Posts Tagged ‘Pace’

Obama administration caught withholding unflattering data on Obamacare, Sebelius claim that “we don’t collect” that data is a lie

by John Lott on Sunday, March 16th, 2014

This is article 672 of 683 in the topic Healthcare
This is hardly surprising, but the fact that the Obama administration is consciously withholding data that would hurt their case should be more widely discussed in the media.  From Politico:

“They have a lot more information than they’re letting on,” one industry source said of the Obama administration. “They have real hard data about the percent that have paid … If they have not processed those yet and compiled the data, that is a choice they are making. But they have that data now.” . . .

“I can’t tell you because I don’t know that,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday when Republicans asked about the number of paying Obamacare customers during hearings on Capitol Hill. “We don’t collect it.” She reiterated her contention Thursday, telling lawmakers that she’d provide the information as soon as it’s available.

The dispute emerges as the administration is trying to convey a sense of enthusiasm and momentum ahead of a March 31 deadline to enroll in exchanges. But unless the current pace doubles, the administration won’t hit its target of 6 million people — a goal that was already scaled back from 7 million after last October’s messy rollout of HealthCare.gov.

But the hill to climb may be even steeper than the White House acknowledges. Once the premium payment rate is factored in, the actual count of people who now have health coverage under the president’s health law could be closer to 3 million than 4 million. The insurance exchanges may still work with fewer people — but the political narrative is that the controversial health law is again falling short. . . . .

Of course, we know that even this 3 million number is misleading and much too high for the simple reason that almost all these people already had health insurance.

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Hezbollah’s strategic shift to be probed by Congress this week

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, March 17th, 2013

This is article 475 of 773 in the topic Terrorism

This week, the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade will gather a number of experts to discuss the evolution of the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah, the subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, stated Sunday on Fox News Channel.

According to Chairman Poe, the hearing on Hezbollah’s new strategy is scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, 2013, and witnesses testifying include Will Fulton, a research analyst with the American Enterprise Institute; Dr. Matthew Levitt, the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence director, a part of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Roger Noriega, the former assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, now a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Hezbollah has historically been a terrorist organization whose activity has been isolated in the Middle East,” said Rep. Poe.

Hezbollah is the puppet of Iran worldwide. Under the guidance of the Iranian regime, this jihadist group has expanded its reach and shifted its strategy to operate in virtually every corner of the world including Latin America and Europe, he noted in his announcement on Friday.

“I look forward to hearing testimony about the relationship between Hezbollah and the Iranian regime, how this threat has grown in recent years, and what implications this dangerous alliance has for U.S. national security,” Rep. Poe said.

This latest probe of the terrorist group Hezbollah follows a series of hearings held by other congressional committees. For example, according to the Examiner, the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence held a hearing entitled “Hezbollah in Latin America – Implications for U.S. Homeland Security.” The committee was chaired by Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Penn., in July 2011.

“Hezbollah continues to expand its presence in Central and South American taking advantage of its already close relationship with Venezuela’s despot Presidente Hugo Chavez,” according to Rep. Meehan’s hearings.

As far back as 2007, the Bush Administration’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace, warned members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that elements of radical Islamic groups were active in South America recruiting and training terrorists.

Pace mentioned Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, yet the Democrat-controlled Senate ignored Gen. Pace’s warning.

There have also been intelligence reports that allege the Iranian-supported terrorist group Hezbollah, is also a prime employer in Latin America. Security experts have stated that the ties between the countries of Venezuela and Iran are based on several shared interests, such as access to military and petroleum technologies and avoiding international isolation.

Hezbollah’s growing influence in Latin America is a “potential risk” to the region, according to Rep. Meehan.

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Newest Fox News piece: “Four years later, Obama’s ‘recovery’ is still around the corner”

by John Lott on Sunday, November 4th, 2012

This is article 96 of 117 in the topic Unemployment

My newest piece starts this way:

More bad news for the president, as yet another lackluster jobs report was announced this morning. 

After a severe recession, job growth is normally quite strong. We are now 40 months into a recovery, but job growth is only about a quarter what it has been during the average recovery since 1970.

Unemployment rose up to 7.9 percent. Jobs are being created, 171,000 of them, but the pace is still just keeping up with the growing working age population. With 209,000 working-age people added to the labor force last month, 133,000 jobs were needed just to tread water and keep the same percentage of the population working. 38,000 net new jobs is good, but it is trivial in a country where the civilian work force amounts to 156 million.

The unemployment rate is back up to what it was when Barack Obama became president. To put it differently, while 194,000 more people are at work now than in January 2009, our population has grown and there are now 8,822,000 more working-age people. Unfortunately, most of that difference represents people who have simply given up looking for work and now classified as: “not in the labor force.”

