Green Room

Video: Top three Obamacare promises, RIP

Mar 14, 2014, 4:42pm |

Behold, the death of three core Obamacare promises, in 74 seconds, using Democrats’ words only.  The trifecta:

House Republicans: Let’s formalize and extend Obama’s sweeping individual mandate tax delay

Mar 14, 2014, 11:39am |

Allahpundit and I each wrote about this issue after the Wall Street Journal exposed it earlier in the week, and now Republican leadership is taking notice:

“The Obama Administration once again tried to sneak through a unilateral change to ObamaCare which essentially allows anyone who has experienced a hardship in obtaining health insurance to opt out of the individual mandate tax without requiring documentation. It’s no surprise that the Administration tried to sneak this through after spending years attacking Republicans for wanting to spare Americans from this very mandate. These backdoor changes to the law have to stop. Republicans agree that Americans should not be subject to ObamaCare’s mandate tax and will vote tomorrow to delay it for five years and use those savings to protect Medicare for our nation’s seniors. The fact that the Obama Administration threatens to veto Congressional actions that mirror what they are secretly doing is embarrassing, and deserves an explanation. Do House Democrats who voted in favor of the individual mandate support this unilateral delay? It is about time the White House and Democrats say one way or the other whether they want to ever see the full implementation of ObamaCare. Let’s stop playing games, and legally delay these penalties that clearly the Obama Administration even admits are destructive.”

Sure enough, the House advanced the five-year delay bill yesterday afternoon and is expected to pass it later today.  Just three Democrats joined Republicans in yesterday’s procedural vote.  Congressional Democrats are dead set against codifying the administration’s actions, which Ed noted earlier.  As Cantor says, the White House routinely threatens to veto acts of Congress that would “mirror what [Obama is] secretly doing.”  The Huffington Post dutifully denounces the GOP plan, citing a CBO report indicating that a five-year postponement of the unpopular individual mandate tax would — gasp — raise premiums and result in 13 million more uninsured Americans.  Question: What untold horrors might we expect from the president’s unilateral action to impose a sweeping, two-year “hardship waiver” for the mandate tax?  Liberals are angry at Republicans for trying to formalize the president’s own decrees.  Beyond that, Obamacare is already failing to attract the overwhelming majority of previously-uninsured Americans (due primarily to high costs), and is projected to leave at least 30 million people without coverage.  And higher premiums, you say?  Perish the thought.  We already know that costly mandates, unsound risk pools, and endless uncertainty are forcing premiums up.

Do opponents of this Republican bill believe uninsured Americans who can’t afford Obamacare’s rates — even after the subsidies — should be taxed for the privilege of remaining uncovered?  Yes or no?

I discussed the president’s de facto individual mandate tax delay on Fox Business Network last night:

UPDATE – The House bill has passed, 237-182, with a dozen Democrats joining the GOP.

Memo to Harry: Obamacare “liars” continue to emerge

Mar 13, 2014, 11:46am |

A brief follow-up to my recent piece taking a hatchet to Harry Reid’s Obamacare smears.  In spite of the Senate Majority Leader’s tantrums, the roster of devious Koch-funded liars continues to grow.  Unleash the campaign lawyers and Obamacare truthers!

New York, where an ill man was greeted with an unpleasant surprise:

Illinois, where someone needs to tell this woman about Obama’s sweeping individual mandate tax “hardship waivers:

Oklahoma, where a man “lost his insurance and almost his life,” thanks to the new law:

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Arkansas, where Wanda learned the hard way not to trust Sen. Mark Pryor:

That ad is being run by Americans for Prosperity, which is partially funded by the Koch brothers. When you hear Reid’s next McCarthyite harangue about the Kochs, bear this question in mind:

Click through for a more complete explanation of the breathtaking hypocrisy at play. And in case you weren’t aware of just how insane the Left’s Koch Derangement Syndrome has gotten, read this.

No TEMS today

Mar 12, 2014, 2:20pm |

A number of other priorities have suddenly erupted this afternoon, so we won’t do a show this afternoon. We will be back tomorrow with Dwayne Epstein at 4 ET, so be sure to tune in then!

Also, please note that we will change formats and schedules next week, and the show will air on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-5 ET.

