News Briefing for Monday, September 15
Below are some of the news stories that we are reading today.
Tea Party Patriots Legislative Update [Audio]
Hurdles for Obama health law in 2nd sign-up season
“Potential complications await consumers as President Barack Obama’s health care law approaches its second open enrollment season, just two months away. Don’t expect a repeat of last year’s website meltdown, but the new sign-up period could expose underlying problems with the law itself that are less easily fixed than a computer system. Getting those who signed up this year enrolled again for 2015 won’t be as easy as it might seem. And the law’s interaction between insurance and taxes looks like a sure-fire formula for confusion. For example:
— For the roughly 8 million people who signed up this year, the administration has set up automatic renewal. But consumers who go that route may regret it. They risk sticker shock by missing out on lower-premium options. And they could get stuck with an outdated and possibly incorrect government subsidy. Automatic renewal should be a last resort, consumer advocates say.
–An additional 5 million people or so will be signing up for the first time on HealthCare.gov and state exchange websites. But the Nov. 15-Feb. 15 open enrollment season will be half as long the 2013-2014 sign-up period, and it overlaps with the holiday season.
— Of those enrolled this year, the overwhelming majority received tax credits to help pay their premiums. Because those subsidies are tied to income, those 6.7 million consumers will have to file new forms with their 2014 tax returns to prove they got the right amount. Too much subsidy and their tax refunds will be reduced. Too little, and the government owes them.
–Tens of millions of people who remained uninsured this year face tax penalties for the first time, unless they can secure an exemption.
“It’s the second open enrollment, but the first renewal and the first tax season where the requirements of the Affordable Care Act are in place,” said Judy Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which advocates for low-income people, and supports the law. “The fact that it is all going to be occurring within an overlapping and relatively short time frame … means that there will be many issues,” she added.”
Health-Law Advocates to Tweak ACA Marketing Campaign for the Fall
Sign-Up Effort for the Next Open-Enrollment Period Will Focus on Testimonials, Mandate
“The sales pitch for the health law is getting an overhaul for the fall. Supporters and advocates of the Affordable Care Act say they learned lessons from last year’s sign-up effort, when they persuaded a few million uninsured people to buy coverage. They plan to incorporate those lessons into the marketing campaign for the next enrollment period, which begins in mid-November. In for this fall: testimonials from real people, more emphasis on deadlines, and an increased focus on in-person help. Out: No longer will ACA advocates steer clear of talking about the law’s requirement that people either get health coverage or pay a penalty when they file their taxes. It turns out the so-called individual mandate actually does motivate some people to sign up, research suggests. A Tougher Audience. More than eight million people got private insurance for 2014 through the law’s insurance exchanges, which were plagued with technical problems when they opened in October 2013 but stabilized toward the end of the six-month sign-up period. It isn’t yet clear how many of those people were uninsured previously as opposed to switching plans, but several recent polls have suggested a noticeable dent in the number of U.S. uninsured, which totaled about 50 million people before the law’s passage. For example, a survey from polling organization Gallup found that the percentage of American adults without health insurance dropped to 13.4% in April after peaking at an average of 18% in the months immediately before the Oct. 1 rollout of the law. Still, many of those who bought insurance during the ACA’s first year were the “low-hanging fruit,” says Barbara Webber, director of the Health Action New Mexico advocacy group. This time, “we’re going to have to really get to the hard-to-reach people in the remote communities,” she says. Among the groups that weren’t as easy to get were those outside of big metropolitan areas and uninsured Hispanics.”
Obamacare Has Failed To Collapse — But Its Premiums Continue To Climb
“Democrats are trumpeting preliminary estimates indicating that premiums on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges will rise modestly, on average, in 2015. These early indications have led to a peculiar type of crowing from Obamacare supporters: “See, Obamacare isn’t collapsing!” And it’s true: Obamacare isn’t collapsing. But in the real world, we don’t measure the success of the “Affordable Care Act” by its failure to collapse. We measure it by looking at the underlying affordability of American health care. And there can be no doubt that health care today is more costly than it would have been without Obamacare. First, the data. Last week, McKinsey released its latest analysis of preliminary rate filings for 2015. Among other things, McKinsey looked at the premium of the lowest-priced Silver plan in 2015, and compared that to the premium of the lowest-priced Silver plan in 2014. This comparison is useful because Obamacare’s insurance subsidies are geared to the cost of Silver plans, and because 65 percent of those selecting plans this past year chose Silver plans. (As a reminder, you can buy five different types of plans on the Obamacare exchanges: Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The higher-tier plans have lower deductibles and co-pays, but higher premiums.) McKinsey found that the premium of the lowest-priced Silver plan increased by an average of 8 percent in 2015. That’s slightly above PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ estimate of 2015 medical inflation: 6.8 percent.”