No wonder real median family income keeps falling each year during the “recovery.” . . .

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Hezbollah’s commander threatens U.S. over anti-Islam movie

by Jim Kouri on Thursday, September 20th, 2012

This is article 343 of 773 in the topic Terrorism

Hezbollah’s chief warned the United States on Monday that the broadcasting of the complete anti-Islam movie allegedly produced in California would result in “very dangerous repercussions,” the National News Agency reported.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the top Hezbollah leader in Lebanon said, during a large Islamic gathering that he had ordered to take place in Beirut’s Dahiyeh suburb, that he and other Muslim leaders will continue to protest “against this blasphemous example of American entertainment.”

“The United States must realize that broadcasting the entire film will have very serious and dangerous [consequences] throughout the world,” the Iranian-backed terrorist leader said.

Nasrallah also said he will hold the United States responsible for stopping the airing of the movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” which cause an anti-U.S. explosion of anger and violence across the Arab and Islamic countries and regions.

He also reminded the leaders at the United Nations that he continues to demand that they push a U.N. resolution that criminalizes insults against religions.

Hezbollah, with the help and financing of Iran and Syria, poses a direct threat to American interests throughout the Muslim world. It also continues to threaten and harass Israel, and aids the Palestinian terrorists such as Hamas and Palestine’s Islamic Jihad.

With the help of Iran’s Quds Force and intelligence agents, Hezbollah is deeply entrenched in Latin America.

In 2011, the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence held a hearing entitled “Hezbollah in Latin America – Implications for U.S. Homeland Security.” The committee was chaired by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA).

Hezbollah continues to expand its presence in Central and South America taking advantage of its already close relationship with Venezuela’s despot Presidente Hugo Chevez, according to Meehan’s hearings.

This was not the first time U.S. Senators from both parties were warned about Latin America’s vulnerability to radical Islam. In 2007, the Bush Administration’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace, warned members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that elements of radical Islamic groups were active in South America recruiting and training terrorists.

Pace mentioned Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, yet the Democrat-controlled Senate ignored Gen. Pace’s warning.

Congressman King and others have described a close relationship between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They have had at least nine visits during Chavez’s 12 years in office. The alliance remains largely for diplomatic and commercial purposes but said there still were too many unknowns.

There have also been intelligence reports that allege the Iranian-supported terrorist group Hezbollah is a prime employer in Latin America. Security experts have stated that the ties between the countries of Venezuela and Iran are based on several shared interests, such as access to military and petroleum technologies and avoiding international isolation.

Hezbollah’s growing influence in Latin America is a “potential risk” to the region, according to Rep. Meehan.

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Quit Your Crying: Obama’s Speech Shows Why One-Term Is Enough

by John C. Drew Ph.D. on Friday, September 7th, 2012

This is article 950 of 1300 in the topic 2012 Elections

The most striking feeling I have after watching Obama’s speech on television tonight is that I expect the folks who voted for this guy in 2008 now realize that he simply was not up to the job of being a successful president.

I first listened to his speech on the radio in my office. It did not sound quite so bad to me in that environment. Maybe I was not really paying attention. On television, however, his speech was clearly a disappointment. On that stage, Obama looked small…like a little ant in a suit. He looked grey and ashen. It looked to me like his eyes were tearing up for about 15 minutes of his speech. All in all, he did not have the usual energy I associate with his standard stump speech, certainly not the energy of his famous 2004 speech.

I also noticed, when I watch the speech on television, that the camera brought to my attention that Obama’s face was twitching with stress. Finally, he seemed to be droning on in the same, boring pace – not much vocal variety or spontaneity in this presentation.

  • The most chilling moment for me? Obama’s assertion that Al Queda is more dangerous that Russia. What, after all, is Obama going to be more flexible about after the election?
  • The most bizarre? Praising the guy who won the lottery, but then went back to his factory job.
  • The reference to Lincoln? It made me feel Obama is overwhelmed, frightened and incompetent in his job.
  • My advice? Send all the illegal aliens and their children home and I will be just fine with our existing roads and bridges.

All in all, there was a surprising lack of facts and details in his speech. It was as if he made no effort at all to persuade me to vote for him. Instead, he offered a silly idea that the economic crisis was worse than we expected and that we should endure more and more pain until he figures out how to turn things around.

Ironically, this poor performance comes to us on the heels of a couple of stories which call vivid attention to Obama’s short-comings as a leader. The first is Bob Woodward’s new book, “The Price of Politics,” which goes on sale Sept. 11, 2012. It shows how Obama underestimated Boehner and pressed him for additional tax increases after Boehner thought a deal had been made. Obama’s insistence of pushing Boehner further ended up breaking the whole deal apart.

