Democrats Are Getting Destroyed In Key Senate States
Business Insider By Brett LoGiurato
3 hours ago
.Barack Obama looking
Republicans have a large, 8-point advantage among voters in states with Senate races, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday.
Democrats hold a slight edge in the overall generic congressional ballot. But in the key battle for the Senate, Republicans lead the generic ballot by a 50-42 margin in states with a 2014 Senate race.
Republicans need to pick up six seats in November to retake control of the Senate, something that could instantly make President Barack Obama a lame duck president of sorts in his last two years.
Overall, 36 Senate seats are up in 2014: Twenty-one seats are currently held by a Democratic incumbent and 15 seats are held by a Republican.
The new poll doesn't provide any insight into specific Senate races, but polls have shown that the chamber is ripe for a Republican takeover. Republicans are already very likely to win open Senate seats in South Dakota and West Virginia, deep red states where long-time Democratic incumbents are retiring.
Meanwhile, there are clear opportunities for pickups in Alaska, Louisiana, Arkansas, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. The only competitive states Republicans need to defend are the seats of Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and a Georgia seat to be vacated by the retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
The new Washington Post/ABC poll showed that Democrats' perceived advantage on key issues is not carrying over to a structural advantage on the ballot. Voters trust Democrats more than Republicans on handling health care (44-36), immigration (44-36), energy policy (43-35), and helping the middle class 47-34).
But Obamacare remains deeply unpopular with the public. Only 38% approve of how Obama is implementing the federal health-care law, while 57% disapprove.
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy
By Editorial Board, Published: March 2
FOR FIVE YEARS, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which “the tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past. Secretary of State John F. Kerry displayed this mindset on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday when he said, of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, “It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century.”
That’s a nice thought, and we all know what he means. A country’s standing is no longer measured in throw-weight or battalions. The world is too interconnected to break into blocs. A small country that plugs into cyberspace can deliver more prosperity to its people (think Singapore or Estonia) than a giant with natural resources and standing armies.
Unfortunately, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not received the memo on 21st-century behavior. Neither has China’s president, Xi Jinping, who is engaging in gunboat diplomacy against Japan and the weaker nations of Southeast Asia. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is waging a very 20th-century war against his own people, sending helicopters to drop exploding barrels full of screws, nails and other shrapnel onto apartment buildings where families cower in basements. These men will not be deterred by the disapproval of their peers, the weight of world opinion or even disinvestment by Silicon Valley companies. They are concerned primarily with maintaining their holds on power.
Mr. Obama is not responsible for their misbehavior. But he does, or could, play a leading role in structuring the costs and benefits they must consider before acting. The model for Mr. Putin’s occupation of Crimea was his incursion into Georgia in 2008, when George W. Bush was president. Mr. Putin paid no price for that action; in fact, with parts of Georgia still under Russia’s control, he was permitted to host a Winter Olympics just around the corner. China has bullied the Philippines and unilaterally staked claims to wide swaths of international air space and sea lanes as it continues a rapid and technologically impressive military buildup. Arguably, it has paid a price in the nervousness of its neighbors, who are desperate for the United States to play a balancing role in the region. But none of those neighbors feel confident that the United States can be counted on. Since the Syrian dictator crossed Mr. Obama’s red line with a chemical weapons attack that killed 1,400 civilians, the dictator’s military and diplomatic position has steadily strengthened.
The urge to pull back — to concentrate on what Mr. Obama calls “nation-building at home” — is nothing new, as former ambassador Stephen Sestanovich recounts in his illuminating history of U.S. foreign policy, “Maximalist.” There were similar retrenchments after the Korea and Vietnam wars and when the Soviet Union crumbled. But the United States discovered each time that the world became a more dangerous place without its leadership and that disorder in the world could threaten U.S. prosperity. Each period of retrenchment was followed by more active (though not always wiser) policy. Today Mr. Obama has plenty of company in his impulse, within both parties and as reflected by public opinion. But he’s also in part responsible for the national mood: If a president doesn’t make the case for global engagement, no one else effectively can.
