According To New Study, The GOP 2016 Front Runner Is Familiar Name: Jeb Bush Seems To Be An Acceptable Choice By The GOP Establishment

According To New Study, The GOP 2016 Front Runner Is Familiar Name: Jeb Bush Seems To Be An Acceptable Choice By The GOP Establishment

OK, you probably already have quite a strong opinion after seeing my title. As a Republican or conservative voter, you either love the idea of Jeb Bush running in 2016, or you HATE the idea. Personally, my feelings are somewhere in between these two extremes. Even still, hear me out.

A new study that has been released by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. The authors, Kyle Kondik and Larry J Sabato feel that Bush is actually the front runner right now for the GOP 2016 nomination. Of course, the field is pretty crowded and is changing at this point. Listen to what they say:

“In our first ranking of the very large and unsettled 2016 Republican presidential field back in April of last year, we decided to not even include the name of one of the brightest stars in the GOP universe: Jeb Bush. We just didn’t think, at the time, that the former Florida governor and brother and son of presidents was all that interested in running. But during 2013 and into this new year, we’ve gotten the sense, like many others, that things might be changing. So much so that we now consider Bush the leader of the field if he decides to run.”

One of the biggest reasons for this is the fact that Governor Chris Christie has gotten down a bit. This opens the field for a more moderate, establishment candidate to fill his opening. This was primarily due to his bridge scandal…and now many operatives and insiders are questioning whether Christie is really electable. No doubt that the establishment would consider Bush a great and acceptable choice. Guys like Karl Rove would certainly fight like hell to get him elected.

The other factor is that Tea Party candidates like Ted Cruz, as appealing as they may be to more conservative voters, simply do not have the backing from prominent Republicans to win either the primary or the general election nearly as easily as an establishment candidate. The authors further state that endorsements are HUGE in terms of determining who the nominee will be…and Tea Party candidates will have a very tough time with getting those key endorsements.

Another reason is the fact that the GOP establishment is actually a very crucial voting bloc and they are quite enthusiastic about Bush as a potential candidate. Many of the key leaders in this establishment bloc keep coming back to the ides of Bush. They just don’t seem to find anyone else to be acceptable.

Of course, you might point out the fact that Christie could possibly recover politically. True enough, and the election is still certainly a long time away. However, things right now do not really seem to be in favor of this eventuality. It does seem clear that whatever happens with Bush will rely to some degree on what happens with and to Christie.

The question now remains WILL Bush decide to run. There are a number of reasons why he shouldn’t and or won’t. Not to mention the fact that he still has not made any clear decision on this. Heck, he has not even announced any type of exploratory committee to look into the possibility.

What do YOU think about all this? Do you like the idea of another Bush running in 2016? What do you think the real prospects are for this actually happening? If Jeb ran, do you think he could easily get the nomination? Do you think he would win, especially in a race against Hillary?

US blacklists 20 Russian officials and businessmen, threatens to sanction economy

US blacklists 20 Russian officials and businessmen, threatens to sanction economy

US President Barack Obama has announced a new executive order imposing further sanctions on top Russian officials and businessmen. The order also allows for measures against Russian energy, mining, defense, and engineering sectors.

“We’re imposing sanctions on more senior officials of the Russian government. In addition, we are today sanctioning a number of other individuals with substantial resources and influence who provide material support to the Russian leadership, as well as a bank that provides material support to these individuals,” Obama said.

The new list of sanctioned officials includes 20 names, according to the list published by the US Department of Treasury.

Aleksey Gromov, First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration; Sergey Ivanov, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office; and Sergey Naryshkin, Speaker of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament, are among those mentioned.

Prominent businessmen Arkady and Boris Rotenberg are also on the list – as well as the Russian Railways president, Vladimir Yakunin and businessman Gennady Timchenko, head of the Volga Group.

Yakunin reflected on the decision, saying he is surprised that “a country which calls itself democratic could punish for an honest position and sincere comments.”