(There is, by the way, a great story in Woodward’s book: The bored Pelosi put Obama on mute while he was delivering an empty pep talk to her while she was doing the real work of hammering out the stimulus package.)

Further evidence of dysfunction showed up in a report by Jodi Kantor who sees in Obama some of the same perfectionistic dysfunction which made Jimmy Carter such a poor president. Her behind-the-scenes report shows Obama majoring in the minor things with a misplaced confidence in his own greatness and skill.

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May 2004: 310,000 Jobs Created Nothing to Celebrate — June 2012: 80,000 Jobs Created a ‘Step in the Right Direction’

by Doug Powers on Monday, July 9th, 2012

This is article 662 of 988 in the topic Obama

In May of 2004, midway through the Bush presidency, with the unemployment rate at 5.6 percent, the economy created 310,000 jobs (at last we find something Obama didn’t inherit from Bush).

Barack Obama was running for Senate then, and he didn’t think this was any reason to break out the champagne:

Fast forward to summer of 2012. Unemployment is 8.2 percent, the economy created 80,000 jobs in June — around 50,000 short of what needs to be created just to keep pace with the people entering the job market — and this is a “step in the right direction”?

Obama has since dropped that line much like he was forced to backtrack after claiming the private sector is “doing fine.”

The administration is becoming increasingly frustrated with the country because we’re just unable to make our reality match their rhetoric (Biden’s recent “so called job creators” line mocking the private sector being a recent example).

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Clinton: Latin American drug cartels’ links to Iran, Hezbollah a concern

by Jim Kouri on Thursday, March 1st, 2012

This is article 58 of 127 in the topic National Security

Secretary Clinton is concerned over reports of Iranian intelligence officers and Hezbollah officials cozying up with Latin American leaders. Credit: DoS File Photo

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced her concerns on Wednesday over intelligence reports that Latin American drug cartels are closely linked with Hezbollah and Iran, many within the U.S. law enforcement community were grateful that Obama Administration officials were finally acknowledging what cops already knew.

“We are concerned about the activities of Iran and Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere,” the top U.S. envoy told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs at a hearing.

Washington recognizes Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group in Lebanon, as a terrorist organization, while Iran’s disputed nuclear program is resulted in sanctions by Washington and its allies.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely. We are aware of and concerned about allegations that some Latin American drug trafficking organizations are linked with Hezbollah and Iran,” Clinton said, vowing to take “appropriate action” to counter any threat that may arise.

Acknowledging that Washington has not found information to verify “a lot of the allegations,” Clinton drew attention to Iran’ s attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the United States, a case unveiled by U.S. authorities in October 2011, calling it “a very large question mark and wake up call.”

“We are continuing to look for direct links and we are engaged very extensively with our partners in the hemisphere, both to educate them about the dangers posed by Iran and Hezbollah and also to work with them to heighten our intelligence sharing,” she said.

“While many of us in law enforcement applaud Secretary Clinton, we’re still wondering what [President Barack] Obama and Attorney General [Eric] Holder are planning to do. They appear too busy – having guns smuggled into Mexico and harassing law enforcement officers for trying to protect Americans — to come up with a plan to thwart narco-terrorist coalitions on our own doorstep,” said former police detective and military intelligence officer Michael Snopes.

This was not the first time U.S. lawmakers from both parties were warned about Latin America’s vulnerability to radical Islam. In 2007, the Bush Administration’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace, warned members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that elements of radical Islamic groups were active in South America recruiting and training terrorists.

U.S. intelligence officials in the past have told the Law Enforcement Examinerthat an alliance exists between Mexican and Colombian drug gangs as Islamic terror groups. Iranian military and intelligence members are said to be in Latin American countries such as Venezuela. In addition, terrorist groups – such as the Iranian backed Hezbollah – are being harbored in Central/South American nations.

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Gallup: Unemployment Climbing Back to 9% for February

by Doug Powers on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

This is article 58 of 117 in the topic Unemployment

One of the many challenges for Team Obama this year is to try and lower expectations from 2008′s “yes we can” down to a slightly more reality-based “re-elect me and I’ll try and get you your house back.” The motivation for doing so comes with the knowledge that, no matter how much lip service is paid to “economic recovery” or how the media helps do the spin, it just doesn’t seem to be happening — at least not at a pace fast enough to keep Obama from having to move back to Chicago next January.

From CNS News:

Unemployment in the U.S. rose to nine percent in mid-February, up from 8.3 percent a month earlier, according to a new Gallup survey. The polling company said this suggests that it is “premature” to assume the economy will not feature prominently in the 2012 election season.

Gallup figures typically provide an indication of what the government will report at the end of the month.

“The U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 9.0% in mid-February,” Gallup said in its mid-month unemployment survey, released on February 17. “The mid-month reading normally reflects what the U.S. government reports for the entire month, and is up from 8.3% in mid-January.”

