It´s been nearly 14 months since the attack on the US facility in Benghazi, and the "most transparent Administration in history" still refuses to allow Congress or anyone else to interview survivors. Senator Lindsey Graham just announced, in total frustration, that he will block every Presidential nomination for any office until the survivors are allowed to appear before a Congressional committee. Now that is extreme. This means that, for the indefinite future, no more vacancies will be filled as they arise in federal courts or agencies, from "Assistant Deputy Under Secretary For xxx" jobs on up to Cabinet positions. Yet,
What’s making US health care so expensive? Consider spinal fusion surgery. This expensive procedure, as the Washington Post reports, is now more common than hip replacement. Over the past 20 years the rate has increased sixfold, and not due to medical necessity, as new research suggests: More than 465,000 spinal fusions were performed in the United States in 2011, according to government data, and some experts say that a portion of them — perhaps as many as half — were performed without good reason….
With the 2014 midterm elections just a year away, nervous Democrats have begun distancing themselves from what Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius now calls the Obamacare "debacle." "Our guys are frustrated by Obama´s unforced errors," a Senate Democrat aide told Reuters on Wednesday. "How could the president not be ready for the rollout?" Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) expressed frustration last week with the Obama Administration´s failed rollout of Obama´s signature legislative achievement. "Some of us, myself included, are somewhat resentful [and] upset about the apparent incompetency in designing and rolling this thing out," said Nolan. "Who was it
Only now -- five years into his presidency -- are we seeing some cracks in the protective shield surrounding President Obama, and then only after the abuse of reporters´ privacy has been threatened. (snip) Bob Woodward, one of the journalists famed for breaking the Watergate story, called the Obama Administration a "rat´s nest of concealment and lies" and described it as a "secret government." That secret activity includes using the Internal Revenue Service to spy on and intimidate opponents.
How important, really, is history to current affairs? Do events from the 7th century—or, more importantly, how we understand them—have any influence on U.S. foreign policy today? By way of answer, consider some parallels between academia’s portrayal of the historic Islamic jihads and the U.S. government’s and media’s portrayal of contemporary Islamic jihads. While any objective appraisal of the 7th century Muslim conquests proves that they were just that—conquests, with all the bloodshed and rapine that that entails—the historical revisionism of modern academia, especially within Arab and Islamic studies departments, has led to some portrayals of the Muslim conquerors as “freedom-fighters” trying
Masked from public view, two of the U.S. military’s elite special operations commandos have been awarded medals for bravery for a mission that further undercuts the Obama administration’s original story about the Benghazi tragedy. For months, administration officials have claimed no special operations forces were dispatched from outside Libya to Benghazi during the Sept. 11, 2012, al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission and CIA annex because none was within range. The Pentagon, under intense public criticism for not coming to the aid of besieged Americans, published an official timeline in November that carefully danced around the issue. It said time
In Dante’s Inferno, the Eighth Circle of Hell is reserved for people who deliberately commit fraud. It isn’t surprising, then, that the poet populated this province of Perdition with politicians and their advisors. Interestingly, the latter were rendered especially uncomfortable. Whereas the politicians merely bathed in boiling pitch, their corrupt counselors were condemned to spend eternity in the actual flames. If the expression on her face was any guide, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius felt that she had entered the Eighth Circle of Obamacare as she endured the questions of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
Those Americans who watched Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s testimony yesterday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee might be forgiven for thinking they were in an alternate universe. Despite her assertion that Americans should ”hold me accountable” for the ongoing debacle, Sebelius later claimed she was never warned by anyone that the scheduled roll out of the Healthcare.gov website would be the disaster it turned out to be. Furthermore, she stood by the assertion that the president has been “keeping his promise” with regard to the idea that Americans who liked their insurance policies could keep
President Obama last week sought to turn attention from health care to immigration — in other words, from one racially divisive issue to another.Whites tend to hold negative views of Obamacare, while blacks tend to like it. Specifically, 55 percent of whites, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found this year, consider Mr. Obama’s health care law a bad idea, while 59 percent of blacks call it a good idea. On immigration, 51 percent of whites oppose legal status for illegal residents, but 63 percent of blacks and 76 percent of Hispanics favor it.
The latest flapdoodle over intelligence gathering has bestirred a more than usually energetic reaction. Calls to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and to shackle the NSA are erupting all over the political landscape like acne on a teenager’s face. But let’s not get carried away. The problem is not with what NSA is and was doing. The problems are that it was caught doing it and that Obama is saying that NSA did something wrong, which it didn’t. What began as another round of leaks from Edward Snowden, telling us that NSA has been listening to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell
Steny Hoyer certainly is a creative man. Asked about Barack Obama’s promise that everyone would be able to keep his health coverage if he liked it and the recent revelation that the Democrats knew all along that millions of Americans would lose their health plans under ObamaCare, he had an answer. “I think the message [the promise] was accurate. It was not precise enough…[it] should have been caveated with – ‘assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do,’” reports National Review. My, that’s rich. Almost Frank Rich. Since Hoyer’s lie about a lie speaks for
Facebook is losing young teenagers. That’s the revelation made by the company’s finance chief which wiped £11.2 bn off its share price yesterday. In a recent survey, the social network was preferred by just 23 per cent of youngsters, down from 44 per cent. The gap is being filled by more lightweight, temporary, photo-focused networks like Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram (which Facebook owns). If ever there was fuel needed for the “Facebook is a fad” theory, this is it. Among big investors obsessed with youth, alarm bells are ringing. For most adults who didn’t grow up with technology, it’s hard
If you live in California, I have a bit of advice. Get out now while you can afford the gas to load up the van and head north or east. You won’t be alone. According to “Crazifornia: How California is Destroying Itself and Why It Matters to America”, about 150,000 Californians have been fleeing the state each year of late. “In fact,” wrote Laer Pearce, “Los Angeles alone has lost more households than New York, Miami, and, incredibly, the economically decimated city of Detroit…combined.” The tide of traffic leaving the state is likely to increase. According to a news release
Last week the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its first publication of a new monthly report on US oil and gas production. According to the EIA: Recent U.S. production growth has centered largely in a few key regions and has been driven by advances in the application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies. Given the importance of drilling productivity trends as a driver for future domestic production, EIA has been developing new approaches to assess the productivity of drilling operations. The new monthly Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) to provide region-specific insights into rig efficiency, new well productivity, decline rates at previously
After the recent revelation that the National Security Agency monitored cell phone conversations in foreign countries, including the cell phone conversations of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders, the excuse of President Obama’s spokesmen and most ardent defenders was that he didn’t know the NSA was conducting such controversial surveillance. Two thoughts immediately come to mind. Neither favor Obama’s leadership style. First, it is incredibly ironic, given then-Senator Obama’s 2008 campaign speech in Germany, which was labeled a revival of American foreign policy by the media. Without any idea of what security steps may be required to protect Western Civilization
By 1968, President Lyndon Baines Johnson was finally done in by his “credibility gap” — the growing abyss between what he said about, and what was actually happening inside, Vietnam. “Modified limited hangout” and “inoperative” were infamous euphemisms that Nixon-administration officials used to mask lies about the Watergate scandal. After a while, few believed any of the initial Reagan-administration disavowals that it was not trading “arms for hostages” in the Iran–Contra scandal. George H. W. Bush thundered during his campaign that voters should “read my lips: no new taxes,” only to agree later to raise them. Bill Clinton’s infamous assertion that he
Exactly half the nation sees the year-old killings of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya as a serious scandal — one many believe will hurt former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chance to be the next president, according to a newly-released national poll. Rasmussen Reports revealed that 43 percent of likely voters believe the scandal will damage Clinton. That rises to 47 percent among voters not affiliated with any political party, like independents. Some 41 percent said it wouldn´t ding her chances. The impact is clear, and not just on Clinton. Most — 58 percent — rated the
The aftermath of the government shutdown has left the Republican Party badly divided. Some in the GOP are still wondering how they were suckered into letting Senator Ted Cruz and his supporters in the House shut down the government in a hopeless attempt to stop ObamaCare. But those who cheered the effort are not so much licking their wounds as they are licking their chops waiting for a chance to knock off some of the Senate Republicans who opposed Cruz’s rerun of the Charge of the Light Brigade. Though he is far from the only Republican to draw the ire of
Facebook wants to get inside users heads with new capabilities to track and analyse their behaviour across the social network. [Snip] New technology would allow them to start collecting data on details like how long users hover their cursors over elements on the page and whether their newsfeed is visible as they browse the site. Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin said the recorded data could be used for various ends - ranging from product development to targeting advertising more precisely. But with the company among a string of Silicon Valley firms exploited for personal data by the U.S. National Security
The European Union is financing efforts to abolish the death penalty in the United States through millions of dollars in grants to American nonprofits, EU records show. The EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) has disbursed grants worth millions of dollars to a host of U.S.-based groups for campaigns aimed at ending or eroding support for capital punishment. Experts say the expenditures raise concerns about the influence of foreign governments on American policy. The EU is flatly opposed to capital punishment. “Its abolition is a key objective for the union’s human rights policy,” the union’s website states. EIDHR doles out millions
Google´s top lawyer has said the internet giant is ´concerned and outraged´ at claims that the NSA has tapped into its private network. David Drummond´s comments came as newly leaked documents from Edward Snowden allegedly showed a sketch detailing how the NSA accessed Google using a new program known as MUSCULAR. The sketch, published by the Washington Post, reportedly caused two Google engineers to ´explode into profanity´ as it showed how to bypass security measures. A few months ago Mr Drummond had said ´the government does not have access to Google servers--not directly, or via a back door,´ according to
Here is just one small, possibly illustrative, sideshow of Cirque du Weiner, and it has to do with how the Candidate and Huma Abedin designed the rollout of the ill-fated mayoral campaign, right at the start of the Summer Without Shame, and how it came to be that he managed to cheat The New York Times Magazine, yet walk away himself feeling cheated. In the early months of spring, having spent his very brief “retirement” consulting and planning his next move, Weiner and Huma Abedin agreed that a run for mayor was now possible. This could work. Abedin was the perfect
The Coast Guard confirmed Wednesday that Google is involved with the mysterious four-story structure that’s floating on a barge in San Francisco Harbor, a structure that’s virtually identical to one in Portland Harbor. Later, however, the Coast Guard revised its statement. A spokesman said the Coast Guard could not discuss details about the barge, and could neither confirm nor deny a connection with Google.(Snip)“We have people in the (Coast Guard’s) Prevention Department who have been asked by the owner not to talk about it,” Ingham said.
Days ago, The New York Times reported that hackers took down the website of the Saudi women’s driving campaign and posted a video “in which a man identified as a Zionist calls for women to drive—implying that Saudi’s enemies see this as a way to weaken the kingdom.” I am the man in that video. My plea in Arabic to support a woman´s right to drive runs a little over a minute and now has over half a million views (English translation here). Some of Saudi Arabia’s most famous religious scholars have posted on Twitter that I am the “spiritual father”
On Tuesday night´s Daily Show, Jon Stewart put on his media-criticism hat. This might be his favorite role, and his favorite target is clearly CNN. This time, the focus of Stewart´s mockery is the pioneering cable news network´s increasing reliance on a single question: "Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" The problem is that most news stories are complex and full of nuance. TV news should help viewers understand the details and context of what´s happening in the world, Stewart said earnestly... before letting us know that the idea of that happening in real life is risible. Back to
The President is responsible for the quality of his Administration. I’ve been reading Tom Ricks’ excellent book about military leadership since World War II, The Generals. In it, Ricks argues that one of the reasons we were able to win World War II was that Generals George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower were absolutely brutal when it came to relieving field commanders who were not up to the job–and also discerning enough to leave politically incorrect, but brilliant, leaders like George Patton in their positions. He also argues that in the subsequent, cold-war bureaucratization of the military, this rigorous practice has