Bank Rossiya identified by the Treasury Department as the sanctioned entity will be “frozen out of the dollar,” Reuters reports quoting US officials. Bank Rossiya, headquartered in St. Petersburg, has some $10 billion in assets. Several senior government officials are known to use the bank, and Kovalchuk, who is its head, has also been sanctioned individually.

While the US president didn’t specify the ‘key sectors of Russian economy’ authorized by the order, a senior administration official mentioned those which could be hit shortly afterwards. ‘Broader’ sanctions could restrict Russian financial services, energy, mining, defense and engineering sectors.

From Left to Right: Aleksey Gromov, Sergey Ivanov, Sergey Naryshkin, Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, Vladimir Yakunin, Gennady Timchenko (RIA Novosti)
From Left to Right: Aleksey Gromov, Sergey Ivanov, Sergey Naryshkin, Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, Vladimir Yakunin, Gennady Timchenko (RIA Novosti)

The measure was slammed by the Kremlin.

“We are puzzled to see any names on the list but even if there were none, lists like that are totally unacceptable to us,” presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “In any case, it won’t take Russia long to react.”

Peskov added that Ivanov took the US decision with humor, since he used to be banned from entering various Western countries throughout his political career. “There’s nothing new for him (Ivanov) in that,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told his US counterpart Kerry that the decision to reunify Crimea and Russia must be respected and “is not subject to review,” according to Interfax. The US considers the reintegration of Crimea into the Russian Federation an illegal annexation on Russia’s behalf.

Washington’s new penalties mark the second round of economic sanctions the US has levied on Russia this week. Obama noted that the measures were being taken in the full knowledge that the move could be “disruptive to the global economy”.

The US president made the announcement just under two hours after the Russian Duma ratified the Treaty for the Accession of Crimea and city of Sevastopol to the Russian Federation.

Last Sunday, Crimea voted to join Russia, with some 95.7 percent of voters saying ‘yes’ to the reunion of the republic with Russia as a constituent unit of the Russian Federation. The overall voter turnout in the referendum on the status of Crimea was over 80 percent, according to the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev.

On Monday, the US introduced similar visa bans and asset freezes on 11 Russians and Ukrainians. The same day, some 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials fell under the impact of travel bans and asset freezes from the EU.

This is how much Microsoft charges the FBI for your info

This is how much Microsoft charges the FBI for your info

Secret invoices from Microsoft to the FBI obtained via hacks by the Syrian Electronic Army reveal the Silicon Valley giant charges a secret division of the bureau for legal access to users’ information.

The army has become notorious for infiltrating the networks and social media accounts of western companies and media outlets in recent years, and submitted the documents to The Daily Dot for analysis. Its most recent Microsoft hack took place in January, when the organization seized Microsoft’s Twitter and email accounts, reportedly to distract employees while achieving its “main mission.”

Emails and invoices between the FBI’s Digital Intercept Technology Unit and Microsoft’s Global Criminal Compliance team show a charge between $50 and $200 for access to customer information, with totals stretching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars – the most recent from November 2013 topping out at $281,000.

A specialist cited by the Dot confirmed the authenticity of the documents, but neither Microsoft nor the FBI would confirm or deny their contents.

“Regarding law enforcement requests, there’s nothing unusual here,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a Verge report. “Under U.S. law, companies can seek reimbursement for costs associated with complying with valid legal orders for customer data. We attempt to recover some of the costs associated with any such orders.”

Microsoft apparently processes hundreds of these requests monthly in a process that appears to be just another order of business – a stark contrast from its vehement public outcries against bulk National Security Agency surveillance programs that collect similar user data.

During a Wednesday hearing, NSA’s chief legal counsel revealed tech giants like Microsoft were fully aware of and complied with the agency’s sweeping Internet surveillance PRISM program – a claim Microsoft, along with numerous other companies have denied since the leaks began last summer.

Microsoft clearly has no qualms with using its vast accumulation of personal customer data to turn an extra profit — the company advertised a new campaign at CPAC two weeks ago offering to use customer data to sell highly targeted political ads on Xbox Live.