Survey: Cost keeps many from enrolling in Affordable Care Act
“A survey for Enroll America, conducted in April by PerryUndem Research, polled 671 individuals newly enrolled in health insurance plans, and 853 who remained uninsured. The survey explored their attitudes, knowledge and experiences with enrollment, costs and health coverage… According to the survey, 39 percent of those who didn’t enroll said that cost was a barrier to their enrollment. Twenty-seven percent said that problems with the website prevented them from enrolling, while 26 percent said in the survey that confusion regarding the overall enrollment process was a reason for them not enrolling.”
Obamacare: How $1 of Extra Income Could Cost Boomers Up to $15,000 Each Year
“Using the dandy tool provided at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, you can easily see how subsidies tie in to family size and income, putting boomers at a disadvantage. For example:
–A 45-year-old couple with an income of $62,040 living in the Colorado Springs, Colo., area could buy a Silver plan costing $6,671 yearly. They would receive a subsidy of $777 from the government. If their income was actually $62,041, they would get no subsidy, and pay the full amount.
–A 60-year old couple in the exact same circumstance would be offered a plan for $12,538 per year, for which they would receive a subsidy of $6,644, paying out-of-pocket, like the younger couple above, $5,894 annually. If their income was found to be one dollar more, they would have to pay the entire amount out of pocket.
–If the younger couple lived in Norwalk, Conn., their plan would cost $11,407, for which they would receive a subsidy of $5,514 annually with an income of $62,040. Add $1 to that salary, and the whole cost would be shouldered by the insured.
–For the 60-year-olds, a Silver plan costs a whopping $21,440 – for which they would receive $15,546 in subsidies, as long as their income was lower than $62,041. If it isn’t, this couple will be socked with an incredibly large insurance bill every year.”
Insurers Fight Hospital Mergers As ACA Snubs Fee For Service Medicine
DEMOCRAT CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR WANT BIG OBAMACARE EXPANSIONS
“A recent analysis of five Democrats running for Governor across the country in close elections finds them promising major expansions of Obamacare if they are elected, showing that not all Democrats are running away from the President’s signature takeover of the nation’s healthcare.
In national polls, Obamacare is underwater and sits at record low approval numbers. This is causing most Democrat candidates across the country to run away from Obamacare. But Democrat candidates for governor in Florida, Maine, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Georgia are all angling for big Obamacare expansions, according to The Hill. If they win and fulfill their campaign promises, the consequence would be a major hike of up to $120 billion in federal spending, according to one estimate. This drive for expansion comes in the face of the years of outright falsities President Obama delivered to the nation, saying that we could keep our doctors and insurance plans if we liked them, claims that have had a direct impact on the law’s dismal approval ratings. But that dismal approval isn’t deterring the five Democrat candidates for governor.”
White House reportedly assures Hill lawmakers about executive action this year on immigration reform
“The White House this week assured anxious Hispanic lawmakers on Capitol Hill that President Obama will use executive action before the holiday season closes to reform U.S. immigration law, after breaking his pledge to make changes by the end of summer. The message was delivered in a meeting Thursday with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and other administration officials, including domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz, a key player for Obama on the issue, according to Politico. The president faced sharp criticism, including accusations of caving to election-year politics, from Hispanic lawmakers, immigration-reform advocates and others in his Democratic base when the White House revealed last weekend that he would delay action until after the Nov. 4 elections. In 2012, Obama used executive action to delay deportation for many young immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents. He is expected to widen that effort to include millions more. Roughly 11 million people are now living in the U.S. illegally. This week’s meeting was apparently intended to restore the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s faith in the White House, considering in part that a reform plan appears stuck in the GOP-led House. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., said he needs “constant reassurance” that the president will soon act. “I don’t want to go down this path come November and then for some other reason, find that the immigrant community and the Latino community get thrown in the heap again,” he told Politico.”
