“The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive,” President Barack Obama said at a press conference Friday in reference to two New York Times stories.
The first dealt with White House “Kill Lists,” while the second concerned America’s creation of the “stuxnet” virus that helped disable an Iranian nuclear plant from enriching uranium -- in which sensitive national security information was leaked in what Republicans have said were “some of the most serious breaches of national security in recent memory.”
Dean Baquet, the Managing Editor of the New York Times, told Politico “I can’t believe anybody who says these are leaks ... Read those stories. They are so clearly the product of tons and tons of reporting.”
Attorney General Eric Holder, unlike in the “Fast and the Furious” case, was pressured to assign two lawyers from the Department of Justice to investigate the matter.
But closer examinations of the stories in question -- and the White House’s actions -- point to the White House as the very source of these leaks. And, as White House critics have asserted, the Obama administration may have leaked the information to boost Obama’s image as a strong leader, playing up the national security card to give him cover for America’s slumping economy.
In the New York Times story in question on Obama’s “Kill List” and drone strikes, every source in that story is affiliated with the Obama administration.
And in the New York Times article that revealed the United States co-authored the Stuxnet virus, the story reveals intimate details from meetings in the White House’s Situation Room and paints Obama as the central figure who ultimately decided to continue to the program (the implication is Obama made a critical decision that led to a successful intelligence outcome), which succeeded, after the virus became public in 2010 and administration officials were deciding whether the program was worth continuing.
Compare the White House’s lack of an immediate response to leaks favorable to them to their aggressive response to leaked information that detailed a failed intelligence mission in Iran.
New York Times reporter James Risen was swiftly subpoenaed in 2011 to disclose his source for information he published in a 2006 book “about the CIA's attempt to use a Russian scientist to feed Iran faulty blueprints for a nuclear trigger device,” an operation he characterized in the book as unsuccessful. In 2010, former CIA official Jeffery Sterling, who is alleged to have been Risen’s source, was indicted on ten felony charges relating to his alleged role in leaking classified information.
John Cook, a senior reporter at Gawker, wrote about the White House’s starkly different responses to similar leaks. Cook wrote that many national security observers noted the “stuxnet” story could not have been written without White House support, and senior national security officials were aware “that the Times was on the verge of releasing highly classified details about a CIA operation.”
Cook wrote that this operation was “one that happened to have been effective, and the execution of which reflected well on Obama. And neither the White House nor the CIA formally did anything to try and stop it. Imagine that.”
In some situations, there isn’t much that is left for the imagination, and this may be one of those cases.
Sharyl Attkisson at CBS News reports the House Oversight Committee will vote on contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday, June 20. Mr. Holder and the Department of Justice have not turned over the remaining documents from an October 11, 2011 subpoena concerning Operation Fast & Furious.
Fast & Furious lead to the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds in Mexico. Guns from the operation have also been found at numerous crime scenes in America.
"The Obama Administration has not asserted Executive Privilege or any other valid privilege over these materials and it is unacceptable that the Department of Justice refuses to produce them. These documents pertain to Operation Fast and Furious, the claims of whistleblowers, and why it took the Department nearly a year to retract false denials of reckless tactics," wrote Chairman Darrell Issa.
This is only the first step. If the Oversight Committee passes the contempt charges it will probably go to a full House vote.
Only one other attorney general has been found in contempt. In 1998 then Attorney General Janet Reno was found in contempt for not complying with a subpoena on campaign finance law violations.
President Barack Obama is confiding to Democratic donors that he may have to revisit the health-care issue in a second term, a position at odds with his publicly expressed confidence that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the Affordable Care Act, according to three Democratic activists.
As he previewed his agenda for donors at a May 14 fundraiser, Obama said he may be forced to try to revise parts of his health-care plan, depending on how the court rules later this month, said one activist, who requested anonymity to discuss the president’s comments. Guests at the $35,800-a-plate dinner in the Manhattan apartment of Blackstone Group LP (BX) President Tony James were asked to check their smart phones and BlackBerries at the door.