Couple this with the outlook for gas prices this year and Obama risks seeing what’s left of his favorability crumble like peanut brittle in Michael Moore’s back pocket.

And then there’s this addendum from Gallup:

“Regardless of what the government reports, Gallup’s unemployment and underemployment measures show a sharp deterioration in job market conditions since mid-January.”

It’s almost as if Gallup expects the government to go extra overboard massaging and spinning the numbers as the election closes in. They wouldn’t do that, would they?

(h/t AoS)

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Allah’s drug pushers: Islam, narcotics and the almighty dollar

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

This is article 224 of 773 in the topic Terrorism

In 2008, the Bush Administration’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace,  warned members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that members of radical Islamic groups were active in South America recruiting and training terrorists. Yet, the Democrat-controlled Senate ignored Gen. Pace’s warning.

Terrorist groups strapped for cash find drug trafficking a lucrative enterprise. Credit: DEA/Tom Diaz

Three suspected al-Qaeda associates who were apprehended in West Africa by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents during an international anti-drug operation, were secretly extradited to New York and appeared in federal court in Manhattan, according to reports obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police’s Terrorism and Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs committees.

While the incident for the most part went unnoticed, the operation confirms the suspicions of terrorism experts that al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are involved in narcotics trafficking to fund their terror operations.

The suspects – Oumar Issa, Harouna Toure and Idress Abelrahman – were charged with conspiracy to commit acts of narco-terrorism and conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization after they allegedly agreed to transport as much as 1,000 kilos of cocaine. Allegedly, the drugs were earmarked for western European countries and the United States.

The cocaine interdiction and arrests occurred along the traffickers’ favorite route through West Africa to North Africa that serves as a launch point for export to Europe. The suspects were taken into custody after an intense undercover investigation in which informants and agents posed as Colombian narco-terrorists who claimed they shared hatred for the United States with the African suspects.

According to the NACOP report, Colombian drug kingpins use the same transshipment techniques in Africa that they’ve successfully used in Latin America. The Colombian traffickers’ utilized al-Qaeda’s  protection services in order to make certain shipments arrived at their destinations.

DEA officials report that in this case they were able to infiltrate the drug operation during the negotiations phase. The undercover DEA agents and informants indicated they were associated with the Colombia terrorist group FARC and could protect the shipment from West Africa to North Africa and ultimately to Spain.

Issa, Toure and Abelrahman claim to be from Mali, but their true nation of origin is still unknown.

Created in 1964, the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) is structured as a paramilitary organization, with approximately 10,000 armed guerillas organized into seven “blocs,” 68 numbered “Fronts,” nine named “Fronts,” and four urban “militias.”

The FARC is dedicated to the violent overthrow of Colombia’s democratically elected government and has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State. The FARC finances its terrorist activities through narcotics trafficking and kidnapping for ransom, including the kidnapping of Americans and other foreign nationals.

During the Bush Administration, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General Peter Pace warned members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that members of radical Islamic groups were active in South America recruiting and training terrorists. Yet, the Democrat-controlled Senate ignored Gen. Pace’s warning.

Today, Terrorist-sponsoring nation Iran is increasing its presence in Latin America, and Hezbollah, a terrorist organization it sponsors, is making inroads in drug trafficking in Colombia, according to American Forces Press Service’s spokesperson Donna Miles in a press statement to Chief of Police Magazine, a publication of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

Navy Admiral James G. Stavridis told the House Armed Services Committee that he shares the concerns of Defense Secretary Robert Gates about Iranian activity in Central and South America.

Click to continue reading “Allah’s drug pushers: Islam, narcotics and the almighty dollar”
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“Mortgage default warnings surged in August”

by John Lott on Friday, September 16th, 2011

This is article 215 of 388 in the topic economy

Obama and Democrats could only hold up these mortgage foreclosures for so long. From the AP:

Banks have stepped up their actions against homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, setting the stage for a fresh wave of foreclosures.

The number of U.S. homes that received an initial default notice — the first step in the foreclosure process — jumped 33 percent in August from July, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

The increase represents a nine-month high and the biggest monthly gain in four years. The spike signals banks are starting to take swifter action against homeowners, nearly a year after processing issues led to a sharp slowdown in foreclosures.

“This is really the first time we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of new foreclosure actions,” said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “It’s still possible this is a blip, but I think it’s much more likely we’re seeing the beginning of a trend here.” . . .

Other factors have also worked to stall the pace of new foreclosures this year. The process has been held up by court delays in states where judges play a role in the foreclosure process, a possible settlement of government probes into the industry’s mortgage-lending practices, and lenders’ reluctance to take back properties amid slowing home sales. . . .

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