Two immigration fixes Obama can implement right now
“President Obama has decried our immigration system as “broken.” In the absence of a legislative fix, he has promised to take executive action to provide some relief to undocumented immigrants. As an attorney who has been practicing immigration law in the greater Miami area for 15 years, I have 2 suggestions for executive action the president can take without stepping on the toes of the legislative branch. Fix #1: Expand use of “Parole in Place.” Contrary to popular belief, marriage to a U.S. citizen does not automatically result in a green card for the citizen’s foreign national spouse or stepchildren. Many are barred from applying for a green card while in the United States due to a provision that requires that they have been legally inspected and admitted when they entered the country. Many are also in the Catch-22 of not being able to leave the United States to be processed through the U.S. embassies in their countries due to a draconian 1996 law that locks people out of the United States for 3 or 10 years, depending on the length of their “unlawful presence” in the United States. It may come as a surprise to many that the Department of Homeland Security already has a legal mechanism to allow these relatives of U.S. Citizens to apply for green cards without leaving the United States. It is known as “parole” or “humanitarian parole.” Parole permits an otherwise ineligible foreign national to enter the U.S. or alternatively, parole may be granted to individuals already in the U.S., who were not processed through a port-of-entry. This latter use of parole is known as ”parole in place.” Under Section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act the DHS may parole a foreign national “for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. The DHS as a matter of routine paroles-in-place Cubans who arrive irregularly on U.S. soil. The parole positions them for green card status under “Cuban Adjustment Act.” Last year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a bureau of DHS, issued a memorandum recapitulating the legal theory behind “parole in place,” as well as streamlining the application process for certain individuals affiliated with the U.S. Armed Services and for their relatives. As per the November 15, 2013 memorandum, parole in place trumps the ordinary bars to permanent resident status for those who entered the U.S. without inspection. Expanding the general use and frequency of “parole in place” to more foreign-born spouses, parents, and certain minor stepchildren of U.S. Citizens would position these relatives for green card status in the United States . Fix #2: Follow the 6th Circuit on Temporary Protected Status (TPS). There are several hundred thousand individuals who have been given a temporary reprieve from deportation due to strife or natural disasters in their countries, under a law called “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS). These individuals remain mired in immigration limbo, never knowing whether their country’s designation will finally end. Many have U.S. citizen spouses, or adult U.S. citizen sons or daughters, but cannot apply for a green card due to having entered the United States without inspection. Last year in the case of Flores v. USCIS the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held that the grant of TPS to an individual who entered the U.S. without inspection constituted a legal inspection and admission into the United States . Under Flores , such an individual could apply for permanent resident status through certain U.S. citizen relatives notwithstanding his entry without inspection. Unfortunately, the USCIS has not adopted the 6th Circuit’s holding nationwide; it remains binding on only within Michigan , Ohio, Tennessee , and Kentucky . Adopting Flores nationwide would provide legal cover for some TPS holders who entered without inspection to pursue permanent resident status through a U.S. Citizen relative. The measures I suggest are not panaceas, nor are they the entire set of tools at the president’s disposal with which to tweak our immigration system. The President’s authority is not unfettered, however I hope that my examples of potential executive action fixes illustrate that, when it comes to implementing immigration reform, the President’s hands are far from tied.”
BUCHANAN: EXECUTIVE AMNESTY WILL CAUSE ‘HELLISH FIRESTORM’
“Columnist and author Pat Buchanan predicted that President Barack Obama would “have a hellish firestorm on his hands” if he moved forward with plans to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants through an executive order on this weekend’s “The McLaughlin Group.” “I’ll tell you, he’s going to have a hellish firestorm on his hands if, he in December, which my guess would be he would likely to do, he grants an executive amnesty. When George Bush took all of that trouble to go to the Congress of the United States to fight a great battle, saying in effect, ‘Congress and the president decide this together,’ he does that unilaterally, and I think he’s going to permanently help his party and [damage] it.”
Detention center brings immigration debate to small-town New Mexico
“Unprepared for thousands of parents with children who entered the country illegally, immigration officials parceled out a portion of the federal law enforcement training facility in Artesia to use as a detention center for about 600 women and children, most of them from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Although more than 280 women and children have been deported, hundreds more remain as they wait for immigration hearings or to be returned to their native countries. The new arrivals have sparked controversy in this mostly conservative town, where a statue of an oil pump is the centerpiece in a downtown park. Some say the strangers’ detentions have divided neighbors, inconvenienced new mothers looking for baby formula and touched off heated arguments during history class at the high school. Whether people think the outsiders should stay or go, most in town seem to agree that rumors surrounding the facility have been fueled by a lack of information from federal officials about the center and its operation… Homeland Security officials insist that the Family Residential Center in Artesia is temporary. However, some residents say that improvements to the complex, such as new education trailers for the children and a repaved parking lot for visitors — particularly a platoon of pro bono immigration attorneys for the detainees — suggest otherwise. Some residents say they are already miffed that the center was opened without community input. “If they would have taken a community vote, it would have been turned down,” Harris said. “It’s like we’re being taken advantage of.” Harris says she has friends with newborns who have had to drive an hour away to Roswell, because federal officials had cleared out local store shelves of diapers and baby formula. “They’re pulling from our community to supply over there,” she said. But not everyone feels the same way.”
