Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Don't Write Those Tea Party Obituaries Just Yet!

Townhall.com ^ | March 4, 2014 | Michael Barone
February marked the fifth anniversary of the reemergence of the label "Tea Party" in American politics. It was in February 2009 that Rick Santelli delivered his famous rant on CNBC, and a few days later, a group calling itself the Tea Party Patriots was organized. Today the conventional wisdom is that the Tea Party movement is exhausted. Polls are cited showing that only one quarter of Americans express approval of the Tea Party. Democrats run ads claiming their opponents are Tea Party radicals. Many Republicans argue that Tea Party candidates have lost winnable Senate races, cementing the Democratic majority there rather than overturning it. There is something to these lines of attack, but it misses a larger picture. I have likened the contemporary Tea Party movement to the peace movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Both began as critics of the more like-minded party: Peaceniks excoriated Lyndon Johnson; the Tea Party decried George W. Bush. Both targeted politicians of both parties. But both groups soon became mono-partisan, working within one major party. The peace groups secured the Democratic presidential nomination for George McGovern in 1972 and, more successfully, generated support for the young liberals who swept to control in the congressional elections of 1974. The peace movement permanently changed the character of the Democratic Party. For half a century, starting in 1917, Democrats were the party more inclined to support military interventions. In the almost half-century since then, Democrats have been consistently the more dovish party. The Tea Party movement has had a similar effect on the Republican Party so far. We shall see if it proves as permanent. Like the peace movement, the Tea Party movement brought hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people into political activity, people with strong convictions, not on peripheral, but on fundamental issues of public policy. They supplied energy and enthusiasm plainly lacking in the Democratic Party in 1969 and the Republican Party in 2009. Such surges into politics will bring in many wackos, weirdos and wannabes. But they also include many solid citizens and some with finely honed political instincts. Both movements supported primary challengers against contrary-minded incumbents or favorites of party insiders. Some of those challengers -- most notably Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware -- then lost winnable general election races. But the Tea Party movement also supported some politically gifted challengers -- some with considerable political experience (Marco Rubio in Florida, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania), some with none at all (Ron Johnson in Wisconsin) and some with insider connections among conservatives (Mike Lee in Utah, Ted Cruz in Texas). On policy, the Tea Party movement has had significant impact as well. It contributed to Republican unanimity against Obamacare and against tax-rate increases. President Obama predicted that his reelection would "break this fever" of Republican opposition to his policies. Republicans would acquiesce in what Obama seems to regard as common-sense expansions of government. That hasn't happened. Instead, policy has moved in the other direction. Republicans were willing to accept the sequester, despite spending cuts, and then to have it only tweaked slightly in the Ryan-Murray budget agreement. Income tax increases have been avoided on all but couples making $450,000 annually. The result is what liberals call "austerity." Meanwhile, Obama has been repealing and revising Obamacare, whether the Constitution gives him authority or not. His signature law is disintegrating. So Republicans, though only controlling the House and squabbling over tactics, have shifted the vector of national policy. They have had even more policy success in many of the majority of states with Republican governors and legislatures. Tea Party spokesmen are, unsurprisingly, dissatisfied with the results - as peace advocates often were by policies of even Democratic administrations. But in American politics, policy success is never complete and almost always unsatisfactory to principled purists. Political reporters chronicling the exhaustion of the Tea Party movement focus on the apparent weakness of primary challenges to incumbent Republican senators and congressmen. None currently seems seriously endangered except possibly 36-year Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. The Tea Party movement continues to be frustrated by a politics-driven Internal Revenue Service and the intractability of Obama and Senate Democrats. But Republicans have a solid chance to win a Senate majority, and Obama approval is stuck in negative territory. Big government liberalism, hailed as the wave of the future in 2009, now seems widely discredited. The Tea Party obituaries, like Mark Twain's, are premature.

Obama's Not-So-Secret War On Private Medicare Plans (Advantage Plans)

Investors' Business Daily ^ | 3-3-14 | John Merline
To say that President Obama is not an enthusiastic backer of the two Medicare programs that offer seniors private insurance options would be something of an understatement. Over the years, Obama has repeatedly derided Medicare Advantage — the program that lets seniors enroll in subsidized, private insurance. He once called it "wasteful," and said it amounted to "giveaways that boost insurance company profits but don't make (seniors) any healthier." Obama has been equally harsh when it comes to Medicare Part D — the drug benefit President Bush signed into law that relies on privately run plans. In his 2006 book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama blasted the program, saying it "somehow managed to combine the worst aspects of the public and private sectors." As president, he said it gave overly generous "taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies." Both programs, it turns out, have been wildly popular with seniors and, by most measures, big successes. But Obama nevertheless appears determined to undermine them with sharp cuts in payments and sweeping new regulations. Started back in 1997 — and initially called Medicare+Choice — the Medicare Advantage program pays private insurers a set amount per enrollee to provide comprehensive benefits and anything else they can afford to offer. The idea was that private insurers could better co-ordinate care and manage health costs than the old fee-for-service Medicare, and so provide more comprehensive benefits. While enrollment in these private plans was flat for the first several years, it has skyrocketed since 2005, to the point where almost one in three seniors are covered by a private health plan. And, contrary to Obama's claim, these seniors tend to get better quality health care than those in traditional Medicare.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.investors.com ...


