Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why the Fear of American Exceptionalism?

Talk of American exceptionalism  enrages some liberals.
American flags and people For example, it drove Oliver Stone and American University professor Peter  Kuznick to pen a USA Today commentary  saying Washington should have a wall with “the names of all the Vietnamese,  Cambodians, Laotians, and others who died [in the Vietnam War].” That, they  said, would be “a fitting memorial to all the victims of ‘American  exceptionalism’  a perfect tombstone for that most dangerous of American  myths.”
New America Foundation’s Michael Lind, in a 2011 piece titled “The Case  Against ‘American Exceptionalism,’” dismissed the idea as “amusing, if it were not so dangerous.”American“exceptionalists,” he argued, are know-nothing boastful boobs “not allowed to  peep beyond [their] borders, to learn from the successes and mistakes of people  in other countries.” They “thump” The Federalist Papers as if it were the Bible,  trying to “deduce what Hamilton, Madison and Jay might have said about physician  reimbursement rates.”
Oh my. Stuff that straw man before you knock it down, Mr.  Lind.
Mr. Lind and Mr.  Stone miss the point completely. American exceptionalism is not about  nostalgic yahoos railing against “furriners.” Thomas  Jefferson staunchly believed that Americans had an exceptional destiny. His  entire worldview was informed by European philosophy. He took ideas from Swiss  natural law philosopher Emmerich de Vattel to write the Declaration of  Independence, and he was a great admirer of the French philosopher Voltaire.  Is Jefferson a know-nothing rube for  believing in American  exceptionalism?
Those who believe in American  exceptionalism don’t reject foreigners. They recognize what’s unique about our  history: a distinctive confluence of culture, government and economy, and an  ethos of personal responsibility that tamed the economy’s wild horses and  tempered the potentially anarchic tendencies of free people. These, not  government action, gave rise to the wealthiest and most powerful nation on  earth.

Words That Sum Up Democrats Day In The House – Defection, Disloyalty, Dissatisfaction, Defied

“Thirty-Nine Democrats Broke With Their Party Leaders” To Back The “Keep Your Plan Act.” “Thirty-nine Democrats broke with their party’s leaders and backed the bill despite a veto threat by the White House, highlighting the political problem the issue has come for President Obama’s party.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “House Approves ‘Keep Your Plan’ ObamaCare Bill; 39 Dems Defect,” The Hill’s Floor Action Blog, 11/15/13)
  • “The House Approved The ‘Keep Your Health Plan Act’ In A 261-157 Vote.”(Pete Kasperowicz, “House Approves ‘Keep Your Plan’ ObamaCare Bill; 39 Dems Defect,” The Hill’s Floor Action Blog, 11/15/13)

Today’s Vote Dealt Another Blow To Obama

“This Episode Is The Most Recent Sign Of Democratic Angst On Capitol Hill Over ObamaCare’s Implementation.” (Seung Min Kim and Jennifer Haberkorn, “With 39 Dems Behind It, House Passes ObamaCare Fix,” Politico, 11/15/13)
“The Relationship Between Capitol Hill Democrats And The White House Hasn’t Been This Bad In A Long Time.” (Seung Min Kim and Jennifer Haberkorn, “With 39 Dems Behind It, House Passes ObamaCare Fix,” Politico, 11/15/13)
“The Vote Is A Further Blow To Obama …” “The vote is a further blow to Obama, who was forced on Thursday to admit that new standards under the healthcare law are forcing millions of people into new and often more expensive health insurance plans. Obama repeatedly said that under ObamaCare people could keep their plans if they liked them.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “House Approves ‘Keep Your Plan’ ObamaCare Bill; 39 Dems Defect,” The Hill’s Floor Action Blog, 11/15/13)
  • “Dealing A Blow To President Obama’s Effort …” “Dealing a blow to President Obama’s effort to fix problems with his healthcare law, more than three dozen House Democrats voted Friday to support a Republican-sponsored bill to address the crisis, brushing aside White House warnings that the legislation would only make matters worse.” (Michael A. Memoli, “Dozens Of House Democrats Back Republican Health Care Bill,” Los Angeles Times , 11/15/13)
Democrat Defections Are “A Major Show Of Disloyalty To The White House.” “It’s a major show of disloyalty to the White House, but House Democrats had expected the defections to be far higher before the Obama administration said Thursday that it would pursue an administrative fix to the cancellation problem.” 
(Seung Min Kim and Jennifer Haberkorn, “With 39 Dems Behind It, House Passes ObamaCare Fix,” Politico, 11/15/13)