The White House often responds by accusing critics of being warmongers who want American “boots on the ground” all over the world and have yet to learn the lessons of Iraq. So let’s stipulate: We don’t want U.S. troops in Syria, and we don’t want U.S. troops in Crimea. A great power can become overextended, and if its economy falters, so will its ability to lead. None of this is simple.
But it’s also true that, as long as some leaders play by what Mr. Kerry dismisses as 19th-century rules, the United States can’t pretend that the only game is in another arena altogether. Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not. While the United States has been retrenching, the tide of democracy in the world, which once seemed inexorable, has been receding. In the long run, that’s harmful to U.S. national security, too.
As Mr. Putin ponders whether to advance further — into eastern Ukraine, say — he will measure the seriousness of U.S. and allied actions, not their statements. China, pondering its next steps in the East China Sea, will do the same. Sadly, that’s the nature of the century we’re living in.
Let me apologize to you, sir Don, and others about Jamba's behavior ..His mother and I tried our beast, sent him to right schools and paid for his skills..A slight oversight in his up bringing..
Obamacare’s scorekeepers deliver a game-changer
By Dana Milbank, Published: February 4
For years, the White House has trotted out the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to show that Obamacare would cut health-care costs and reduce deficits:
“CBO Confirms Families Will Save Money Under Health Reform.”
Dana Milbank writes a regular column on politics.
“CBO Update Shows Lower Costs for the New Health Care Law.”
“CBO Confirms: The Health Care Law Reduces the Deficit.”
Live by the sword, die by the sword, the Bible tells us. In Washington, it’s slightly different: Live by the CBO, die by the CBO.
The congressional number-crunchers, perhaps the capital’s closest thing to a neutral referee, came out with a new report Tuesday, and it wasn’t pretty for Obamacare. The CBO predicted the law would have a “substantially larger” impact on the labor market than it had previously expected: The law would reduce the workforce in 2021 by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers, well more than the 800,000 originally anticipated. This will inevitably be a drag on economic growth, as more people decide government handouts are more attractive than working more and paying higher taxes.
This is grim news for the White House and for Democrats on the ballot in November. This independent arbiter, long embraced by the White House, has validated a core complaint of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) critics: that it will discourage workand become an ungainly entitlement. Disputing Republicans’ charges is much easier than refuting the federal government’s official scorekeepers.
White House officials rushed to dispute the referee’s call — arguing, somewhat contradictorily, that the finding was both flawed and really good news if interpreted properly.
Press secretary Jay Carney quickly issued astatement saying that the CBO report was, by its own admission, “incomplete” and “does not take into account” some favorable effects of the law.
Carney postponed his daily press briefing, then arrived with Jason Furman, head of the Council of Economic Advisers, who argued that the Affordable Care Act couldn’t possibly be a job killer because 8.1 million jobs had been created since it became law. This is true — but irrelevant to the CBO finding.
Meanwhile, Gene Sperling, Obama’s top economic-policy adviser, walked to the White House lawn and told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he rejected the finding. “When you have two parents and they’re both working full time to provide health care and they don’t feel they’re there to do homework with their kids and this allows one of [them] to work a little less because they have health care, that’s not costing jobs,” Sperling argued.
Sounds nice, except the CBO said its more pessimistic workforce view had been shaped by recent studies, “in particular” those looking at “expansions or contractions in Medicaid eligibility for childless adults.” In general, the CBO explained, phasing out subsidies to buy health insurance when income rises “effectively raises people’s marginal tax rates . . . thus discouraging work.”
There was some good news about Obamacare (and about shrinking deficits) in the report: Premiums are lower than expected, and there “is no compelling evidence” that employers are shifting to part-time jobs in response to the law. The law will give health insurance to an additional 13 million people this year and 25 million in 2016 and beyond.