Breitbart.com Symbolizes 'Fantastic Democratization' of News!

Breitbart ^ | 1 Mar 2014 | Tony Lee

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has said the grassroots revolution sweeping across the country today mirrors the one that propelled Ronald Reagan to the White House, and the conservative stalwart said that Breitbart.com represents the democratization of the news that was once controlled by just a few elites in the legacy press.

Appearing on the inaugural edition of Breitbart News Saturday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125, Cruz said that "what Breitbart does is so important" because it helps conservatives bypass those in the legacy media who once were the sole gatekeepers. Cruz was speaking to Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon--who, along with a rotation of Breitbart News editors and contributors, will host the weekly show from 10 AM to 1 PM EST."If we were still in the world of 30 years ago when there were three networks that decided what the news was, then nothing you and I are talking about would have made it through the filter," Cruz said. "But there has been a fantastic democratization of the news where we can go directly to the people."Cruz also praised "American citizens who are becoming their own journalists" and spreading the word to their friends and neighbors."That's how we turn this country around," Cruz said before noting that citizen journalists give him "hope and optimism" for America's future. As Breitbart News reported, the late Andrew Breitbart and Cruz bonded well before Cruz became a household name. Bannon told Cruz that Breitbart respected his fearlessness and said he was one of the rising stars that he most admired and supported before his tragic passing. Bannon said that the late Breitbart hated Washington politicians, and he saw in Cruz a kindred spirit who was an anti-establishment figure who wanted to reform the country's institutions.
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

Obama has no idea what to do as Putin seizes Crimea (Jimmah Carter syndrome)

cfp ^ | 3/4/14 | Dan Calabrese
I think conservatives need to take a breath when it comes to the lionization of Vladimir Putin. If your objective is to show how hapless Barack Obama is by contrasting him with his geopolitical adversary, then yeah, Putin is clearly 12 steps ahead of Obama and quick to seize on the opportunities provided by Obama’s frequent strategic mistakes and poor instincts. But let’s not lose sight of this: Putin is a perpetrator of global mayhem. However much we enjoy demonstrating Obama’s weakness for partisan purposes, the fact remains that it’s not in the interests of the United States (or of free nations anywhere) if Putin keeps using Russia’s military muscle to expand its influence as he is doing right now in Ukraine. You can respect your adversary, but can we give it a rest with the Putin-now-that-guy’s-a-president-we-should-have-him-here crap? A better perspective on Putin comes from Congressman Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and delved into some actual steps the U.S. could be taking to counter Russia’s aggression:
(Excerpt) Read more at canadafreepress.com ...

New Jersey honor student sues parents for school fees after they cut her off at age 18! (nice going, Dad!)

New York Daily News ^ | 03/03/2014 | BY SASHA GOLDSTEIN
An 18-year-old New Jersey honor student and cheerleader has been tossed from her parents’ Lincoln Park home, but demands that her mother and father continue to pay her private high school and impending college costs — as well as her mounting lawyer fees, according to her lawsuit. Rachel Canning claims she’s been out of her parents’ home since her 18th birthday, Nov. 1, after her parents vowed to cut her off “from all support both financially and emotionally.” But Sean and Elizabeth Canning say their “spoiled” college-bound daughter doesn’t live by their house rules and left the home because she didn’t like the law of the land — overseen by her father, a former Lincoln Park police chief. The Morris Catholic High School senior and lacrosse player instead has lived at the Rockaway, N.J., home of a classmate, whose father, John Inglesino, has foot the bill for the suit. “My parents have rationalized their actions by blaming me for not following their rules,” Rachel said in her court papers, according to The Daily Record of Morristown, N.J. “They stopped paying my high school tuition to punish the school and me and have redirected my college fund, indicating their refusal to afford me an education as a punishment.” Canning filed suit last week and is scheduled to appear with her attorney, Tanya Helfand, at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Morristown Family Court. The teen will demand her parents pay a Morris Catholic tuition bill of $5,306 as well as $12,597 in accrued legal fees.
(Excerpt) Read more at nydailynews.com ...

Headband could help brain communicate with computers!

BostonGlobe ^ | 3 Mar 2014 | Callum Borchers
Sensor could spot fatigue and adjust duties in an unsafe situation, or help you learn faster With hundreds of lives riding on every decision, the job of air traffic controller ranks near the top of almost any list of the world’s most stressful jobs. The stakes are so high that the Federal Aviation Administration has increased staffing and rest requirements in recent years to help keep controllers alert in the tower. But imagine if a computer could know the precise moment an air traffic controller approaches mental overload, and reassign some of his responsibilities to a fresher colleague. Technology in development at Tufts University’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab could do just that. Computer scientist Robert Jacob and biomedical engineer Sergio Fantini are working on a headband to read brain activity, enabling a computer to determine whether the wearer is bored, fatigued, or sharp ...
(Excerpt) Read more at bostonglobe.com ...

Obama Makes Wars More Likely!

Townhall.com ^ | March 4, 2014 | Mona Charen
Among the academic set from which President Barack Obama springs, everyone agrees that wars are the result of "arrogance" and bullying by the United States. So concerned was then-Sen. Obama about the potential for U.S. aggression that he declined to vote for 2007 legislation that would have designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. The IRGC had been involved in training and arming terrorists worldwide, particularly in Lebanon (Hezbollah) but also in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. But Obama worried that such a vote would be "saber rattling." Our standing in the "world community" (an oxymoron to beat all oxymorons) and our credibility had been badly damaged by just such bellicosity, Obama argued. His administration would deploy "soft power" and diplomacy to make the world safer and more peaceful. It would be nirvana to live in the world of the left's imagination -- a world in which the U.S. is the greatest threat to peace and stability. Obama has shown greater bellicosity toward Republicans (described as "terrorists with bombs strapped to their chests") than toward our actual adversaries. When Mitt Romney cited Russia a long-term adversary of the U.S. in 2012, Obama's contempt was glacial: "The '80s called and they want their foreign policy back." Though the president has repetitively declared that Iran's possession of nuclear weapons would be "unacceptable," his true wish -- to accept Iran as a nuclear power in hopes that they will change their behavior -- is now unfolding. In Vienna, diplomats from the P5+1 (U.S., U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany) dine on fine cuisine washed down with excellent wines and periodically issued declarations of progress -- which usually only means the agreement to meet for more empty discussions. Meanwhile, the severest sanctions against the Iranian regime have been lifted just as they were beginning to bite. It can't do any harm to talk, right? That was Obama's claim in 2008, when he suggested that he would meet with any rogue leader. He thinks words are like chicken soup -- they may not help but they cannot hurt. We're now seeing how dangerous that view is. First, as Claudia Rosett of Forbes writes, the pattern of talks we're engaged in with Iran is identical to what we did with North Korea. "The pattern was one of procedural triumphs ... followed by Pyongyang's reneging, cheating, pocketing the gains and concessions won at the bargaining table, and walking away." Formal conclaves that permit evil regimes to gain concessions in exchange for promises they quickly break are one form of dangerous talk. Obama has been perfecting another type as well: the empty threat. "For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside," the president declared in 2011. Shockingly, the tyrant willing to murder more than 100,000 people and displace millions didn't immediately grab his coat and obey. Obama did nothing to back his words with actions (like arming the opposition, which was then not dominated by al-Qaida). Later he did something -- he spoke more words. This time, it was Obama threatening that well, OK, Bashar Assad didn't have to go, but if he used chemical weapons, that would cross a "red line for me." (Talk about saber rattling.) When Assad flamboyantly hopscotched over Obama's red line and received no response, the world rocked on its axis. Though the Obamaites couldn't see it, every small, peace-loving nation in the world was instantly made more vulnerable. Perhaps now, with Russian ships and tanks aiming at Ukraine, they are beginning to understand how international relations work. ("It's not some chessboard," the president asserted recently, displaying his continuing confusion.) No, the game isn't chess; it's more like boxing, where the winner is the stronger one. The Ukraine crisis flows directly from the Syria debacle, as Vladimir Putin, like Assad, has taken Obama's measure. The left heaped scorn on George W. Bush for initially praising Putin, but Bush wised up fast. Obama, by contrast, has submitted passively as Putin put one thumb after another in his eye (Edward Snowden, Assad). Not only has Obama failed to respond vigorously, but he's permitted Putin to play peacemaker in Syria, supposedly presiding over Assad's surrender of chemical weapons. This would be regarded as too risible for fiction, as Russia is Assad's chief sponsor and arms supplier. In January, the administration, so easily surprised by the world, announced that Syria was "dragging its feet" on removing chemical weapons stockpiles and that only an estimated 4 percent of its supply had been relinquished. "It is the Assad regime's responsibility to transport those chemicals to facilitate removal," said spokesman Jay Carney. "We expect them to meet their obligation to do so." Weakness invites aggression. Prepare for more.