The president has made similar remarks, usually in response to questions, at other fundraising events since the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case during the last week of March, according to two other activists, who also requested anonymity.
Obama’s answers, which begin with the president repeating his contention that the high court will uphold the law, have led some contributors to conclude the White House is making contingency plans should the justices strike down parts of the law, which would give Republicans a powerful talking point about one of his signature issues.
A challenge by 26 states centers on the law’s requirement that individuals purchase health insurance or face a penalty.
While Obama is discussing with wealthy donors the prospect of a rebuke from the court, administration officials are coordinating with health-care-reform groups on how to manage their public response in the aftermath of the decision.
“While I won’t discuss in detail the president’s private conversations, I can say that your reporting, attributed to unnamed sources, inaccurately reflects the president’s views,” Jay Carney, Obama’s spokesman, said in an e-mail.
On April 3, Obama professed “enormous confidence” the law is constitutional and “the court is going to exercise its jurisprudence carefully,” in response to a question at the Associated Press’s annual meeting. A day earlier, he said the Supreme Court would have to take “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” to throw out “a law that was passed by a strong majority” in Congress.
Yet a planning memo, including a reminder that it’s important “to continue projecting confidence that the court will uphold the law,” was discussed at a May 29 meeting hosted by a group called Protect Your Care, attended by officials from the White House and Department of Health and Human Services, said one of the attendees, who requested anonymity to discuss a private meeting.
“The best way to demonstrate public outrage or public celebration about the decision is to stage an event that shows average people actually responding to the news,” according to the memo, e-mailed on May 16 by an official at the Herndon Alliance, a coalition of groups that backs the health-care overhaul.
“The White House is obviously very involved in this stuff,” said Bob Crittenden, executive director of the Herndon Alliance. “Some of the groups we work with have very close connections with the White House.”
Nick Papas, a White House spokesman, and Anton Gunn, director of external affairs at Health and Human Services, make regular appearances at the Protect Your Care meetings, which are held every other week.
Last week, Gunn and Hilary Haycock from the White House attended, along with representatives from Families USA, Health Care for America Now, the Center for American Progress and labor organizations including the Service Employees International Union and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
“There’s a really strong feeling that getting out there and trying to do contingency planning out in public is not a very smart thing to do,” said Crittenden, also a professor of medicine at the University of Washington. “What we really want to do is to make sure that everyone is prepared to talk about the law when it comes up.”
Based on the tone of the justices’ questions to the lawyers arguing the case, some of the law’s supporters are concerned that the court will strike down the requirement that uninsured individuals purchase health insurance or else pay a fine.
“The odds are that it’s slightly more likely to overturn the individual mandate,” said Richard Kirsch, a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and the former campaign manager for Health Care for America Now, a group that fought for the overhaul. After the court makes its ruling, “one of the battles will be to define what’s happened.”
Even if the mandate is removed, supporters of the law should organize media events to have “people who continue to benefit from the law to tell their stories,” said Kirsch, author of “Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States.”
Public opinion is divided on the different parts of the law, said Bob Blendon, an associate dean at the Harvard School of Public Health.
“Nobody wants the whole bill thrown out,” he said. “Nobody wants the bill as it is. The majority would be happy if the mandate disappeared.”
While Republicans, including Mitt Romney, their presumptive presidential nominee, would “gain a little” if the mandate is removed, they may be forced to offer another plan to cover those with pre-existing conditions, Blendon said. “If the bill is upheld, it’s a real boost for the president.”Steven Komarow at email@example.com
"I don't think that we ought to get into the position where we say 'This is bad work. This is good work,'" Clinton said. "The man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold."
Clinton also went on to say that Romney's time at Bain Capital represented a "good business career."
The Obama campaign is in the third week of an all-out assault on Romney's time as a corporate buyout specialist — accusing the GOP nominee of bankrupting companies and laying off workers all while pocketing a profit for himself and investors.
But the negative tenor of their attacks on an influential segment of Wall Street have made some Democrats uncomfortable. Clinton is the highest profile Obama surrogate so far to show discomfort with the attacks on Bain, with the former president even praising the company and Romney's record. Newark mayor Cory Booker and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also both declined to press the attack against Bain.