The Syrian Electronic Army’s latest leaks seem to imply the only separation between Microsoft’s public stance and private acquiesence appears to be a paycheck.

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Obamacare architect: Law will cause ‘the end of employer-sponsored insurance’

Obamacare architect: Law will cause ‘the end of employer-sponsored insurance’

Obamacare architect Zeke Emanuel claims in his new book that the health care reform law will result in “the end of employer-sponsored insurance.”

Despite President Barack Obama’s claim that “if you like your plan, you can keep it” — a talking point developed in his first 100 days in office by a tiny but influential left-wing messaging group called the Herndon Alliance — his administration has long planned to disassemble the current U.S. insurance industry as well as alter health care reform.

The Daily Caller reported last June that the Obama administration was making moves to squash self-funded insurance plans, which small businesses use and which could represent the “Achilles heel” for Obamacare implementation, prompting Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell to introduce the Self-insurance Protection Act (SIPA). Obama also admitted in front of Republican congressmen in 2010 that 8 to 9 million Americans would lose their health insurance under his new health reform law.

Since Obamacare implementation began, Emanuel, brother of former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, has been vocal about things that his law seeks to destroy, diminish or replace.

Emanuel also wrote in his book “Reinventing American Health Care” that “insurance companies as we know them are about to die” and be replaced by Obamacare-created health systems called Accountable Care Organizations (ACO).

“For the next few years insurance companies will both continue to provide services to employers and, increasingly, compete against each other in the health insurance exchanges. In that role they will put together networks of physicians and hospitals and other services and set a premium. But because of health care reform, new actors will force insurance companies to evolve or become extinct,” Ezekiel wrote in the book.

“The accountable care organizations (ACOs) (which I discuss in Chapter 8 of my new book) and hospital systems will begin competing directly in the exchanges and for exclusive contracts with employers.”

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Pelosi: We ‘couldn’t be prouder’ of O-Care

Pelosi: We 'couldn't be prouder' of O-Care

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi defended the president’s healthcare law as “a winner” despite worries of increasing premiums and the drag it could have on Democrats this fall.

Four years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, Pelosi defended the hiccups of its implementation in a rare recess-week press conference. The California Democrat pushed back on the idea that ObamaCare would hinder Democrats’ hopes in this year’s midterms, saying, “I believe that it’s a winner.”

“The facts are these: Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the growth in healthcare costs has slowed dramatically,” she said. “That includes the cost paid by government, by businesses and individuals.”

Republicans have attacked the ACA as an example of government overreach that will limit patient access and increase costs.

But Pelosi warned that the Republicans’ emphasis on the law as a campaign plank will backfire.

“We don’t weigh its value as to what it means politically. We weigh its value as to what it means to the health, well-being, economic and health security of America’s families,” she said. “We just couldn’t be prouder.”

In the wake of a report earlier this week by The Hill that insurance costs would skyrocket before the November elections, both Pelosi and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) acknowledged that premiums might rise — as they’ve done each year for decades. But the Democrats argued the costs will increase at a slower rate under the ObamaCare, providing real consumer savings that would not have materialized without the law in place.

“You have to compare what premiums are in the Affordable Care Act to what they otherwise would be,” Van Hollen said the Capitol Hill press briefing. “Inflation is real, right? I mean, when people say, ‘Well, the price is a little bit different, [it’s] going to go up a little bit tomorrow.’ Well, of course, prices rise. And healthcare prices … have historically risen much faster than inflation, and that’s why premiums used to go through the roof.

“So compare premiums to what they would have been in the absence of the Affordable Care Act,” he added. “That’s the real question here.”

The health insurance industry did not support the ACA, and now some industry officials are warning that the law could force them to hike 2015 premiums as much as double in certain parts of the country. Next year’s rates are not known yet, but are scheduled for release later in the year.

“Everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out … is going to lead to higher costs,” one senior insurance executive told The Hill this week.

