Friday, August 26, 2011

Obama won't / will question the patriotism of others - $4 Trillion debt - Bush

During the Presidential campaign, in June of 2008, Barack Obama proclaimed that he would "never question the patriotism of others". However, during a campaign speech in July of 2008, while addressing the deficit under George W. Bush, Mr. Obama labeled Mr. Bush "unpatriotic". Video of both the June and July remarks below.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Michelle Obama accused of spending $10 Million in taxpayer money on vacations in past year

Via the Daily Mail - A White House source told the National Enquirer that Michelle Obama has spent $10 million of U.S. taxpayers' money in the past year on vacations alone. She has taken 42 days of vacation in the past 12 months. [The expenditures include the First Lady's 68-strong security detail, personal staff, and the use of the presidential jet Air Force Two.] The Enquirer breaks down some of the expenses, but the full report can only be found in the Enquirer's print edition.

I can not confirm whether this report is true or not, but bear in mind that the Enquirer has broken a number of stories in the past on various political figures, and those stories were proven to be correct.

Oil bubbling near site of Deep Water Horizon spill

Despite previous reassurances from the White House that the President's bumbling incompetency and procrastinatory behavior during the Deep Water Horizon oil spill did not have a long-term detrimental effect on the waters surrounding the damaged well, oil is still showing up at the ocean's surface:
Oil is again bubbling to the surface of the Gulf of Mexico near the epicenter of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Reporters... loaded into a boat Tuesday to inspect the site. Equipped with cameras, the reporters discovered “hundreds of small, circular patches of oily sheen” within a mile of the well.

“Floating in a boat near the well site..., reporters watched blobs of oil rise to the surface and bloom into iridescent yellow patches... Those patches quickly expanded into rainbow sheens 4 to 5 feet across.”...

“Each expanding bloom released a pronounced and pungent petroleum smell. Most of the oil was located in a patch about 50 yards wide and a quarter of a mile long.”

Petroleum engineers are concerned that oil is leaking from the floor of the Gulf near the sealed well.

Libya's chemical weapons and raw nuclear materials, a grave concern

Although the Libyan government agreed to give up its WMD program in 2003, not long after the US invasion of Iraq, and although the remaining supply of highly-enriched uranium was removed from Libya in 2009, concerns still remain as to who controls the government's weapons stockpiles:
No one can be sure who controls the Libyan government's weapons stockpiles, a stew of deadly chemicals, raw nuclear material and some 30,000 shoulder-fired rockets that officials fear could fall into terrorists' hands in the chaos of Moammar Gadhafi's downfall or afterward.

One immediate worry, U.S. intelligence and military officials say, is that Gadhafi might use the weapons to make a last stand. But officials also face the troubling prospect that the material, which was left under Gadhafi's control by a U.S.-backed disarmament pact, could be obtained by al-Qaida or other militants even after a rebel victory is secured.

The main stockpile of mustard gas and other chemicals, stored in corroding drums, is at a site southeast of Tripoli. Mustard gas can cause severe blistering and death. A cache of hundreds of tons of raw uranium yellowcake is stored at a small nuclear facility east of the capital.

U.S. and allied officials say chemical and nuclear stockpiles appear to be still under the control of what's left of the Libyan government despite rebel military advances into the capital. That may or may not be reassuring. It depends on whether Gadhafi loyalists, increasingly desperate, adhere to international agreements not to use or move the material.

The State Department has also sent experts to Libya to confer with rebel leaders and Libya's neighbors about abiding by those same compacts and beefing up border security to prevent weapons from being smuggled out.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday the U.S. is working to ensure that "the governing forces in Libya have full command and control of any WMD or any security assets that the state might have had."...

"There are still going to be a lot of Gadhafi loyalists who could hijack the weapons supplies and use them for an insurgency like Iraq," said Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

And if the material goes unguarded, it could be seized by al-Qaida militant sympathizers, he said in an interview Tuesday. "A single rocket can do damage," he said, recalling the downing of a Chinook helicopter Aug. 5 in Afghanistan from a rocket-propelled grenade fired by the Taliban, killing all 38 troops on board...

There are still some 500 to 900 metric tons of raw uranium yellowcake stored in drums at Libya's lone nuclear reactor, east of Tripoli. The supply is less of a worry for U.S. officials because it requires heavy industrial refining and enrichment before it could be used as an explosive. But it could be sold for a large profit to those more capable of building a nuclear weapon...

The remaining mustard agent is stored inside a domed concrete bunker a few hundred miles south of Tripoli... The most pressing matter is to make sure the mustard gas does not end up on the black market or with terrorists. Stored in canisters that showed signs of corrosion during a 2006 visit by American officials, the chemicals could be easily moved.
Hence, although, Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman, has been quoted by Reuters as saying that the "mustard agent is stored... inside massive steel containers within heavy bunkers that have been sealed by an independent international organization", and that, the State Dept. believes the containers "remain secure," this matter, despite Nuland's lame reassurances, should be of grave concern for the US - although the Golfer-in Chief is probably more concerned with the threat being posed by America's nuclear weapons and armament supply....

Many of these Libyan rebels previously joined up with the Iraqi insurgency and participated in attacks against US troops. Whether these rebels eventually become part of new government or not, ultimately these weapons supply could end up in their hands, and/or Al Qaeda's hands, and that is not a very sobering thought...

Muslim Brotherhood to regulate Sunbathing & Tourism in Egypt

The Arab Spring has arrived in full force, and, with it, comes the inevitable taste of freedom - ahem.....
Sunbathing in Alexandria may soon be a thing of the past, at least if some Egyptian Islamist politicians have their way.

Egypt's tourism industry has suffered a severe blow since the outburst of anti-regime demonstrations in January. But that did not stop the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, from demanding stricter regulations over what tourists can do and wear while visiting the country. The party is urging officials to ban skimpy swimwear and the consumption of alcohol on Egyptian streets.

"Beach tourism must take the values and norms of our society into account," Muhammad Saad Al-Katatny, secretary-general of Freedom and Justice, told Egyptian tourism officials on Monday. "We must place regulations on tourists wishing to visit Egypt, which we will announce in advance."

