Saturday, February 8, 2014

David Axelrod wants Democratic donors to stop donating to Hillary Clinton's team

Photo - David Axelrod appears on CBS' "Face the Nation" in Washington in October 2012. (AP Photo/CBS News, Chris Usher)David Axelrod, President Obama's top strategist when he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2008, wants Democratic donors to focus on the 2014 elections, rather than Clinton's likely campaign.
"With the Senate seriously at risk, and the Koch Brothers spending prodigiously, shouldn't Dem funders be focused on '14 and not '16 races?" Axelrod tweeted Thursday afternoon, in what appears to be a very thinly veiled allusion to the Clinton machine that is already coming together.
The tweet comes just days after a Wall Street Journal report on Democratic concerns that the early support for Clinton could hurt the Democratic Party's midterm efforts.
"The formidable campaign apparatus that has sprung up to support a possible 2016 presidential bid by Hillary Clinton is rattling some Democrats, sparking concerns that it could suppress competition for the party nomination and siphon money from candidates running in the midterm elections this fall," the Journal said.

Ben Domenech Clears Up Entire CBO Report Debate In Four Minutes

“What kind of economy do you want? Do you want one where people are working more hours for themselves and their families? Or do you want one where some people are going to be working more hours to pay for the subsidies, and some people are going to be working fewer hours but they’ll have health care?”
Ben Domenech of the Heartland Institute appears on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes this week to discuss Obamacare costs and the implications of the CBO report.
This is an excellent breakdown of exactly what the implications are of the CBO report and what Obamacare means for the work force in the future. The above quote is a key take-away. Hayes is arguing that it’s good that people don’t have to work more hours simply to ensure they have health insurance. Domenech argues that it’s not a good thing when some people have to work more hours to pay for the subsidies so other people can work fewer hours and still get healthcare. Taking more labor from some to pay for less labor from others. Gee, where have we heard this sort of philosophy before?
DOMENECH: The problem here is about labor force participation. It’s not about some new aspect of Obamacare that’s been discovered that’s killing jobs. This is CBO basically going back and looking at the prediction they gave us a few years ago, when they said that about 800,000 equivalent full time would drop out of the labor force because of Obamacare. This is them looking at it again after new research that’s been done by Harvard, by M.I.T. scholars, by the University of Chicago in particular that essentially found that the effect was going to be far more dramatic, in part this because of the effect of subsidies on the marketplace but it’s really driven by the fact that Obamacare is behaving differently than Romneycare in a couple of key ways, which was the basis for the earlier CBO assumption.
HAYES: That is a really good point. I think actually this is where we get to a genuine point of contention. Let’s separate out two kinds of ways in which peoplel might choose to work less because of Obamacare. One which a lot of people talking about is this early retirement, which you’ve seen a lot. I’ve heard a lot of people saying, i’m working until i’m on Medicare, that is a very common thing you hear. There’s a certain amount of people that the presence of Obamacare means I have guaranteed issue, i’m 60, 61, I can leave my job and I can have health care, I don’t have to stay locked in this job for healthcare. that to me seems like a net benefit, do you agree with that?
Via: The Right Scoop
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The Most Embarrassing Efforts to Spin CBO’s Obamacare Report as ‘Good’ News

A bombshell Congressional Budget report released this week indicated that the Affordable Care Act will result in the equivalent of 2.5 million workers voluntarily leaving the workforce by 2024, all taking their productivity with them. The report is politically devastating for ACA supporters, and they know it. Their flailing reaction to that report speaks to the adverse impact it could have on Democrats’ political position ahead of the 2014 midterms. 
The last 48 hours have produced some of the finest, most rarified examples of spin the political universe has been privy to in some time. It’s been a veritable windfall for consumers of political discourse who enjoy observing painful rhetorical contortions.
The majority of those recklessly twisting this impending economic disaster into a welcome development have generally tried to focus on the expanded “opportunity” that will result from creating publicly-funded incentives for people not to work.
“Many workers, however, will see not having to ‘work for the man’ to get health coverage as liberation,”wrote liberal columnist Froma Harrop, channeling David Crosby.
She went on to label as “anecdotal” the prediction that “some employers may reduce worker’s hours to avoid paying the employer mandate,” a function of the ACA that has not even taken effect yet. In the following paragraph, however, she said the opportunity provided by not working will allow others to “start the business they’ve always dreamed of,” or allow parents to “spend more time with their children.” Some anecdotes appear are more equal than others.
The more thoughtful E.J. Dionne took a stab at spinning the news himself. On Thursday, Dionne offered up his own anecdote, one about a 64-year-old looking to work less to spend more time with the kids. “Many on the right love family values until they are taken seriously enough to involve giving parents/workers more control over their lives,” he wrote. I take back what I said about being thoughtful.
“And it’s sometimes an economic benefit when some share of the labor force reduces hours or stops working altogether,” Dionne added. “At a time of elevated unemployment, others will take their place. The CBO was careful to underscore — the CBO is always careful — that ‘if some people seek to work less, other applicants will be readily available to fill those positions and the overall effect on employment will be muted.’”
At least that’s an argument, one that can be summed up as essentially: Unemployment will remain virtually as high as it is today when the equivalent of 2.5 million productive workers perform a simple cost/benefit analysis and determine it is in their best interest to cut back on their working hours. Even Dionne might concede that it’s an argument of dubious political utility for Democrats.
He’s not alone in making the claim that a vast exodus of able workers from the labor market might be a good thing. In U.S. News & World ReportsDanielle Kurtzlebenbravely wrote what she claims we’re all afraid to say:
What the truth might be, and what few politicians would dare say, is there might simply be some value in lower economic growth.