Poll: Cotton leads Pryor by 9 points among likeliest voters

Mar 11, 2014, 12:28pm |

A scion of privilege whose political career is owed to a prominent surname may not be in the strongest position to critique others for being “entitled.”  Futher suggesting that this imputed sense of “entitlement” stems from his opponent’s distinguished military service crosses the boundaries of painful self-unawareness into political self-immolation.  And Sen. Mark Pryor’s re-election bid may be burning to the ground:

In Arkansas, a new poll reveals just how important a high turnout will be for Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who is fighting to keep his seat in the U.S. Senate. Pryor, who has been called the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in the 2014 cycle, continues to lag behind his GOP challenger Rep. Tom Cotton. A poll released Monday by Hickman Analytics Inc. shows Cotton with 51 percent support compared to 42 percent for Pryor among voters most likely to turn out in November. Though Pryor has used the firm for polling in the past, he is not currently a client, according to his campaign. Among a broader swath of voters, including those less likely to turnout, Pryor closes the gap with Cotton, with the candidates each tallying 46 percent.

So according to Pryor’s former pollster, the Democrat now trails Rep. Tom Cotton by nine points among the likeliest voters, but manages to pull even if an atypical swath of the electorate turns out for him in November. Will the Democratic cavalry come to his aid?  It’s too early to tell, but please direct your attention to an item I posted in mid-January which may be instructive.  To recap, a conservative Republican won an Obamacare-focused Arksansas State Senate special election in an historically Democratic district, and in which he was outspent three-to-one.  Final margin: 14 points.   The vanquished Democrat under-performed in Craighead County, a crucial bellwether area of the district, where Mark Pryor will need to over-perform this fall to have a chance.  According to the poll cited above, Pryor is still right-side-up on personal favorability (47/36), but is being weighed down by a deeply unpopular president.  The US News write-up says that the incumbent is trying to distance himself from Obamacare, for which he cast the deciding vote, and to which he’s referred as an “amazing success story.”

 

“The whole law – from its name to its effects – is one bad joke.”

Mar 10, 2014, 11:27am |

Attention, Sen. Reid and friends — the Nashua Telegraph has published a negative personal testimonial from yet another Obamacare “liar.”  Please debunk her Koch-funded lies as soon as possible, lest her fellow citizens begin continue to suspect that your signature law is hurting people. Meet Helen DePrima of Bedford, New Hampshire (a constituent of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen):

We were always happy with our health care coverage. My husband and I have been on the same plan since 1972, when my husband graduated from vet school. We liked our plan and wanted to keep it – it provided us excellent coverage and served our needs perfectly. Not anymore. Thanks to Obamacare, our happy relationship with our health insurance ended in November 2012 after 40 years. That’s when we received notification that our health insurance plan would cease to exist as of Dec. 31, 2013…Now that our original insurance is gone, we have poorer quality supplemental coverage at a higher cost. Some of the prescriptions our previous policy paid for are now “disallowed” – if we want to continue taking them, it’s on our nickel completely. One of my prescriptions cost me twice the amount out-of-pocket than under our old plan. The agent who helped us transition to the replacement plan calculated that we’ll pay more than $10,000 per year…Such are the results of the badly-misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Protecting patients from what? Caring by canceling our insurance and worsening our coverage? And affordable? Hardly! … The whole law – from its name to its effects – is one bad joke. I just wish the punch line was funny.

As Erika noted over the weekend, one influential union has been blasting away at Obamacare, highlighting the fact that the law is adversely impacting its low-to-middle income members.  While the Obama administration wants to reduce income inequality by erecting barriers to job creation, the president’s top domestic ‘achievement’ is exacerbating that very gap among some of his strongest supporters.  Some unions recently received a sweetheart exemption from one of Obamacare’s new taxes, but that perk isn’t enough to offset damage like this:

Angela is far from alone.  A February study from the center-left Brookings Institution determined that Obamacare would reduce incomes among the top 80 percent of American wage earners.  Workers at the very bottom stand to benefit, but everyone else will take a hit — with lower-middle class Americans facing the steepest reductions in take-home pay.  As for the previously uninsured, it’s tough to overstate how devastating last week’s Washington Post bombshell was.  Nine out of ten eligible uninsured Americans haven’t selected plans under Obamacare, with the top reason cited being lack of affordability.  Of those few who have “signed up,” only about half have paid, and are therefore covered.  So we’re looking at roughly five percent of the previously uninsured population that has decided to participate in a $2 trillion law that was ostensibly foisted upon the rest of the public for their benefit.  Therefore, the vast, vast majority of people touted in the White House’s (still significantly inflated) Obamacare “enrollment” figures already had coverage prior to the law’s passage.  Those aren’t “new” enrollees.  They’re people who were uprooted from their previous arrangement because of this law.  More than six million Americans have received cancellation notices due to Obamacare…so far.