In Booker's case, he released a YouTube video clarifying his comments after calling the Obama attacks (and Republican counter-attacks on Obama) "nauseating" — all while being publicly chastised by top Obama staffers.
Clinton went on to predict that Obama would carry the day in November, and would beat Romney handily.
"I still think the president will win by five or six points. I've always thought so," Clinton told guest host Harvey Weinstein, filling in for Piers Morgan.
Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney during the previous day's press gaggle cited a bogus MarketWatch report hysterically claiming "Obama Spending Binge Never Happened."
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler looked at Carney's comments as well as Rex Nutting's article Friday and gave their assertions three Pinocchios:
NBC, ABC and CBS have all ignored a new book by former Newsweek foreign editor Ed Klein that contains a shocking allegation from Klein's interview with Rev. Jeremiah Wright in which the former Obama pastor claimed that an Obama supporter offered him $150,000 if he would refrain from preaching until after the 2008 election.
From "now until election day," the liberal media will be seeking to herald only news that "advances Obama" while spiking news that "hurts him in any way," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Hannity substitute host Tucker Carlson on the May 24 program's "Media Mash." [To watch the full segment, click on the play button in the video embedded below the page break
By contrast, "when [George W.] Bush ran for reelection, there were a slew of books that came out against him" and their authors were "all over" the broadcast network news programs promoting their claims. What's more, "Even when Bob Woodward wrote a book that was generally [favorable] to Bush," the fake National Guard memo-peddling anchor "brought him on to attack Bush."
"The duplicity is extraordinary," the Media Research Center (MRC) founder concluded.
As we at Breitbart News have noted before, the main function of the left-leaning mainstream media is to tell its audience what attitude to adopt towards the news, rather than the news itself. The case of the "born in Kenya" booklet produced by President Barack Obama's then-literary agency is a prime example.
Whether on HBO or at the Washington Post or at the New York Times (below), the media tells its consumers that Breitbart News encouraged the "Birther" movement--without telling them what we actually reported.
As NewsBusters reported, the Times' Michael Shear used the booklet issue to launch accusations of racism against conservatives, while obscuring what we had actually written about it:
Nevertheless, Shear advanced a racial argument against the GOP, while leaving out details of another scoop, from Joel Pollak of Breitbart, who dug up a 1991 booklet from a literary agent claiming that Obama was "Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii." He also likened the Drudge Report and Breitbart.com to "some extreme quarters of the American electorate" for the crime of reporting news the liberal media overlooked.
But the issues of race and religion never go completely away, at least in some extreme quarters of the American electorate.
On Thursday, the Drudge Report posted a link on its Web site to a report that sought to revive the long-discredited assertion that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States. And as election season heats up, so does publication of books promoting various conspiracies and theories, including a new one seeking to focus new attention on Mr. Obama’s dealings with Mr. Wright.
Shear didn't bother to give details about the Drudge link, which presumably was this Breitbart scoop from last week, about a 1991 booklet from a literary agency listing Obama's birthplace as Kenya.
Shear ignored conservatives who aren't in fact questioning Obama's birthplace, but instead are asking why such details like the booklet were overlooked by the media during the race of 2008. They are also questioning whether Obama submitted his own biography, as was customary at that agency, or if not, why he failed to correct the erroneous bio (which remained uncorrected until 2007).
I have learned that Florida election officials are set to announce that the secretary of state has discovered and purged up to 53,000 dead voters from the voter rolls in Florida.
How could 53,000 dead voters have sat on the polls for so long? Simple. Because Florida hadn’t been using the best available data revealing which voters have died. Florida is now using the nationwide Social Security Death Index for determining which voters should be purged because they have died.
Here is the bad news. Most states aren’t using the same database that Florida is. In fact, I have heard reports that some election officials won’t even remove voters even when they are presented with a death certificate. That means that voter rolls across the nation still are filled with dead voters, even if Florida is leading the way in detecting and removing them.But surely people aren’t voting in the names of dead voters, the voter fraud deniers argue. Wrong.