Pelosi rejected those claims Thursday, hammering the critics for their anonymity — “Name names,” she said repeatedly — and producing her own list of comments from on-the-record insurance industry officials downplaying the ACA’s effects on next year’s premiums.

“You can find anybody to say anything, but the fact is, the pattern is one of much lower cost than they would have been,” she said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has delivered a similar message in recent weeks, telling the House Ways and Means Committee that “premiums are likely to go up, but at a smaller pace than what we’ve seen since 2010,” when the ACA became law.

Republicans have seized on such comments, selectively focusing on the likely cost increase rather than the slow-down in premium growth.

“HHS Secretary confirms: health plan premiums ‘likely to go up’ in 2015,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) tweeted last week in response to Sebelius’s testimony.

The back-and-forth is just the latest evidence that the ACA is likely to play a central role in this year’s midterm elections. Indeed, Thursday’s Democratic press conference — rare for a week when Congress is on recess — was designed to highlight both the four-year anniversary of the ACA and the benefits that have set in under the law.

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America’s First Family third taxpayer funded vacation – this year

America's First Family third taxpayer funded vacation - this year

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2014 – Michelle Obama and her daughters and mother are on the first day of their excellent China vacation. It is costing the taxpayers millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, the Obama’s are planning for the Obama family vacation this summer in Martha’s Vineyard. The Obama family has gone there every year they have been in the White House, except for 2012.

That year, Barack Obama had to campaign so he could keep taking taxpayer-financed vacations.

It is only March and Michelle Obama is on her third vacation of 2014. She went to Hawaii with the family over Christmas, then stayed by herself, at government expense, for another ten days to prepare for her fiftieth birthday.

When she was ready to come home, Barack Obama sent an Air Force plane to pick her up. The conservative estimate of the cost of that flight was a million dollars and that was just for the plane.

In February, she went to Aspen Colorado, again at the taxpayers’ expense.

Now she is going to China.

Last year, the Obamas went to Africa, in a vacation jaunt that only cost the American people $100 million. That is actually an incomplete estimate, as the cost of security arrangements is never disclosed.

On that trip, the Obama daughters were listed as “senior staff.” One wonders what is Michelle Obama’s mother listed as on the China trip? Very senior staff?

Obama vacations used to inspire outrage in the conservative media. Even conservatives are getting tired of complaining about the Obama vacations, but they should stay on target as the Obama vacations are a symptom of a greater problem in Washington.

Today, Barack Obama is leaving Washington for an event in Orlando, Florida. Then he will go to Miami for a DNC fundraiser. What is the cost for Obama to take Air Force One and his entire entourage to Miami? They have to pay the price of a first class airline ticket.

Obama is not the first to misuse Air Force One. George Bush used it to go to fundraisers and campaign. Bill Clinton did it before him and so did George H.W. Bush. Just because the precedent has been set, doesn’t make it right.

If the Obamas want to take these vacations, let them pay for them, themselves. If Michelle Obama wants to take her kids to see China, let wealthy Democrats pay for it. If Barack Obama wants to raise funds for the DNC, let the DNC pick up the cost for Air Force One and the Obama entourage.

Republicans in Congress should step in, especially if the GOP takes control of the Senate next year. Unfortunately the Republicans do not want to clip Obama’s wings because they will have to live by the same rules. And they believe in 2017 there will be a Republican in the White House and they want that President to have all of the perks of office.

They want that President to be able to fly around on Air Force One and raise funds for Republicans the way Obama is doing for the Democrats.

The real problem is not the abuse of the Presidential perks it is Washington. The closer to the center of the beltway you get, the more it intoxicates and beguiles. And once in office, it brings out the worst in the people we send their to work on our behalf.

Perhaps we should all remember the words of Frank Underwood from Netflix’s House of Cards. “The road to power is paved with hypocrisy.”


Principal Fired Over ‘Speak English’

Principal Fired Over 'Speak English'

( – The Hempstead school board won’t renew the contract of a principal who instructed her students not to speak Spanish, in a rapidly-evolving district where more than half of the students, like many Texas schools, are now Hispanic.