The call for new strictures on tourists comes as Egypt debates the role of Islam in the post-Mubarak era. Freedom and Justice is competing in elections scheduled for this autumn for parliament and opinion polls show a majority of Egyptians favor a greater use of Islamic law and mores. But a vocal minority worries that Egypt risks becoming an Islamic republic.

"This is how things began in Iran," said Hani Henry, a psychology professor at the American University in Cairo. "The moderate youth wanted to implement changes, but the mullah's hijacked the revolution. The same thing is now happening here in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood. It makes me sick to my stomach."...

Al-Katatny said that his party had already set up a subcommittee to investigate the issue of incoming tourism to Egypt and planned to amend legislation following the upcoming parliamentary elections...
This is the same Katatny who, earlier this year stated that the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party would not try to impose a religious state on the country.

"We reject the religious state," said Katatny.

The proposed bans and regulations prompted the administrator of Egypt's newly established 'Coalition to Support Tourism' to write on his Facebook page: "Some parties want to ban tourism, or allow it while banning alcohol, certain foods and certain clothes. [A couple] renting a room will require documents proving they are married, These proposals don’t bode well, as many of you know."...

Islamists have never been enamored of foreign tourism, and, before they were crushed by the Mubarak regime, foreign visitors were often targeted for killings. Close to 60 Western tourists were killed by Islamist terrorists in the southern city of Luxor in 1997. Tourists were also attacked in bombings in the Sinai resorts of Taba, Sharm Al-Sheikh and Dahab in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Nevertheless, the Obama administration has indicated that it would be willing to open a dialog with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We believe, given the changing political landscape in Egypt, that it is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are peaceful and committed to nonviolence that intend to compete for the parliament and the presidency,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in June. “And we welcome, therefore, dialog with those Muslim Brotherhood members who wish to talk with us.”

The words "peaceful and committed to nonviolence" would appear to be antithetical to the Muslim Brotherhood doctrine.

But in truth, the Obama administration had also indicated on a number of occasions that it would be willing to talk with the Iranian and Syrian regimes, despite their ongoing commitment to violence and terror. Hence, with regards to the Muslim Brotherhood, I believe the Secretary of State was simply misspeaking, and that, despite the Brotherhood's espousal of violence and terror, it will, nevertheless, have a receptive ear in the White House and be welcomed with open arms by the Obama administration.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

North Korea helping Iran develop nuclear weapons

From M & C:
North Korea sent Iran software that could be used to develop nuclear weapons, a German news report said Wednesday, citing unidentified Western intelligence sources.

Pyongyang also sent a team of scientists to Iran in February to train about 20 employees of its Defence Ministry in the operation of the neutron flow simulation program...

Calculating neutron flow in radioactive material allows scientists to determine when a chain reaction, or explosion, would occur. This information is essential for designing nuclear power reactors that do not explode and for building nuclear bombs that do...

On Monday, Iranian news reports said authorities had started transferring the first of 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium to a new underground plant in Fordo, north of Tehran...

North Korea tested nuclear bombs in 2006 and 2009. The isolated communist country is thought to have helped Syria build a nuclear facility that Israel bombed in 2007.
Earlier this year, Reuters reported that North Korea and Iran had been exchanging balistic missile technology with one another:
North Korea and Iran appear to have been regularly exchanging ballistic missile technology in violation of U.N. sanctions, according to a confidential U.N. report obtained by Reuters on Saturday.

The report said the illicit technology transfers had "trans-shipment through a neighboring third country."

That country was China, several diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The report will likely deepen suspicions about North Korean cooperation with Iran and heighten concerns about China's commitment to enforcing the sanctions against Tehran and Pyongyang due to their nuclear programs, envoys told Reuters.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Golf: One hole for the press pool, and WH promptly shoos them away

After a couple of Golf outings in which the President deliberately skipped some holes to avoid TV cameras and photographers, Mr. Obama apparently came to the conclusion that, in his attempts to avoid unfavorable press, he was actually doing more harm, than good, to his public image and persona.

Hence, on Tuesday, the President begrudgingly permitted members of the White House Press pool to snap some photographs of him on the Golf course, at least for a short while, which afforded them with barely enough time to see him play one hole:

The Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown reported via the Telegraph -UK:
The pool was ushered onto the fairway of first hole, where the presidential party had already reached the putting green. The pool was kept several hundred feet away, well outside shouting distance.

The pool was, however, able to see the president putting moves, albeit from a distance.

From our vantage point, this is the play by play: He stepped up to his ball, which was several feet from the hole, and made two practice strokes. He missed the hole on his first putt, but got it close. He then tried to tap it in, but missed again. He appeared to pick up the ball to let the others in his party play through as he watched.
The Telegraph-UK leaves out the next paragraph in Brown's report:
The pool was promptly moved off the course while the president walked towards a knot of golf carts, which were presumably headed to the second hole.
Likewise, the New York Daily News reported:
The commander-in-chief... muffed the putt on the first hole - although he did get close. And when Obama went to tap it in, he missed that too. The pool reporter watching Obama struggle on the green said the President "appeared to pick up the ball to let the others in his party play through as he watched." Then Obama strolled over with his party to the waiting golf carts and headed for the second hole at the Farm Neck Golf Course in Oak Bluffs. They were still on the links when the 5.9-magnitude earthquake that shook the East Coast hit... Obama was seen taking an urgent cell phone call shortly afterward.

Then Obama resumed playing, but out of sight of reporters.
So, apparently the President, out of the kindness of his heart [and, of course, to avoid criticism], permitted the press pool to watch him play one hole of Golf. However, after this extremely brief encounter with the Golfer-in-Chief, the reporters were "promptly moved off the course", where, I assume, they were forced to join others in the media, who clandestinely set up their cameras either across the street from the Golf course or behind some hidden brush.

Now, how many Americans have had the privilege to see the President play Golf in person? Not too many, right? The White House press pool, on the other hand, had the distinct honor of seeing the President play [almost] an entire hole of Golf! And, for that privilege and badge of honor, they should thank not only the White House, but also their lucky stars.

And, for those of you who've never seen the President play Golf, here's your opportunity, via a reporter who stood across the street and videotaped the Golfer-in-Chief.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Millions of Taxpayer Dollars used in internet ad campaign to sell Obamacare to the public

From World Net Daily:
President Obama's former political director worked at an international advertising agency that received government funds to direct a multi-million dollar campaign to sell Obamacare to the public, WND has learned.

