South Korea is bracing for a protracted standoff with the North that could include at least one missile test-launch and a border skirmish. On Friday, North Korea attempted to heighten fears of military conflict when it told embassies in its capital, Pyongyang, that it could not guarantee the safety of their staff in the event of war. In another sign that it is determined to increase the pressure, Pyongyang extended a ban preventing South Korean officials from entering the Kaesong industrial complex – which it operates jointly with the South – for a fourth day.
With his signature health-care law under fire, President Obama flew to Boston Wednesday in an effort to remind the public that ObamaCare is modeled on the plan of his former GOP opponent and Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney. “Your law was the model for the nation’s law,” Obama told supporters in Faneuil Hall on Wednesday. “Health-care reform in this state was a success. That doesn’t mean it was perfect right away. There were early problems to solve. There were changes that had to be made.” Recalling the birth of RomneyCare, Obama said, “Enrollment was extremely slow. Within a month, only about 100 people had
Affordable Care Act: When a few Republicans used the shutdown to try to tie up ObamaCare, its supporters said it was settled law, get over it, deal with it, move on. But it´s not. It´s merely a statute and courts are still looking at it. The individual mandate provision of ObamaCare is the pivotal piece that many thought would fail the constitutional test. But the Supreme Court said the mandate is a tax and therefore falls within constitutional limits. The ensuing re-election of President Obama further emboldened ObamaCare supporters, who, after the election, said it was a referendum on the Patient Protection
Industrial Policy: Four years ago, the insurance industry decided to get in bed with President Obama to help him get his health reform passed. But as soon as things started to go wrong, guess who Obama blamed? Soon after President Obama won the 2008 election, the big insurance industry lobby laid down its arms. Instead of fighting a government takeover of health care as it did in 1994 — it announced it would partner up. "Universal coverage is within reach," said Karen Ignagni, head of the America´s Health Insurance Plans trade group. And just as the president signed Obama-Care into law, AHIP
Scandal: The person who leaked the confidential data of a conservative group to its political foes has been identified by investigators. But he´s protected by the very law he broke and an attorney general who doesn´t care. In March 2012, someone at the Internal Revenue Service released the confidential donor lists of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which supports traditional marriage, to its political opponent, the liberal Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a supporter of gay marriage. At that time, Joe Solmonese, a left-wing activist and Huffington Post contributor, was the president of the HRC. Solmonese also became a 2012 Obama campaign
RUSH: This is Juan Williams, our old buddy Juan Williams on Fox News last night on the panel at Special Report. They´re talking about Sebelius´ testimony before Congress yesterday. This is what Juan Williams said. WILLIAMS: I thought today was pure theater. I thought it was a big stage show with Republicans attacking Sebelius. Meanwhile, Democrats trying to rescue their partner in the ring by giving her a recess and launching into speeches of their own in defense of Obamacare. All this is in the weeds. What do I care about how things are put into computers and, you know, who´s
"If you like your plan, you can keep it." That assertion, repeated with small variations, was Barack Obama´s central pledge when he was campaigning for president and then for the enactment of health-care "reform." The pro-Obama New York magazine has assembled a 95-second video montage of the future and current president making the assertion two dozen times between 2008 and 2010. Surely this is the clearest example of a broken presidential promise since George H.W. Bush´s "Read my lips: no new taxes." In Bush´s defense it may be said that political exigencies--a Democratic Congress, a foreign-policy crisis--forced him to accede
RUSH: President Barack Obama´s job approval has dropped to an all-time low in another poll. Remember, he hit 37 in a Gallup poll and came up to 41. This is the prestigious NBC/Wall Street Journal poll where Obama is at 42%. And here´s how it´s written. "A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows that a mere 42% of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, down five points from a poll conducted in early October. "The president’s disapproval rating stands at 51%, tying an all-time high for Obama. In all, 41% of respondents say they have a less favorable opinion..." Now,
The Justice and State departments are now citing a year-old FBI investigation and a future criminal prosecution to block access to survivors of last year’s Benghazi terror attack. In an Oct. 28 letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Julia Frifield, refers to "significant risks" and "serious concerns about having the survivors of the attack submit to additional interviews." Graham has been asking since last year for the FBI’s transcripts of interviews with State Department and CIA survivors who were evacuated to Germany after the Sep.11 attack on the U.S. consulate. He and other Republicans believe
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
When U.S. commandos grabbed a former al Qaeda operative in Tripoli this month, American forces were just hours away from potentially launching a more dangerous covert raid to capture a militia figure facing charges in the deadly Benghazi terror attack, U.S. officials tell CNN. U.S. special operations forces were ready, if ordered, to enter Benghazi and capture Ahmed Abu Khattalah, a leading figure in the Ansar Al-Sharia militia. But the mission never materialized. The United States believes Ansar Al-Sharia was behind the September 2012 armed assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. President Barack Obama
In the months following the Benghazi Embassy siege I learned the fuller picture of what happened during that fateful night, both at the Mission itself and at the Annex, which was only a short drive away from the Mission. Tensions were running high that evening, because of a recce mission that a Libyan policeman—or more likely a bad guy posing as a policeman—had carried out that morning. We’d caught him taking photos of the Mission’s front gate and grounds, and we feared it was in preparation for some kind of an attack. I had served at the Mission for six months
The racial slur a Red Lobster waitress claimed to receive on a receipt in lieu of tip may have been a hoax, according to two separate handwriting analyses. One handwriting analyst concluded that whoever wrote “none” on the tip line was not the same person who wrote the racial epithet. The second analyst believes the racist comment could have been written by the waitress herself. Toni Christina Jenkins, a server at a Red Lobster in Franklin, Tennessee, posted a picture on her Facebook page of a receipt with the word “none” written in the area usually reserved for a tip. Below that, the
President Barack Obama’s job approval has dropped to an all-time low, according to a new poll released Wednesday. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows that a mere 42 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, down five points from a poll conducted in early October. The president’s disapproval rating stands at 51 percent, tying an all-time high for Obama. In all, 41 percent of respondents say they have a less favorable opinion of the president since the 16 day government shutdown, compared to 21 percent who say they have a more favorable view since the shutdown. The Affordable Care Act
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
White House officials have pressured insurance industry executives to keep quiet amid mounting criticism over Obamacare's rollout, insurance industry sources told CNN. Sebelius: 'I apologize, I'm accountable' for Obamacare website flaws - After insurance officials publicly criticized the implementation, White House staffers contacted insurers to express their displeasure, industry insiders said. Multiple sources declined to speak publicly about the push back because they fear retribution. But Bob Laszewski, who heads a consulting firm for big insurance companies, did talk on the record.
The firestorm over President Obama´s "you can keep your plan" lie now threatens to singe vulnerable Democrats next year, so they´re springing into action to try to force the administration to keep its word. Louisiana´s Mary Landrieu -- an ardent Obamacare supporter -- is scrambling to undo one of the obvious consequences of a law she´s voted to pass, fund, and retain: Sen. Mary Landrieu said Wednesday she would propose legislation to ensure all Americans could keep their existing insurance coverage under Obamacare, a fresh sign of the political problems the law’s rollout has created for congressional Democrats. Landrieu, a Democrat
We are only three and a quarter years away from transforming the United States of America. We may never get back to where we once were, but we can sure roll back much of the mess Barack Obama has created through his misguided policies and serial incompetence. With ObamaCare´s ascendancy and impending crash, America will be on the cusp of transformational action. The misery the ACA will bring to almost every American cannot be overestimated in its ability to incite anger -- and, anger has consequences and repercussions. The failure of the ACA has the potential to make 2014 a wave
President Barack Obama will not attend next month´s event marking the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln´s Gettysburg Address in Pennsylvania. Officials at Gettysburg National Military Park said Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will represent the administration the Nov. 19 sesquicentennial. Jewell and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson will share the role of keynote speaker. Other events include a reading of the Gettysburg address by a Lincoln portrayer. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also plans to attend the ceremony. Lincoln delivered the immortal words of the address at a dedication of the Soldiers´ National Cemetery on Nov. 19, 1863, more than
Every disaster has its moment of clarity. Physicist Richard Feynman dunks an O-ring into ice water and everyone understands instantly why the shuttle Challenger exploded. This week, the Obamacare O-ring froze for all the world to see: Hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters went out to people who had been assured a dozen times by the president that “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.” The cancellations lay bare three pillars of Obamacare: (a) mendacity, (b) paternalism and (c) subterfuge. (a) Those letters are irrefutable evidence that President Obama’s repeated you-keep-your-coverage claim
The latest NBC/WSJ poll finds that more Americans would vote for a third party candidate for Congress than a Republican. 35% of voters prefer a Democrat, which has been steady for three years. Republicans, however, have experienced an 8-point swing against them since they took control of the House. Today, just 28% of voters say they would vote for a Republican for Congress, while 30% would opt for a third party. The GOP Establishment, engaged in open war against the Tea Party and conservatives, is simply committing political suicide. Listening to the consultant and pundit class who inhabit the "Acela line"
In one of the few political jokes attributed to a physicist, Ernest Rutherford once described a public official as being “like a Euclidean point: he has position without magnitude.” With a change of pronoun, he could have been describing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who ignored internal warnings about flaws in HealthCare.gov, botched its rollout, minimized her involvement and blamed her contractors. Now, in congressional testimony, she has accepted responsibility without the inconvenience of accountability or the demonstration of competence. Administration incompetence is not the final word on Obamacare, but it is the initial impression.
Politico describes this kindly gesture as “an olive branch.” I agree. Cruz, whose fiery brand of conservative politics continually draws the enmity and wrath of the GOP establishment, has publicly pledged he will not help conservative candidates oust his more squishy, Republican colleagues. The “surrender caucus” can finally breathe a sigh of relief. For now: Extending an olive branch to GOP senators, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is privately making it clear he won’t engage in the Senate Conservatives Fund’s hardball tactics to defeat his colleagues in their primary races. At a closed-door lunch meeting of Senate Republicans Wednesday, the freshman
Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his frustration Tuesday with the fact that even in the United States, “a very educated country,” there are those who do not recognize the urgency of combating global warming. Addressing the D.C. Greening Embassies Forum, which encourages the “greening” of foreign mission in Washington, Kerry took aim at those who challenge the notion that the science is settled when it comes to climate change. “I am amazed after all these years that we’re still struggling here in a very educated country to get a lot of people to embrace and understand why this is not a
For a moment Wednesday morning, the person in charge of ObamaCare — not to mention the largest and most expensive Cabinet department in the United States and, therefore, the world — turned into a frustrated teenager. Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, was undergoing a grilling from a Republican congressman over whether President Obama bore responsibility for the failures of his health-care rollout. She said it was her fault. He said Obama was her boss and she reported to Obama, so wasn’t it his fault, too? To which Sebelius responded thusly: “Um . . . You clearly . .