Tag Archives: Barack

Obama’s ‘Strategy’ Has No Chance of Success

12 Sep

Just going through the motions…

• By FREDERICK W. KAGAN and KIMBERLY KAGAN

crisis mode

President Obama just announced that he is bringing a counter-terrorism strategy to an insurgency fight. He was at pains to repeat the phrase “counter-terror” four times in a short speech. Noting that ISIL is not a state (partly because the international community thankfully does not recognize it), he declared, “ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”  Neither of those sentences, unfortunately, is true.

ISIL is an insurgent group that controls enormous territory in Iraq and Syria that it governs. It maneuvers conventional light infantry forces supported by vehicles mounting machine guns and occasionally armored personnel carriers against the regular forces of the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga—and wins.

It is purely and simply not a terrorist organization any longer. Neither is it the simple manifestation of nihilistic evil the president makes out.

ISIL has described a very clear vision of seizing control of all of the territory of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories.  It intends to abolish all of the borders and redraw them according to a new structure of governance suitable to its hateful version of an old Islamic heresy.  That vision also makes it more than a simple terrorist organization.  It’s awfully hard to develop a sound strategy when you start by mis-diagnosing the problem so profoundly. That’s why the “strategy” the president just announced has no chance of success

Fed appeals court panel says most Obamacare subsidies illegal

22 Jul

OBAMACARE

Dan Mangan
CNBC.com

In a potentially crippling blow to Obamacare, a federal appeals court panel declared Tuesday that government subsidies worth billions of dollars that helped 4.7 million people buy insurance on HealthCare.gov are illegal.

A judicial panel in a 2-1 ruling said such subsidies can be granted only to those people who bought insurance in an Obamacare exchange run by an individual state or the District of Columbia — not on the federally run exchange HealthCare.gov.

“Section 36B plainly makes subsidies available in the Exchanges established by states,” wrote Senior Circuit Judge Raymond Randolph in his majority opinion, where he was joined by Judge Thomas Griffith. “We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At least until states that wish to can set up their own Exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly.”

In his dissent, Judge Harry Edwards, who called the case a “not-so-veiled attempt to gut” Obamacare, wrote that the judgment of the majority “portends disastrous consequences.”

Indeed, the decision threatens to unleash a cascade of effects that could seriously compromise Obamacare’s goals of compelling people to get health insurance, and helping them afford it.

The Obama administration is certain to ask the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reverse the panel’s decision, which for now does not have the rule of law.

The ruling endorsed a controversial interpretation of the Affordable Care Act that argues that the HealthCare.gov subsidies are illegal because ACA does not explicitly empower a federal exchange to offer subsidized coverage, as it does in the case of state-created exchanges. Subsidies for more than 2 million people who bought coverage on state exchanges would not be affected by Tuesday’s ruling if it is upheld.

HealthCare.gov serves residents of the 36 states that did not create their own health insurance marketplace. About 4.7 million people, or 86 percent of all HealthCare.gov enrollees, qualified for a subsidy to offset the cost of their coverage this year because they had low or moderate incomes.

If upheld, the ruling could lead many, if not most of those subsidized customers to abandon their health plans sold on HealthCare.gov because they no longer would find them affordable without the often-lucrative tax credits. And if that coverage then is not affordable for them as defined by the Obamacare law, those people will no longer be bound by the law’s mandate to have health insurance by this year or pay a fine next year.

If there were to be a large exodus of subsidized customers from the HealthCare.gov plans, it would in turn likely lead to much higher premium rates for nonsubsidized people who would remain in those plans.

The ruling also threatens, in the same 36 states, to gut the Obamacare rule starting next year that all employers with 50 or more full-time workers offer affordable insurance to them or face fines. That’s because the rule only kicks in if one of such an employers’ workers buy subsidized covered on HealthCare.gov.

The decision by the three-judge panel is the most serious challenge to the underpinnings of the Affordable Care Act since a challenge to that law’s constitutionality was heard by the Supreme Court. The high court in 2012 upheld most of the ACA, including the mandate that most people must get insurance or pay a fine.

If the Obama administration fails to prevail in its expected challenge to Tuesday’s bombshell ruling, it can ask the Supreme Court to reverse it.

A high court review is guaranteed if another federal appeals court circuit rules against plaintiffs in a similar case challenging the subsidies. And the only other circuit currently considering such a case, the Fourth Circuit, is expected by both sides to rule against plaintiffs there in a decision that is believed to be imminent.