Last week, Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates government corruption, reportedly obtained documents showing the White House helped coordinate the taxpayer-funded publicity campaign.

The campaign used Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo to drive Web traffic to government websites promoting the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The campaign was led by Ogilvy & Mather, an international advertising, marketing and public relations agency based in Manhattan...

Adding a new dimension to the controversy, WND has learned that a former top Obama official works at Ogilvy.

Matthew Nugen, former national political director for Obama's presidential campaign, joined Ogilvy's government relations department in 2009 and is now senior vice president of its government relations department.

An Ogilvy bio states Nugen was "part of the senior team that developed and implemented the multi-state primary campaign plan that successfully launched Obama to the White House."...

Politico noted that when he was first hired at Ogilvy, Nugen took on the position of a strategist rather than a registered lobbyist – a title difference that could later allow him to circumvent Obama's general ban on hiring lobbyists at the White House. ["I wanted to reserve my right to join the administration,” Nugen readily acknowledged.]

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement that Americans should be "disturbed" by the campaign.

"The Obama administration is using taxpayer dollars to manipulate public opinion," he said.

Golf: Obama, once again, skips some holes to avoid media cameras

President Obama returned to the Vineyard Golf Club on Sunday and, as he did on Friday, skipped a few holes to avoid media photographers.

With millions of Americans currently are out of work and many Americans cutting back on their vacations, the President is trying mightily to keep his Golf excursions out of the public eye.

Hence, the Boston Globe reported on Friday: When Obama approached "the eighth tee in a golf cart with friend and frequent golfing buddy Eric Whitaker," he "noticed three TV cameras and a Globe photographer across the street. Rather than stop and be photographed teeing off, the president skipped the hole."

And, today, the Boston Globe issued a similar report about the President's Golf outing on Sunday:

Perhaps because it poses difficulties for the media horde trying to get pictures of him, Obama returned to Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown [a private club], where he played Friday and had largely managed to avoid the cameras. And yesterday, he did skip some holes in an effort to bypass photographers.
Ultimately, the President, and the White House, prefer to have the final say as to which photographs should, or should not, be released to the public. And they seem to be doing a pretty good job so far. Perhaps not a perfect job, but good enough.

Iran starts moving uranium centrifuges to underground bunker in Fordo, near Qom

From Reuters:
Iran has started moving the machines that enrich uranium for nuclear fuel from its main atomic complex in the central city of Natanz to an underground bunker near the holy city of Qom, its top nuclear official was quoted as saying on Monday...

Iran announced in June that it would shift its production of higher-grade uranium to the underground site at Fordow, in defiance of international calls on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment which some countries say is aimed at developing nuclear bombs...

Iran only disclosed the existence of Fordow to the U.N. nuclear watchdog in September 2009 after learning that Western intelligence agencies had detected the mountain site.

Moving sensitive nuclear work to the underground bunker could offer greater protection against any attacks...

Obama's swipe at Rondo "abhorrent", unpresidential, "bar room" talk, says sport's commentator

Earlier this year, several members of the Boston Celtics basketball team met privately with President Obama at a DNC fundraiser at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. The President, rather callously, took a swipe at Celtic's point guard Rajon Rondo, which, according to some members of the team, affected Rondo's on-court performance and sent his season into a downward spiral. One sports commentator opined that the President's remarks were unpresidential, "abhorrent" and "bar room" material, and said Obama "should be ashamed of himself." See the video below.

Basketball legend, Shaquille O'Neal, recounts the incident in his upcoming book, Shaq Uncut:
"In early March some of the guys went to the museum of Fine Arts for a fund-raiser and got to hang with President Barack Obama. Everyone was a little bit in awe. The President turns to Ray (Allen), points at Rondo, and says, 'Hey, Ray, why don't you teach this kid how to shoot?' Everyone starts laughing."

"KG (Kevin Garnett) told me he saw the look on Rondo's face and the kid was devastated, embarrassed. Dissed by the President.... KG told me he could see it in [Rondo's] eyes. It bothered Rondo. It killed him."

"The next day Rondo shot the ball horribly. He stopped taking shots after that. He's so sensitive. I think it was a real jolt to hear the outside perception of a basketball fan who happens to be the President of the United States. It messed with his mind. I'm sure of it."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

On Martha's Vineyard Obama not so popular anymore

From the Cape Cod Times - Reporter's Notebook:
There seems to be a bit of a sea change [on Martha's Vineyard] regarding President Obama’s popularity, as judged by the offerings of businesses along Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs.

In past years, shops displayed mainly supportive stuff, like t-shirts extolling Obama’s virtues. However, this year a smirking George W. Bush t-shirt is getting laughs from window shoppers. It reads: “Miss Me Yet? How’s that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?”

Also, Sharky’s Cantina, a Mexican joint on Circuit Avenue has discontinued their Barack-O-Taco and Barack-O-Guaco (guacamole) “due to the tough economy,” according to a sign outside the restaurant...

Golf: Obama Skips the 8th hole to avoid TV Cameras & photographer

From Reuters:

Critics have slammed [President] Obama for vacationing for the third consecutive summer on Martha's Vineyard, an upscale island off the Massachusetts coast... They say vacationing at the scenic island, a stomping ground for movie stars and other wealthy Democratic Party backers in August, shows Obama is out of touch while 14 million Americans are out of work The White House says the country does not begrudge Obama some time with his family, but it has been careful to allow no pictures so far of him at play on the golf course.
Fox News noted on Friday:

Day one of President Obama's ten day trip on Martha's Vineyard and the commander in chief is back on the golf course. But don't expect to see any pictures of him enjoying a round of 18. The president is playing Vineyard Golf Club, a private club in Edgartown. No media is permitted on the property.
Nevertheless, several media outlets Friday managed to photograph the President from afar during his golf outing.

However, the Boston Globe reported that when Obama [on Friday] approached "the eighth tee in a golf cart with friend and frequent golfing buddy Eric Whitaker," he "noticed three TV cameras and a Globe photographer across the street. Rather than stop and be photographed teeing off, the president skipped the hole."

