With friends like MSNBC, do Democrats need enemies?
The Democrats have spent the last couple of days wildly spinning their loss in Florida as either 1) insignificant or 2) an actual victory because it was a district that Republicans always carried anyway.
Regarding #1, we find it hard to believe that it’s insignificant when a Libertarian candidate, who tends to take votes away from the Republican candidate, took 5% of the vote and the Republican still won the election.
Regarding #2, it’s important to point out that the Republican victor, David Jolly, wasn’t a very good candidate and he was outspent 4-to-1. Also, his opponent, Alex Sink, won that district when she ran for governor.
Today on MSNBC, host Alex Wagner tried to explain away the Republican victory with the “low turnout” excuse. Her guest, Adam C. Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, wasn’t having any of it. He replied that the turnout level for a special election was actually pretty good, noting that a recent special election in Florida had much lower turnout.
Wagner’s other guest was even more forceful: “I think this is a wake-up call for Democrats. I hope they don’t believe their spin and I don’t think they do.”
A Gallup Poll released on Wednesday asked Americans to rate a variety of problems facing this country in how important they think they are. Not surprising, people worried the most about the economy, federal spending, and healthcare. Rounding out the least important issues were global warming and race relations. The poll shows how truly out of touch the democrats are with the problems Americans are most concerned about.
All of the things that top the list of priorities are issues that democrats are the weakest at, and are the cause of the problem in the first place. Those at the bottom represent the issues democrats run strongest on, but as the poll shows, most people don’t care very much about.
Let’s check out the numbers:
59% of respondents worry a great deal about the economy
From the feet dragging on theKeystone XL Pipeline to sinking billions of dollars into alternative energy companies to produce no jobs, Obama and the democrats have been no friend to the economy. Throw in job-killers ObamaCare and higher minimum wage and you get a party that really doesn’t care about making things better. Not one democrat initiative has done anything to improve the economy but everything they do from terrible trade agreements to business killing regulations help sink us further.
58% of respondents worry a great deal about federal spending and the budget deficit
In his first four years, Obama raised the national debt from $10.6 trillion to $16.7 trillion, an increase of 57%. By contrast, in 8 years the national debt only rose 38% under Bush Jr. and he had two wars to finance. The Republicans have been desperately trying to get federal spending under control, first with the sequester and then with the shutdown, but the free-spending democrats can’t be stopped until they are ousted from power.
57% of respondents worry a great deal about the availability and affordability of healthcare
The deceptively named Affordable Care Act has been anything but. This socialist redistribution of wealth has seen premiums rise and coverage diminish for millions of working Americans. Millions more have seen their policies cancelled. Democrats are trying to run from this disaster, but they can’t hide.
Okay, so the things Americans care most about are the things that democrats ave the worst record at. Let’s see what Americans think about the issues democrats run the hardest on:
31% of respondents worry a great deal about the quality of the environment
Democrats loves them some environmental regulations. The problem is, as evident by this poll, most Americans don’t think the environment is that big of an issue. That’s not to say we don’t care about the environment, we just don’t think it’s in such bad shape that the government has to destroy entire industries to protect it. We all want clear air and water, but we also want jobs and energy.
24% of respondents worry a great deal about climate change
The democrats in Congress just held an all-night global warming talk-a-thon that was ignored by… well, everyone. They insist upon pushing an unproven theory as scientific fact. The idea that this is one of the democrats major running points shows how truly delusional they are.
17% of respondents worry a great deal about race relations
Racism is only a problem for those on the extreme left. The rest of us know we live in a post-racial society in which opportunities are available to everyone. The Chicken Little sky-is-falling tactic of race baiting falls flat with most Americans.
Please note that increasing gun control regulations and granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens didn’t even register on this poll.
This Gallup Poll should have been titled: How The Democrats Are Going To Lose The Senate In 2014. When it comes to the economy, federal spending, and healthcare, they have nothing but explaining to do. People want jobs, not excuses. As for their pet projects of global warming and phantom inequality, nobody cares.
Four out of five U.S. companies have either already raised deductibles on their employee health plans or are considering it thanks to Obamacare, according to a survey of over 700 businesses by consulting firm Mercer LLC.
A third of the companies surveyed have already hiked deductibles or copays and another 48 percent are contemplating options that increase health-care payments by workers themselves, Bloomberg reports.