Consider the case of Lafayette Keaton. Keaton not only voted for a dead person in Oregon, he voted for his dead son. Making Keaton’s fraud easier was Oregon’s vote by mail scheme, which has opened up gaping holes in the integrity of elections. The incident in Oregon just scratches the surface of the problem. Massachusetts and Mississippi are but two other examples of the dead rising on election day.
Florida should be applauded for taking the problem seriously, even if Eric Holder’s Justice Department and many state election officials don’t.
It cost taxpayers nearly a half-million dollars for first lady Michelle Obama to travel to Spain in 2010, according to an analysis by Judicial Watch.
The right-leaning watchdog group estimated that the trip cost $467,585. It based its analysis on documents obtained from the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Air Force.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said it took his group “two years and a lawsuit to get these documents out of the Obama administration.”
“It is hypocritical for President Obama to fire GSA officials for wasteful conference spending, while his family went on a luxury vacation in the Costa del Sol Spain that cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars,” Fitton said.
Among the various travel costs, the group estimated — using the Defense Department’s 2010 published hourly rates — that it cost the government $199,323 to fly to Spain and back to the United States.
The New York Times reported that those on the trip included the first lady, one of her daughters and “two friends and four of their daughters, as well as a couple of aides and a couple of advance staff members.”
Fitton’s group has previously disclosed the cost of sending the first family on overseas trips. Its analysis indicated that it cost $424,142 to fly the first family to South Africa and Botswana in 2011.
White House press secretary Jay Carney declined to comment on the report during a press briefing Thursday.
A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.
The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”
“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”
The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.
Rossie Blinson, a 21-year-old college student from Buis Creek, N.C., told The Daily Caller that the federal government’s plan will do far more harm than good.
“The main concern I have is that it would prevent kids from doing 4-H and FFA projects if they’re not at their parents’ house,” said Blinson.
“I started showing sheep when I was four years old. I started with cattle around 8. It’s been very important. I learned a lot of responsibility being a farm kid.”
In Kansas, Cherokee County Farm Bureau president Jeff Clark was out in the field — literally on a tractor — when TheDC reached him. He said if Solis’s regulations are implemented, farming families’ labor losses from their children will only be part of the problem.
“What would be more of a blow,” he said, “is not teaching our kids the values of working on a farm.”
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average age of the American farmer is now over 50.
“Losing that work-ethic — it’s so hard to pick this up later in life,” Clark said. “There’s other ways to learn how to farm, but it’s so hard. You can learn so much more working on the farm when you’re 12, 13, 14 years old.”
John Weber, 19, understands this. The Minneapolis native grew up in suburbia and learned the livestock business working summers on his relatives’ farm.
He’s now a college Agriculture major.
“I started working on my grandparent’s and uncle’s farms for a couple of weeks in the summer when I was 12,” Weber told TheDC. “I started spending full summers there when I was 13.”
“The work ethic is a huge part of it. It gave me a lot of direction and opportunity in my life. If they do this it will prevent a lot of interest in agriculture. It’s harder to get a 16 year-old interested in farming than a 12 year old.”
Weber is also a small businessman. In high school, he said, he took out a loan and bought a few steers to raise for income. “Under these regulations,” he explained, “I wouldn’t be allowed to do that.”
It's been several weeks since NBC disgraced itself by repeatedly airing doctored audio of George Zimmerman talking to a 9-1-1 dispatcher but the network has yet to apologize on the air, hoping instead that its paltry efforts of firing a lone producer and conducting an investigation into the matter but not releasing a report to the public would be sufficient.
Incredibly, it was a New York Times columnist, David Carr, who decided to confront the network on how that just isn't enough. NBC News president Steve Capus admitted his efforts have been insufficient but tried to spin away why his network hasn't bothered to tell viewers about its propagation of fraudulent journalism.Carr hit the nail on the head about how television news, in this case, NBC almost never corrects previous on-air mistakes during air time:
What is it with television news and corrections? When the rest of the journalism world gets something wrong, they generally correct themselves. But network news acts as if an on-air admission of error might cause a meteor to land on the noggin of one of its precious talking heads. NBC used all of the powers at its disposal to amend the mistake, except the high-visibility airtime where the bad clip ran in the first place. [...]