So, while the White House has been releasing photos showing the vacationing President in a serious frame of mind - like the photograph it released on Friday, showing a solemn-faced Obama in discussion with his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan [as seen above] - it is doing all it can to keep the President's Golf excursions out of the public eye - even if it means sacrificing the 8th hole. For ultimately, a little bit of sacrifice goes a long way in preserving Mr. Obama's public image. Besides, skipping the 8th hole enabled the President to finish the game with a better score - and that's a good thing.

Nevertheless, I would recommend that Mr. Obama take Mr. Brennan along with him on his next Golf outing. This would enable the White House, and the media, to show off the President's athletic side without compromising his serious side. Hey, who says the President can't walk and chew gum at the same time?

And, speaking about the President's serious side, here's an interesting photo:

Hmmm, now I've just come upon a new photograph of the President playing Golf at the aforementioned Golf Club. This photgraph, unlike the previous photographs, was taken, not on Friday, but on Sunday:

Although the above photograph was clearly taken from outside the club, there, nevertheless, appears to be a different photographer standing within the President's proximity.

The AP caption under the above photo reads: "President Barack Obama prepares to putt while playing golf as a photographer, left, looks on at the Vineyard Golf Club on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011."

Did the White House suddenly decide it's not smart politics to keep the photographers at bay? Or, is this particular photographer simply an ordinary bystander who managed to gain entry into the club while the President was golfing? I can't even tell for certain whether the photographer is pointing his camera toward the President or somewhere else - although I would assume he's pointing it toward Obama.

Who knows.....

In any case, if I find out more information, I'll let you know, either here or in an upcoming post.

Related News: On Martha's Vineyard Obama not so popular anymore

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chinese Security officials shove White House & U.S. Embassy officials out of conference room during Biden's speech

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Vice President Joe Biden Thursday began a four-day get-to-know-you mission here as the guest of his Chinese counterpart, stressing the importance of the two countries working together to combat the global economic crisis.

But the trip, carefully choreographed by Chinese leaders, got off to an awkward start when Chinese security officials forcibly shoved foreign journalists out of the conference room before Biden had finished making his prepared remarks in his meeting with Vice President Xi Jinping.

White House and U.S. Embassy officials, visibly irked, tried to intervene but were also shoved by the guards, according to those in the room.

Biden continued speaking, undeterred by the melee...
From the New York Times:
Mr. Biden [was speaking] nostalgically of his first visit to China in 1979, when he was a senator. Before he could finish his opening remarks, which had been prepared for officials and journalists to hear, Chinese security officers forcefully shoved foreign reporters and some White House employees from the meeting room. It was unclear whether there had been some sort of misunderstanding for the disturbance, rare during such a high-level meeting, but American officials declined to comment on the matter.
In a related development:
A wild brawl broke out between Georgetown and a Chinese men's basketball team Thursday night, putting an immediate end to a supposed goodwill game that coincided with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the country.

The benches cleared and fights erupted all over the court with about 9½ minutes left in the fourth quarter. The rest of the exhibition between Georgetown and the Bayi Rockets was called off.

Biden did not attend the game. On Wednesday, he watched the Hoyas beat the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons 98-81... Georgetown and the Rockets are scheduled to play again Sunday night in Shanghai.

The melee was the latest instance of on-court fighting by China, whose players have been fined tens of thousands of dollars by the world and Asian federations for scrapping with opponents.

Georgetown is in China on a 10-day trip which has been cited by the U.S. State Department as an example of sports diplomacy that strengthens ties between the two countries.
CNN notes that the "Bayi Rockets are an army team which plays in the China Basketball Association, the local professional league. Most of their players serve in the People's Liberation Army."

The Telegraph-UK noted:
Reports and pictures from the basketball match showed an unidentified Bayi player pushed Georgetown's Aaron Bowen to the ground before repeatedly punching the sophomore guard while sitting on his chest. Chairs and water bottles were also thrown [from the crowd] as the Georgetown players left the court with about nine-and-a-half minutes remaining in the final quarter.

In an indication of the diplomatic embarrassment, China's censors did their best to erase any mention of the unsavoury incident from the web, although as always in the age of microblogging, struggled in vain to keep up with the deluge of comments and pictures.
Moral of the story is: When push comes to shove, the Chinese really know how to shove!

Hamas trying to save Syrian regime?

The Israeli military says that Gaza militants fired at least 10 rockets into southern Israel overnight less than a day after multiple terror attacks killed eight Israelis near the city of Eilat.

Question: Is Hamas trying to provoke Israel into waging a major retaliatory strike in the Gaza Strip to deflect attention from the violent government crackdowns in Syria and thus protect the Syrian regime from falling?


Syria and Iran are the primary benefactors and weapon suppliers of Hamas, hence, they pull Hamas' strings. They gave the order to unleash a barrage of attacks against Israel, and Hamas is complying with the directive.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Job Creation: Government will stop deporting some illegal immigrants, allow them to work

As part of the Obama administration's latest strategy to facilitate job creation here in the US, the White House announced Thursday that the government will stop deporting many students and other illegal immigrants who are not a public safety threat and permit them to work in the country legally.
A new federal group will review the 300,000 backlogged deportation cases with an eye toward prosecuting criminals and other high-priority cases. But authorities will effectively close the cases of many upstanding high school and college students who were brought here illegally, military veterans, and adults with no criminal record and strong family ties to the United States.

"This case-by-case approach will enhance public safety," wrote Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a letter to members of Congress. "Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high-priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons."
This strategy will also enhance the safety of illegal immigrants who arrived here as part of their respective sleeper cells. Members of these distinguished - and vaunted - cells will now be afforded both legal residence and gainful employment here in the US, which will enable them to sustain their highly clandestine lifestyles.

Fox News notes that the move could grant a reprieve to so-called DREAM Act beneficiaries and thousands of others.
The DREAM Act is a proposal in Congress to give illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a chance at legal status if they complete two years of college or military service. Though the bill has not passed, supporters and critics alike suggested Thursday's announcement could serve to unilaterally carry out its provisions.
Ahhh, at long last a bipartisan President willing to work unilaterally - without the consent of congress - in order to create more jobs.

Chris Matthew's leg must be tingling right now....

If only congress would allow this President to pursue his political agenda without obstruction, the US economy would already be on the path to recovery - and our nation would be stronger than ever. This is precisely the argument being made by the President in recent days. And he is right. The President's latest initiative clearly corroborates this claim....