Health-care costs for customers and companies alike are continuing to rise, partly because of Obamacare-instated essential benefits that all health-care plans must now provide.
The more controversial benefits insurers must provide in all plans are pregnancy and child-care services, which have received pushback from men, women past childbearing age, and even nuns.
While the Obama administration has twice tried to delay enforcement of this rule, many state insurance commissioners rejected the delay in 2013 and plan to do so again this year.
Many U.S. companies are taking even more drastic action already. Large businesses like Target, Trader Joe’s and Home Depot have stopped offering part-time employees health insurance at all, instead encouraging them to opt for Obamacare exchanges instead.
UPS chose to cut its costs by dropping insurance for any employed spouses of their employees. Mercer found that 8 percent of employers have cut spousal coverage as well, and an additional 11 percent of companies are thinking about making such a change in 2015.
And while deductibles and copays may be going up for most employees, the caliber of plans may be going down. Businesses are worried about the so-called “Cadillac tax” and are ramping down their health-care coverage accordingly.
The Cadillac tax will hit businesses that already offer the best health benefits with a 40 percent tax. Companies that provide coverage over an annual value of $10,200 per year for individuals and $27,500 for families will pay the fees and pass $1,200 of them onto their employees per year, according to a report last year from Towers Watson.
Obamacare hits some employers for being too generous, others for not being generous enough.
A Health and Human Services official has resigned after dealing with the frustration of the “profoundly dysfunctional” federal bureaucracy, which left him “offended as an American taxpayer.”
In a resignation letter obtained by ScienceInsider, David Wright, director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) — which oversees and monitors possible research misconduct — offers a scathing rebuke of the unwieldy and inefficient bureaucracy that he dealt with for the two years he served in the position.
In his letter to Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, Wright explains that the 35 percent of his job that was spent working with science-investigators in his department “has been one of the great pleasures of my long career.” The majority of his duties, however, represented his worst job ever.
“The rest of my role as ORI Director has been the very worst job I have ever had and it occupies up to 65% of my time,” he wrote. ”That part of the job is spent navigating the remarkably dysfunctional HHS bureaucracy to secure resources and, yes, get permission for ORI to serve the research community. I knew coming into this job about the bureaucratic limitations of the federal government, but I had no idea how stifling it would be.”
According to Wright, activities that in his capacity as an academic administrator that took a day or two, took weeks and months in the federal government.
He recalled an instance in which he could not get approval for a $35 cost to have cassette tapes converted into CDs. He eventually was able to get them converted in 20 minutes for free by a university. And another instance in which he “urgently needed to fill a vacancy,” but was told there was secret priority list. Sixteen months later, he wrote, the position was still unfilled.
“On another occasion I asked your deputy why you didn’t conduct an evaluation by the Op-Divs of the immediate office administrative services to try to improve them,” he wrote. ”She responded that that had been tried a few years ago and the results were so negative that no further evaluations have been conducted.”
Wright closed by saying he plans to publish his daily log to further shed light on his work.
“As for the rest, I’m offended as an American taxpayer that the federal bureaucracy — at least the part I’ve labored in — is so profoundly dysfunctional. I’m hardly the first person to have made that discovery, but I’m saddened by the fact that there is so little discussion, much less outrage, regarding the problem. To promote healthy and productive discussion, I intend to publish a version of the daily log I’ve kept as ORI Director in order to share my experience and observations with my colleagues in government and with members of the regulated research community,” he wrote.
Details of DHS’ Media Monitoring Capability program revealed
Paul Joseph Watson
March 13, 2014
A newly obtained document released under the Freedom of Information Act confirms that the Department of Homeland Security keeps tabs on the Drudge Report as part of its media monitoring program.
According to the document, the function of the DHS’ Media Monitoring Capability (MMC) desk is to track news websites and social media in order to gather critical information, “during normal operations, crises and extraordinary events.”
“It is essential to monitor the media’s storylines and integrate their focus into the Department’s situational awareness and operations analytical process,” states the document, adding that such work is necessary in shaping “public statements” made by the DHS.
The program also serves to monitor stories about Homeland Security itself, although analysts are directed not to focus on public reaction to DHS policies like long TSA wait lines.
