governor, and state Senator Wendy Davis, the top Democratic Party candidate, were also expected to win by wide margins.
Voting closes at 7 p.m. U.S. Central Time. Run-off elections will be held on May 27 between the top two vote-getters in races where a single candidate did not win an outright majority.
Russia warns could 'reduce to zero' economic dependency on US
Russia could reduce to zero its economic dependency on the United States if Washington agreed sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine, a Kremlin aide said on Tuesday, warning that the American financial system faced a "crash" if this happened.
"We would find a way not just to reduce our dependency on the United States to zero but to emerge from those sanctions with great benefits for ourselves," said Kremlin economic aide Sergei Glazyev.
Obama Reasserts Russia's Move Violated International Laws
President Barack Obama said Russia’s incursion into Ukraine is not a “sign of strength,” but rather a miscalculation that risks pushing former Soviet bloc nations further from Moscow.
“I actually think that this has not been a sign of strength, but rather, is a reflection that countries near Russia have deep concerns and suspicions about this kind of meddling,” Obama said Tuesday of the Russian military’s invasion of Crimea, a section of Ukraine which borders Russia. “And if anything, it will push countries further away from Russia.”
Obama also reasserted that the Russian invasion was against international law, and that Russian President Vladmir Putin must be consulting “a different set of lawyers” to assert otherwise.
UK hacking furor turned into 'sexist witch hunt'
Rebekah Brooks, former boss of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper arm, told a London court on Tuesday the media mogul had persuaded her not to quit amid public revulsion over the hacking of a murdered schoolgirl's phone.
Brooks, on trial for phone-hacking offences, said a 2011 report that journalists on Murdoch's News of the World tabloid had tapped the voicemail messages of 13-year-old Milly Dowler had caused a national scandal, with her at its center, describing it at the time as a "sexist witch hunt".
Despite the furor, Murdoch and other senior figures told her not to resign, and she told the Old Bailey court that amid the public disgust and condemnation, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and CNN talk show host Piers Morgan had also contacted her to offer support.
Obama budget details $56B in new spending
President Obama released his 2015 budget Tuesday, making the case for $56 billion in increased spending while offering the rosy projection that the nation is now on track to cut deficits to below 2% of the economy over the next decade.
The budget proposal, which faced resistance from Republican lawmakers even before its release, details Obama's wish list for new manufacturing hubs, job training and early childhood education and other domestic programs that would be offset by revising some spending programs and slashing tax benefits for multimillion-dollar retirement accounts.
US the Key for Democracy in Venezuela
Venezuela is moving fast toward an authoritarian regime of government. In the past several weeks, President Nicolas Maduro has the borrowed a chapter from the Castro brothers' manual. The Chavistas in Caracas are trying to hide their inefficiency and inability to manage one of the richest countries of South America, by blaming and repressing opposition leaders and the youth. The uprisings in the main urban centers are not the cause of the problems that Venezuelans are facing, but they are a consequence.
The highest inflation rate in the hemisphere, a stagant economy, the continuous violation of the human rights, and deep division among its citizens are due to Maduro’s failed policies and have nothing to do with the United States, Leopoldo Lopez or other opposition leaders.
Maduro is using this unviable political climate to put in action his real goals: to transform Venezuela in the new Cuba.
Poll: Democrats Trail in Senate Races
Republicans are in a better position than Democrats in the 34 states with Senate races in this year's midterm elections even though Democrats poll better on some key issues, a new poll finds.
In those states, 50 percent of registered voters say they would vote for the Republican candidate versus 42 who would vote for the Democratic candidate, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey was taken Feb. 27 through March 2 of 1,002 adults, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Anatomy of a Feckless Presidency
Gone are the days when the American president was capable of articulating the American interest.
V ladimir Putin seized Ukraine's Crimean peninsula on Thursday, and Barack Obama delivered a short statement about it on Friday. The former tells us nothing we didn't know already about Russia's strongman. The latter tells us everything we need to know about a weak president's feckless foreign policy.
On Oct. 18, 1962, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko visited President Kennedy in the Oval Office and told him that the Soviet Union would never deploy offensive military capabilities in Cuba. This was a lie, as Kennedy already knew, and four days later he called Gromyko out on the lie in his famous "quarantine" speech, usefully embarrassing the Soviets and rallying U.S. public opinion at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Fifty-plus years later, Mr. Putin told Mr. Obama that Russia had intervened in Crimea because "the lives and health of Russian citizens and the many compatriots" were at imminent risk. That, too, was a transparent lie, as every report out of Crimea attests. The difference this time is an American president who registers no public complaint about being brazenly lied to by a Russian thug.
Now the Auto Union Wants t Muzzle Public Officials
The United Auto Workers demand a do-over for a vote the union lost—and want critics like me silenced.
Picture an election where an entity is given nearly unfettered access to voters for two years and then is allowed to call for a surprise vote with only a few days' notice. Then imagine that the entity loses the vote and complains that "outside forces"—who happen to be community leaders—should not have been allowed to speak or share their point of view. While most Americans can contemplate such a scenario playing out in another country, this is what has been happening in Tennessee.
Just over two weeks ago, an election was held at the Volkswagen VOW3.XE +2.16% plant in my hometown of Chattanooga to determine whether the United Auto Workers would represent the workers there. UAW operatives spent two years inside the plant working to organize it. Initially, the UAW tried to take away the workers' right to vote and force its way in through "card check," an attempt to entrench the union without a democratic election. Fortunately, the company insisted on a secret ballot for its employees. They voted on Feb. 14 not to organize, although in the week leading up to the vote, only the UAW was allowed inside the plant, where the union was given an audience with the workers on company time.
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
GeneTrerally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.
The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011 to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
Since then there have been: • 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
• Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Sgt Dakota Meyer
US Marine Corps
Corporal Meyer maintained security at a patrol rally point while other members of his team moved on foot with two platoons of Afghan National Army and Border Police into the village of Ganjgal for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders. Moving into the village, the patrol was ambushed by more than 50 enemy fighters firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and machine guns from houses and fortified positions on the slopes above. Hearing over the radio that four U.S. team members were cut off, Corporal Meyer seized the initiative. With a fellow Marine driving, Corporal Meyer took the exposed gunner's position in a gun-truck as they drove down the steeply terraced terrain in a daring attempt to disrupt the enemy attack and locate the trapped U.S. team. Disregarding intense enemy fire now concentrated on their lone vehicle, Corporal Meyer killed a number of enemy fighters with the mounted machine guns and his rifle, some at near point blank range, as he and his driver made three solo trips into the ambush area. During the first two trips, he and his driver evacuated two dozen Afghan soldiers, many of whom were wounded. When one machine gun became inoperable, he directed a return to the rally point to switch to another gun-truck for a third trip into the ambush area where his accurate fire directly supported the remaining U.S. personnel and Afghan soldiers fighting their way out of the ambush. Despite a shrapnel wound to his arm, Corporal Meyer made two more trips into the ambush area in a third gun-truck accompanied by four other Afghan vehicles to recover more wounded Afghan soldiers and search for the missing U.S. team members. Still under heavy enemy fire, he dismounted the vehicle on the fifth trip and moved on foot to locate and recover the bodies of his team members. Corporal Meyer's daring initiative and bold fighting spirit throughout the 6-hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy's attack and inspired the members of the combined force to fight on. His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.