Gallup: 71% Disapprove of Obama's handling of the Economy & the Budget Deficit

According to a new Gallup poll, released on Wednesday, 71% of Americans disaprove of the President's handling of the US economy.

An equal percentage of the population [71%] disaprove of the way the President has handled the budget deficit. 65% disaprove of his performance on job creation, 29% approve.

It should be noted, however, that when the President formally reintroduces his stimulus package, come September, his ratings no doubt will begin to skyrocket. For although former President Bill Clinton, several months ago, joked that the word 'stimulus' had become an unacceptable word - "we're not supposed to use that word anymore", he said - the aforementioned concept is still popular in the White House and the mainstream media.

Nevertheless, the word "stimulus" has now been discarded in favor of the new moniker, "Job Creation", in deference to the American people who apparently find the old moniker quite repulsive....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

'Occupy Wall Street': Obama Needs to Tone Down the Rhetoric, Exercise More 'Civility'

The President's disdain for the Tea Party movement is well-known, as is Joe Biden's infamous quote in which he refers to Tea Party Republicans as "terrorists".

However, there's a new movement upon the horizon that is certain to capture the President's heart, for ultimately, this new movement is being fueled in large part by the President's anti-Wall Street rhetoric.

The movement is targeting "Wall Street" and "U.S. capitalism". They're calling for a "Day of Rage" to be held throughout the US on September 17. Their plan is to "occupy Wall Street" by setting up tents in Downtown Manhattan, near Wall Street and conducting large demonstrations.

[Watch the video below and feel your stomach turn over.]

A recent quote from Warren Buffet, criticizing the Bush tax-cuts, is posted on their website. It is the same quote that President Obama has been dishing out to Town Hall audiences on his current Midwest Bus Tour.

On the movement's website, they cite the London Riots and various Left-Wing demonstrations in Europe as their guiding light, and proclaim:

"Let the Days of Rage begin. On September 17, 2011, Wall Street belongs to us. Occupy Wall Street."

Good Grief.

Nevertheless, all of this leads me to believe one thing: The President needs to engage in a bit of introspection. For contrary to his claims, it is not the Tea Party nor the political discourse emanating from the Right that is imperiling this country, but rather it is the incivility and combative nature of the President's political discourse that is doing this country harm and bringing about complete anarchy in America.

Hence, I am begging you Mr. President to please tone down the rhetoric. For ultimately, more civility on your part will help to ensure that this nation does not fall prey to the very same anarchists who are currently wreaking havoc in London and in other parts of the world.

Of course, there's a distinct possibility that you're actually seeking a little bit of anarchy to help advance your Left-Wing agenda. If that's the case, feel free to ignore my plea....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Syria Threatens Dissidents in US & around the Globe

A similar news item appeared in the AP last month, but here's the latest report:
Syria is taking its war against President Bashar al-Assad's political opponents global, using diplomats in Washington, London and elsewhere to track and intimidate expatriates who speak out against the Damascus regime, according to Syrian dissidents and U.S. officials.

Syrian embassy staffers are tracking and photographing antiregime protesters and sending reports back home. Syrian diplomats, including the ambassador to the U.S., have fanned out to Arab diaspora communities to brand dissidents "traitors".

A half-dozen Syrian-Americans interviewed by The Wall Street Journal in recent weeks say that as a result of their activities in the U.S., family members have been interrogated, threatened or arrested in Syria.

One Syrian-American scientist in Philadelphia, Hazem Hallak, said his physician brother, Sakher, was tortured and killed in May by Syria's intelligence agencies, the mukhabarat, after he returned from a medical conference in the U.S. Syrian agents in Aleppo were obsessed with obtaining a list of Syrian activists and U.S. officials the brother had allegedly met during his stay, Hazem Hallak said.

The State Department recently publicly rebuked the Syrian ambassador, Mr. Moustapha, for allegedly intimidating activists and confined him to a 25-mile radius around Washington.

"We received reports that Syrian mission personnel under Ambassador Moustapha's authority have been conducting video and photographic surveillance of people participating in peaceful demonstrations in the United States," the State Department said...

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, meanwhile, is investigating allegations that Mr. Moustapha and his staff have threatened or harmed Syrian-Americans, according to three individuals interviewed by the FBI in recent weeks.

Asked if he was aware his travel inside the U.S. had been limited to a 25-mile radius around Washington, Mr. Moustapha said, "This is true, and we did the same to the American ambassador here" in Damascus. He called the U.S. move "reciprocity."...
But apparently, the Obama administration does not want to ruffle the Syrian regime's feathers, hence the White House and State Dept. have yet to call on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.

Smart, real smart.....

Obama: Put Country ahead of Party & the Next Generation ahead of the Next Election

Speaking at the Rural Economic Forum in Peosta Iowa on Tuesday as part of his "Job Creation Bus Tour", President Obama stated that: "We've got a lot of work to do, and the only way it will get done is if Democrats and Republicans put Country ahead of Party and put the next generation ahead of the next election."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Is Barack Obama now the most unpopular US president since Jimmy Carter?

From Nile Gardiner - Telegraph-UK:
Gallup... has Barack Obama’s approval rating at just 39 percent, the lowest level of his presidency, and down 13 percentage points since the start of June.... Strikingly, Barack Obama has achieved the lowest ratings for any US president at this stage of his first term in office for 32 years, since 1979...

You have to go back to Jimmy Carter in August 1979 (at 33 percent), to find a US president less popular than Obama at this stage of his presidency. And the historic job approval average for all US presidents since Harry S. Truman for the 11th quarter of their first term is 52.2 percent, more than 13 points ahead of Obama’s current level...

Could President Obama’s approval rating fall as low as Jimmy Carter’s, hovering just above 30 percent? Undoubtedly it could, with the economic situation deteriorating and consumer confidence plunging. This is a distinctly Carter-esque presidency, with a weak president unable to lead... and declining American power on the world stage.

This is shaping up to be a disastrous summer for Mr. Obama, with a huge drop in public confidence in his ‘hope and change’ presidency. Gallup’s latest poll is probably the shape of things to come, and the president has by no means reached rock bottom. There is a long way further for him to fall, and if the precedent set by Jimmy Carter is anything to go by, Obama could be scraping the 30 percent approval mark before long.