Tuesday’s ruling focused on the plaintiffs’ claim that the ACA, in several of its sections, says that subsidies from the federal government in the form of tax credits can be issued through an exchange established by a state.

The law also says that if a state chooses not to set up its own exchange, the federal government can establish its own marketplace to sell insurance in such states.

However, the ACA does not explicitly say, as it does in the case of state-run exchanges, that subsidies can be given to people who buy insurance on a federal exchange.

The plaintiffs’ claim has been met with derision by Obamacare supporters, who argue that it relies on a narrow reading, or even misreading of the law. Those supporters said the claim ignores its overarching intent: to provide affordable insurance to millions of people who were previously uninsured.

Supporters argue that the legality of the subsidies to HealthCare.gov enrollee derives from the fact that the law explicitly anticipated the potential need to create an exchange in the event that a state chose not to.

When the ACA was passed, most supporters believed that the vast majority of states would create their own exchange. But the opposition to Obamacare of many Republican governors and state legislators lead to most states refusing to build their own marketplaces, setting the stage for the challenges to the subsidies issued for HealthCare.gov plans.

Two separate federal district court judges—in D.C. and Virginia—have rejected plaintiffs’ challenge to the subsidies. Those denials lead to the appeals in the D.C. federal circuit and in the Fourth Circuit.

Out of the more than 8 million Obamacare enrollees this year, fewer than 2.6 million people signed up in plans sold via an exchange run by a state or the District of Columbia. Of those people, 82 percent, or about 2.1 million, qualified for subsidies.

The subsidies are available to people whose incomes are between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that’s between about $24,000 and $95,400 annually.

In a report issued Thursday, the consultancy Avalere Health said that if those subsidies were removed this year from the 4.7 million people who received them in HealthCare.gov states, their premiums would have been an average of 76 percent higher in price than what they are paying now.

Another report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute estimated that by 2016, about 7.3 million enrollees who would have qualified for financial assistance will be lose access to about $36.1 billion in subsidies if those court challenges succeed.

DEMOCRAT RIPS OBAMA FOR NOT VISITING THE BORDER

9 Jul

pool

Instead, He chose to drink a beer and shoot some pool…

Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar ripped President Obama for being “aloof” and “detached” by not visiting the Texas border to see first hand the immigration crisis. Cuellar made the comments on MSNBC:

“He’s so close to the border. And let me say this: when I saw, and I hate to use the word bizarre, but under the circumstances, when he is shown playing pool in Colorado, drinking a beer, and he can’t even go 242 miles to the Texas border, and plus, if he doesn’t want to go down to the border, there’s the Air Force Base where HHS is holding some of the young kids from the border. He could at least make that trip to San Antonio, but again, border community leaders wants to see him down there on the border, and I think the optics and the substance of it is that he should show up at the border,” said Cuellar.

And he had some advice for the White House.”If they are worried about putting a face, the president’s face, to this human crisis, humanitarian crisis, I think it’s worse if he doesn’t even show up. Either way, he’s going to be tied into this humanitarian crisis. he either can roll up his sleeves and go down to the border, or he can just look aloof and detached and not go to the border, send surrogates down there, and say that he’s got everything under control.”

He adds, “It Just floored me, because if he’s saying he’s too busy to go to the border but you have time to drink beer, play pool.”
The president was in Colorado last night — drinking beer and playing pool.

(THE WEEKLY STANDARD)

OBAMA DETERMINED TO CHANGE AMERICA – VOWS TO ACT ON HIS OWN

28 Jun

obama-file-ap-copy_s160x108

Seemingly unfazed by the threat of a lawsuit, President Obama on Saturday vowed to press on and use executive actions wherever and whenever possible.

In his weekly address, the president didn’t directly address House Speaker John A. Boehner’s announcement earlier this week that he’ll sue Mr. Obama for supposed abuses of executive authority.

But the president did take aim at the so-called GOP “obstruction” that, in his view, necessitated the go-it-alone strategy now utilized by this White House — an approach that bypasses both the House and Senate.

“Republicans in Congress keep blocking or voting down almost every serious idea. This year alone they’ve said no to raising the minimum wage, no to fair pay, no to student loan reform, no to extending unemployment insurance,” Mr. Obama said. “This obstruction keeps the system rigged for those at the top and rigged against the middle class. And as long as they insist on doing it, I’ll keep taking actions on my own — like the actions I’ve already taken to attract new jobs, lift workers’ wages and help students pay off their loans. I’ll do my job.”