“Your tweets and Facebook posts and other social media discussions are being monitored by the Department of Homeland Security,” writes investigative journalist Jason Leopold, who obtained the document.
According to the document, the program treats mainstream news sources such as BBC, AP, Reuters and U.S. television networks as “first tier” platforms that do not require additional corroboration.
Included on a list of “other sources,” ones that need to be verified by a first tier source before being circulated to DHS fusion centers, is Drudge Report.com, along with NationalTerrorAlert.com, DisasterNews.net, Opensourceintelligence.org, Homelandsecurityleader.com and HomelandSecurityToday.com.
The inclusion of the Drudge Report is interesting due to the site’s well known policy of carrying links to articles that are heavily critical of the federal agency, particularly the TSA, on a regular basis.
In 2012, the TSA admitted that at least 9 pages of its internal documents contained references to to the Drudge Report as well as other terms such as “Matt Drudge”, “Alex Jones”, “PrisonPlanet.com”, “John Tyner”, “national opt-out day”, “Opt-Out Alliance” and “domestic extremists.”
Former Congressman Bob Barr’s Liberty Guard organization filed a lawsuit against the TSA after the federal agency refused to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request that sought to discover whether or not the TSA temporarily amended its security policies for political reasons during the height of the national opt out day protest in late 2010, a campaign that was afforded significant attention by the Drudge Report.
In July last year, the Pentagon announced that it could no longer “hide our bad news stories” precisely because of websites like the Drudge Report.
“When bad things happen, the American people should hear it from us, not as a scoop on the Drudge Report,” said George Little, the Secretary of Defense for Public Affair.
Russia is ready to retaliate with counter sanctions against the EU and US if they go ahead with economic measures against Russia over tension in Crimea, the Russian Economic Ministry has said.
“We hope that there will only be targeted political sanctions, and not a broad package affecting economic trade,” Deputy Economic Development Minister Aleksey Likhachev said.
“Our sanctions will be, of course, similar,” he added.
One way Russia plans on shielding itself from pending sanctions is by boosting trade in other currencies, not the US dollar.
“We need to increase trade volume conducted in national currencies. Why, in relation to China, India, Turkey and other countries, should we be negotiating in dollars? Why should we do that? We should sign deals in national currencies- this applies to energy, oil, gas, and everything else,” Aleksey Ulyukaev, the Minister of Economic Development said in an interview with the Vesti 24 TV channel.
The Duma, Russia’s parliament, is drafting legislation to allow Moscow to freeze assets of Western companies and individuals in the event sanctions are imposed following the Crimea referendum vote on March 16.
The bill would give “the president and government opportunities to defend our sovereignty from threats,” according to its author, Andrey Klishas, as quoted by RIA Novosti on March 5.
The US Congress has already denounced Russia’s actions in Ukraine. On Tuesday, lawmakers passed a resolution that urges the US to “to work with our European allies and other countries to impose visa, financial, trade and other sanctions on senior Russian Federation officials, majority state-owned banks and commercial organizations, and other state agencies, as appropriate.”
Earlier this week the European Union threatened to impose further sanctions on Russia starting on March 17, after the referendum in Crimea takes place on Sunday. Speaking to the German parliament, Chancellor Angela Merkel hinted sanctions would be needed if Russia “continues its course of the past weeks” in Ukraine.
“It would not only change the European Union’s relationship with Russia. No, this would also cause massive damage to Russia, economically and politically,” Merkel said Thursday.
The decision on sanctions was made, “especially on the procedure of introducing sanctions,” Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said. “The consequence of this will be the start of sanctions on Monday,” he added.
However, China’s ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde, warns of the global economic affect sanctions against Russia could hold. Mingde said the geo-political tiff between Russia and the West could “spiral” into chaos.
President Putin and the foreign ministry have both said sanctions against Russia could backfire, and spill over into the global economy.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced any Western-led sanctions as “hasty and ill-considered”, and President Putin said squeezing economically would cause “mutual damage”.
If extreme Iran-style sanctions are imposed on Russian exports, the EU would be much more exposed than the US.
Europe imports nearly one third of its gas from resource-rich Russia, and some countries are completely dependent on Russian gas.
While the US and Russia trade very little, Russia is Europe’s biggest customer, and the $13 trillion economy would suffer if trade with Russia was halted overnight.