Via: Mediaite
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Zogby Report Card: Only 29% say Obama has nation headed in right direction

Pollster John Zogby reports in our weekly White House report card that President Obama's numbers are mixed, both in approval rating and right-direction, wrong-direction.
"I am a numbers guy and the numbers are mixed. Troubling for Obama is that so few Americans feel the U.S. is headed in the right direction (29 percent average) and that the stock market is falling. This could be the inevitable correction and the obvious impact of the Fed's tapering.
“He is also still upside down in public opinion toward Obamacare, though the gap between supporters and opponents is not really widening.
“On the flip side, his approval numbers are averaging at 43 percent, more like 44 percent in the most recent polls, and the numbers of applications for jobless benefits are considerably down. Unemployment is down to 6.6 percent, and only 113,000 new jobs were created, but November and December job numbers have been revised up.
“CBO comes out with a report that appears to be two-handed — Obamacare discourages people from staying on the job one day, but the next day, it encourages people to stay working. Thanks for the clarity, guys.
“And House Speaker John Boehner says there will be no immigration reform law this year, playing to his base and helping the president play to his."
Grade -- C


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- A senior Iranian naval commander says his country has sent several warships to the Atlantic Ocean, close to U.S. maritime borders for the first time.

The commander of Iran's Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, is quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying Saturday that the vessels have already begun the journey to the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa.

Iranian officials said last month that the fleet consisted of a destroyer and a logistic helicopter carrier, which will be on a three-month mission.

Haddad says the fleet is approaching U.S. maritime borders for the first time. The Islamic Republic considers the move as a response to U.S. naval deployments near its own coastlines. The U.S. Navy's 5th fleet is based in nearby Bahrain.

Via: AP

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Republican Weekly Address: Saturday February 8, 2014

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) delivers Weekly GOP Address on supporting our veterans


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Postal Service lost $354 million over the last three months, and officials warned that mounting losses could lead to cash flow problems for the rest of the year, the agency said Friday.

The loss was far less than the $1.3 billion in the comparable quarter the previous fiscal year, but Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe continued to press Congress to give the agency more flexibility to manage its finances.
The report for the financial quarter ending December 31 comes as Congress works toward fixing the agency's troubled finances. On Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved a bill that would end Saturday mail delivery and make permanent a temporary hike in the cost of a first-class stamp, which went from 46 to 49 cents on Jan. 26.
The Senate measure also would restructure a congressional requirement that forces the agency to make a $5.6 billion annual payment for future retiree health benefits. The Postal Service has been urging Congress to reform the service's finances as it continues to cope with steep financial losses. The Postal Service lost $5 billion in the last fiscal year, down from $15.9 billion in 2012.
"We cannot return the organization to long-term financial stability without passage of comprehensive postal reform legislation," Donahoe said.
On the positive side, the Postal Service said revenue grew by $334 million, driven by a 14.6 percent growth in shipping and package services that saw a boost from the holiday season. But first-class mail declined 4.6 percent, as more customers shift to the Internet to pay bills and send emails.
Postal unions have complained that the Senate bill goes too far in calling for an end to Saturday mail delivery once mail volume drops below 140 billion pieces over four consecutive quarters. They claim the move would hurt consumers and lead to thousands of job cuts.
"Today's Postal Service figures for the first quarter of 2014 are highly encouraging and show why the postal network must be maintained and strengthened, not degraded," said Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
The bulk of the agency's financial problems stem from the federally mandated annual payments to cover expected health care costs for future retirees. It has defaulted on three of those payments and warned Friday that it is likely to default again when the next payment is due on Sept. 30.
The federal budget bill that Congress approved last month requires six-day delivery to continue, meaning the U.S. Postal Service won't be able to cut Saturday mail anytime soon.
Via: Breitbart
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Obama Weekly Address Highlights Executive Action He Has Started Taking: ‘I’ve Got a Pen and a Phone’

President Barack Obama highlighted in his weekly  address Saturday some of the executive actions he has taken this year, warning Congress once again that he will not stand by and wait for them to act on a host of issues.
“I want to work with Congress on this agenda where I can,” Obama said. “But in this year of action, whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, I will.”
“I’ve got a pen and a phone…”
“I’ve got a pen and a phone – a pen to take executive action, and a phone to rally citizens and business leaders who are eager to create new jobs and new opportunities,” he continued. “And we’ve already begun.”
Among a series of moves, Obama noted that he has ordered “across-the-board reform of our training programs” and directed the U.S. Department of Treasury to create “my-RA.”
“So when you hear me talk about using my pen and my phone to make a difference for middle class Americans and those working to get into the middle class, that’s what I mean,” he said. “And I’m going to keep asking students and parents and business leaders to help – because there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, ready to move this country forward, and determined to restore the founding vision of opportunity for all.”