But it was immediately clear that the government’s green eyeshades had bestowed a big gift on the law’s Republican critics.
Fox News put up a breaking-news banner: “Bombshell CBO report predicts 2.3 million jobs will be lost under Obamacare.” Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), one of the law’s fiercest foes, did a celebratory interview with Fox. “There are other surprises yet to come,” he promised. Republicans went to the Senate floor to tout the findings. For a brief time, the CBO Web site went down; online traffic surges aren’t usually a problem for the agency.
In the White House briefing room, Furman navigated a river of skeptical questions. “Doesn’t just the sheer idea of losing 2.5 million jobs over 10 years have a negative economic impact? You’re saying it may be a good thing if there are 2 million fewer workers? How do you answer Republicans who now have this evidence that they can wave to say, ‘Aha, the ACA is bad for the economy’?”
Furman attempted to dispute the report (“I haven’t accepted the number”) without disparaging the authors (“We cite CBO all the time”). Delicately, he said the report “is subject to misinterpretation, doesn’t take into account every factor, and there’s uncertainty and debate around it.”
But there’s only so much White House officials could do. Obamacare has been undermined by the very entity they had used to validate it.
Nothing wrong with that..Well, We are kinda alternating between the 78 degree days and in the crapper...Today and this week is a crapper deal..
We will bounce back...I think
Don't know any stocks thant would survive the Obama thing...I think we may be headed for a serious correction...I am keeping powder dry for now...I may have missed an opportunity on the recent runup..Well..Such is life...
Please protect Jamba and jumping off bridges, after yeasterday's performance by his boyfriend on the speech/lie thingy
Israel minister angers US with Kerry peace push diatribe
The US State Department described Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon's comments as "offensive," in a mark of the degree of outrage in Washington at the latest public spat between the two allies, which follows a major row over Iran policy.
Israel's top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot quoted Yaalon as expressing hope that Kerry, who has visited the region 10 times since taking office in February 2013, would end his peace push and focus his energies elsewhere.
"The American plan for security arrangements that was shown to us isn't worth the paper it was written on," Yaalon was quoted as saying in private conversations with Israeli officials, accusing Kerry of being naive and implying he is a nuisance.
The State Department said Yaalon's reported remarks were "inappropriate" for a minister in the government of a close ally.
"The remarks of the defence minister, if accurate, are offensive and inappropriate especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel's security needs," spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters.
Psaki said Kerry and his team "have been working day and night to try to promote a secure peace for Israel because of the Secretary's deep concern for Israel's future.
"To question his motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defence minister of a close ally," she said.
Kerry coaxed Israelis and Palestinians back into direct negotiations last summer and has since shuttled tirelessly between the two leaderships in a bid to keep the talks alive.
His proposals include a security plan for the border between a future Palestinian state and neighbouring Jordan, involving high-tech equipment to enable Israel to reduce or end its troop presence on the ground, Israeli media say.
But Yaalon said the idea of technology replacing boots on the ground was naive.
"What are you talking about?" he reportedly asked Kerry during a meeting. "I ask you: how will technology respond when a Salafist or Islamic Jihad cell tries to commit a terror attack against Israeli targets? Who will engage them?"
'Leave us be'
Yaalon said after years of living the conflict, he understood a lot more about the Palestinians than the US top diplomat.
"Secretary of State John Kerry -- who arrived here determined, and who operates from an incomprehensible obsession and a sense of messianism -- can’t teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians," he was quoted as saying.
"The only thing that might save us is if John Kerry wins the Nobel Prize and leaves us be."
Yaalon stopped short of apologising for the remarks in a statement released by his office later Tuesday.
"The United States are our most important friends and allies. When there are disagreements between us, we discuss them in private," it said.
But it added, "I will continue to be responsible and firmly maintain the security of the Israeli people."
Yaalon's public criticism of the US top diplomat earned him a rebuke from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"Even when we have disagreements with the United States, it is about the matter at hand and not about the person," Netanyahu said at the opening of the winter session of parliament.
