Monday, July 8, 2013

Thanks to Obama, freedom-loving Canadians get the last laugh! ^ | 7/8/2012 | John R. Smith

Not so many years ago, Americans could be heard snickering at our Canadian friends. “Socialists” was an epithet I heard muttered about Canadians and their political system.
That’s changed. Something electrifying has happened, a new dawn for Canadians.

Nowadays, “wrong-way” Canada is beating the pants off the United States in the pursuit of economic freedom.

How did this happen? ...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Why Obama Will Not Admit Mistakes

Shout Bits Blog ^ | 7/8/2013 | Shout Bits

The Old Media's strongest advantage against Pres. Bush (43) was pressing him to admit he had made mistakes. The Left hammered the meme until well after Bush left office. They argued that Bush was too stupid to recognize his mistakes, or he was too arrogant to acknowledge them. In hind-sight, nobody was clairvoyant, and many mistakes were made. Iraq, the war everybody hated and Sen. Reid said was lost, is largely won, and the war's goals achieved. Perhaps the price was not worth the results, but there are results. The war most people including Sen. Obama supported, Afghanistan, is probably lost. Currently Pres. Karzai and the US are negotiating a shared power arrangement with the enemy, the Taliban. Afghanistan is going down as "peace with honor," A.K.A. defeat. These and many other outcomes were not planned and were the result of some mistakes and misunderstandings. So, why did Bush not admit his team made some mistakes? Will Pres. Obama admit his own Mid-East mistakes?
The answer for Bush's intransigence is the same as for Obama's – he is actually quite politically savvy. Bush knew that the OM press was not interested in his introspection and regrets; the OM simply wanted another cudgel in their war against his agenda. Bush was caught in an unwinnable bind – admitting mistakes was slightly worse than denying them. Either way, the OM was building an anti-Bush campaign to destroy his reputation, so he had no incentive to participate. Once Bush left office, he did admit the mistakes that were obvious, and the OM pounced as he must have expected.
Obama finds himself in a similar position as did Bush. Like Bush, he has badly underestimated the complexity of Mid-East politics and society. As if Obama paid no attention to Iraq, he assumed that revolutions across the Arab world would organically result in greater democracy and peace. The lesson of Palestine cannot be clearer – novice electorates do not make wise choices absent a republican framework.
Still, Obama blundered on. Much as Pres. Eisenhower used Radio Free Europe to encourage the Czechs to revolt against Russia and then watched their slaughter, Obama sent smoke signals of support to the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama's Dir. Of National Intelligence, Clapper,called the Muslim Brotherhood "moderate" and "secular" despite their history of radical Islamic terrorism. Nobody should have been surprised when the Muslim Brotherhood won Egypt's elections, and quickly suspended civil liberties in favor of Islamic law. Now Egypt is under martial law and dozens of people are dying violently each day.
Likewise in Libya, Obama threw a hand-grenade into the room with no end-game plan. Libya has yet to resolve, but there is little sign for hope for government secularism. Only in Syria, where Pres. Assad's reign of international terrorism is among the worst possible arrangements, did Obama hesitate to throw his weight around. Further, as if on cue, Obama has sent Sec. Kerry to Israel to broker a peace agreement. Obama has alienated Israel and thrown most of the US's Mid-East allies under the bus, so the notion that anyone in the region would trust a deal brokered by Obama the grenade thrower is ridiculous.
Obama has made a historic mess of the US's Mid-East interests – far worse than did Bush. Faith, friendship, and respect are all lost thanks to Obama's errors, but will he admit them? No. Obama is a capable politician, and he will evade questions as did Bush. Of course, Obama's allies in the OM are not asking him to admit mistakes, despite their obviousness. The independent media needs to start asking Obama and his staffers the same loaded questions Bush avoided. The independent media needs to ask what mistakes Obama might confess and force him to sidestep them indelicately as did Bush. Through inexperience, arrogance, or a misguided plan to transform the Mid-East, Obama has handed his adversaries a sword that they have yet to wield. It is past time to back Obama into the same corner that frustrated Bush.
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Who Is Racist?