Mr. Obama’s remarks come as he attempts to reconnect with average Americans. On Thursday and Friday, the president spent time with a working mother in St. Paul, who had written a letter describing her family’s financial struggles.

While in the twin cities, Mr. Obama also visited local businesses, held a town-hall meeting and spoke at a Democratic party fundraiser.

At the fundraiser, he repeated his plea for a Democratic Congress, urging voters to give him the majority he needs to enact more of his agenda.

While Democrats say that agenda will greatly aid the middle class, Republicans allege the president and his allies on Capitol Hill actively are holding back projects that would create jobs and pump billions of dollars into the economy.

In the GOP weekly address, Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy — seeking the Senate seat now held by Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu — blasted Democrats for holding up the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would create more than 40,000 jobs, according to the Obama administration’s own research.

“President Obama continues to oppose job-creating projects, such as Keystone,” Mr. Cassidy said. “Sadly, Democrats in Washington stand with President Obama rather than standing with hardworking families in Louisiana and elsewhere. They would rather your family struggle than offend their political base. President Obama and his allies like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are more interested in rolling out the red tape than the red carpet for these jobs.”

The president has delayed a decision on Keystone for the entirety of his time in office. A bill that would take the decision out of Mr. Obama’s hands passed a key Senate committee last week with bipartisan support, but Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, thus far has refused to allow it to come up for a full vote on the Senate floor.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/28/obama-ignores-boehners-lawsuit-threat-ill-keep-tak/#ixzz35znOazHs
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Mark Caserta: Taliban trade may mar Obama legacy

12 Jun

Bergdahl

Jun. 12, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

The Obama administration just released arguably the five most dangerous Taliban leaders detained at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. And it appears the president knowingly and willingly broke the law in doing so.

Under the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by Obama last year, the administration was required to notify Congress 30 days in advance of any such action. And even if the president can somehow find “legal” justification for what he did, he did not abide by the law.

Even Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said that it was “very disappointing” that President Obama decided not to alert Congress about the deal, suggesting a low “level of trust” at the White House.

Taliban leaders are reportedly hailing the release of the five prisoners as a major victory over Obama and the U.S.

A senior member of the Afghan Taliban described the exchange for Bergdahl as an “historic moment for us.” He went on to tell NBC News this was the first time its “enemy” had “officially recognized our status.”

President Obama was defiant in his remarks that he will “make no apologies” for a trade in which he openly admitted the possibility that these leaders may “return to activities that are detrimental to us,” despite families who still mourn the loss of six brave American troops who died while searching for Bergdahl after he went missing five years ago.

So who were these five Taliban leaders Obama released?

One was Abdul Haq Wasiq, a Taliban deputy minister of intelligence who reportedly used his office to support al-Qaida and to “assist Taliban personnel in eluding capture.” Wasiq has been accused by Human Rights Watch of mass killings and torture.

Mullah Norullah Noori, a senior Taliban military commander, is described as a military mastermind who engaged in hostilities “against U.S. and Coalition forces.” Noori has been implicated in the murder of thousands of Shiites in northern Afghanistan and reportedly “does not express any regret” for his actions.

Mullah Mohammad Fazi, a former Taliban deputy defense minister, was held at Guantanamo after being identified as an enemy combatant by the United States. He’s also wanted by the United Nations on war crimes for the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan.

Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, the former governor of the Herat province, once had close ties with Osama Bin Laden. He “represented the Taliban during meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support hostilities against the U.S. and coalition forces.”

Mohammad Nabi Omari, a senior Taliban leader, once held multiple leadership roles in various terror-related groups. Nabi reportedly helped al-Qaida operatives smuggle missiles in Pakistan for use against the U.S. and coalition forces.

So what would prompt Obama to bypass Congress to trade these Taliban militants for a questionable soldier and risk retribution against the U.S.?

The president’s argument that “we don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind” is pretty hollow given his failure to act in Benghazi.

This is one decision which may return to haunt the Obama legacy.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Americans need answers, not more cover-ups

22 May

soldier

May. 22, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

The Obama administration faces yet another scandal.

As if the ongoing investigations into Benghazi, the IRS, and the Justice Department weren’t enough, the president and his administration now face a scandal involving the possible mistreatment of our brave military veterans.

Evidence is mounting showing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been keeping “two” sets of books in some of its hospitals to make it look like they were reducing wait times experienced by military veterans before seeing a doctor.