Yaalon's remarks came on the back of a US-Israeli spat over a landmark deal Washington and other world powers reached with Iran in November on its controversial nuclear programme.
Israel publicly opposed the plan, which will see limited relief for Tehran from Western sanctions in exchange for rolling back parts of its civil nuclear programme, describing it as a "disaster" and a "gift" to its biggest foe.
Israel has also been at loggerheads with its US ally over its drive to expand its settlements in the occupied West Bank, including annexed Arab east Jerusalem, even while the peace talks with the Palestinians that Kerry helped relaunch are under way.
Just last week, Israel unveiled plans to build another 1,800 new settler homes, hot on the heels of Kerry's latest visit.
A senior US official on Tuesday reiterated Washington's opposition to settlement building, which it has called "illegitimate."
Are yu implying they are planning on getting married over there, now it is legal ?..:-)
Inquiring minds want to know..!
Feds recognize same-sex couples in Utah
By PETE YOST1 minute ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday extended federal recognition to the marriages of more than 1,000 same-sex couples in Utah that took place before the Supreme Court put those unions in the state on hold.
Holder's action will enable the government to extend eligibility for federal benefits to these couples.
The attorney general said the families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their benefits while courts decide the issue of same-sex marriage in Utah.
More than 1,000 #$%$ and lesbian couples took home marriage licenses from local clerks after a federal judge overturned Utah's same-sex marriage ban on Dec. 20. Utah voters approved the ban in 2004.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court put a halt to same-sex marriages in Utah while the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers the long-term question of whether #$%$ couples have a right to marry in Utah.
"In the days ahead, we will continue to coordinate across the federal government to ensure the timely provision of every federal benefit to which Utah couples and couples throughout the country are entitled — regardless of whether they are in same-sex or opposite-sex marriages," Holder said in a video on the Justice Department's website.
The attorney general said that "for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages."
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest #$%$ rights group, said, "This is only the beginning of this fight, and this work continues until marriage equality returns to Utah for good."
Is the lesson of Robert Gates’ buzzy memoir that President Barack Obama shouldn’t have picked a Republican as his first defense secretary? No.
A lot of the frowny faced early responses to Gates’ “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” have tut-tutted earnestly that his sometimes punishing disclosures will kill off the tradition, such as it is, of picking someone from the opposing party for a job that important.
But that’s nonsense.
For one thing, fellow party members can do just as much damage. You may as well argue that presidents aren’t going to hire big-time American corporate executives, former governors of Pennsylvania, or longtime loyal aides for important positions.
That’s what former President George W. Bush’s experience with books from (or starring) former ALCOA chief Paul O’Neill, Tom Ridge and ex-press secretary Scott McClellan would suggest. Recollections from those fellow Republicans hurt Bush’s standing on economic policy, homeland security and the selling of the war in Iraq.
And “Duty” is hardly the first damaging disclosure in print for this president, either. Or has the world already forgotten the disclosures by Democratic former Obama aides in “Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President”? (Well, OK, the world has forgotten, but current and former White House officials to this day still point to former Obama aide Peter Orszag as something of a traitor.)
Revelations from disappointed loyalists are almost always worse for a president because of the impression that they are more authentic. But that doesn’t mean they last longer in the public memory.
Anyone recall Larry Speakes, former chief spokesman for Ronald Reagan? Speakes dropped a headline-grabbing bombshell in his 1988 memoir, “Speaking Out,” revealing that he had totally made up quotes that he attributed to the Gipper for the benefit of reporters. He was renounced and exiled from Reaganworld, banished to obscurity.
Another problem with the theory that future presidents won’t bring on members of the opposing party is that doing so can serve their policy ends. Obama came into office looking to pull America out of Iraq. Who better to help him wind down one of Bush’s signature policy initiatives than Bush’s last defense secretary, a man widely seen as one of the most knowledgeable and respected public servants of his generation?