DPS REPORTS: TEXAS BORDER RELATED CRIME INCIDENTS
“The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) released two reports on September 11 dealing with significant crime issues related to Texas’ unsecured border with Mexico. The first report deals with a summary of what the DPS is calling “border-related incidents”. These include: criminal aliens, home invasions, confrontations with law enforcement, and public corruption. The second is a more detailed report covering all aspects of law enforcement related issues concerning our open border and will be covered in a series of articles after this one.”
Democratic pols seek amnesty, rights under NY state law for illegal immigrants
“Illegal Alienss in New York could score billions in Medicaid and college-tuition money — along with driver’s licenses, voting rights and even the ability to run for office — if Democrats win control of the state Senate in November, The Post has learned. A little-known bill, dubbed “New York is Home,” would offer the most sweeping amnesty available anywhere in the country to nearly 3 million noncitizens living in the Empire State. It would bar cops from releasing any information about them to the feds, unless it involves a criminal warrant unrelated to their immigration status. Under the proposed legislation, undocumented immigrants could also apply for professional licenses and serve on juries. The plan hinges on Democrats — who now control both the governorship and the state Assembly — wresting control of the Senate from Republicans, who oppose immigration amnesty. “The bill would have a better shot at passing with a Democratic Senate,” said Brooklyn Assemblyman Karim Kamara, the chief Assembly sponsor. “I look forward [to] having a robust conversation about how significant this bill is.” But the GOP plans on using the proposal to warn voters how radical New York will become if Democrats command all levers of state government. Republicans are already referring to it as the “illegal immigrants benefits legislation” and will make the bill their poster child for political contests in more conservative upstate and suburban districts.”
Eyeing 2016, Sen. Rubio stresses border security
EXCLUSIVE — SCOTT BROWN: ‘NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT’ TO AMERICA’S SAFETY THAN SECURING BORDER
Hillary Dodges Immigration Questions in Iowa
JEB BUSH ADVISER MIKE MURPHY: THROWING SENATE TO GOP IN HARRY REID’S INTEREST
“Jeb Bush adviser and GOP hack Mike Murphy thinks it may be in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) interest to throw the Senate to Republicans. In an appearance on Sunday’s Meet The Press, the conservative-bashing consultant who has yet to win a presidential election and once referred to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) as Reid’s secret weapon, said if Republicans took back the Senate, it could turn into an “American idol of grievance.” Todd snickered and egged Murphy on, showing nothing but contempt for conservatives. “Harry Reid may throw the Senate,” Murphy said. “You can argue it’s in his interest.” If Reid wanted to throw the Senate and become Minority Leader, he would have pushed Obama to enact a massive executive amnesty before the midterms. But Obama decided not to in order to preserve the Senate for Democrats. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who gave Obama recommendations for executive actions, said that the administration delayed its executive amnesty to not get slaughtered at the polls like in the 1994 midterms. But Todd, who promised his viewers that he would stop the spin and hold establishment hacks and pundits to account, did not even mentions these points. Nor did he inform his viewers that Murphy advises Bush.”
Immigration a hot issue in the Louisiana Senate race
FEDERAL TAX REVENUE AT RECORD HIGH BUT GOVERNMENT STILL RUNNING $598 BILLION DEFICIT
“During these first 11 months of fiscal year 2014, the feds brought in $2.66 trillion in tax receipts. Despite this, the federal government is still running a $598 billion deficit, according to the latest Monthly Treasury Statement. CNSNews.com reports that individual income taxes totaling $1,233,274,000,000 formed the largest share of the government’s revenue in the first 11 months of fiscal 2014: The rest of the receipts came from corporation income taxes totaling $247,200,000,000, employment and general retirement (off-budget) totaling $674,338,000,000, employment and general retirement (on-budget) totaling $209,281,000,000, unemployment insurance totaling $54,591,000,000, other retirement receipts totaling $3,155,000,000, excise taxes totaling $73,051,000,000, estate and gift taxes totaling $17,702,000,000, customs duties totaling $30,902,000,000 and miscellaneous receipts totaling $119,933,000,000. This intake of tax revenue is $134,705,540,000 more than the feds had brought in by this time last year. Yet, even as the federal government brought in a record-high in revenue thus far for fiscal year 2014, it also spent approximately $3,252,611,000,000, overspending revenue by approximately $589,185,000,000.”
We’re Number 32!