The Media's Most Outrageous Olympic Outbursts: Ridiculing Republicans

Sports fans checking in on coverage of Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia might want to brace themselves for unexpected outbursts of liberal preaching from reporters covering the games.
Over the years the MRC has documented lefty reporters and writers using the games to celebrate socialist policies, bash expressions of patriotism and even work in jabs against Republicans. In the spirit of the games, the most outrageous journalists are competing with each other in three events for the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. Today's competition: The “We'll Find a Way to Ridicule Republicans Even in Our Olympic Coverage” Event. Click the Read More button to see who takes home the gold!
Day one results here.
Day two results here.
 The “We’ll Find a Way to Ridicule Republicans Even in Our Olympic Coverage” Event
 We Interrupt Your Sports Report to Remind You People Hate the Bush Administration (runner-up)
 “At the last minute Secretary of State Colin Powell canceled his trip to Athens. He had planned to attend tomorrow’s closing ceremony. Just hours before that happened Greek activists hung a huge banner on the Acropolis. It said, ‘Powell Killer Go Home.’”
— NBC’s Lester Holt on Today, August 8, 2004.
Via: Newsbusters

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McCain: Bob Costas ‘Doesn’t Know What the Hell He’s Talking About’

During an appearance on Fox News with Neil Cavuto Friday afternoon, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) weighed in on what he, and other critics, viewed as a too-friendly report on Russian president Vladimir Putin that NBC’s Bob Costasdelivered during last night’s Olympics coverage. “Bob Costas ought to stick to sports,” McCain said, “because he obviously didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.”
After Cavuto confirmed McCain knew he was being recorded, the senator continued with his analysis. “Mr. Costas giving him this kind of credit borders on the ludicrous,” McCain said.
Costas’ report touched on many aspects of Putin’s political career in Russia, giving him some level of credit for helping to prevent U.S. air strikes in Syria and getting Iran to the negotiating table on the issue of nuclear development.
“I have admired Bob Costas’ knowledge of sports and his in-depth analysis from time to time. I watch his program quite often,” McCain said. “But on this one, Bob, stick to the hockey games, will you?”

1,154,000 Fewer Americans Working Today Than 6 Years Ago

Unemployment Benefits( - 1,154,000 fewer Americans are working today than six years ago, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In January 2008, 146,378,000 Americans 16 and over were employed, and now in January 2014, 145,224,000 are employed, a difference of 1,154,000.
91,455,000 Americans 16 or older did not participate in the nation’s labor force in January, meaning they neither held a job nor actively sought one. That's a 353,000 decline from December, but 172,000 more than November.
The national labor force participation rate -- the share of Americans who had a job or were actively looking for one -- ticked up to 63 percent in January, from 62.8 percent in December.
In January, according to BLS, the nation’s civilian non-institutional population, consisting of all people 16 or older who were not in the military, a nursing home or other institution, reached 246,915,000 (number not seasonally adjusted). Of those, 155,460,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.
jobs chart
The 155,460,000 who participated in the labor force equaled only 63.0 percent of the 246,915,000 civilian non-institutional population.

Goodnight to “Tonight Show” as California’s Star Shines Less Bright

The legendary Tonight Show with Jay Leno will have its last hurrah in “Beautiful Downtown Burbank” before packing for New York. Another entertainment show that is leaving Southern California and taking with it about 160 jobs.
As reported, when Leno replacement Jimmy Fallon as a guest on the show recently “naively joked to the house band, “Hey, what are you guys up to in two weeks?” “Oh, they’ll be looking for work,” Leno assured Fallon, jumping on Fallon’s throw-away question/blunder. “They’re actually washing cars in my garage.”
It’s another chapter in the on-going tale of California’s marquee identity being tarnished. A report released last month by Film L.A. said filming in Los Angeles City and County fell 50-percent since 1996 and television production dropped 40-percent since 2008. Even when there is an uptick in production it often occurs in less costly venues such as TV reality shows.
Film incentive programs from other states and around the world are luring away productions and jobs.
The report will add fuel to the debate in the state capitol over whether to increase California’s tax credit program. There are plenty of instances of runaway production, but a glaring example was discussed in a Wall Street Journal article recently in which a studio executive commented that a California-centric movie be filmed in Vancouver “and roll in some palm trees to make it look like L.A.”
There is great motivation to save the California brand that is the movie industry. Assembly member Raul Bocanegra, chairman of the Revenue and Tax Committee, has made it a point to fight for an increased credit in an effort to save jobs.
However, the film tax credit increase has met opposition from those who say one industry should not be singled out for a break — especially an industry whose image is of wealth and glamour. The reality is, that image doesn’t hold for thousands of workers who labor in the industry in what is often referred to as “below the line” – the folks who make the movies and TV shows work but don’t have their names in lights.
Given the importance of the entertainment industry to California’s image and psyche, the reality of runaway production, and the state’s current budget situation, the chances of an increased tax credit being approved by the legislature is good.

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