The Idiot Speaks: McCain: Obama Smartest Man in the Room!

brietbart ^ | 3/4/14 | w bigelow
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), always currying favor with the press, made sure when he criticized Barack Obama he also ladled praise on him, calling Obama the smartest man in the room when recalling the series of dinners last year between Obama and GOP senators. Speaking with Time magazine, McCain said: I thought when he had a couple of dinners with Republican senators, we really had a good environment there. Because he is a very, very articulate and attractive guy in a setting with eight or nine senators and him. Because he was smarter than the rest of us. But I don’t see that now. I don’t see any of that. McCain also said, “There are some things that he could find that we could do on a bipartisan basis, and that may not be his top agenda items, but he’s got to do more outreach.” Those dinners were termed a success at the time by press secretary Jay Carney, who said the White House was encouraged and what “seemed to be sincere interest in avoiding constant crisis, sincere interest expressed by the participants in the dinner.” He added that Obama said one of the meals was “very constructive and very pleasant.” But after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) met with Carney last week, and following Obama’s recent pronouncements of his intention to use executive actions to bypass Congress, Carney said it was “a press misconception that the success or failure of legislation in Congress depends on the relationship between a president and a Speaker or a president and a leader in Congress.”
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

Cruz steering Texas Republicans further right in primary fights!

Yahoo/Reuters ^ | 3-3-14 | Jon Herskovitz and Marice Richter
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The longest shadow in Tuesday's primary election in Texas is being cast by a politician not even in the running, freshman U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican.  Cruz, just two years into his first major elected office, has arguably become the most loved politician among Republicans in Texas, an incubator for national conservative policies where the party dominates the statehouse and has not lost a statewide race since 1994. A host of Republican hopefuls are trying to ride his coattails, turning campaigns into raucous affairs about how much they despise Obamacare, embrace the constitutional right to bear arms and see a need to raise alarms about illegal immigration. Cruz has turned an already right-leaning Texas Republican Party even further to the right, analysts said.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...

Ruling Class 'Should Fear' the Tea Party Movement!

Breitbart's Big Government ^ | March 2, 2014 | Tony Lee
Conservative talk radio host and scholar Mark Levin appeared on a taping of Breitbart News Sunday and said that the permanent political class should fear the Tea Party movement, which will only gain in strength in the years ahead. Speaking with Breitbart News Executive Chairman and host Stephen K. Bannon after he keynoted an event honoring the five-year anniversary of the movement, Levin said that the Tea Party has already rocked the political system in just five years because those in it want to clear out the crony capitalists on both sides of the aisle. "We're coming for the ruling class," Levin said. "They should fear us." Levin said that the Tea Party is about preserving this republic, and that is why "millions identify with the movement" even though the media try to "character assassinate." "We are the liberty movement," Levin said. "We're a mindset. We're a belief set. They can never take that away from us." He noted that the movement is only five years old, while the Republican and Democratic parties are old and ossifying. When Bannon asked Levin about how he deals with the vicious attacks he has to deal with on a daily basis, Levin simply said that his grandfather served in World War II, and soldiers are the ones that are facing the real pressure. Levin said that the "political hacks" and the "these corporatists stabbing you in the back... mean nothing to me."(continued)
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

Michelle Obama plans pricey trip to China-First Family spending hundreds of millions traveling!

Daily Mail ^ | 3 March 2014 | By Daily Mail Reporter
First Family spending hundreds of millions traveling on the taxpayer's dime!  The Obamas' trip to Africa for Nelson Mandela's funeral cost taxpayers $11 million while the president was only in the country for 13 hours A 2013 trip to Africa for the president cost taxpayers more than $100 million According to Judicial Watch, it cost more than $11 million for the president and his wife to travel to Africa to attend Nelson Mandela's funeral in December of last year. According to the New York Daily News, the Obamas were only in Africa for 'less than 13 hours.' But that trip was nothing compared to a 2013 visit the Obamas made to the Dark Continent, which reportedly cost tax payer more than $100 million. On the 2013 trip, some of the reported expenditures include the stationing of a Navy aircraft carrier off the coast of Africa equipped with a fully staffed medical trauma center, military cargo planes to fly a fleet of 56 support vehicles to transport the Obamas - complete with 14 limousines and three trucks carrying bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the Obamas were to stay - and fighter jets that flew in shifts to provide coverage over the president's airspace for the entire trip. In June, the first lady went to Ireland for a two-day trip. The cost to taxpayers: $5 million. Michelle Obama reportedly stayed at a $3,300-per-night hotel in Dublin, and needed to book 30 rooms at the posh Shelbourne Hotel for her staff and security detail.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...

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