(And what about Republican former Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois? He served, by all accounts loyally and capably, as Obama’s transportation secretary, often clashing with his former comrades in Congress. No word on whether he'll dish about his experience.)
Finally, there’s the meat of Gates’ complaints. Sure, he may damage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 prospects by praising her as forcefully supportive of national security policies the Democratic Party’s liberal base utterly hates. Relaying a conversation in which she describes her opposition to the troop “surge” in Iraq as cynically motivated by politics won’t help her either.
And by dismissing Vice President Joe Biden as perpetually wrong on foreign policy, Gates is recycling a charge regularly made by Republican national security-types.
But most of the criticisms that have been reported thus far sound a lot more like institutional (and longstanding) Pentagon complaints: The White House micromanages national security! Obama mistrusted military commanders! The president is discussing military options without us! These are totally serious, substantive grievances, but they smack more of classic Pentagon get-off-my-lawn-ism than partisan backstabbing.
The Gates book is not the last memoir Obama will have to contend with: Hillary Clinton is reportedly due to publish her own account of his tumultuous first term.
And Gates — who reportedly kept a countdown clock in his briefcase, ticking down the time until he could be a civilian again — is not likely to be the last cross-party appointment.
White House defends Biden against brutal Gates hit
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivers blistering criticisms of Vice President Joe Biden in a new tell-all memoir that's set Washington abuzz — and has the White House defending President Barack Obama's No. 1 aide.
Biden, who has served as the administration's point man on Iraq and spent years leading the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is "a man of integrity," Gates writes, according to what amounts to a review of his book in the New York Times, "[but] I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."
“The President disagrees with Secretary Gates’ assessment – from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement emailed to reporters. "President Obama relies on his good counsel every day.”
Gates' line is one frequently heard from conservatives when knocking Biden. This reporter heard it frequently during the 2008 campaign, chiefly in connection with the future vice president's rejected suggestion that Iraq be partitioned along sectarian lines. But Gates has his own issues with such accusations.
(Hayden's statement has its own chilly moment: "The president wishes Secretary Gates well as he recovers from his recent injury, and discusses his book.” The former Pentagon boss reportedly fell on New Year's Dayand fractured his first vertebrae, ending up in a neck brace.)
The White House statement does not defend Hillary Clinton, whom Gates describes as saying that she opposed the "surge" in Iraq for political reasons (she was facing Obama, a devoted opponent of the war in Iraq, in the Democratic presidential primaries). It also does not defend numerous other officials Gates skewers by name in “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.” But that may come later.
Shortly after the statement went out, the White House announced that news photographers would be allowed to snap pictures of Obama and Biden's regular lunch together on Wednesday — a nearly unheard-of occurrence that will serve as a visual reminder that the two are close.
The book, reportedly coming in at about 600 pages, is the first account of Obama's first-term national security policy from inside the Cabinet. It's also likely to draw intense scrutiny: Gates, 70, left Washington arguably one of the most knowledgeable and respected civil servants of his generation.
Gates, a Republican, had served as former president George W. Bush's final defense secretary starting in 2006. Obama asked him to stay on.
Still, some of Gates' complaints — at least as reported by the Washington Post and New York Times — seem a bit odd.
For example, the Post's Bob Woodward writes, Gates grew angry about how "controlling" the White House was of national security policy. That's nothing new coming from the Pentagon.
But "[i]t got so bad during internal debates over whether to intervene in Libya in 2011 that Gates says he felt compelled to deliver a 'rant' because the White House staff was 'talking about military options with the president without Defense being involved,'" Woodward writes.
If the Post's account is correct and complete, Gates appears to suggest that the president of the United States should not discuss military options one-on-one with, say, his secretary of state. Or his national security adviser. At least not without a military chaperone.
Was 16 F this AM...Back into 65 for high Friday..Gradual warm up...
Only Jamba gets those privileges..Has special exemptions from Obama......