Taliban striking at will as Obama's exit strategy commences; Pakistan gave China access to US Helicopter

From the AP:
Six suicide bombers attacked a governor's security meeting in one of Afghanistan's most secure provinces, killing 22 people and driving home the point that the Taliban is able to strike at will virtually anywhere in the country...

The bold daylight assault in Charikar follows a similar attack by suicide bombers at a major Kabul hotel in June, and the downing of a U.S. helicopter full of U.S. special operations troops only 35 miles away from Kabul. The attacks in and close to the capital raise more questions about Afghanistan's ability to defend itself as the U.S.-led coalition hands more of the country over to its struggling forces.
Similar attacks occurred in Pakistan on Sunday:
A bomb attached to a timer ripped through a two-story hotel in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province Sunday, reducing the building to rubble and killing 12 people... Elsewhere in Baluchistan, two gunmen riding a motorcycle killed a local journalist in the city of Khuzdar... Also Sunday, suspected militants fired rockets at a paramilitary base in northwestern Pakistan..., killing three soldiers and wounding 23 others...

Many analysts believe Pakistan is reluctant to target Afghan Taliban militants with whom it has historic ties and who could be useful allies in Afghanistan after foreign troops withdraw...
And, in a related development: Pakistan reportedly gave China access to the top-secret stealth helicopter that crashed during the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, despite explicit CIA requests not to.

“The US now has information that Pakistan, particularly the ISI [the Pakistani spy agency], gave access to the Chinese military to the downed helicopter in Abbottabad,” a US intelligence official was quoted as saying.

Pakistan reportedly allowed Chinese intelligence officials to take photographs of the helicopter and take samples of its special “skin” that allowed the aircraft to evade Pakistani air defenses.

If Obama plays Golf the way he handles the Economy, he'll surpass Tiger Woods as the World's top Golfer

President Obama leaves the Oval Office on Saturday on his way to play Golf at Andrews Air Force Base.

I believe that President Obama, were he to match his proficiency in the game of golf to his handling of the US economy, would ultimately become one of the game's all-time greats and that his name would ultimately become synonymous to that of Tiger Woods.

If you are disinclined to accept this premise, please ponder the following thought:

The President - with his profound distaste for capitalism, and his penchant for never-ending spending sprees - has managed to sink the US economy into a steep, and perhaps, bottomless hole.

Now, isn't that precisely what the game of Golf is all about? Isn't the game's objective to sink the ball into consecutive holes one after another? And, when it comes to 'sinking', and 'holes', hasn't the President already proven that he is in a class all by himself, as evidenced by his handling of the US economy?

Thus, Obama need only to apply this unique talent to the game of Golf, and without question, his legacy will surpass the legacies of the greatest players who ever played the game.

Tiger Woods, you better look out! For ultimately, there is no hole beyond Obama's reach!

Gallup: Obama job approval sinks below 40% for first time

President Obama has been assailing Congress during recent fundraising galas and other venues, in an attempt to deflect criticism over his poor stewardship of the US economy. But the American people are not buying into those guileful tactics any longer. The President's smooth campaign rhetoric - once the lone staple of his political career - is now falling on deaf ears:
President Obama's summer woes have dragged his approval rating to an all-time low, sinking below 40% for the first time in Gallup's daily tracking poll.

New data posted Sunday shows that 39% of Americans approve of Obama's job performance, while 54% disapprove. Both are the worst numbers of his presidency.

Obama's approval rating has hovered in the 40% range for much of 2011, peaking at 53% in the weeks following the death of Osama bin Laden.

But Americans' view of his job performance continued to tick downward as the debt-ceiling debate heated up. By the time he signed legislation averting a federal default, he was mired in the low-40% range.

The polling setback comes as the Republican race to unseat him has kicked into overdrive...

Obama is set to launch something of a counter-offensive on Monday with a three-day bus tour of the Midwest, a trip that includes two stops in Iowa. The White House denied that the itinerary was politically motivated, however.

The three-day tracking poll was conducted from Aug. 11-13.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jay Carney hypocrisy: Attacked Bush's 2001 'Heartland Tour,' Defends Obama's 2011 Midwest Job-Creation Tour

From Newsbusters:
Jay Carney, meet Jay Carney.

In 2001, the then-Time magazine reporter wrote a snarky piece criticizing President George W. Bush's month-long vacation that was billed as a "Home to the Heartland" tour. But almost exactly 10 years later Carney, now the Obama White House's press secretary, is defending President Barack Obama's Midwest job-creation tour and vacation at Martha's Vineyard.

"I don't think Americans out there would begrudge that notion that the President would spend some time with his family," claimed Carney at a recent press briefing.

But that's exactly what he, as a private citizen working for Time, did in 2001 with a Republican in the White House, even though the unemployment rate the month before Obama's vacation (9.1 percent) was almost double what it was the month before Bush's (4.6 percent.).

Referring to one stop in the tour where Bush assisted in building a trail at the Rocky Mountain National Park, Carney chided: "Bush didn't actually help build that trail so much as he posed for the cameras as he simulated the act of helping build the trail."

Fast forward to August 2011, when Carney complained "the air of cynicism is quite thick" in the briefing room after reporters questioned Obama's upcoming road trip, adding, "The idea that the President of the United States should not venture forth into the country is ridiculous."

Never mind that years earlier the former Time reporter lamented Bush's "cynical attempt" to shape public opinion with a cross-country bus tour...
"It's the newsreels and photographs showing... President [Bush] as a regular guy who cares about the poor and cares about the environment...," Carney wrote. "Classic examples of that much maligned but ever-reliable staple of political activity: the 'photo-op'."

Carney added with air of cynicism that was quite thick: "I'm not going to feign shock at the fact that this President is using photo ops in an attempt — some might say a 'cynical attempt' — to influence public opinion. It would be news if he weren't doing just that."

The distinction between Bush's "Home to the Heartland" tour and Obama's "Job Creation" tour couldn't be any clearer. 1) The unemployment rate in August of 2001 was low. 2) Bush wasn't running for office. But now the unemployment rate has sky rocketed and Obama is embarking on a bus tour to 'talk' about jobs when he should be focusing his effort on 'creating' jobs.