Creators Syndicate ^ | July 9, 2013 | Thomas Sowell

I am so old that I can remember when most of the people promoting race hate were white.
Apparently other Americans also recognize that the sources of racism are different today from what they were in the past. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 31 percent of blacks think that most blacks are racists, while 24 percent of blacks think that most whites are racist.
The difference between these percentages is not great, but it is remarkable nevertheless. After all, generations of blacks fought the white racism from which they suffered for so long. If many blacks themselves now think that most other blacks are racist, that is startling.
The moral claims advanced by generations of black leaders — claims that eventually touched the conscience of the nation and turned the tide toward civil rights for all — have now been cheapened by today's generation of black "leaders," who act as if it is all just a matter of whose ox is gored.
Even in legal cases involving terrible crimes — the O.J. Simpson murder trial or the charges of gang rape against Duke University students — many black "leaders" and their followers have not waited for facts about who was guilty and who was not, but have immediately taken sides, based on who was black and who was white.
Among whites, according to the same Rasmussen poll, 38 percent consider most blacks racist and 10 percent consider most whites racist.
Broken down by politics, the same poll showed that 49 percent of Republicans consider most blacks racist, as do 36 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama: “The government is us, and we’re doing things right”

Washington Examiner ^ | July 8,2013 | BY CHARLIE SPIERING

In a statement Monday, President Obama explained that Americans should not be cynical about the government inefficiencies, citing several examples of his administration’s effort to develop new technologies to improve government.
“We can’t just take comfort in being cynical. We all have a stake in government success, because the government is us and we’re doing things right,” he insisted.
Obama pointed out that the federal government was “saving lives” by delivering data on health care costs and by tracking weather effectively.
Obama also complained that a lot of poorly designed legislation was bogging down government officials in their effort to streamline services.
"We're doing a lot of this work administratively but unfortunately there are still a bunch of rules, a lot of legislation that has poorly designed some of our agencies and forces folks to engage in bureaucratic jump-hoop - hoop jumping - instead of just going ahead and focusing on mission and delivering good service to our citizens," he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama in Africa: Don’t you hate it when multiculturalism bites you in the ass?

Dewey From Detroit ^ | 7-8-2013 | Dewey From Detroit


Don’t you hate it when multiculturalism bites you in the ass?

African leaders last week rejected President Obama’s self-righteous proclamation of American moral superiority with respect to recognizing the rights of homosexuals. He criticized his host nations’ refusal to accept homosexuality and gay unions as normal.

Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi and president of the Kenyan Episcopal Conference, effectively schooled him on both good manners and good faith:

“Those people who have already ruined their society…let them not become our teachers to tell us where to go,” said Njue in response to Obama’s statements promoting same-sex marriage. “I think we need to act according to our own traditions and our faiths.”

And from Kenya, homeland of Obama’s father, lest we ever forget, Deputy President William Ruto said:

“Those who believe in other things, that is their business…We believe in God.”

That must have served as a particularly bracing rebuke: our el Presidente is  accustomed to being idolized by the masses and underlings. His proclamations are never, ever seriously challenged by the little people. Bad enough he’s had to be annoyed by that little ex-KGB gnat from Russia, but who, exactly, do these tin pot African leaders think they are?