N.J. bill to offer in-state tuition, financial aid to immigrants in the country illegally gains momentum

Giancarlo Tello, an undocumented immigrant who came to New Jersey from Peru with his parents at age 6, pays out-of-state tuition at Rutgers-Newark. Tello, the campaign chair for New Jersey United Students' Tuition Equity for DREAMers, today joined advocates to push for a bill to offer in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants who went to high school in New Jersey. (Matt Friedman/The Star-Ledger) (Matt Friedman/The Star-Ledger)

TRENTON — After a decade-long effort by advocates, a bill that would charge in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who grew up in New Jersey appears well on its way to landing on the governor’s desk.

The state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today voted eight to three with one abstention to approve the measure (S2479), which advocates say will affect tens of thousands of New Jersey residents.

“This community has waited long enough. Let’s not look for excuses to say no. Let’s look for reasons to say yes,” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who has lent his name to the bill as a prime sponsor.

The bill now heads for a vote in the full Senate on Monday, where it’s expected to pass. Assembly leaders say they expect to pass it soon as well.

Under the bill, undocumented immigrants who attended high school in New Jersey for three or more years, graduated, and filed an affidavit saying they plan to legalize their immigration status as soon as legally possible would be able to get lower in-state tuition rates at New Jersey’s public colleges and universities.

The undocumented immigrant students would also be eligible for state financial aid under the Senate version of the bill. Incoming Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), a Cuban immigrant, said today that he expects the Assembly version will incorporate that aspect — which had been part of a separate bill —as well.

Advocates said it doesn’t make sense for the state to provide K-12 education to undocumented students — which federal law requires — and then refuse to treat them the same as citizens once they graduate.


That didn’t take long. His very first words at yesterday’s press conference—a lie! “Good morning,” he began, when it was already afternoon. But he quickly caught himself, pushed his nose back in (it works like an elongated spyglass), said the wrong time of day was on him. Meaning we really do get to keep him, though White House aides and many a guest and host on CNN and MSNBC reminded reporters and viewers it was still morning in the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones when he spoke, not to mention Hawaii and Baja California.

He did a good job defending the idea if not the practice of Obamacare. Some favorite lines: “We can always make this law work better.” “Ultimately, I’m the president of the United States.” “It’s scary getting a cancellation notice.” But for pure psycho-syntactical bliss, there was this: “I think everybody understands that I’m not happy about the fact that the rollout has been, you know, wrought with a whole range of problems that I’ve been deeply concerned about.”

For sheer bravery, though, there was his directing viewers to the White House website that links to organizations helping in Philippine relief efforts. He even spelled the it out, We went to the site. It opened. It consists of one page, sort of like a flat tax form. Imagine that. But of course the architecture was there. It’s a branch of the main White House site, the indispensable, home of many an Obama photo and publicity still and the texts he reads on his teleprompter. In other words, it’s Ground Zero for the Obama ego machine. If it didn’t work, it would be the end of 21st century civilization as we've come to know it.

Obama, Staff Still Don't Know Why Rollout Failed

Facing what some believe is its toughest week, the Obama administration is now in reflection and reorganization mode, assessing at a troubling crossroads the disastrous and ongoing fallout of its signature healthcare plan amid other notable errors in foreign and domestic policy.

The "what went wrong" posture on the Obamacare healthcare rollout comes as the president has issued multiple apologies and as media and consumers point a tougher finger at his administration's execution of key policies that some fear will taint his legacy, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The lack of credible responsibility continues to stagger as Democrats in Congress, which the president has repeatedly misread, pull away from him in fear of hot constituent backlash and looming 2014 midterm elections. 

But many inside the Beltway and elsewhere seem shocked as Americans must deal with the ramifications of a health policy that its own government created, but now can't manage. It's no longer Republicans who are using the word "lied" when referring to the president's healthcare debacle.

"Had I been informed (about the website), I wouldn't be going out saying, 'Boy, this is going to be great,'" Obama told reporters, sparking a ripple among news outlets who diplomatically were forced to concur: if he didn't know, as president, who did and why didn't they tell him? Most notable, some allow, is that no key administration official charged with the healthcare rollout has been fired.

Those dealing with Obama on the issue didn't mute their anger. "I'm sure he has all sorts of reasons he made the decision he made,'' said Monica Lindeen, vice president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners told the Journal. "But from a practical standpoint, for commissioners all across this country, it really did turn our lives upside down."

Via: Newsmax

Continue Reading.....