Clearly, broadcast news time is precious and it would be impractical to correct every small error. But this was no misdemeanor. This was a deeply misleading compression in editing about an event that has taken on national significance.
Somewhere in the four expansive hours of “Today” — perhaps between the segment about a loud peacock that was bothering neighbors and the preview of Eva Longoria’s show about “hunky bachelors” — somebody could have looked into the camera and set the story straight.
With that correct attitude in mind, Carr approached Capus to ask why nothing had been done on the air. Capus acknowledged that he was "probably right" but didn't seem too enthused about sparing a few seconds to help correct the record, especially for those viewers who aren't following the media industry or political blogs, i.e. the vast majority of "Today" watchers.
“The reality is that we didn’t try to hide from it,” the oleagenous NBC president is quoted as saying. “We did an awful lot of work after it happened. We did an exhaustive investigation, I did interviews with a lot of publications to get the message out, but we probably should have done it on our own air.”
Supposedly, according to Capus, the peacock network was so busy trying to get to the bottom of things it never bothered to tell viewers. In all likelihood, that process was too "self-reflective," Capus told Carr.
If Capus really believes that, why not take the time tomorrow to get "Today" and "NBC Nightly News" to apologize to its viewers to tell the truth about the disgraceful edit? How about releasing that report about how a fraudulently edited audio segment got aired repeatedly on television?
Yes, that's right. NBC didn't air fake audio of George Zimmerman just once on the air. It did so on five separate occasions.
While most of the attention has been given to the "Today" show airing the spliced clip on March 20th, that wasn't the only day that NBC aired misleading audio of Zimmerman's conversation. There were five separate instances—-two using the formulation "this guy looks like he's up to no good. [...] he looks black” and three juxtaposing "up to no good" with Zimmerman's "he's a black male" comment from later in the conversation. The instances are below (thanks to NB's Rich Noyes for tabulating them):
NBC Nightly News, 3/19 (Pete Williams reporting):
Clip of GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something. He's got his hand in his waistband, and he's a black male.
NBC Today, 3/20; 7am and again at 9am
Both reported by Lilia Luciano
Clip of GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something. He's got his hand in his waistband, and he's a black male.
(The full transcript shows several exchanges between “...on drugs or something” and “He’s got his hand... This comes at a point in the conversation after the “He looks black” statement that was made in response to the 9-1-1 dispatcher. On screen, these were shown as two separate text boxes, but no indication that there was material cut out.)
NBC Today, 3/22 (Lilia Luciano reporting):
ZIMMERMAN: “This guy looks like he's up to no good... He looks black.”
NBC Today, 3/27 (Ron Allen reporting):
ZIMMERMAN: “This guy looks like he's up to no good... He looks black.”
(The on-screen graphic in both instances shows ellipses after “no good,” but the audio runs continuously and omits the fact that Zimmerman was asked to describe the person he was following.)
Given that there are two separate clips of Zimmerman's voice that were created and run on two separate shows, how can we be assured that NBC has taken sufficient steps to punish anyone involved in perpetuating the false racist narrative? Because there hasn't been much of a focus on the "NBC Nightly News," how do we know that it wasn't an additional producer who made the phoney edit on that show?
Unfortunately there is no way of knowing and since George Zimmerman is still trying to fend off prosecutors, he's not likely to be able to launch a lawsuit against NBC for sliming him as a racist. Capus needs to do the right thing and come fully clean on what happened. As the boss, he can make things right. But will he choose to without governmental pressure? It will come, why wait until then?
A former Palestinian intelligence officer has reportedly been sentenced to death after it was revealed he had sold his home to Jews.
Muhammad Abu Shahala, who worked for the Palestinian Authority reportedly confessed under torture to selling his home in Hebron on the West Bank to a Jewish man.
Jewish officials are now calling for the international community to get involved to save Mr Abu Shahala's life.