So listen up progressives, here’s the take-away: you can’t have it both ways. If you cram multiculturalism down our throats, you can’t then turn around and tell other cultures to modify their societal norms to comport with your concept of superior moral codes. That just seems to be so, so…colonial!  But since Progressives like our President suffer from either an inability to recognize contradiction or a high tolerance for incongruity, this internal conflict eludes them...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Schumer Swiss Cheese Act (Immigration Act)

Flopping Aces ^ | 07-07-13 | DrJohn

border security act
If you liked Obamacare, you're going to love the farce that is the immigration bill. It is, as with all things Obama, meaningless and entirely unenforceable.
In short, it's crap.
It is now common fare for Barack Obama to, at his whim, unilaterally alter laws passed by Congress. As it became obvious that Obamacare was going to be a major problem for democrats in the 2014 election, king obama waved his hand and waived the parts of the law that would adversely affect the election.
Such are the indulgences incorporated in the legislation that were the immigration bill to become law it would basically make Obama a dictator- free to mangle and manipulate any and all parts of the law.
The bill allows Janet Napolitano to do pretty much whatever she wants:

Here is the key provision, as part of section 3214(b) dealing with family unification. The section gives the Secretary discretion to waive the provisions as to removal, deportation and inadmissibility of illegal aliens not just for family ”hardship” (which itself is huge) but for any reason the Secretary deems in the ”public interest.”I have highlighted and marked the key portion of the section to point out key wording:
The section goes on to take discretion away from the Secretary for aliens who have committed certain specified crimes, but otherwise the Secretary can do pretty much whatever she wants in terms of waiving removal or deportation of a person attempting to enter the country or in the country illegally based on her determination of the “public interest.”There are similar provisions in section 3215 as to admissibility into the United States.
The bill includes bribes to buy off Senators:
(Excerpt)

Former MSNBC Producer: MSNBC Is 'Official Network of the Obama White House' ^ | July 8, 2013 | Noel Sheppard

A former senior producer for MSNBC came out with harsh words for his former network Sunday.

Writing at the far-left AlterNet, Jeff Cohen - the former senior producer of MSNBC's Donahue show - said, "When it comes to issues of U.S. militarism and spying, the allegedly 'progressive' MSNBC often seems closer to the 'official network of the Obama White House' than anything resembling an independent channel":

Had McCain or Romney defeated Obama and implemented the exact same policies, treating whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden as foreign espionage agents, one would expect MSNBC hosts to be loudly denouncing the Republican abuses of authority. 
But with Obama in power, a number of MSNBC talking heads have reacted to the Snowden disclosures like Fox News hosts did when they were in hysterical damage control mode for Bush – complete with ridiculously fact-free claims and national chauvinism that we’ve long come to expect from the “fair & balanced” channel.
Cohen then gave some examples:

As Snowden arrived in Russia from Hong Kong, MSNBC host Ed Schultz blustered on about Snowden as a “punk” and “coward.” Railing about the “security of the country” in tones Hannity would approve of, Schultz questioned Snowden’s patriotism and credibility, asking: “If the United States of America is doing something so egregiously wrong in its surveillance program, how come he’s the only one speaking up? 
In O’Reilly-like blissful ignorance, Schultz seemed unaware of the three NSA whistleblowers who’d loudly spoken up way earlier than Snowden – and gathered for an illuminating USA Today interview a week before his tirade.
I watched one MSNBC host function as an auxiliary prosecutor in Obama’s Justice Department, going after Snowden – while trying to link WikiLeaks and journalist Glenn Greenwald to criminal flight. 
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry has been condemning Snowden by contrasting him with civil disobedients who “love their country” and submit to arrest – while Snowden just wants to “ save his own skin.” She proclaimed: “This is different. This is dangerous to our nation.” Should we similarly dismiss Dan Ellsberg, who leaked the top secret Pentagon Papers to a dozen newspapers in 1971 by going on the lam from the FBI. Or Watergate’s “Deep Throat,” who saved his own skin by hiding his identity for 30 years after leaking secrets that helped crash the Nixon presidency?
Cohen also wasn't pleased with MSNBC's star Rachel Maddow:

After doing a typically thorough presentation on the force-down of President’s Morales’ plane, she ended her report by expressing displeasure only that Washington had apparently gotten allies to go out on the limb “for nothing.” Her objection to the harassment seemed to be: it hadn’t succeeded. I didn’t hear opposition to the action had Snowden actually been on board and apprehended.
Most deliciously, the title of Cohen's piece is "How Do You Know When President Obama is Lying? MSNBC's 'Progressive' Hosts Won’t Tell You."
Of course, I wouldn't limit MSNBC's shill-like nature to matters of U.S. militarism and spying.
With every issue you can name, this farce has acted as the "official network of the Obama White House."
When will cable and satellite providers finally realize it?
(HT @SetonMotley)

ObamaCare on the Brink

Real Clear Politics ^ | July 8, 2013 | Ben Domenech

I hope you will forgive me for assuming the Obama administration was merely bumping their normal Friday news dump forward to before the July 4th holiday, with their announcement that they would effectively delay the employer mandate’s implementation for a year. This was not the case – instead, the much bigger news, and far more devastating to any remaining claims that Obamacare is being properly implemented, was buried on Friday: the news that the most significant entitlement increase since the Great Society will be operating on the honor system.
Sarah Kliff and Sandhya Somashekhar report: “The Obama administration announced Friday that it would significantly scale back the health law’s requirements that new insurance marketplaces verify consumers’ income and health insurance status. Instead, the federal government will rely more heavily on consumers’ self-reported information until 2015, when it plans to have stronger verification systems in place… After encountering “legislative and operational barriers,” the federal government will not require the District and the 16 states that are running their own marketplaces to verify a consumer’s statement that they do not receive health insurance from their employer… The federal government will, however, conduct an audit for the states where it is managing the new insurance Web portal. The rule also scaled back states’ responsibilities to double-check the income levels that consumers report, which determine any tax subsidy they receive.” Note the fun quote from Timothy Jost about how this is all totally cool.
Subsidize first, ask questions later. “We have concluded that the…proposed rule is not feasible for implementation for the first year of operations,” say the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “The exchange may accept the applicant’s attestation regarding enrollment in an eligible employer-sponsored plan…without further verification, instead of following the procedure in §155.320(d)(3)(iii).” And it’s not just there. The feds...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Recovery woes: America´s second-largest employer is a temp agency

Washington Examiner ^ | 7/8/13 | Ashe Schow

Behind Wal-Mart, the second-largest employer in America is Kelly Services, a temporary work provider. Friday´s disappointing jobs report showed that part-time jobs are at an all-time high, with 28 million Americans now working part-time.

The report also showed another disturbing fact: There are now a record number of Americans with temporary jobs. Approximately 2.7 million, in fact. And the trend has been growing. In the first quarter of 2013, U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.86 million temporary and contract workers, according to the American Staffing Association.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Yes, Delaying Obamacare’s Employer Mandate Is Illegal

