Saturday, September 6, 2014

Putin Seeks to Rebuild Evil Empire While Obama Speaks Softly and Carries No Stick! ^ | September 5, 2014 | Donald Lambro 

WASHINGTON - We live in a dangerous and chaotic time when terrorism is rapidly spreading across the globe, Russian troops occupy Ukraine, and America has lost its influence abroad.
President Obama's handling of foreign policy is coming under increasing criticism at home, from friends and foes alike, for its timidity, impotence and bungling.
As the months race by, Russian President Vladimir has daringly stepped up his invasion of Eastern Ukraine, after seizing and annexing the Crimean Peninsula, threatening at one point to take over the country entirely.
The former Communist KGB agent casually told his top advisers he could take over Kiev, Ukraine's capital, in two weeks, if he wanted to.
Does Obama and the West need further proof of his maniacal ambitions to rebuild a Greater Russia by taking territory from the surrounding independent countries that were once part of what President Reagan called the Evil Empire?
His cross-border, military invasion has triggered the worst national security crisis in Europe since the Cold War. But Obama has responded with economic sanctions that were so weak, it further emboldened Putin's high wire act. The White House's tepid response confirmed what Putin had long believed: that he faced an inexperienced, foreign policy light weight who had lost the respect of America's now confused and divided European allies.
This week, Obama flew to the Baltic states, in advance of a meeting with European leaders, where they feared their tiny countries, with sizable Russian populations, were next on Putin's list.
But if they expected tough talk from Obama, whose style is to speak softly and carry no stick, they were sorely disappointed.
Instead, at a news conference in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, Obama delivered an overly cautious statement that sent a pliant message that he didn't fully understand what was at stake here.
Putin, on the other hand, was running rings around the president, announcing a dubious plan to end the conflict that would hold on to the Russian rebels' territorial gains in Southeastern Ukraine. At a news conference, Putin said that he and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had reached a settlement on a peace deal. "Our views… are very close," he said. It isn't true, but the gesture was designed to blunt the upcoming meeting of Western allies, while appearing as a man who only desired peace. Sure.
Instead of poking holes in Putin's preposterous, all-for-me deal, Obama sought to emphasize the positive, while telling the Russian bully that only a full military withdrawal would yield a peace agreement. "There's an opportunity here," he told reporters. "But no realistic political settlement can be achieved if, effectively, Russia says, 'We are going to continue to send tanks and troops and arms and advisers under the guise of separatists who are not homegrown, and the only possible settlement is if Ukraine cedes its territory or its sovereignty or its ability to make its own decisions about its security and its economic future.'" Putin is playing a high stakes game of seizing as much territory as he can, then calling for a time out, as he plots his next military move. Meantime, the West has still not put together any plan to punish him economically or otherwise for his invasion of a sovereign country.
If Obama has a plan, he hasn't let anyone know what it is. His dissatisfactory remarks Wednesday were, to say the least, underwhelming. Clearly, Putin has concluded that he holds all the high cards in this game and Obama has an empty hand.
Meantime, Obama's failed policy of full withdrawal from Iraq, even in the face of a rapidly expanding and far-more lethal terrorist enemy, is being questioned now more than ever.
Remember when he was campaigning for re-election in 2012, boasting of pulling all of our forces out of Iraq on a stepped up timetable? As he categorically repeated in just about every stump speech that al-Qaeda's leadership had been "decimated," that we had the terrorists "on the run."
None of that was true and intelligence officials knew it wasn't true. The terrorists, in fact, were rebuilding their ranks in Iraq, and establishing new al-Qaeda spinoff cells thought the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. While Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were working hand in glove with Putin on his proposal for an international plan to destroy Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons, the Islamic State was growing rapidly in Syria and Iraq, completely unnoticed.
New reports in recent months are providing additional evidence that Al-Qaeda and its accomplices have gone global since Obama won re-election on his false claims of slaying the terrorist monster.
This week, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a 55- minute video posted online, announced that a new branch of his terrorist organization has been established in India -- where, he said, it would "raise the flag of jihad" throughout the Indian subcontinent.
Zawahiri, a key ally of Afghan Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, said Al-Qaeda's top targets included "Bangladesh, Burma, Assam, Gujarat, Ahmedabad and Kashmir."
What's happening on the terrorist front not only poses new dangers for our allies but, potentially our homeland, too. Great Britain has stepped up its alert status, and our own intelligence is calling for renewed vigilance here, too. All of this has been happening while the president and his national security team looked the other way, as the Islamic State has rampaged through Syria. In large part because of the vacuum Obama created by refusing to arm the Free Syrian army's bid to topple Assad's dictatorship.
A majority of Americans now disapprove of Obama's handling of foreign policy. And the Gallup Poll this week reported that his overall job approval rating has sunk to a 39 percent low.
Not exactly the kind of credentials that instills respect and confidence either at home or abroad.

Obamacare is about to decide the midterms - again!

The Washington Times ^ | Sept 25,2014 | Joseph Curl 

Here are some numbers, straight from my own checkbook register. In October 2011, before the start of Obamacare, I was paying $386 a month. Yes, fairly reasonable, but less so when you factor in my $10,000 deductible (and two teenage children who keep falling off things).
The following October, the premiums rose 23 percent to $474. In October 2013, my monthly rate rose again, nearly 32 percent, to $623. Same exact coverage, just more money.
Then, this year, come Sept. 30, my new premiums will be $1,097. That’s a 76 percent increase from the previous year, and, all told, my premiums have risen 184 percent in just three years. That is putting Obamacare right back on the front burner for this midterm election, just as it was in the 2010 midterms.
Then, voters mobbed summer town halls to vent, and Republicans went on to trounce Democrats, pulling off the largest seat swap in any midterm since 1948. Right about now, across the country, Americans are either getting their monthly bills for drastically higher premiums, or they’ve already got them and are beginning to shop for new insurance in preparation for the coming open-enrollment season this fall. But they’re no doubt finding that the new policies mandated by Obamacare are raising costs sky-high — there’s cheaper.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obamacare Claims Its Latest Victim: The August Jobs Report!

Ijreview ^ | Sept 25,2014 | Kevin Bold 

On CNBC, as host and financial analyst Jim Cramer was talking about the disastrous August jobs report, and he said that the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, could be partially responsible.
Cramer opines that companies with between 30 to 50 employees are waiting to see if they’re willing to expand to 50 and beyond, which would make them responsible for providing health insurance to all employees, or if they’re going to be able to grow their businesses with their current workforce.
Democrats, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, claim that Obamacare will create hundreds of thousands to millions of new jobs. Pelosi herself said that Obamacare will create 4 million new jobs. Instead, the regulations, red tape, and the high costs of mandated healthcare could be harming job and economic growth.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...