As Roll Call reports today, Hawaii Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka (both Democrats) issued a press release touting a $250 million giveaway for a rail project in their state; Patty Murray (D-WA) also touted a $65 million grant for her state. Where did the money come from? It was pre-earmarked in the Obama budget. “Clearly lawmakers are taking credit for projects that were already slated to receive funding but did it in a very earmark-ish manner,” explained Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Inouye’s spokesman predictably denied that this was earmarking. “The fiscal year 2013 appropriations bills will contain no earmarks, but they will certainly contain funding for dozens of projects that are important to individual Members and to their constituents,” he said.
How convenient. President Obama, who was against earmarks before he was apparently for them, is the driving force here. Earmarks are the glue that holds together the Democratic coalition – it’s all back-scratching and pork-barrel spending. Were earmarks really to die, Democrats would have no way to get their friends on board with their big-spending projects. So President Obama is lending a hand.
This weekend, a video produced by Free Market America went live on YouTube — and it is racking up nationwide hits. Deservedly so. The Earth Day-timed message is compelling and extremely relevant this campaign season.
According to the Department of Labor, although claims for unemployment decreased in the week ending April 14, the 4-week moving average was 374,750, up 5,500 from the previous week's revised average of 369,250.
This means that the economy is not improving, despite administration claims that it is. In Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, the number of firms that provided earnings guidance to investors in March was 27, which was the lowest ever for the month of March and the second-lowest of any month since 2000. This means that companies are nervous about their future earnings.
But the media continues to trumpet their calls of triumph for the Obama economy, despite the loosened money policy that creates an artificially inflated market. CBS, one of the arms of the vast left-wing conspiracy, hilariously titled a piece on the economy, “Economic outlook dim, but improving.” NBC, not to be outdone, had Matt Lauer say to Sarah Palin, "Some people would say if things seem to get better, or be getting better, why would I take that chance and change the person in the White House?” And ABC? How’s this? George Stephanopolous, in March, “The economy has added more jobs than expected in each of the past three months…” And just whose expectations was he referring to?
Meanwhile, the battle between Mitt Romney and Obama is heating up over the issue. Romney said on Wednesday, “Obama is over his head and swimming in the wrong direction … even if you like Barack Obama, we can’t afford Barack Obama … You’re not going to see President Obama standing alongside Greek columns. He’s not going to want to remind anyone of Greece, because he’s put us on a road to become more like Greece.”
Obama, running away from his record and still blaming former President Bush even after being in office for three and a half years, whined that during Bush’s administration, there was “the slowest job growth in half a century ... and we’ve spent the last three and a half years cleaning up after that mess.”
Obama still won’t grow up, and neither will the MSM that protects him.
By Damian Paletta
The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that 45 million people in 2011 received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, a 70% increase from 2007. It said the number of people receiving the benefits, commonly known as food stamps, would continue growing until 2014.
Spending for the program, not including administrative costs, rose to $72 billion in 2011, up from $30 billion four years earlier. The CBO projected that one in seven U.S. residents received food stamps last year.
In a report, the CBO said roughly two-thirds of jump in spending was tied to an increase in the number of people participating in the program, which provides access to food for the poor, elderly, and disabled. It said another 20% “of the growth in spending can be attributed to temporarily higher benefit amounts enacted in the” 2009 stimulus law.
CBO said the number of people receiving benefits is expected to fall after 2014 because the economy will be improving.
“Nevertheless, the number of people receiving SNAP benefits will remain high by historical standards,” the agency said.
It estimated that 34 million people, or 1 in 10 U.S. residents, would receive SNAP benefits in 2022 “and SNAP expenditures, at about $73 billion, will be among the highest of all non-health-related federal support programs for low-income households.”
(Reuters) - Instead of curbing government spending, President Barack Obama's healthcare law could add up to $530 billion to the federal debt over ten years, a Republican expert on U.S. government benefit programs said on Tuesday.
A study by Charles Blahous, a George Mason University research fellow and the Republican trustee for the Medicare and Social Security entitlement programs for the elderly, challenged the administration's contention that the 2010 law would reduce healthcare costs.