High School Student Gives Devastating Speech Against Common Core Education

TN Student Ethan Young speaks out about common core, teacher evaluations, and educational data. Recorded at the Knox County School Board Regular Meeting.

"The president essentially bribed states into implementation via ‘Race to the Top,’ offering $4.35 billion taxpayer dollars to participating states, $500 million of which went to Tennessee,” Young said. “And much like No Child Left Behind, the program promises national testing and a one-size-fits-all education, because hey, it worked so well the first time.”

“If nothing else, these standards are a glowing conflict of interest and they lack the research they allegedly received."

“Somewhere our Founding Fathers are turning in their graves — pleading, screaming and trying to say to us that we teach to free minds. We teach to inspire. We teach to equip, the careers will come naturally.”

A Russian GPS Using U.S. Soil Stirs Spy Fears

WASHINGTON — In the view of America’s spy services, the next potential national security threat from Russia may not come from a nefarious cyberweapon or intelligence gleaned from the files of Edward J. Snowden, the former security contractor now in Moscow.

Instead, this menace may come in the form of a seemingly innocuous dome-topped antenna perched atop an electronics-packed building surrounded by a security fence somewhere in the United States.
In recent months, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon have been quietly waging a campaign to stop the State Department from allowing Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, to build about half a dozen of these structures, known as monitor stations, on United States soil, several American officials said.
They fear that these structures could help Russia spy on the United States and improve the precision of Russian weaponry, the officials said. These monitor stations, the Russians contend, would significantly improve the accuracy and reliability of Moscow’s version of the Global Positioning System, the American satellite network that steers guided missiles to their targets and thirsty smartphone users to the nearest Starbucks.
Via: NYT
Continue Reading,...

Think NSA Snooping Is Bad? Check Out MPAA Theater Security

Hollywood studios are urging theater operators to crack down on in-theater camcording with the deployment of night-vision goggles, low-light binoculars and security cameras.
The latest version of the Motion Picture Association of America’s “Best Practices to Prevent Film Theft” (.pdf) also suggests old-school surveillance, like “random bag and jacket checks for prohibited items” and to “observe patrons” when entering the theater.
“Look for the unusual, such as someone wearing a long or unseasonably heavy coat in warm weather, odd shapes outlined in pockets or patrons carrying shopping bags. If any of these are observed, please take a closer look,” the 12-page memo advises.
Camcording and industry leaks are the top methods of choice for movies to find their way to file-sharing sites like The Pirate Bay and on unauthorized DVDs. Camcording is a federal felony carrying a maximum 3 year penalty. The District of Columbia and 41 states also have their own laws against it.
The MPAA guidance urges theater employees, who are eligible for $500 rewards, to call the police immediately if they think illegal filming is occurring. “Let the proper authorities determine what laws may have been violated and what enforcement action should be taken,” according to the memo.
The document also asserts a top rule practiced by all the world’s spy agencies: Trust no one.
“Be aware of ‘friends’ of staff,” the protocol warns. “Does one member of your staff frequently have ‘friends’ joining them at the theater at odd times? Look for non-employees coming or going out of the projectionist’s booth or those arriving at odd hours claiming to be ‘friends’ of an employee or manager.”

Populist wave, push from left keeps alive talk about Warren, not Clinton, in 2016

The widespread speculation this week on whether Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren could upstage Hillary Clinton’s “coronation” as the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee has rankled fellow party members but appears just fine with Republicans.
Republicans suggest that Warren, among the Senate’s most liberal or progressive members, could ride the recent populist wave and force Clinton further to the left -- or at least slow her juggernaut and improve their chances in 2016.
“We’d welcome Elizabeth Warren to the race,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski tells “It’s just another example of how Hillary will have a hard time making the sale within her own party, let alone the country.”
The election is three years away. And Clinton, widely popular in nearly all factions of the Democrat Party, already leads in practically every general election poll, resulting in widespread talk about the 2016 Democratic nomination essentially being a Clinton coronation, with no apparent unity among Republicans on who might emerge as their nominee.
The only outlier poll appears to be a Quinnipiac survey showing New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie leading the former first lady by 1 percentage point. But that was released in the immediate aftermath of Christie’s 20-point re-election victory. And he still faces questions about his conservative credentials in a primary expected -- like last year’s -- to be a conservative-vetting factory.
Via: Fox News Politics
Continue Reading....

Does the health-care fumble mean game over for Obama?

President Obama’s signature initiative is on the ropes — Down in the count! Fourth and long! — but he remains strangely sportsmanlike.
“We fumbled the rollout on this health-care law,” he admitted at Thursday afternoon’s news conference. “I am very frustrated, but I’m also somebody who, if I fumbled the ball, you know, I’m going to wait until I get the next play, and then I’m going to try to run as hard as I can and do right by the team.”
Four times he mentioned fumbling — both the Web site and his promise that people could keep their health plans if they liked them. “These are two fumbles on something that — on a big game, which — but the game’s not over,” he said.
In a narrow sense, that’s probably true: There may well be enough time to salvage Obamacare.
But on the broader question of whether Obama can rebuild an effective presidency after this debacle, it’s starting to look as if it may be game over.
The record for recent second-term presidents is not good: Reagan had Iran-contra, Clinton had impeachment and Bush had Katrina and Iraq. Once a president suffers a blow such as Obama is now suffering with his health-care law — in which the public not only disapproves of a president’s actions but starts to take a negative view of him personally — it is difficult to recover.
This week’s Quinnipiac University poll found Obama’s job-approval rating at its lowest ever, 39 percent. More ominous: Only 44 percent say Obama is honest and trustworthy, while 52 percent say he is not; that’s the first time more thought him untrustworthy than trustworthy. Polls show Obama’s personal favorability rating has dropped in tandem.
Via: Washington Post
Continue Reading.....


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration will allow some relatives of U.S. service members living in the country illegally to stay, according to a policy directive issued Friday.

The nine-page memorandum is the latest in a series of immigration policy changes made by President Barack Obama since he took office. The department has long had the power to stop deportations for relatives of military members and veterans, but Friday's memo lays out how and when it can be used.

The latest order gives U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials the power to "parole in place" immigrant spouses, children and parents of current U.S. service members, reservists and veterans. The change means that those immigrants can apply to legally live in the United States.

Margaret D. Stock, an Alaska-based immigration attorney and retired Army reserve lieutenant colonel, said the latest directive would likely impact thousands of military families. "It is very significant," Stock said. "It will ease the strain on so many families and military members."

Peter Boogaard, a Homeland Security Department spokesman, said the policy change would help "reduce the uncertainty our active duty and retired military personnel face because of the immigration status of their family members."

Via: AP

Continue Reading.....

MILLER: Ted Cruz targeted by Politifact over gun crime facts cited to Jay Leno

Left-leaning Politifact twisted itself in knots to declare Sen. Ted Cruz’s data on gun prosecutions declining under President Obama as “mostly false.” 
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, stands in front of pheasants that were shot during a hunt hosted by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Akron, Iowa. Cruz attended the Iowa GOP's annual fundraising dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
In fact, the Republican senator correctly stated on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on Nov. 8 that “Under President Bush, prosecution of gun crimes was 30 percent higher than it is under President Obama.”

Politifact first accused Mr. Cruz of “cherry picking” by comparing the year with the highest number of prosecutions under President George W. Bush, which was 11,015 in 2004, to the 7,774 under Mr. Obama in 2012. 

To make his point, the senator can take the highest number in the Bush administration. But there is no debating that if Mr. Cruz selected any year from 2002 to 2008, it would have shown more prosecutions than 2012. 

“The point of this data is that more can be done to target violent criminals, and this administration has not made that a priority,” Mr. Cruz’s spokesman, Catherine Frazier, told me Friday. “The senator believes that our focus must be on prosecuting those who commit gun crimes, not taking away the Second Amendment rights of those who follow the laws.”

Second, Politifact found fault in the source of the correct data. Mr. Cruz cited the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse from Syracuse University, which tracks crimes in which the lead charge is firearms-related. 

However, Politifact didn’t like these numbers, so instead used the Justice Department figures in which gun charges were included in all the charges. By looking at all charges, it benefits Mr. Obama because the 2004 number (12,962) was the lowest in Mr. Bush’s presidency. But still, that number is higher than the 11,728 prosecutions in 2012. 

Via: Washington Times

Continue Reading....

Krauthammer: The ‘Epic Collapse’ Of Obama’s New Kind Of Liberalism

KELLY: Well, scores of Democrats voted for a bill today that critics say, would effectively undo ObamaCare. And Charles Krauthammer says that is because liberals are panicked about this law for good reason.
Charles is a FOX News contributor, a syndicated columnist and author of the book, "Things that Matter" which is now number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Charles, great to see you. And why? Why are they now in a panic?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Because I think there is so much at stake ideologically. Obama is an extremely ideologically ambitious president. And he represents kind of a third burst of liberalism. You had the new deal with FDR, the great society with LBJ. Obama sees himself as a revival of this idea of government as the central engine of progress, as the central engine of fairness, as the central engine of society itself. So he's the guy who is going to be the Robin Hood, government that takes from the rich -- taxes the rich and gives to the middle class. A government that will create from scratch by its own will. A green energy industry run on solar, in wind and algae and then of course, the center piece, the symbol, the embodiment of his new kind of liberalism.