A new global index highlights the harm from the U.S. tax code.
“On Monday the Tax Foundation, which manages the widely followed State Business Tax Climate Index, will launch a new global benchmark, the International Tax Competitiveness Index. According to the foundation, the new index measures “the extent to which a country’s tax system adheres to two important principles of tax policy: competitiveness and neutrality.” A competitive tax code is one that limits the taxation of businesses and investment. Since capital is mobile and businesses can choose where to invest, tax rates that are too high “drive investment elsewhere, leading to slower economic growth,” as the Tax Foundation puts it. By neutrality the foundation means “a tax code that seeks to raise the most revenue with the fewest economic distortions. This means that it doesn’t favor consumption over saving, as happens with capital gains and dividends taxes, estate taxes, and high progressive income taxes. This also means no targeted tax breaks for businesses for specific business activities.” Crony capitalism that rewards the likes of green energy with lower tax bills while imposing higher bills on other firms is political arbitrage that misallocates capital and reduces economic growth. The index takes into account more than 40 tax policy variables. And the inaugural ranking puts the U.S. at 32nd out of 34 industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). With the developed world’s highest corporate tax rate at over 39% including state levies, plus a rare demand that money earned overseas should be taxed as if it were earned domestically, the U.S. is almost in a class by itself. It ranks just behind Spain and Italy, of all economic humiliations. America did beat Portugal and France, which is currently run by an avowed socialist. The Tax Foundation benchmark compares developed economies with large and expensive governments, but the U.S. would do even worse if it were measured against the world’s roughly 190 countries. The accounting firm KPMG maintains a corporate tax table that includes more than 130 countries and only one has a higher overall corporate tax rate than the U.S. The United Arab Emirates’ 55% rate is an exception, however, because it usually applies only to foreign oil companies. The new ranking is especially timely coming amid the campaign led by Messrs. Obama and Schumer to punish companies that move their legal domicile overseas to be able to reinvest future profits in the U.S. without paying the punitive American tax rate. If they succeed, the U.S. could fall to dead last on next year’s ranking. Now there’s a second-term legacy project for the President.”
‘Dying Out Here’: U.S. Job Gains Leave Black Women Behind
“A creeping escape from the Great Recession is bolstering job prospects in every demographic slice of the U.S. economy but one: African American women. Adult black females in August posted an unemployment rate of 10.6 percent, the same rate that group registered in August 2013 — while during that span unemployment rates decreased for black men, white men, white women, Latino men, Latino women, and adult Asian Americans, according to the latest federal labor figures. Some economic experts — and some out-of-work black women — assert the numbers lead them to one uneasy conclusion: racial and gender hiring biases are blocking many adult females from regaining prerecession financial footholds. “Black women have not made any progress at all (during the past 12 months),” said Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. “It’s not a great picture. There is just a continuing problem of discrimination in the work place.” “We’re dying out here,” said Karen McLeod, 59, out of work since September 2013 when a Canton, Ohio, nonprofit stopped paying her then let her go. Her former duties included helping felons regain jobs by seeking to expunge their criminal records. A professional woman with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration, McLeod calls her drastic moves to stay housed, clothed and fed “the most humiliating thing.” To afford gas for her car, she sold her jewelry. To buy food, she pawned her television. She asked local churches and the Salvation Army for money to help pay the $625 rent on her house — where she found an eviction notice pinned on the door in August. To stay current on her electric, natural gas and water bills, McLeod reached an emergency installment plan with the utility companies — $10 per month for each. But she struggled to meet that obligation, too, forcing her to borrow from a “check-and-go cash place,” she said. And she’s not sure how she’ll pay those bills when cold weather arrives. “They gave me food stamps. But how can you cook food if you don’t have utilities?” McLeod said. “They tell you not to sell your food stamps. Now, I see why people do that because they need money just to buy things like toilet paper. I ran out of toilet paper.”