Hempstead Middle School Principal Amy Lacey was placed on paid administrative leave in December after reportedly announcing, via intercom, that students were not to speak Spanish on the school’s campus. The Hispanic population of the rural area, roughly 50 miles northwest of Houston, is growing quickly, and Latino advocates say that it’s important to allow Spanish in public schools.

“When you start banning aspects of ethnicity or cultural identity,” says Augustin Pinedo, director of the League of United Latin American Citizens Region 18, “it sends the message that the child is not wanted: ‘We don’t want your color. We don’t want your kind.’ They then tend to drop out early.”

Such fast growth is pervasive in Texas, says Steve Murdock, a professor at Rice University and director of the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas. Half of all Texas public-school students are now Hispanic, he notes. “When you look at issues related to education in Texas, to a great extent, you’re looking at the education of Hispanic children.”

Similar growth patterns, he says, hold true for the rest of the United States: “It’s not just Texas.”

Civil rights advocates say Lacey’s suspension may have set off a campaign to intimidate Hispanics, including the district’s superintendent, Delma Flores-Smith. They are calling for the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate possible civil rights violations. An FBI spokesman would not confirm an investigation.

Flores-Smith reports that she’s seen strangers watching her house and taking photos. She says vandals have trashed her yard, and someone has rifled through her garbage. She is worried about her safety.

Last month, school employees found that vandals had damaged the brakes of three Hempstead Independent School District buses and had left behind the bedraggled remains of a dead cat.

Hate crimes?

A bus with visibly severed brake lines didn’t leave the bus barn that morning. But two other buses, whose air-brake lines had been subtly nicked, carried children to school before the damage was discovered. Police investigated but didn’t identify any suspects.

“A lot of this sounds like Mississippi in the 1950s and ’60s,” Pinedo said during Monday night’s school board meeting, where the decision was made not to renew Lacey’s contract.

Pinedo acknowledged that there’s no hard evidence that the incidents are related or that they’re hate crimes.

“But when the lives of children are put in danger, that’s the bottom line,” he said. “We don’t know what the reasons are. Rather than guess, we’re asking the FBI to step in.”

He said LULAC and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund have asked the Department of Justice to investigate possible civil rights violations.

“The whole world is watching,” said Tony Diaz, head of the Houston-based radio show Nuestra Palabra and founder of the advocacy group Librotraficantes. “Banning Spanish is a national issue.”

“We got a lot of calls about activity in Hempstead,” said Cynthia Coles, who represented the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice. “We came to support this board, this superintendent.”

They also note that there’s no evidence that speaking Spanish hampers learning English, and note that in most of the rest of the world, it’s common to speak two or more languages.

At the school district’s board meeting in January, Pinedo read a list of American Founding Fathers who spoke multiple languages. They included Benjamin Franklin (French) and Thomas Jefferson (French, Italian, Spanish and Latin).

Business chief ousted

In other action at the meeting Monday, the board voted not to renew the contract of longtime business managerSharon Loukanis. In October the board had placed her on leave while investigating financial irregularities including work allegedly steered to the plumbing company owned by Loukanis’ husband.

Both Lacey’s and Loukanis’ contracts will expire at the end of the school year.

Before the board’s vote, former school board member Kay Kloecker argued that Lacey and Loukanis should be reinstated. Lacey and Loukanis, she said, “continue to get paychecks, but we’re paying consultants to do their jobs. The public deserves an explanation for why we haven’t had them come back to work when it’s been shown that none of the allegations is true.”

Lacey said the terms of her leave don’t allow her to comment.

Outside the board meeting, Kloecker said that the problem was Flores-Smith, not issues of culture or race.

“We’ve been a predominantly Hispanic district for several years now,” she said. “But we never had a problem until she came.” Flores-Smith started the job in August.

After the vote, Flores-Smith expressed satisfaction. “I’m hoping everything will die down now,” she said. “We need to get back to peaceful living. And education.”
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