But the Obama administration defended the law as a cost-saver and sharply criticized the report by Blahous, an economic policy adviser under former President George W. Bush.
Known as the "Affordable Care Act," or by conservatives as "Obamacare," the measure to expand health insurance for millions of Americans is considered Obama's signature domestic policy achievement.
The Supreme Court is weighing whether Congress overstepped its authority to regulate commerce in approving the law. The justices heard arguments in the high-stakes case two weeks ago.
Republican presidential candidates have promised to repeal the law if one of them wins the White House in the November election. Conservatives denounce the sweeping overhaul as an unwarranted government intrusion.
Obama and the Democrats believe the law will control skyrocketing costs and curtail government "red ink."
White House health adviser Jeanne Lambrew said Blahous' analysis wrongly charges that some savings are "double counted." She said government estimates from the Office of Management and Budget and from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office show the 2010 law would lower federal deficits over a 10 year period.
"This new math fits the old pattern of mischaracterizations about the Affordable Care Act when official estimates show the health care law reduces the deficit," Lambrew, deputy assistant to the president for health policy, wrote in a blog post on the White House website.
But Blahous, who also served as the deputy director of the National Economic Council under Bush, said in his research that the law is expected to boost net federal spending by more than $1.15 trillion and add between $340 billion and $530 billion to deficits between 2012-21.
"Relative to previous law, the (healthcare law) both exacerbates projected federal deficits and increases an already unsustainable federal commitment to health care spending," he concluded.
The analysis, first reported by the Washington Post late on Monday, also comes a month after the Congressional Budget Office cut the estimated net cost of the healthcare law by $48 billion to $1.08 trillion through 2021.
The shape of President Obama’s re-election strategy is coming clear. The key elements:
1) Don’t run on your record; run as if there were no incumbent
2) Stress class warfare; exploit fear of Republican spending cuts. Harp on the negatives.
3) Hide the negatives about your record in a miasma of general pessimism. (Medicare was broken before we got here; headwinds slowed the economy.)
It’s hard to see how this works. Economic populism has never been able to reach more than about 40 percent of the American electorate. And the only modern incumbent to run away from his record and win was Harry Truman in the aftermath of World War II and the Roosevelt era.
So what are the people around Obama thinking?
They seem to be betting that a decided shift in our political culture in the past decade has transformed class envy and save-government-spending demagoguery into a way to win a majority.
The Democratic Party’s left has long believed in this strategy. In the 1996 Clinton re-election campaign, moderates squared off against economic populists and won the day. The likes of former Labor Secretary Robert Reich pushed populist remedies, but the polling never showed that this rhetoric would suffice to win a majority. (Yes, Clinton used some of their arguments to get elected in 1992 — but he only had to win 43 percent of the vote to prevail, because Ross Perot made it a three-way race.)
Has our culture changed that much since? Are the partisan divisions so entrenched and hatred of the other side so pronounced that a divisive campaign, a la Richard Nixon in 1968, can win? We don’t know yet.
Perhaps Obama’s people have polling that suggests things are different now — that the country is so embittered and divided that sunny optimism and appeals to national unity strike a false note with voters.
Alternately, it may all just be an attempt to revive the 2008 Obama coalition by igniting divisive passions to amplify turnout among his old base.
Note that Obama regularly draws 49 percent to 52 percent of registered voters in national polls against Romney — but does far worse when the poll is limited to the smaller pool of likely voters, trailing Romney 47 percent to 45 percent (Rasmussen) or tied at 47 (Bloomberg).
That gap illustrates Obama’s central problem: turnout.
He won in 2008 because blacks rose from 11 percent of the vote to 14 percent, Latino participation rose from 7 percent to 8.5 percent, and the under-30 voters dramatically increased their turnout as well.
His ratings among African-Americans remain high, but the prospects for a heavy turnout are diminished. And (according to Rasmussen) his approval among Latinos is down to 41 percent and among under-30 voters to 54 percent.
Obama’s appeals to fear, envy and class antagonisms haven’t been working lately. But even if they start to, he’s sacrificing the themes of optimism and hope.