Dollar Stability, Not Inflation, Is Our Big Problem Right Now
Bombshell Emails: White House Coordinated With Department of Labor To Hide Illegal Obama Fundraiser Hilda Solis’ Schedule
“The Department of Labor coordinated with the White House on whether or not to release hidden portions of former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ schedule as Solis battled an FBI investigation into her illegal fundraising for President Obama. New emails provided to The Daily Caller from the nonprofit legal research firm Cause of Action show the White House thanking the Department of Labor for “flagging” a public information request for “withheld” portions of Solis’ schedule. The White House then asked for the name of the conservative group making the request — information that Labor officials were eager to give up. As TheDC previously reported, Solis illegally fundraised for the Obama campaign and headlined a Latino-themed Obama fundraiser while on a trip in her official capacity as a Cabinet member, which is forbidden by the Hatch Act. A quiet, behind-the-scenes FBI investigation into Solis’ Hatch Act violation led to her resignation from the Obama administration at the beginning of his second term – and handed Solis a hefty check for legal advice from the Washington arm of the politically-connected Chicago law firm Sidley Austin. (The Daily Caller, meanwhile, is permanently banned from talking to employees at the Department of Labor — which oddly hasn’t stopped us.) But Solis’ department continued coordinating with the White House on requests for Solis’ records. “This was a generic request for calendar,” Secretary of Labor official Deborah Greenfield wrote to Associate White House Counsel Kathleen Hartnett on April 8, 2013. ”This is the issue. We withheld this entry, and it is now on appeal. Any issues with disclosing?” Harnett, Harvard Law School ’00, is an Obama pick who distinguished herself early in the administration for helping the president pass the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. But she needed help with this one. In comes General Counsel at the White House Lamar Baker (Yale Law School ’01). “Got it, thanks,” Baker said.”
One ‘Little-Noticed’ Move Obama Pulled Off That Carries ‘Far-Reaching Consequences’
“For the first time in more than a decade, federal appellate judges appointed by Democratic presidents “considerably outnumber” judges appointed by Republican presidents, according to the New York Tines. Democratic appointees who hear cases full time now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 United States Courts of Appeals, the Times said, adding that when Obama began his presidency, only one court had more full-time judges nominated by a Democrat. The reversal increased since late 2013 after Democrats stripped Republicans of their ability to filibuster the president’s nominees, the Times added, calling it “a little-noticed shift with far-reaching consequences for the law and President Obama’s legacy.” More from the Times: The shift, one of the most significant but unheralded accomplishments of the Obama era, is likely to have ramifications for how the courts decide the legality of some of the president’s most controversial actions on health care, immigration and clean air. Since today’s Congress has been a graveyard for legislative accomplishment, these judicial confirmations are likely to be among its most enduring acts.”
Obama’s ship is sinking
“The rising clamor over the beheading of two Americans, and rapidly sinking polls, forced President Obama to reassure the nation last week he had a plan to deal with the Islamic State. He did some of what he had to do, but only some, and so most military analysts believe the expanded airstrikes will not be a sufficient match for the size and weaponry of the terrorist army. They miss the point. The disjointed speech wasn’t really about terrorism and launching a new war. It was about saving Obama’s presidency. He is sinking fast and could soon pass the point of no return. In fact, it may already be too late to save the SS Obama. The whole second term has been a string of disasters, with the toxic brew of his Obamacare lies, middling economic growth and violent global breakdown casting doubt on the president’s stewardship. Six years into his tenure, nothing is going as promised. Earlier on, he could have trotted out his teleprompters and turned public opinion his way, or at least stopped the damage. But the magic of his rhetoric is long gone, and not just because the public has tuned him out. They’ve tuned him out because they’ve made up their minds about him. They no longer trust him and don’t think he’s a good leader.”
OBAMA DITCHES PRESIDENCY TO BECOME COMMENTATOR-IN-CHIEF
“On Sunday, The New York Times revealed that President Obama seems to be feeling criticism from those who believe his foreign policy has fallen to shambles. “He’s definitely feeling it,” one guest said to the Times. The paper reported, “It was clear to guests how aware Mr. Obama was of the critics who have charged him with demonstrating a lack of leadership. He brought up the criticism more than once with an edge of resentment in his voice.”
And yet the same Times piece depicted a president entirely unwilling to accept that he has ever made any mistakes, or that he will ever do so. When asked what he would do if his plans for ISIS did not go far enough, for example, Obama “rejected the premise,” according to the Times: “I’m not going to anticipate failure at this point.” That was not the only premise Obama rejected. The Times stated, “While some critics, and even his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, have faulted him for not arming moderate Syrian rebels years ago, Mr. Obama does not accept the premise that doing so would have forestalled the rise of ISIS.” Obama himself stated, “I have thought that through and tried to apply 20-20 hindsight. I’m perfectly willing to admit they were right, but even if they were right, I still can’t see how that would have changed the situation.”… The job of president, however, requires an actual strategy. And most of all, Obama hates that people want more of him than merely playing MSNBC contributor. The Times reported Obama’s “prickliness as he mocked critics of his more reticent approach to the exercise of American power.” Obama reportedly whined: “Oh, it’s a shame when you have a wan, diffident, professorial president with no foreign policy other than ‘don’t do stupid things,’ ” guests recalled him saying, sarcastically imitating his adversaries. “I do not make apologies for being careful in these areas, even if it doesn’t make for good theater.” But that’s the point: all Obama cares about is theater. That’s why he makes primetime announcements about ISIS, all to pump a non-strategy (all while telling his visitors that he’s just being “deliberate”). That’s why he finds pleasure mentally masturbating about the flaws of Ronald Reagan and the aggression of Vladimir Putin, even as he refuses to confront Putin in any real way. The Times piece, in short, is a profile of a man who does not want to be commander-in-chief, but would much rather be commentator-in-chief. He’s an observer to his own presidency. His salon at the White House – during which, the Times reports, Obama “was calm and confident, well versed on the complexities of the ISIS challenge and in no evident rush to end the discussions,” and during which Obama never opened his briefing book – paints a picture of a man holding court, rather than seeking input for making actual decisions with actual impact. Obama, it turns out, isn’t an empty chair. He’s just a wannabe MSNBC talking head.”