Nicholas Bagley, a professor of law at the University of Michigan, suggeststhat maybe there is a legal rationale for the Obama administration’s delaying these provisions. So let’s take each provision in turn.
1) Has Congress given Treasury the authority to waive the penalties? The answer is no. The employer-mandate penalties unequivocally take effect on January 1, 2014, and the PPACA gives the Treasury secretary no authority to postpone their imposition.
Every element of the employer mandate demonstrates that it takes effect in 2014.
  • If any worker at a firm with more than 50 full-time-equivalent employees receives a tax credit through a health insurance “exchange,” then “there is hereby imposed on the employer an assessable payment.” Those tax credits become available on January 1, 2014. Thus that is also the date on which the penalties take effect.
  • The statute specifies penalty amounts that apply specifically in 2014, and provides that those penalties shall be adjusted for inflation in years after 2014.
  • The section creating the employer mandate even contains an effective date: “The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.”
The statute gives the Treasury secretary the authority to collect these penalties “on an annual, monthly, or other periodic basis as the Secretary may prescribe.” It does not allow the secretary to waive the imposition of such penalties, except in one circumstance: Section 1332 authorizes the Treasury secretary to waive the employer mandate, but only as part of a state-specific waiver, and only if the state enacts a law that would provide equally comprehensive health insurance to as many residents, and only if that law would impose no additional cost to the federal government, and only if there is a “meaningful level of public input” over the waiver and its approval, and even then not until 2017. In other words, Congress spoke to the question of whether and when the executive should be able to waive the employer mandate, and Congress clearly did not want the administration to waive it unless certain specified conditions were met.
Nevertheless, Treasury claims it has the authority to waive those penalties without following Congress’ instructions: “[T]he employer shared responsibility payments…will not apply for 2014. Any employer shared responsibility payments will not apply until 2015.”
2) Has Congress given Treasury the authority to waive the reporting requirement? Again, the answer is no.
The PPACA added two sections to the Internal Revenue Code (sections 6055 & 6056) that require employers to report certain information on their health benefits and the workers who enroll in that coverage, in order to help the IRS determine whether those workers are eligible for tax credits and whether the employer is subject to penalties. Again, the statute is clear: those reporting requirements take effect in “calendar years beginning after 2013” and “periods beginning after December 31, 2013.” The statute contains no language authorizing Treasury to waive those requirements.
Bagley argues the statute does contain language that might enable Treasury to delay the imposition of these reporting requirements. Sections 6055 & 6056 state that employers must furnish this information “at such time as the Secretary may prescribe.” He writes, “Delaying the reporting requirements until 2015 is arguably just a specification of the ‘time’ at which the reports must be submitted.”
This theory reflects a misunderstanding of what an effective date is. When Congress imposes an obligation on some party, that obligation becomes effective on the effective date. The secretary’s discretion to prescribe the time at which the affected party must discharge that obligation neither affects the existence of the obligation, nor empowers the secretary to repeal it.
One might argue that Treasury has the authority to say employers need not report the required information regarding their 2014 health benefits offerings until, say, the next year, when they report the same information for their 2015 offerings. Yet that is not what Treasury is doing. Treasuryclaims it can altogether eliminate the obligation to report the 2014 information: “The Administration…will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin.”
Moreover, if the language Bagley cites were interpreted to permit Treasury to waive the mandate and reporting requirements for 2014, is there any reason why that interpretation would not empower Treasury waive those provisions indefinitely? Could the secretary determine employers need discharge these obligations every 1,000 years? If not, why not?
Finally, Bagley concludes no one would have standing to challenge these actions in court. Thus even if the administration’s actions are illegal, he writes, “So what?”
Let’s assume for the moment that Bagley is correct on the standing issue. Here’s “what.” The law is a mutual compact between the government and the people. The more the government acts as though it is not bound by that the law, the more widespread will be the belief among the people that they are not bound by the law, either. That would be a very bad situation. There are already enough people out there who believe the government is not bound by the law that President Obama feels it is worth his time to counsel Americans to “reject these voices” – even as his actions lend credence to them, and further diminish respect for the law. That’s a “what” that I figured law professors understood.

The IRS Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers! (Another day, another cock-up by the Internal Revenue Service.

National Journal ^ | July 8, 2013 | Brian Fung

Another day, another slipup by the Internal Revenue Service.

The incident involves the unwitting exposure of "tens of thousands" of Social Security numbers, according to a recent audit by the independent transparency and public-domain group The identifying numbers were on the Internet for less than 24 hours after being discovered, but the damage was done. And unfortunately, the data-breach concerns some of the most sensitive types of transactions: Those made by nonprofit political groups known as 527s.
Every so often, 527s have to file tax forms to the IRS, which then get added to a database. The database itself is hardly a secret; the IRS has been sending updated records routinely to and other public-interest groups, and it's a favorite among political reporters. But when the IRS told the group's founder, Carl Malamud, to disregard the Form 990-Ts included in the agency's January release, he took a closer look at the files in question.
After analyzing the breach, Malamud wrote a letter to the IRS pointing out 10 instances where a social security number was accidentally revealed on the government's website—just a small sample of the larger breach.
Just the day before, Malamud had filed another letter to the agency describing a problem with the 990-Ts. Of over 3,000 tax returns contained in the January update, 319 contained sensitive data the agency should have scrubbed, Malamud wrote in the July 1 report that he filed to the inspector general's office. In that mixup, some 2,319 social security numbers—perhaps more—were revealed.
"To determine the extent of the exposure, we’ve analyzed our logs and have also analyzed the data received from the IRS. We maintain a privacy registry based on any clicks made on the privacy cover sheet on the top of each return. That registry indicates that 8 clicks were made from 4 unique IP addresses. However, none of those resulted in privacy complaints and could have been made by an automated process."
"In addition, we examined our FTP and HTTP logs. We only maintain a 7-day window for HTTP logs and did not see any HTTP-based access that was not from a search engine crawler. For the FTP logs (which indicates bulk download activity), we did not see extensive activity for the January directory, but it was clear that at least one copy of the DVD ISO image (the image of the original DVD) had been transferred." took down its copy of the compromised 990-Ts and replaced them with a clean version that the IRS had sent. But it was another day before "senior White House officials" the IRS removed the files from public view on their end, on July 3.
Calling the IRS's efforts at data security "unprofessional and amateur," is requesting that the IRS shut down the entire 527 database to prevent further lapses. In an email, Malamud told me that the IRS has, in fact, shut down the database—but that it should also reopen it as soon as possible in the interest of transparency.
In May, the IRS drew fire for singling out conservative political groups for greater scrutiny, leading to the resignation of the agency's acting director and sparking a slew of congressional hearings.
I've called the IRS for comment, and I'll update if I hear anything.
Update: An earlier version of this post didn't make sufficiently clear the distinction between the 990-Ts and the 527 database, which are each the source of separate, if similar, problems. Both the tax documents and the database revealed social security numbers; the IRS sent a clean copy of the first but didn't fix the second until Malamud contacted the agency.

White House's Fast And Furious Claims Another Victim

Investor's Business Daily ^ | July 8, 2013 | IBD EDITORIALS

Scandal: The administration's gun-running fiasco claims the life of a Mexican police chief, revealing that the weapons have made it into the hands of drug cartels deep inside Mexico.
It's been lost in the litany of Obama scandals, but Fast and Furious, like Benghazi, is one that has produced a body count, in this case one that's still rising as the White House and Department of Justice continue to restrict and hinder access to related documents. Attorney General Eric Holder remains in contempt of Congress for his role in the ongoing cover-up.
President Obama's contempt for the rule of law hit a new low when, on the eve of a vote to hold the AG in contempt of Congress, he granted Holder's 11th-hour request to hide sought-after documents on Operation Fast and Furious under the cover of executive privilege.
One internal document obtained by the Los Angeles Times shows how deadly Fast and Furious was and continues to be with the death Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, police chief in the city of Hostotipaquillo. He was shot to death Jan. 29 when gunmen intercepted his patrol car and opened fire. A bodyguard was also killed.
A semi-automatic WASR rifle, the firearm that killed the chief, was traced back to the Lone Wolf Trading Company, a gun store in Glendale, Ariz. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) allowed illegal purchasers to buy the firearms at the Lone Wolf store in the Phoenix suburb and other gun shops in the Southwest.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

58,000 Californians to lose current insurance under Obamacare

Daily Caller ^ | July 2, 2013 | Sarah Hurtubise

The nation’s largest health insurance company has decided to stop covering individuals in the nation’s largest state.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. said that it will not participate in California’s individual health insurance market beginning Jan. 1, 2014, when Obamacare regulations will take effect, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Last month, insurance giant Aetna also announced that it will no longer cover individual Californians. Together, the companies’ decision to stop providing individual coverage will affect 58,000 existing customers in California.
The move is a result of new Affordable Care Act requirements for insurance companies to accept all applicants for individual coverage, including those with preexisting conditions. The law also requires insurers provide a bevy of new benefits for their customers.
Problems with implementing the health care law have plagued the Obama administration, despite the president’s oft-repeated assurance that “if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

But, but...