A dour, bitter Obama, lashing out at the rich and peddling fear of the Republicans, can’t compete with a sunny, smiling Mitt Romney. He’s largely stuck talking about who Romney is — an unbecoming attack line that doesn’t inspire faith in a national leader.
Were we France or Italy, perhaps this rhetoric would fall on receptive ears conditioned by years of discord. Here in America? Not yet.
With two presidential signatures- one on New Year’s Day and the other issued last week – President Barack Obama has assumed the right to assert dictatorial powers over almost all aspects of the U.S. economy and to hold American citizens indefinitely without trial!
(This is not some “Space Aliens Invade” story. It is really happening).
On New Year’s Day, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to fund the Pentagon. But smuggled into its language is an explicit authority “allowing him to indefinitely detain [US] citizens” according to Jonathan Turley writing in the U.K. Guardian newspaper.
While the story was buried in the American media, Turley notes that it is “one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties” in American history.
At first, Obama “insisted that he signed the bill simply to keep funding for the troops.” But, Turley reports, “that spin ended after sponsor Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) disclosed that it was the White House that insisted that there be no exception for [US] citizens in the indefinite detention provision.”
Turley is critical of “reporters [who] continue to mouth the claim that this law only codifies what is already the law. That is not true.
The administration has fought any challenges to indefinite detention to prevent a true court review.”
Read the full text of Turley’s article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/02/ndaa-historic-assault-american-liberty
Perhaps even more terrifying is the executive order President Obama signed on Friday, March 16 giving him vast powers to control every aspect of the U.S. economy in the event of war or even during a peacetime “emergency.” Edwin Black, writing for the liberal-oriented Huffington Post, says that the order “may have quietly placed the United States on a war preparedness footing” possibly in anticipation of “an outbreak of war between Israel, the West, and Iran.”
Read the full text of Black’s article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/edwin-black/obama-national-defense-resources-preparedness_b_1359715.html
The Order entitled “National Defense Resources Preparedness” gives the president the power “to take control of all civil energy supplies, including oil and natural gas, control and restrict all civil transportation,” according to Black. It also even allows a draft “in order to achieve both the military and non-military demands of the country.”
Obama’s order would be effective both during times of war and times of other emergencies. It says the purpose of the order is to assure that “the United States [has] an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency.” (Emphasis added)
The far reaching order authorizes the president “in the event of a potential threat to the security of the United States, to take actions necessary to ensure the availability of adequate resources and production capability, including services and critical technology, for national defense requirements.”
Likely the president already has most of the enumerated powers as part of his role as commander in chief. So, why the order right now?
Black speculates that it is related to the tensions over Iran’s nuclear program. Is the president reminding big oil that he would take over their industry in the event of war? Or is Obama equipping himself with vast powers to be used even in peacetime as a result of whatever he decides is a “national emergency.” Could the rise in gas prices constitute such an “emergency?” Is the issuance of this order right now a shot across the bow of oil companies to get them to go easy on oil prices? Where are we? Stalinist Russia?
In any case, these two presidential signatures – one on a law and the other on an order – together constitute a massive power grab totally unsuited to a democracy. The idea that he would be preparing to assume dictatorial powers seems so remote that the mainstream media has not even reported on these initiatives. But they should give all of us pause.
Heritage Foundation Mike Gonzalez Tuesday, March 27, 2012
It is hard to overstate the dangerous implications of what happened this week when President Obama was caught by an open mic sending a message to Russia’s dictator-in-waiting to wait quietly till after the November elections, after which Mr. Obama could make concessions on America’s national defense. The White House is trying to explain this incident away as par for the course in an electoral year. It is not.
Here, in essence, is what it appears to be: this was our commander in chief in league with an anti-American autocrat to dupe the American public until after it’s too late. What makes it even worse is that the issue at hand–missile defense–has to do with protecting the American people against the likes of Russia.
We don’t need to exaggerate what happened. All we need is to review what Obama, our President, was caught telling Russia’s current president, Dmitri Medvedev, while the two met at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea. Neither man knew the microphones were live and picked up their exchange. Here it is: