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Obama’s Afghanistan experts
stumped on U.S. death toll,
war costs during hearing
Washington Times, by Rowan Scarborough    Original Article
Posted By: Dreadnought- 12/12/2013 11:06:18 PM     Post Reply
President Obama’s brain trust on Afghanistan does not know much the U.S. spends on the war each year or the American cost in lost lives on the battlefield. This embarrassing lack of basic knowledge from State Department and Pentagon experts on Afghanistan at a House hearing Wednesday prompted even a Democrat to say he was stunned. The setting was the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Issue: Afghanistan and the transition to fewer U.S. troops post-2014. The witnesses: James F. Dobbins, State’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan; Donald Sampler, assistant to the administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development, which provides

GOP hopes taking shutdown
off the table with budget
deal will pay dividends
Washington Times, by Seth McLaughlin    Original Article
Posted By: Dreadnought- 12/12/2013 11:03:40 PM     Post Reply
By clearing the decks of the bipartisan budget deal, some political observers say, the GOP establishment is banking on the idea that giving up ground in the spending battle now will pay off over the long run by allowing Republicans to avoid getting punished for another government shutdown. According to this scenario, if there’s no government shutdown, Republicans can focus on the 2014 congressional elections and bank on the growing opposition to Obamacare to strengthen their numbers on Capitol Hill. In the best case, they could add the Senate to their control of the House and be in a better

Obama the oblivious
Washington Post Writers Group, by Charles Krauthammer    Original Article
Posted By: Dreadnought- 12/12/2013 10:59:47 PM     Post Reply
In explaining the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, President Obama told Chris Matthews he had discovered that “we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.” An interesting discovery to make after having consigned the vast universe of American medicine, one-sixth of the U.S. economy, to the tender mercies of the agency bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service. Most people become aware of the hopeless inefficiency of sclerotic government by, oh, age 17 at the department of motor vehicles. Obama’s late discovery is



´Obstruction of justice: Key Republican
investigator says HHS secretary Sebelius
is criminally liable for stopping
staff from speaking about*
Daily Mail [UK], by David Martosko    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 12/12/2013 10:48:18 PM     Post Reply
Congress´ top GOP watchdog is warning the secretary of Health and Human Services to stop instructing contractors behind healthcare.gov not to talk to Congress about the project. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Darrell Issa, a hard-charging California Republican, told Sec. Kathleen Sebelius in a letter on Wednesday that it´s against the law to get between Congress and the companies her agency hired to work on the crash-and-burn website. [Snip] ´The federal obstruction laws reflect the fact that Congress’ right of access to information is constitutionally based,´ his letter warned,´ and critical to the integrity and

Telling harsh truths about the
NHS is a bitter but necessary pill
Telegraph [UK], by Fraser Nelson    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 12/12/2013 10:39:33 PM     Post Reply
When my immigrant wife first came to Britain, it took her ages to understand our GP system. If I fell ill, I had to wait days to see the doctor. But if she felt sick, the same doctor would see her that afternoon as she was categorised as a private patient (and paid a modest £50 for the privilege). As far as she could work out, it was a Russian-style system of bribery: the official system doesn’t work, but you can bypass it with a few backhanders. Yesterday, we were shown a little more about Britain’s GP network. The Care Quality Commission looked into 920 practices and found almost a third failing to meet basic standards.

North Korea executes Kim Jong-un´s
uncle for being ´human scum´.
This is a mafia state
Telegraph [UK], by Tim Stanley    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 12/12/2013 10:30:24 PM     Post Reply
Sometimes life in the West seems hard. The trains don´t run on time, the rent is too damn high and One Direction are everywhere. Then a story comes comes out of North Korea that makes you think, "Holy crap, I´m glad I don´t live there…" North Korea has just executed Kim Jong-un´s uncle on the grounds that he is "despicable human scum". The full verdict is: Despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him.

Exclusive: Chris Hayes attends
secret union meeting with
unhappy NBC workers
Salon, by Josh Eidelson    Original Article
Posted By: Maryland_Patriot- 12/12/2013 9:54:22 PM     Post Reply
Amid workers alleging union-busting by an NBC Universal-owned company, MSNBC’s prime-time host Chris Hayes recently met privately with a group of them to hear their concerns, according to several people present at the meeting. Hayes is one of five prime-time MSNBC hosts – along with Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz – whose support the Writers Guild of America–East is seeking in an ugly labor struggle with Peacock Productions, which is owned by NBC Universal and has produced programming for MSNBC. A petition posted by the AFL-CIO and hosted by MoveOn.org



Exclusive -- Read My Lipstick: No New Taxes
Breitbart´s Big Government, by Sarah Palin    Original Article
Posted By: Maryland_Patriot- 12/12/2013 9:43:47 PM     Post Reply
No one can argue with the fact that Paul Ryan’s compromise budget bill raises taxes and increases spending. Show me one Republican who got elected on that platform. Spare America the Orwellian word games. If the government is taking money out of your pocket to fund its growing Big Brother operations, it’s a tax. Whether money is taken from you via your phone bill, your airline ticket, or your income, it’s a tax. If politicians can’t be honest about this, it’s time to go home. The TEA Party’s very acronym stands for “Taxed Enough Already.” We sent these politicians to Congress

White House Works to Attract
Younger Health-Plan Users
Wall Street Journal, by Amy Schatz    Original Article
Posted By: Maryland_Patriot- 12/12/2013 9:41:12 PM     Post Reply
New enrollment figures show health-insurance exchanges nationwide are attracting more customers, but the Obama administration said that it has more work to do to get enough younger, healthy people into the system. The administration said Wednesday that as of Nov. 30, nearly 365,000 people nationwide had selected private health plans in the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act—sharply up from October, but still far from the seven million level officials are hoping to achieve by March 31. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius faced renewed criticism of the health-care law´s rollout at a House hearing Wednesday. Republicans suggested the plans

Retailers Go High-Tech
To Track Shoppers
CBS Local (New York, NY), by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: Maryland_Patriot- 12/12/2013 9:38:58 PM     Post Reply
New York — Big Brother could be at your favorite store. As CBS 2´s Don Champion reported, a growing number of stores are using discrete and sophisticated technology — including mannequins with facial-recognition cameras hidden in their eyes — to track shopper demographics in an effort to boost sales. Retailers say the marketing data technology allows them to cater their business to customers better, but it’s also raising privacy concerns. Alfonso Perez built a system called Shopperception that Walmart has utilized. It uses motion-sensored cameras to track a shopper’s product choice on a shelf and the time it takes to make a

Debt Up $3T In Less Than 3 Yrs Under
Boehner´s Deals; More Than Under All
Presidents from Washington Through Reagan
Cybercast News Service, by Terence P. Jeffrey    Original Article
Posted By: Maryland_Patriot- 12/12/2013 9:33:09 PM     Post Reply
The new debt run up by the federal government since House Speaker John Boehner cut his first spending deal with President Barack Obama has now topped $3 trillion—exceeding all the debt accumulated under all American presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan. Boehner became speaker in January 2011, after the Republicans won a majority of the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections. He cut his first spending deal with President Barack Obama on March 1, 2011, and that deal took effect after March 4, 2011 when the continuing resolution then funding the government expired. Since then, the federal



Speaking in foreign tongues?
Russian lawmakers say ´nyet´
Reuters, by Steve Gutterman    Original Article
Posted By: Maryland_Patriot- 12/12/2013 9:28:35 PM     Post Reply
Moscow - Speak Russian or be silent. Nationalist lawmakers want to ban foreign languages at the workplace - a rule that would leave some foreigners speechless, from menial laborers from former Soviet states to Western business executives in suits and ties. Two deputies from flamboyant ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky´s party introduced a bill on Thursday that would bar Russians and foreigners from speaking foreign languages on the job during working hours, state-run RIA news agency reported. It cited a summary of the proposal as saying that many foreigners do not know Russian and "speak amongst themselves in their own language

North Korea executes Kim Jong Un´s uncle
Fox News, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: Zarin- 12/12/2013 9:25:18 PM     Post Reply
North Korea announced Thursday it had executed the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un, declaring him a traitor who tried to overthrow the state. The announcement came only days after Pyongyang announced through state media that Jang Song Thaek -- long considered the country´s No. 2 power -- had been removed from all his posts because of allegations of corruption, drug use, gambling, womanizing and leading a "dissolute and depraved life." State news agency KCNA said a tribunal examined Jang´s crimes, including "attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to

North Korea executes
leader´s uncle as a traitor
Associated Press, by Eric Talmadge & Foster Klug    Original Article
Posted By: Maryland_Patriot- 12/12/2013 9:24:16 PM     Post Reply
Pyongyang, North Korea — North Korea said Friday that it had executed Kim Jong Un´s uncle as a traitor for trying to seize supreme power, a stunning end for the leader´s former mentor, long considered the country´s No. 2. In a sharp reversal of the popular image of Jang Song Thaek as a kindly uncle guiding leader Kim Jong Un as he consolidated power, the North´s official Korean Central News Agency indicated that Jang instead saw the death of Kim´s father, Kim Jong Il, in December 2011 as an opportunity to challenge his nephew and win power. Jang had been tried and

IRS Targeting: Round Two
Wall Street Journal, by Kimberley Strassel    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 12/12/2013 9:05:56 PM     Post Reply
President Obama keeps claiming that he had no knowledge of the Internal Revenue Service´s abusive muzzling of conservative groups. That line is hard to swallow given that his Treasury and IRS are back at it—this time in broad daylight. In the media blackout of Thanksgiving week, the Treasury Department dumped a new proposal to govern the political activity of 501(c)(4) groups. The administration claims this rule is needed to clarify confusing tax laws. Hardly. The rule is the IRS´s new targeting program—only this time systematic, more effective, and with the force of law. That this rule was meant to crack down on



Mastering the Bill and Hillary Two-Step
Wall Street Journal, by Douglas E. Schoen    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 12/12/2013 8:58:19 PM     Post Reply
President Obama isn´t the only Democrat who has had a difficult few weeks. The past month has also been particularly challenging for the woman who has all but declared her 2016 presidential campaign: Hillary Clinton. If this winter is any guide, to win the nomination Mrs. Clinton will have to master her two-step: sticking close to a president still beloved by the Democratic base—as she did this week, flying on Air Force One with Mr. Obama to South Africa for Nelson Mandela´s memorial service—while distancing herself from his unpopular policies. The former secretary of state knows that in order to win

Liberals discuss the need to end
´Christian privilege´ in the
name of religious freedom
Washington Examiner, by Joel Gehrke    Original Article
Posted By: mitzi- 12/12/2013 7:43:24 PM     Post Reply
It´s settled, then: Christian conservatives use religion as a justification for their discriminatory behavior, and Americans will only enjoy true religious freedom when their so-called "religious liberty" claims are defeated. That was the consensus Thursday at a panel discussion sponsored by the Center for American Progress in Washington. "People [are] using the term ´liberty´ when they really mean ´my liberty, your slavery,´" the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said during the discussion. He made the statement while arguing that liberals´ view of religious liberty springs from a true, originalist reading of the Constitution that was

GOP Senators Raise Red Flags Over
Budget Deal’s Procedural Change
Wall Street Journal, by John D. McKinnon    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 12/12/2013 7:27:51 PM     Post Reply
Some Senate Republicans were raising red flags over an obscure procedural change in the just-announced budget deal, saying it could diminish their ability to block some future tax increases. But Senate Democrats, House Republicans and some other Senate Republicans said the concern appears to be unfounded, adding that the language is standard-issue, and leaves procedural safeguards in place. Democrats and several Republicans said GOP senators could still force any tax increase to clear 60-vote thresholds, although the budget deal’s language does remove one such barrier. A bipartisan think tank’s analysis also concluded that the budget deal’s language has been used by both parties

House Passes Budget
Agreement in 332-94 Vote
Wall Street Journal, by Janet Hook    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 12/12/2013 7:21:52 PM     Post Reply
Congress took a step away from the confrontational politics and brinkmanship that has roiled the economy in recent years, as the House on Thursday passed a budget bill designed to avoid a government shutdown next month and relax spending limits in the next two years. The bill passed by a wide bipartisan margin, 332-94. The bill drew a strong bipartisan majority: 169 Republicans and 163 Democrats voted for the measure. Voting in opposition were 62 Republicans and 32 Democrats. Approval of the bill, which is also expected to pass the Senate next week, clears the way for a less-glamorous stage of budgeting

Drowning In A Costly, Intrusive
Federal Regulatory Flood
Investor´s Business Daily, by Editorial    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 12/12/2013 7:20:11 PM     Post Reply
Regulation: That wave fast approaching the U.S. is not the tide coming in. It´s a wall of rules issued by the White House that will hit the economy and private lives with the force of a killer tsunami. The federal regulatory machine is coming not only for power plants, as the president promised while campaigning in 2008. It also has its eye on controlling private property. Earlier this week, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has a long history of highlighting Washington´s regulatory excess, said that during the first week of December, "95 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register," which


So You Think You´re
Enrolled In ObamaCare
Investor´s Business Daily, by Editorial    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 12/12/2013 7:16:17 PM     Post Reply
ObamaCare Fail: An urgent mass email to all Senate staff warns not to trust any confirmation from the D.C. health exchange and they may not have insurance come January. Why aren´t the rest of us being warned? We have chronicled the fact that ObamaCare, the increasingly unaffordable Affordable Care Act, has caused many with pre-existing conditions like stage-four cancer, the very people it was supposed to help, to lose their insurance at a critical point in their lives. For others, the skyrocketing premiums and often five-figure deductibles have made having insurance almost irrelevant. If you can´t afford the premiums or the deductibles,

Bipartisan Budget Deal
Puts Ryan Under Fire
From Fellow Conservatives
New York Times, by Jonathan Weisman    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 12/12/2013 7:13:08 PM     Post Reply
Representative Paul D. Ryan’s eight terms in Congress have produced much political celebrity and Republican respect but just two laws bearing the Ryan name — a renamed post office and a modified excise tax on arrows like the ones he uses for bow hunting. Then on Tuesday he struck a budget deal with Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, that affixed a new label to the polished veneer of Mr. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican: deal maker and, to some, traitor. With a modest, bipartisan blueprint on taxes and spending, Mr. Ryan is taking a risk he has previously shied away from, putting

Nuclear Proliferation Poses
Threat To Civilization Itself
Investor´s Business Daily, by Victor Davis Hanson    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 12/12/2013 7:10:18 PM     Post Reply
The gangster state of North Korea became a nuclear power in 2006-2007, despite lots of foreign aid aimed at precluding just such proliferation — help usually not otherwise accorded such a loony dictatorship. Apparently the civilized world rightly suspected that, if nuclear, Pyongyang would either export nuclear material and expertise to other unstable countries or bully its successful but non-nuclear neighbors — or both. The United States has given billions of dollars in foreign aid to Pakistan, whose Islamist gangs have spearheaded radical anti-American terrorism. Since a corrupt Pakistan went nuclear in 1998, it has been able to extort such foreign payouts —

Lie of the Year: ´If you like your
health care plan, you can keep it´
Tampa Bay Times [FL], by Angie Drobnic Holan    Original Article
Posted By: mitzi- 12/12/2013 6:57:59 PM     Post Reply
It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system. "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it," President Barack Obama said -- many times -- of his landmark new law. But the promise was impossible to keep. So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong. Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief. Obama and his team

Oprah: I Always Knew
I Didn’t Want Children
Yahoo! Omg!, by Sarah Flanigan    Original Article
Posted By: NorthernDog- 12/12/2013 6:50:02 PM     Post Reply
Oprah Winfrey seems to have it all, but the one thing she never wanted? Kids! While the 60-year-old media mogul did have a baby when she was 14 (the child died weeks after birth), she revealed in the Hollywood Reporter´s Women in Entertainment issue that she´s actually known since she was younger that being a mom just wasn´t for her. "Gayle [King] was the kind of kid who, in seventh grade home ec class, was writing down the names of her children," Winfrey said of her bff. "While she was having those kind of daydreams, I was having daydreams about

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