The HHS Terminator


What caused it?


The Pathetic Truth


Everyone Knew?


We Don't Negotiate


What to do?


The Hoax


The Delinquent Gentleman


The Gangs of DC




The Unconstitutional


Poor Guy!




Fix the image




Liberal Logic


Heard this before?


"Under my plan"


Obama's America


Great Job, GOP


What could go wrong?






My Turn


Texas 2016 poll: Ted Cruz is king

Politico ^ | 07/03/2013 | Tal Kopan

Sen. Ted Cruz is the favorite in his home state of Texas for Republicans in 2016, a new poll finds, but any Republican might have a close general election race with Hillary Clinton.
Cruz led all potential candidates for the 2016 GOP primary by at least 12 percentage points, picking up the support of 27 percent of those surveyed in Public Policy Polling’s new poll.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was second, with 15 percent of those surveyed. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul both were chosen by 11 percent, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan 9 percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was sixth with 7 percent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio only got 6 percent.
(QUIZ: Do you know Ted Cruz?)
When each candidate was paired against potential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the poll showed some candidates might be in for a tough race. Cruz would beat Clinton 49 percent to 44 percent, the survey found, and Clinton would beat Perry 48 percent to 44 percent.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

How Do You Know When President Obama Is Lying?

Jeff Cohen

I was a young person when I first heard the quip: "How do you know when the President is lying? His lips are moving." At the time, President Nixon was expanding the war in Vietnam to other countries and deploying the White House "plumbers" to commit crimes against antiwar leakers.
Forty years have passed. Sadly, these days, often when I see President Obama moving his lips, I assume he's lying.
Like Nixon, our current president is prolonging an endless, borderless and counter-productive war ("on terror") and waging a parallel war against "national security" leakers that makes the plumbers' burglary of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office look almost quaint.
The World War I vintage Espionage Act, originally used to imprison socialists for making antiwar speeches, has been used by the administration against whistleblowers with a vengeance unprecedented in history: eight leakers have been charged with Espionage under Obama, compared to three under all previous presidents. The Obama administration has prosecuted not a single CIA torturer, but has imprisoned a CIA officer who talked about torture with a journalist. National Security Agency official Thomas Drake, who was unable to get abuses fixed internally, now has a criminal record forcommunicating with a reporter years ago about sweeping domestic surveillance.
So there I was watching Obama's lips move about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden at a June 27 press conference. Saying he wouldn't be "scrambling military jets to go after a 29-year-old hacker," Obama added that he would not "start wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues, simply to get a guy extradited."
I didn't believe a word of it.
Given Obama's war on whistleblowers and journalists who utilize them, and given the Army's abusive treatment of military whistleblower Bradley Manning (apparently aimed at getting him to implicate WikiLeaks), it's inconceivable that Obama was truly blasé about Snowden. To deter future whistleblowers, Snowden would have to be caught and made an example of - and probably mistreated (like Manning, in hopes of getting him to turn against WikiLeaks and even journalist Glenn Greenwald).
As his lips were moving, Obama knew well that he would go to extreme lengths to prevent this articulate young man from securing asylum in some Latin American country, where he could continue to inform the world's media about the Surveillance State that has blossomed alongside the Warfare State under the Bush and Obama administrations.
That Obama wasn't truthful became clear when the U.S. campaign of "wheeling and dealing" led to possible asylum countries retreating in fear one after another (Vice President Biden was deployed to pressure Ecuador's president by phone). And even clearer with last week's outrageous, international law-breaking that effectively forced down the presidential plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales.
And if Obama eventually does scramble jets to force down a plane with Snowden on board, the commander-in-chief will be applauded for taking bold and decisive action by mainstream TV talking heads, "national security" experts and the opposition he seems most intent on pleasing: conservatives. Criticism from civil libertarian and peace voices (or unions and environmentalists, for that matter) has rarely daunted Obama.
The bipartisan consensus in support of our bloated Military/Surveillance State -- which so undermines our society as a whole -- is reflected in Congress and both the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as mainstream media.
When it comes to issues of U.S. militarism and spying, the allegedly "progressive" MSNBC often seems closer to the "official network of the Obama White House" than anything resembling an independent channel. With a few exceptions (especially Chris Hayes), MSNBC has usually reacted to expanded militarism and surveillance by downplaying the abuses or defending them.
Had McCain or Romney defeated Obama and implemented the exact same policies, treating whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden as foreign espionage agents, one would expect MSNBC hosts to be loudly denouncing the Republican abuses of authority.
But with Obama in power, a number of MSNBC talking heads have reacted to the Snowden disclosures like Fox News hosts did when they were in hysterical damage control mode for Bush - complete with ridiculously fact-free claims and national chauvinism that we've long come to expect from the "fair & balanced" channel.
As Snowden arrived in Russia from Hong Kong, MSNBC host Ed Schultz blustered onabout Snowden as a "punk" and "coward." Railing about the "security of the country" in tones Hannity would approve of, Schultz questioned Snowden's patriotism and credibility, asking: "If the United States of America is doing something so egregiously wrong in its surveillance program, how come he's the only one speaking up?
In O'Reilly-like blissful ignorance, Schultz seemed unaware of the three NSA whistleblowers who'd loudly spoken up way earlier than Snowden -- and gathered for an illuminating group interview with USA Today a week before his tirade.
I watched one MSNBC host function as an auxiliary prosecutor in Obama's Justice Department, going after Snowden -- while trying to link WikiLeaks and journalist Glenn Greenwald to criminal flight.
MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry has been condemning Snowden by contrasting him with civil disobedients who "love their country" and submit to arrest -- while Snowden just wants to "save his own skin." She proclaimed: "This is different. This is dangerous to our nation." Should we similarly dismiss Dan Ellsberg, who leaked the top secret Pentagon Papers to a dozen newspapers in 1971 by going on the lam from the FBI. Or Watergate's "Deep Throat," who saved his own skin by hiding his identity for 30 years after leaking secrets that helped crash the Nixon presidency? 