Via: Fox News

Continue Reading....

27 Democratic senators who promised you could keep your health coverage


President Obama has taken a lot of heat for promising that if Americans liked the health coverage that they had before Obamacare, they would be able to keep it under the new law. But the president wasn't the only Democrat in Washington who made that false promise. Many, many other Democratic officeholders said the same thing.
In fact, the keep-your-coverage pledge was key to some Democrats' decision to support the Affordable Care Act. For example, when the bill was being debated, New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said, "[A] requirement that I have for supporting a bill is that if you have health coverage that you like you should be able to keep that." For many Democrats, the keep-your-coverage pledge was not a throwaway line; it was a fundamental part of their case for Obamacare.
How many Democrats made the promise? There's no comprehensive list of all of them, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office has compiled a list of 27 Democratic senators who pledged that Americans could keep their coverage under Obamacare. The list includes the entire Democratic leadership in the Senate as well as Democrats facing tough re-election races in 2014, like Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich, and Kay Hagan. Here is that list, compiled by McConnell's office:
SEN. HARRY REID (D-Nev.): “In fact, one of our core principles is that if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.8642, 8/3/09)
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN: “We believe — and we stand by this — if you like your current health insurance plan, you will be able to keep it, plain and simple, straightforward.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.6401, 6/10/09)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “If you like your insurance, you keep it.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Bill Mark-Up, 9/29/09)

'God Bless America' gets veteran in hot water with employer

STOCKTON, Calif. (KCRA) —A Dameron Hospital employee who is also a veteran said he was asked last week to remove his email signature that read, in part, "God Bless America."

Boots Hawks served the United States for 20 years in the Army, he said Thursday, adding that he has been a good employee at Dameron Hospital for 10 years.
Dameron HospitalBut when Hawks wanted to seek legal counsel about a request to remove the words "God Bless America" from his professional email signature, he was met with resistance, he said.
Still, Hawks said he complied.
"I removed the signature before I sent another email," Hawks told KCRA 3.
But on the Friday before Veterans Day, he said he was placed on administrative leave for insubordination -- all because of the signature, which had contained the "God Bless America" phrase for more than a year before the hospital brought up the issue.
"I was shocked," Hawks said. “I think Dameron Hospital provides fantastic care to people. And I hate to see bad publicity, and I don’t mean for this to be bad publicity. I just see that we need to have justice done.”
KCRA 3 has reached out to Dameron Hospital for an explanation, and to see if company policy forbids such email signatures.
The hospital has not returned calls.


Continue Reading....

The President’s panic attack over ObamaCare

The most important thing about the policy move announced by President Obama on Thursday is not its practical significance — which is frankly very hard to predict — but rather what it tells us about the mindset of the president and his top lieutenants. In that respect, the past few days have marked a significant change, and signaled a new and unprecedented level of panic and chaos.
The immediate purpose of the step the administration announced was, ironically, pretty much the same one that moved the president to falsely claim for three years that anyone who liked his insurance plan would be able to keep it: to calm down congressional Democrats and keep them unified.
The president moved to permit insurers to renew plans that do not comply with ObamaCare’s requirements because it looked like legislative proposals to do that were going to win the votes of large numbers of Democrats in both houses, and so effectively fracture the gritted-teeth Democratic unity that has been the only thing sustaining the cause of ObamaCare in our politics since before the law was enacted.
If large numbers of House Democrats were to break with the leadership and the president to vote for the Upton bill (which would allow insurers to keep selling any 2013 plans they wanted to all comers next year) — as, indeed, 39 did yesterday — they might well never come back to the ObamaCare fold, and the inevitable fights to come would be all the more painful for the president.
If the Senate Democrats championing the Landrieu bill (which would impose a guaranteed ­renewability requirement on all 2013 plans, overriding ObamaCare’s qualified-coverage mandates) got their way, they would expose deep divisions in the Democratic caucus that Harry Reid has worked for years to hide (mostly by avoiding difficult votes) and put the president in the position of seeming to be reprimanded by his own party.

Popular Posts