Obama plays 196th presidential golf round
“The nation’s chief executive is enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon in Prince George’s County, Md., for an afternoon of sports — but no, he’s not taking in the Redskins’ home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. President Obama is hitting the links at Joint Base Andrews Sunday. He arrived there with the presidential motorcade around noon, according to a White House press pool report. The president has played golf at Andrews, formerly known as Andrews Air Force Base, more than anywhere else, according to a tally kept by CBS newsman Mark Knoller, the White House press corps’ unofficial keeper of the tally of presidential golf. “Of 196 rounds,” Knoller tweeted Sunday, “he has played 72 at Andrews.”
Hillary: “Under Obama’s Leadership Our Country Is On The Road To Recovery”
“One of the reasons this election is so important is because in Washington there is too little cooperation and too much conflict. And when it comes to moving America forward, we know what it takes. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it in Tom Harkin. We’ve seen we’ve seen it in Bill Clinton. And we have seen it in Barack Obama. Under President Obama’s leadership our country is on the road to recovery. Now here in Iowa, for example, exports are up, for farmers they are way up, unemployment is down, down more than 25% since 2009 to just 4.5% this summer. Renewable energy production has quadrupled in Iowa which means more jobs and a cleaner environment. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies have been forced to refund more than $1.7 million to Iowa families. But for all the progress we’ve made, President Obama and the rest of us will be quick to say we still have a lot of work to do.”
WHY REPUBLICANS SHOULD NEVER PLAY NICE WITH DEMOCRATS (good list of how Dems have viciously attacked Republicans)
MANESS: LANDRIEU MUST PROVIDE ‘FULL DISCLOSURE’ OR REFUND ALL FLIGHTS TO TAXPAYERS
“One of Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) Republican challengers, Colonel Rob Maness, has called on her to “produce specific details of each flight” included in the 11 page spreadsheet of “mixed-purpose” charter flights she took between 2002 and 2014 released by her campaign on Friday and described as a “full report.” “[I]f the Senator refuses to provide full disclosure for these flights,” Maness told Breitbart News in an e-mail on Sunday, “she should immediately refund taxpayers for these ‘mixed-purpose’ chartered flights.” Breitbart News reported on Saturday that Landrieu’s own press statement on Friday identified 43 such chartered flights she took between 2002 and 2014. The cost of these flights, paid by the taxpayers, was $298,883. Landrieu’s attorney, Marc Elias of the law firm Perkins Coie, informed the Senate Ethics Committee that Landrieu’s campaign sent a check to the U.S. Treasury on Friday in the amount of $33,727, which he determined was the campaign’s pro-rata share of that $298,883.
The total amount paid by taxpayers for these mixed-purpose flights for which Landrieu claims she was not responsible is $265,156. “President Reagan said it best: ‘trust but verify,'” Maness told Breitbart News. “A disturbing pattern of behavior has emerged where Washington politicians are playing by a different set of rules and holding themselves to a completely different standard.” “Sen. Landrieu’s excessive abuse of taxpayer dollars for charter planes and luxury retreats reveals just how out of touch she has become and why we can no longer just give the Senator the benefit of the doubt,” Maness added. “If the internal audit Sen. Landrieu conducted was as exhaustive as we have all been led to believe, she should be able to immediately produce specific details about each flight. Those of us taxpaying Louisianans and Americans who foot the bill have a right to know what was done with our money, and if the Senator refuses to provide full disclosure for these flights, she should immediately refund taxpayers for these ‘mixed-purpose’ chartered flights,” Maness concluded.”