In a bizarre monologue attacking Snowden (who's risked plenty, in my view), Harris-Perry hailed those who engage in civil disobedience for being willing "to risk your own freedom, your own body in order to bring attention to something that needs to be known. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested, attacked, smeared. Nelson Mandela went to prison for 27 years." (My emphasis.)
Nelson Mandela? He wasn't a civil disobedient who gave himself up. He was a fugitive, fleeing the apartheid police. He was on the lam domestically, like Snowden is now internationally. And some reports indicate that South African authorities were able to nab Mandela thanks to the U.S. CIA (one of the agencies now on the hunt for Snowden).
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has also disappointed. After doing a typically thorough presentation on the force-down of President's Morales' plane, she ended her report by expressing displeasure only that Washington had apparently gotten allies to go out on the limb "for nothing." Her objection to the harassment seemed to be: it hadn't succeeded. I didn't hear opposition to the action had Snowden actually been on board and apprehended.
The Snowden/NSA story proves once again that -- especially on so-called "national security" issues -- we need strong, independent media not enmeshed with the corporate/political power structure and not allied with one of the two corporate parties.
We can't count on MSNBC to heed the lesson taught by legendary independent journalist I.F. "Izzy" Stone, after years reporting from Washington: "All governments lie and nothing they say should be believed."
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Jeff Cohen was an MSNBC pundit and senior producer in 2002-3 until being terminatedfor political reasons, along with Phil Donahue, on the eve of the Iraq invasion. He is director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, founder of the media watch group FAIR, and author of "Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media." He cofounded the online action group, which has petitioned for Snowden.