But, unfortunately the 2012 elections are right around the corner, and Obama is in full campaign mode. Hence, talking about jobs on the campaign trail [the bus tour], is more important to him than actual job creation.

And yes, I admit, the air of cynicism emanating from my keyboard is quite thick, but rightly so......

Related Video: Chris Matthews & Jay Carney on Obama's 'Job Creation' Bus Tour

Obama's Martha's Vineyard Vacation, a boon for the US economy, a blessing for America

The White House confirmed on Wednesday that President Obama will spend his annual summer vacation in Martha''s Vineyard, as he did in the summer of 2009 and 2010.

During a White press briefing on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jay Carney fended off suggestions that the President was sending the wrong message by embarking on a lavish vacation while 9.1% of Americans are out of work.

Truth be told, I agree with Mr. Carney. I believe the President's Summer vacation will benefit the country immensely.

What's more, if I were advising the President, I would recommend that he extend his vacation till year's end, or longer, if possible - for the following reasons:

In the Summer of 2010, Caroline Taylor, a Martha's Vineyard realtor, estimated that the property rented by the President would go for $35,000 to $50,000 per week. ABC News noted that the Obamas payed "for at least a portion of the rental, but taxpayer funds," were "used to pay for Secret Service and staff housing on the property." It is not clear whether taxpayers [or perhaps one of Obama's affluent pals] paid for the remaining portion of the rental. Nevertheless, both the private sector [the Obama family] and American taxpayers payed for the President's vacation in 2010 - and they will likely foot the bill this year too.

It goes without saying, though, that the President's lavish getaways provide the US economy with a much-needed stimulus. The longer the President vacations in Martha's Vineyard, the bigger the stimulus.

Now, bear in mind that Democrats and Republicans have differing views on how to boost the US economy. Democrats believe that government and taxpayer dollars are the vehicles of choice to stimulate the economy, while Republicans believe that the private sector is more suited to the task.

However, both private sector money and taxpayer dollars are paying for Obama's vacation - a vacation that without question will stimulate the US economy - hence, both sides of the political aisle will have the opportunity to showcase their respective economic ideologies.

Reason number 2: An extended vacation for the President means that the American people will have an extended vacation from Obama.

There'll be less time for Obama to hog the networks [and airwaves], and to use them as his personal soapbox to demand, incessantly, that congress - rather than the President - come up with innovative ideas to fix the ailing economy.

Hence, Obama's vacation is clearly a win-win situation for everyone!

And, when Obama returns from his extended Summer vacation - say, after Christmas or thereafter - he can proudly boast to the American people that his lavish trip to Martha's Vineyard stimulated, and ultimately saved the US economy.

And the American people can proudly proclaim to the President that his vacation was, in essence, a vacation for all of America - a sorely needed respite, to say the least.....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

King questions White House cooperation in Bin Laden Film

From the Politico:
House Homeland Security Commitee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) is asking for investigations into whether Obama administration officials are sharing classified information with movie producers planning a feature film about the May 1 raid that killed Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

In a letter [Link -PDF file] Tuesday to the inspectors general of the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, King pointed to reports that director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal are getting special access to the Navy SEALs and others involved for a Sony Pictures film...

King noted that in the wake of a series of authorized briefings and leaks soon after the raid, top officials including Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen and former Central Intelligence Agency director (now Defense Secretary) Leon Panetta complained that such disclosures could jeopardize future missions. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested that the White House breached an agreement not to provide further details about the operation.

King's letter makes no direct reference to the possibility that Obama officials are cooperating with the cinematic effort in order to boost President Barack Obama's re-election bid, but he referenced a New York Times column Sunday in which Maureen Dowd made just that assertion.

"The White House is also counting on the Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal big-screen version of the killing of Bin Laden to counter Obama’s growing reputation as ineffectual," she wrote. "Just as Obamaland was hoping, the movie is scheduled to open on Oct. 12, 2012 — perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher."

Dowd added: "The moviemakers are getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history from an administration that has tried to throw more people in jail for leaking classified information than the Bush administration."

The New Yorker magazine recently published—with some cooperation from the White House—a very detailed article about the bin Laden raid. The author later acknowledged he had no direct conversations with the Seals who carried it out.
King also noted in the letter:

"Leaks of classified information regarding the bin Laden raid have already resulted, according to a June 15, 2011 article in the Washington Post, in the arrests of Pakistanis who were believed by local authorities to have assisted the CIA with the May 1st raid. Further participation by JSOC and the Agency in making a film about the raid is bound to increase such leaks, and undermine these organizations’ hard-won reputations as “quiet professionals” − reputations important for their continued operational success. And, the success of these organizations is vital to our continued homeland security."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

S&P Chief, David Beers: Entitlement Reform is the Key

David Beers, head of Standard & Poor's government debt-rating unit says 'entitlement reform' is the key to both rectifying the US Debt crisis and repairing America's downgraded credit rating.

But what about tax increase revenue?....

Friday, August 5, 2011

Chris Matthews & Jay Carney on Obama's 'Job Creation' Bus Tour

The White House has announced that President Obama will be embarking on a three-day bus tour later this month to focus on job creation and economic growth.

Chris Matthews expressed deep cynicism over the matter on Thursday, as he questioned why the President is launching bus tours to talk about job creation when he should be utilizing the time to actually create jobs.

But unfortunately, Obama is already in campaign mode, and, during a campaign, 'talk' takes precedence over 'action' - which is why talking about job creation is more important to Obama than actual job creation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

UN Resolution to Condemn Syria falls by the wayside

In an recent interview with Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency, President Obama stated, with regard to US/Russian relations, "We have been extraordinarily successful partners in moving toward reset."

Obama was referring to the 'reset' in U.S.-Russian relations that has [supposedly] been nurtured over the past few years as a result of his so called diplomatic expertise.

But unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth; Obama's reset button is merely an act of capitulation, which has enabled the Russians to dictate US foreign policy [and defense policy].

Case in point: Syria:

After months of inaction, the UN, with the support of the Obama administration, finally came out with a statement on Wednesday condemning the Syrian regime's bloody crackdown on civilian protesters.

The UN statement denounced "the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities", but, in a bow to Russia, and other countries allied with the Syrian regime, that had demanded a balanced statement faulting both sides for the bloodshed, it called for "an immediate end to all violence" and urged "ALL sides to act with utmost restraint..."