Sunday reflection: Matthew 4:1-11

Mar 9, 2014, 10:01am |

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection only represents my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion. For previous entries, click here.

Today’s gospel reading is Matthew 4:1–11:

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.”

Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Just recently, I watched and reviewed the film Son of God, a worthwhile effort that people should reward at the box office. The film follows up the blockbuster History Channel miniseries The Bible with a two-hours-plus depiction of the Gospel through the narration of John. While it’s very much a film worth seeing for the price of the ticket, a few of the more mystical and dramatic episodes of the Gospel didn’t make the cut for this film — including one of the most dramatic, the Temptation in the Desert.

At first blush, this entire sequence is puzzling. Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, consubstantial with the Father but also fully human in form. Why would Jesus subject himself to this kind of temptation? Why would Satan try to convert God, for that matter? What purpose did this serve in God’s plan for salvation?

In order to find the answers, one must look in this case for clues in the other readings today. The reading from Genesis includes the temptation of Eve and Adam in paradise, and the fall of humanity from grace. That fall results in a desire of both to usurp God by seeking to seize his power, urged on by the serpent, which is Satan. This arrogance results in disobedience and the sudden dimunition of humanity into a permanently fallen state, where concupiscence creates sinfulness and lack of grace in place of the original status of humanity as priests, prophets, and kings, and death results.

The second reading, from Paul’s letter to the Romans, elaborates that “death reigned from Adam to Moses,” when God entered into history to save his people from destruction in the Exodus. God’s plan for Israel was to create a nation of priests, prophets, and kings to serve and teach the nations of the world to worship the one Lord and subject themselves to Him. Israel almost immediately balks at this mission, worshiping a golden calf instead of God himself, and bitterly complaining and demanding tests of God for Moses to prove His presence. Instead of being a priestly nation, Israel winds up needing one priestly caste to teach itself. After finally entering the Promised Land, Israel will eventually demand a political king that will usurp God’s rule through the prophets, and those kings eventually will start worshiping the idols of local nations as Israel grows more enamored of temporal power than in spreading the Word of God in their mission.

Thus enters Jesus to provide the final plan for salvation — but he must undo humanity’s errors in order to atone fully on our behalf. The three temptations parallel the failures of Israel to trust God in the desert. When Moses went up the mountain, Israel lost faith in God and attempted to worship idols such as their former enslavers did in Egypt. Yet Jesus tells Satan that despite his long privations in the forty days, He will not seek the riches that idol worship promises but remain faithful to God. Where Israel demanded water from the rock as a test from God, Jesus rebukes Satan for tempting Him to test God in the same way. When food ran low in the desert, the Israelites bitterly complained about their freedom, wishing to have been back in slavery; God sent manna to feed them, but rebuked Israel for its ingratitude and lack of trust. Jesus scorns Satan for his temptation to turn stones into bread, preferring the love of God over ingratitude and lack of trust in His power of deliverance.

Finally, these temptations seek to undermine the full humanity of Jesus by the same temptation that corrupted it in the Garden of Eden — the promise of temporal power by usurping God’s place. Instead of sinning in arrogance and disobedience as Adam and Eve did, Jesus refuses worldly power and chooses to remain the suffering servant in order to restore humanity’s ability to be priests, prophets, and kings. Moreover, for that atonement to fulfill man’s debt, Jesus must be fully human as well as fully divine. Jesus experiences the pain and suffering of his fast, but refuses (like Job, in another Old Testament parallel) to repudiate God in the midst of his suffering. That allows for mankind’s redemption through his sacrifice.

The Temptation in the Desert, therefore, encapsulates the entire mission of Jesus in saving the world for the kingdom of God. It prefigures the Messiah not as a worldly idol who magically transforms stones into food, levitates, and seizes material power, but a servant of God who will share in the divine life through His sacrifice for all. That also explains why Satan had to attempt to corrupt the humanity of Jesus, if not the divinity, in order to keep humanity in its fallen state and subject to the powers of sin and death. Jesus threatened to conquer both eternally, and did so, redeeming the flesh through the Word of God.