The VA, which has long been the target of complaints of delays and dysfunctional bureaucracy, made the commitment in 2010 to introduce a new appointment system for veterans designed to reduce wait time for an appointment with a primary care physician or specialist in one of its hospitals or outpatient clinics.

It’s surmised the pressure felt by the VA to meet the increasing demands of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan compelled them to “cook the books” to make it look as if they were indeed making the headway expected from a department that’s received substantial increases in taxpayer funding.

Even more damning are the allegations from a “whistleblower” doctor in Arizona who claims dozens of patients at one hospital died while languishing on a “hidden” waiting list without ever being given as much as an appointment.

In an interview with CNN, Sam Foote, a retired VA doctor of 24 years in the Phoenix area, revealed that as many as 40 patients had died after being placed on a secret waiting list and that officials at the hospital actually shredded documents and faked evidence to cover up their actions.

Since then, numerous whistleblowers have alleged similar practices in at least seven other VA hospitals around the country claiming that officials at the hospitals were sometimes even paid bonuses for reducing “declared” wait times.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took the Obama administration to task last week for being slow to react to what he called “a systemic, cultural problem” inside the VA.

“It’s been more than a month since allegations that some 40 veterans died while waiting care at the Phoenix VA were first made public.” McCain said in the weekly GOP address. “To date, the Obama administration has failed to respond in an effective manner.”

Exacerbating the problem for Americans is that once again we’ll see no independent investigation into the matter. The VA secretary, Eric Shinseki, will oversee an “internal” investigation.

Now with all due respect to the retired Army general who was himself wounded twice in Vietnam, Shinseki should recuse himself from oversight of the investigation and allow an independent counsel to conduct the inquiry.

But this follows a familiar pattern within this administration that totally contradicts Barack Obama’s promise of transparency and a new era of “openness in government.” Team Obama has excelled in sweeping their liberal dirt neatly under the White House rug.

Failing our brave military veterans in this manner is inexcusable, and it’s time to hold this administration accountable.

Americans deserve answers, not more cover-ups.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Liberals value progressivism over the truth

15 May

progressive movmt

May. 15, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

Why do you suppose liberals refuse to ever hold Barack Obama accountable for the lies and poor decisions he’s perpetrated on the American people?

It’s interesting how they refuse to call the president out on any mistake no matter who gets hurt or how great the loss. Instead they resort to diversions and tactics designed to devalue his involvement, unless of course it was one of those “rare” photo op, publicist’s moments. One might think Obama did everything short of firing the shot that killed Osama bin Laden — but he wasn’t even in the situation room during the attack on our consulate in Benghazi.

And if anyone disagrees with the president, well, it must be racism. In fact, it’s been suggested more than once on this very opinion page that the reason West Virginians don’t support Obama has nothing to do with dwindling jobs or the president’s war on coal. It’s because he’s black.

It’s time liberals learn incompetence comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. Playing the race card is simply indicative of an inability to defend the facts related to Obama’s failures.

One such failure emanates from the president’s unschooled foreign policy. His perceived lack of strength and strategic savvy prohibits him from competing on the world stage while his policies of appeasement and accommodation are prompting rogue leaders across the world to successfully rattle their sabers against the U.S.

But liberals share no conviction over Obama’s failures and aren’t interested in truth.

Liberals aren’t even interested in finding the truth about the terrorist attack in Benghazi and in fact have referred to any such pursuit as “drivel” and “old news” and prompted by politics.

Let me be clear. No true American patriot would ever refer to the unexplained death of four brave Americans serving their country as “drivel.” I doubt the families of Ambassador Stevens, computer specialist Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty would agree with such an insensible remark.

And I submit that liberals, not conservatives, are playing politics. Conservatives seek the truth for the healing of a nation. Liberals only seek closure of the investigation before a smoking gun is located.

And liberals don’t mind the president telling an occasional lie if it serves the “higher” progressive purpose.

It doesn’t bother liberals that the president knowingly misled the nation about the true nature of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, blaming it on an obscure anti-Muslim video.

It’s insignificant that Obama repeatedly lied to Americans about being able to keep their healthcare plan if they liked it and that millions are losing their existing plans.

It doesn’t matter that he lied about lowering annual insurance premiums for families by $2,500 with his signature healthcare initiative.

Liberals never attempt to defend any of these falsehoods. They simply believe the end justifies the means.

In fact, when it comes to Barack Obama, liberals value his contribution to the progressive movement far beyond truth, and they will go to any length to protect him.

The rest simply doesn’t matter.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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