More importantly, a legally binding resolution drafted by West European countries was dropped in favor of the aforementioned [laughable] statement because Russia and China - allies of the Syrian regime - opposed such a resolution.

That's right, there was no UN resolution - just a measly statement, that was sufficiently balanced to satisfy Russia's [and the Syrian regime's] requirements.

So, how's the "reset" button coming along? Hmmm?

Another likely reason for the Obama administration's inaction toward the Syrian regime - aside from Russia's obstruction - is due to the fact that the President has staked his reputation on his diplomatic prowess and his ability to reach out to America's enemies. Hence, Obama desperately wanted to make nice with the Syrian dictator. Thus, he had hoped that Assad and his brutal security forces would find a way to quell the demonstrations so that he could re-engage with the enemy. But after several months of both bloody crackdowns and Obama looking the other way, Assad still doesn't have the situation under control.

Obama may be a pacifist, but he is also mindful of public opinion. He knows he can't play dumb forever and that eventually he must side with the protesters, even if it means alienating the Syrian regime and abandoning America's enemies.

On the flip side, however, Obama doesn't want to rustle Russia's feathers either, for that would not only bring irreparable harm to his infamous "Reset Button" and to his mythical and unfounded reputation as being a diplomat par excellence, it would also render both the 'Obama Doctrine' and the President's "New World Order" obsolete.

Obama's solution to the above quandary, apparently, is a laughable, lame UN statement with superficial, outward support for the Syrian protesters.

But at least the President managed to salvage his "Reset" button with the Russian regime.

And, maybe, just maybe, if Obama is lucky, Bashar Assad will - in due time - extricate himself from this mess, with some additional massacres, and everyone will live happily ever after....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Panetta: 'Trigger' Cuts "would do real damage to our security"

The Debt-Ceiling bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday contains a stipulation stating that if a special House-Senate committee can not agree on a deficit-reduction plan by year's end, or Congress rejects its proposal, it would trigger automatic cuts to both defense and domestic programs.

Sen. Jon Kyl noted on Tuesday that it was the President and Congressional Democrats who insisted on inserting the mechanism into the bill that could potentially slash about a half trillion dollars from the defense budget.

"Can you imagine anything more irresponsible than for the commander in chief of the military to promote, not just promote, but insist on the knowing destruction of the U.S. military as a means to threaten Congress?" Kyl asked in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

In a letter to Defense Department personnel posted Wednesday morning on the Pentagon’s Web site, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that additional spending cuts to the defense budget would harm the "military’s ability to protect America."

"I will do everything I can to ensure that further reductions in defense spending are not pursued in a hasty, ill-conceived way that would undermine the military’s ability to protect America and its vital interests around the globe," Panetta wrote in the letter. "For example, the debt ceiling agreement contains a sequester mechanism that would take effect if Congress fails to enact further deficit reduction. If that happens, it could trigger a round of dangerous across-the-board defense cuts that would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our ability to protect the nation...."

However, as opposed to Sen.Kyl who lashed out at the President for insisting "on the knowing destruction of the U.S. military as a means to threaten Congress", Panetta carefully glided over the fact that it was Obama and his cohorts who inserted the mechanism in the bill, that, if activated, would effect deep, unsustainable cuts to the defense budget.

"Indeed, this outcome would be completely unacceptable to me as Secretary of Defense, the President, and to our nation’s leaders," wrote Panetta. "That’s because we live in a world where terrorist networks threaten us daily, rogue nations seek to develop dangerous weapons, and rising powers watch to see if America will lose its edge. The United States must be able to protect our core national security interests with an adaptable force capable and ready to meet these threats and deter adversaries that would put those interests at risk. I will do all I can to assist the Administration and congressional leaders to make the commonsense cuts needed to avoid this sequester mechanism."

That's right, Panetta will do all he can to assist the administration and to make sure the administration's reckless behavior does not harm our national security.

Biden complained in '08: Palin didn't rebuff individuals who allegedly called Obama a terrorist

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kyl slams Obama over defense cutting trigger in debt ceiling bill

The Debt-Ceiling bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday stipulates that if a special House-Senate committee can not agree on a deficit-reduction plan by year's end, or Congress rejects its proposal, it would trigger automatic cuts to both defense and domestic programs.

Potential cuts to domestic spending would force the Democrats to reach a bipartisan agreement, and the prospect of cutting $492 billion from defense programs would force Republican lawmakers to bend. The President and Congressional Democrats insisted on inserting the defense cutting trigger into the bill.

Apparently $492 billion in defense spending cuts is only a matter of concern to the GOP, but is of little concern to the President and Congressional Democrats. Sen. Jon Kyl noted the irony on the Senate floor on Tuesday; a reporter noted the irony during a White House press briefing on Monday.

Obamacare: Insurers must cover birth control with no copays

From the Boston Globe:
Women covered by private insurance will soon be able to fill their birth control prescriptions at no cost, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday. Starting in August 2012, insurers will be required to cover the full cost of contraception and family planning, along with seven other services aimed at preventing disease and promoting well-being in women...

A panel of doctors with the Institute of Medicine - the advisory group that the Obama administration asked to review the matter - last month recommended improvements to women’s coverage, and the federal health department said yesterday it had accepted that advice...

Premiums are expected to rise with the new offerings, but federal health officials said they haven’t calculated how much.

Eric Linzer, spokesman for the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, said his group is concerned about the financial impact.

“Despite the value, there’s always a cost associated with mandating specific services,’’ he said...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Biden Charges Secret Service Rent to Use Cottage Next to His Home

From Fox News:
The U.S. Secret Service is charged with protecting Joe Biden and his family, but the agency is also charged $2,200 a month to rent a cottage next to the vice president's Delaware home.

Records show Biden has collected more than $13,000 since April on the cottage in Greenville, a wealthy Wilmington suburb, and is eligible for up to $66,000 before the contract expires in 2013.

Asked if the Secret Service typically pays rent to those it protects, agency spokesman Edwin Donovan told The Washington Times, "It's a rental property so we pay rent there."

Citizens Against Government Waste's Leslie Paige says the agency should do all it can to protect Biden, but one would think the vice president who shepherded the deficit committee would think twice before charging the agency.