What does this mean to us, and for us? After all, it’s easy for us to point fingers at the Israelites in the Exodus for demanding God bend to their will instead of the other way around, or at the first of us who rejected paradise for the false choice of usurping God. It’s the same sin, and one could argue the same sin as Judas Iscariot, the zealot who may have wanted more out of a Messiah than what he found — an avenging warlord rather than eternal salvation.

How often do we demand that our will be done rather than God’s?  I know I’ve certainly grumbled about not getting my way more often than I’d admit, or prayed for a few stones to turn to bread (or a lottery ticket to turn into a fortune). We often want to make ourselves into our own God rather than submit to His will and allow ourselves to be instruments of it. We harden our hearts to the Word and display ingratitude — even while we’re on the road to salvation, just like the Israelites following Moses or Adam and Eve in Eden.

I’m reminded of a joke: A grandmother walked along the shore with her young grandson, done up in his Sunday finest from head to toe – hat, suit, and shoes. Suddenly a huge wave crashed down on them, and the grandson was swept out to sea. The grandmother got down on her knees and prayed, “O God, if you only bring my grandson back to me, I’ll repent and worship you every day.” Just as suddenly, another wave crashed down, and her grandson was dropped unharmed next to her.  The grandmother looked up at the sky and said, “So … where’s his hat?

Are we thankful for the redemption Jesus won for us and striving to do His will? Or are we still looking for the hat?

Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll

Mar 9, 2014, 7:28am |

I know, I know — this comes as no surprise, since the Pauls père et fils routinely organize for CPAC straw polls. I missed last year, but I’m at a loss to recall when anyone else but a Paul won the straw poll when offered. (If I recall correctly, they didn’t hold one in 2012 because of the active primary.) This time, it might be a little different:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll for the second year in a row.

Paul took 31 percent of the vote, a 20 point lead over second-place finisher Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The freshman senator got 11 percent, but saw a significant uptick from just 4 percent last year.

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Conservative favorite Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who’s amassed a grassroots following, was third with 9 percent. Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), who addressed the crowd this year after not being invited in 2012, was fourth with 8 percent support.

The biggest loser of the night was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Though he finished in second place last year with 23 percent, this year his support cratered and he finished in seventh place with just 6 percent support. The Florida senator saw his support among the conservative base erode following his support for comprehensive immigration reform.

Why different? Well, this is the first time that I didn’t see evidence of large-scale organization by Paul supporters. I saw a few “I Stand with Rand” hand signs around, and Senator Paul got a huge audience and reaction to his speech, but the college-student campaign in the hallways never materialized, as it had in previous CPACs. It’s possible that it existed more than was seen, but part of the point in previous CPACs was to overwhelm people with Paul supporters throughout the conference.

This result may, then, reflect more organic support for Paul among the grassroots than organized support, and that’s good news for Paul. Otherwise, though, no one’s going to take the finish order very seriously. I can’t recall the last time a CPAC straw poll predicted even a good primary campaign, so don’t expect anyone who’s seriously thinking about a 2016 run to get discouraged too much by a low finish.

Here’s the video of the announcement last night:

 

Real question: Does Obama’s budget fund overseas abortions to protect endangered animals?

Mar 6, 2014, 11:27am |

No, seriously — does it?  I know, I know: The question itself sounds like a stupid conservative caricature of liberal excess. But a friend sent along the text of the following provision, which is buried on page 930 of the president’s FY 2015 budget proposal.  She thought it looked “fishy.”  I must agree:

Perhaps a budget expert can steer me in the right direction here, but that passage certainly reads like a proposal to allocate $575 million in taxpayer dollars to fund abortions (“reproductive health” is the correct euphemism, yes?) in corners of the globe where human population growth is deemed (by whom?) to be “threatening” plants and animals.  A creepy Malthusian dystopia. I keep trying to convince myself that I must be misinterpreting this, but I also remember that upon entering office, President Obama appointed a “science czar” with a disturbing paper trail.  In a 2009 Politifact analysis – which rated some conservative criticisms of John Holdren “pants on fire” false — the left-leaning fact-checkers conceded that Holdren did, in fact, co-author a volume that discussed a number of radical population control measures:

In a section on “Involuntary Fertility Control,” Holdren and the other authors discuss various “coercive” means of population control — including putting sterilants in the drinking water. But they stop well short of advocating such measures…Later, the authors conclude, “Most of the population control measures beyond family planning discussed above have never been tried. Some are as yet technically impossible and others are and probably will remain unacceptable to most societies … ”Compulsory control of family size is an unpalatable idea, but the alternatives may be much more horrifying”…The authors argue that compulsory abortions could potentially be allowed under U.S. law “if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.” Again, that’s a far cry from advocating or proposing such a position.

The point of dredging this up is not to relitigate the Holdren controversy; it’s simply a reminder that the Obama administration has embraced some rather extreme figures and policy positions on these issues.  So again I ask, with all sincerity: Does the president’s new budget propose funding overseas abortions to combat “threats” to “biodiversity”?  Or am I missing something?  Maybe this idea is limited to various forms of birth control, which is covered by the “family planning” distinction. But as I noted above, “reproductive health” is one of the Left’s code words for abortion. One of this president’s first official acts was to lift the federal restriction on subsidizing abortions abroad, so he’s unlikely to harbors any moral qualms on this.  In any case, what’s the explanation for the environmentalist stipulations?

UPDATE – A Capitol Hill budget maven notes that President Bush’s last budget contained somewhat similar language, but within the context of fighting AIDS, not saving the planet. The Bush administration also barred taxpayer funds from financing overseas abortions.

Photo of the day: Crimea now belongs to Russia, at least on Russian propaganda TV

Mar 6, 2014, 9:35am |

Here’s what Liz Wahl left behind.

Vatican: Pope Francis wasn’t talking about same-sex relationships; Update: “Civil unions” explained

Mar 5, 2014, 6:01pm |

One of these days, Pope Francis will give an interview in English. What will the media do then? In the latest version of That’s Not What The Pontiff Said, the Vatican is acting quickly to dispel the idea that Francis endorsed gay relationships in his interview with Corriere della Sera:. The Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein tweeted out the response:

Frankly, I didn’t see anything in the primary reporting that even suggested a same-sex relationship context.

This does remind me of a conversation my young-adult group had years ago with a priest. We were discussing the church teaching on contraception, and one of our members said a friend of hers refused to use it but still had sex outside of marriage, because she thought the contraception was sinful. The priest laughed and said, “Look, if you’re having sex outside of marriage, that’s a lot bigger deal than whether you use contraception with it.”

It’s a matter of perspective. Yes, couples will cohabitate rather than get married, and yes it’s still a sin. But — and this really isn’t new for the church or Francis — that doesn’t mean that society should not order itself to civilly protect people who enter into those arrangements with property rights and access to critical services, while the church tries to instruct on sin and help people to see the error of their ways.

Update: Fr. Thomas Rosica, who handles English translations at the Vatican (and French too, as I recall), issued a statement last night that reminds everyone that “civil unions” in Italy refer to civil marriage:

On behalf of the Vatican, Fr. Thomas Rosica released the following statement regarding certain interpretations of the interview:

“There have been numerous questions, calls and messages throughout the day today regarding Pope Francis’ recent interview in the Italian daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera, particularly referring to the section on marriage and civil unions.  Some journalists have interpreted the Pope’s words in the interview to reflect an openness on the part of the Church to civil unions. Others have interpreted his words to be addressing the question of same-sex marriage. I have consulted with Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, throughout the afternoon and have prepared the following notes on Pope Francis’ interview.

Asked specifically about “unioni civili,” (civil unions), Pope Francis responded:

“Il matrimonio e’ fra un uomo e una donna.  Gli Stati laici vogliono giustificare le unioni civili per regolare diverse situazioni di convivenza, spinti dall’esigenza di regolare aspetti economici fra le persone, come ad esempio assicurare l’assistenza sanitaria.  Si tratta di patti di convivenza di varia natura, di cui non saprei elencare le diverse forme.  Bisogna vedere i diversi casi e valutarli nella loro varieta’.”

My translation:

“Marriage (matrimony) is between a man and a woman. Civil states want to justify civil unions in order to regulate (normalize) different arrangements of cohabitation; – prompted by the necessity of regulating (normalizing) economic aspects among people, for example in providing health insurance or benefits. This consists of different kinds of living arrangements which I wouldn’t know how to enumerate with precision. We must consider different cases and evaluate each particular case.”

[It is important to understand here that “civil unions” in Italy refer to people who are married by the state, outside of a religious context.]

Journalists have asked if the Pope was referring specifically to gay civil unions in the above response. The Pope did not choose to enter into debates about the delicate matter of gay civil unions. In his response to the interviewer, he emphasized the natural characteristic of marriage between one man and one woman, and on the other hand, he also spoke about the obligation of the state to fulfill its responsibilities towards its citizens.

By responding in this way, Pope Francis spoke in very general terms, and did not specifically refer to same-sex marriage as a civil union. Pope Francis simply stated the issues and did not interfere with positions held by Episcopal Conferences in various countries dealing with the question of civil unions and same sex marriage.

We should not try to read more into the Pope’s words that what has been stated in very general terms.”

In fairness, I had forgotten that, too. Thanks to Erika M for the update.

RNC ad: Crying infant greets Obama’s new debt-laden budget

Mar 5, 2014, 11:37am |

Short and effective:

In case you missed it, Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal is about as reckless as you might expect.  It increases spending, raises taxes by nearly $2 trillion (on top of the $1.7 trillion in previous Obama-era hikes), and never comes close to balancing.  According to the White House’s own numbers, the plan would add $8.3 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years; again, that’s after all the tax increases.  As Ed noted yesterday, OMB’s calculations are also ludicrously optimistic compared to the nonpartisan CBO’s projections.  Obama’s fiscal path does nothing to address the unfunded liability crisis, a long-term debt problem that even the president has acknowledged in years past.  Not any more. The White House is positioning this blueprint as — drumroll, please — an end to America’s “era of austerity.”  Really.  I reviewed what that era has looked like over at Townhall:

Under this president, the federal government has spent more money annually than at any other time in US history. Annual deficits have ranged between $500 billion and $1.4 trillion. Prior to Barack Obama’s presidency, the United States had never racked up a single trillion-dollar annual shortfall. On his watch, Washington has done so four times. The Congressional Budget Office projects that on our current trajectory, we’ll hit $1 trillion again within eight years. Various fact-checkers have confirmed that among his many predecessors, President Obama is the “undisputed debt king,” having added more than $6 trillion to the nation’s red ink since taking office in 2009. In his first campaign, Obama called President Bush “unpatriotic” for amassing more than $4 trillion in gross national debt over two full terms in office. So that, ladies and gentlemen, is the “era of austerity” that Obama has magnanimously decided to end.

I’ll leave you with this:

Update: Grayson dismisses ‘erratic’ wife after abuse allegation

Mar 4, 2014, 5:19pm |

Weird. He’s always seemed like such a nice, non-crazy guy:

A judge has granted a temporary protective injunction against U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, after his wife filed paperwork accusing the Orlando congressman of shoving and injuring her during an incident this weekend. Lolita Grayson’s petition for the injunction, dated Monday, says her husband pushed her against a door, causing her to fall to the ground, during a confrontation Saturday at their home on Oak Park Road, near Windermere. In a statement, Alan Grayson’s press secretary Lauren Doney wrote that the allegations “are absolutely false, completely unfounded, and clearly designed to vilify and harm Congressman Grayson.” The incident comes just less than two months after Lolita Grayson filed a divorce petition stating that their marriage of nearly 24 years was “irretrievably broken.”

“Completely unfounded,” huh?

Photos filed by Lolita Grayson’s attorneys with the petition show large bruises to her left leg and left shoulder. Her complaint alleges that, “from time to time” in the past, her husband “has battered [her] and the parties’ minor children,” though she has not previously sought an injunction against him…Grayson told his wife, in the presence of their children, that she “would receive nothing” in their divorce and would be left “in the gutter.”

Perhaps Grayson can commiserate with this charmer.  War on women, etc.

UPDATE – Oh my:

Attacking the victim for erratic, unhinged behavior. Consider the source.

UPDATE II – Of course:

He may beat his wife, but at least he supports late-term abortion! Let’s see if this old endorsement survives the current cycle. Allahpundit now has more on the homepage, including a must-see flashback clip of the man himself railing against Republican misogyny.

Photo of the Day: Projecting strength

Mar 4, 2014, 12:50pm |

Shot:

Chaser:

Yes, that’s apparently the venue from which President Obama made that pronouncement.

NC Sen: Kay Hagan’s job approval drops to…33 percent

Mar 4, 2014, 11:27am |

The last few times we checked in on Sen. Kay Hagan, she was literally running away from Obamacare questions, and being hoisted by her own petard on reflexive partisan loyalty.  As she said of her predecessor, voting with the president 92 percent of the time (or, in Hagan’s case, 96 percent of the time) “doesn’t work here in North Carolina.  Based on a fresh Elon University poll, It would appear that North Carolina voters agree:

The same poll pegs President Obama’s job approval at (39/51); not only is Hagan’s raw approval rating six points lower than Obama’s, her net approval (-15) is worse, too. Obama lost the state in 2012.  Why has the embattled Senator been so evasive of Obamacare questions?  My hunch is that these numbers have something to do with it:

Hagan holds one of the 14 Senate seats Republicans are targeting in November. The GOP needs to net six of them to regain the majority, which some experts see as eminently achievable.

Beeler on the Reset Fantasy

Mar 4, 2014, 10:32am |

Great editorial cartoon from Nate Beeler … but we need Hillary in here somewhere to make the picture complete, no?

beeler-reset

Jeff MacNelly had a classic editorial cartoon with a Soviet Backfire bomber and Jimmy Carter, of which this cartoon reminds me. This should be a classic, too.

Be sure to check out Nate’s blog for more of his excellent work.

Teachers, Not Teamsters, Are the Typical Union Members

Mar 4, 2014, 7:10am |

We can watch the ebb and flow of union membership from year to year, thanks to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and unionstats.com. And we can watch the ebb and flow of teacher union membership from year to year if I can continue to pry it from a secretive National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers. But there has not been much tracking of how much of a share NEA and AFT have of union membership overall in the United States.

I have put together a table and posted it on the EIA web site that shows the combined active NEA and AFT membership for each state and DC in 2012 and the share it constitutes of active public employee union (PEU) membership and total (public sector + private sector) union membership. It illustrates that teachers’ unions make up the bulk of the public employee labor movement, and a growing percentage of organized labor overall.

* Nationwide, NEA and AFT members comprise 21.2 percent of all union members, and 41.5 percent of PEU members.

* The five states where teacher union members make up the largest share of the total union population are Nebraska, Alabama, North Dakota, Vermont and Idaho.

* The five states where teacher union members make up the smallest share of the total union population are Mississippi, Hawaii, South Carolina, Maine and Texas.

* The five states where teacher union members make up the largest share of the PEU population are Alabama, Nebraska, Idaho, Virginia and North Dakota.

* The five states where teacher union members make up the smallest share of the PEU population are South Carolina, Mississippi, Hawaii, Louisiana and California.

* Teacher union members are more than one-quarter of the total union population in 22 states.

* Teacher union members are more than half of the PEU population in 21 states.

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TeacherUnionShare2012

Video: Snowplow 1, reporter 0

Mar 3, 2014, 5:03pm |

Actually, given that the guy didn’t even fall, I’d say it’s 1-1.

Prager U: The bigger the government …

Mar 3, 2014, 1:31pm |

… the smaller the citizen. Dennis Prager himself delivers this course at Prager University, calling this “an observable fact and just common sense.” Is there a role for government? Of course, Dennis says, but “it must always be of last resort”:

In every society throughout human history the following relationship has held true: as government grows, human freedom and happiness shrinks. Best selling author, Dennis Prager puts it this way: “The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.” This has been true in Europe for decades and is becoming ever more so in the United States. But it’s not the kind of nation, the Founding Fathers had in mind. Can we get back to the principles of liberty and individual responsibility? It’s a big challenge. But first we have to recognize the problem.

Be sure to enroll at Prager U. You won’t even need tuition assistance.

Flashback: Obama, Kerry ridiculed Romney over Russia

Mar 3, 2014, 11:47am |

Now seems like a reasonable moment to recall these zingers, which Democrats and the media thought were terribly clever in 2012. Mitt Romney’s clear-eyed assessment of Vladimir Putin’s Russia is looking more spot-on accurate than ever, yet it was greeted at the time with widespread ridicule. Barack Obama, in the final presidential debate:

“A few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia…the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

John Kerry at the DNC:

“…but not Mitt Romney. He’s even blurted out the preposterous notion that Russia is our ‘number one geopolitical foe.’ Folks: Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska; Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV.”

OFA:

MSNBC:

I’ll close by revisiting a Gallup poll that seems significantly more relevant today than it did when it was released just one week ago:

Who’s laughing now?