LANDRIEU TRAVEL REPORT RAISES MORE QUESTIONS THAN IT ANSWERS
Landrieu forks over more than $30K for flights improperly billed to taxpayers
Tech chiefs in plea over privacy damage
Race for Iowa Senate seat is ‘uncomfortably close’
Michigan Democrats lead in USA Today poll
POLL: RECORD LOWS FOR OBAMA ON FOREIGN POLICY, AMERICANS FEELING SAFE
“In the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, President Obama has hit his lowest ever approval numbers on the issue of foreign policy. With only 32% of Americans approving and a whopping 62% disapproving, Obama topped the record he set just last month, when he sat at an already abysmal 36-60%. Currently Obama is an astonishing 30 points underwater. This poll was taken before the President’s primetime address this week, where he laid out a four-point plan to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State or ISIS. The speech seemed to please no one in the media on the left or right, but we’ll have to wait to see how it played in Kansas. On the question of whether America is less or more safe after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the Obama Administration hit historic lows going back to when this poll started asking the question in September of 2002. Currently, only 26% believe we are safer today, while 47% believe we are less safe. That’s a huge drop from 39-28% just a year ago. The previous record low on the question of less-or-more safe was 31% in 2005. (five points higher than where we are today.) The previous record low on the question of less safe was 37% in 2007 (a full 10 points lower than today). The latest Fox News poll shows the president at his near historic lows in this particular survey on the issue of foreign policy. Currently, only 34% approve, while 59% disapprove. There is hardly any statistical difference between that and the president’s record low of 32-60% back in June. The uptick on disapproval over last month is, however, significant — a jump from 53% to 59%. Fox News has the president’s overall job approval rating upside down 19 points at 38-57%.”
Poll: Americans have little confidence in Obama’s ISIS ‘strategy’
Little Change in Public Support for Obama’s Islamic State Plan After Speech, Survey Finds
“President Barack Obama’s nationally televised speech on his plan to combat Islamic militants did not significantly boost public support for U.S. military action, and it did not change many people’s minds about his own leadership or his handling of foreign policy, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll has found. The survey was based on interviews with the same individuals before and after Mr. Obama’s Wednesday night address. Before the speech, 65% of voters interviewed said it was in the U.S. interest to attack Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS and ISIL. After the speech, 68% of the same group said military action against the group in Iraq and Syria was in the national interest. The survey was conducted Sept. 11-13 among 207 registered voters. They had been part of a larger 1,000-person survey conducted Sept. 3-7 on a wider range of topics. The White House had hoped that Mr. Obama’s prime time address would quell concerns that the administration lacked a strategy for confronting Islamic State, which has seized territory in Iraq and Syria and has beheaded two U.S. journalists. The group released a video Saturday that it said showed the beheading of a British aid worker. Mr. Obama’s speech had a broad audience: 62% in the new Journal/NBC survey had watched or heard about it in the news, while 37% had not. Of those who watched or heard about the speech, 26% said they came away with a more favorable opinion of the president, while 20% said the speech left them with a less-favorable view. More than half—53%—said the speech did not change their opinion of Mr. Obama.”
What Obama Could Have Said in His ISIS Speech
OBAMA CHIEF OF STAFF: WE DIDN’T THREATEN JAMES FOLEY FAMILY, WE EXPLAINED THE LAW
“On “Fox News Sunday,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said the administration “didn’t threaten” to prosecute the families of journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley who were beheaded by ISIS, for attempting to raise ransom. Instead they just “made clear what the law is.” McDonough said, “In terms of what was communicated to the families, in the midst of many, many meetings over the course of this very difficult circumstance, we obviously made clear what the law is,” “We didn’t threaten anybody, but we made clear what the law is. That’s our responsibility to make sure we explain the law and uphold the law.”
McDonough: We Didn’t Threaten Families. We Explained the Law.
CAIR LEADER SPINS: ‘ISLAMIC STATE IS NOT ISLAMIC’
“Following President Barack Obama’s remarks “the Islamic State is not Islamic,” Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly tangled with Hassan Shibly, the leader of CAIR-Florida as he attempted to defend the Obama’s statement. Following Shibly’s efforts to position himself, his organization CAIR and Islamic doctrine as something separate and distinct from the beliefs of the Islamic State, The United West is released this video exposé about Shibly, CAIR and their parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood showing how these Muslim Brotherhood individuals and organizations are indeed in the business of Islamic propaganda.”
Obama Scared To Act In City Where ISIS Is Threatening A Fourth Beheading
White House presses Congress to vote now on arming Syrian rebels
McDonough says US ‘at war’ with ISIS, insists White House ‘very clear’ on mission