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Posts tagged ‘Edmund Fitzgerald’

Christie’s Star Dims as Stories of Bullying, Double Dealing Emerge.


Image: Christie's Star Dims as Stories of Bullying, Double Dealing Emerge

By Sandy Fitzgerald

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is still a favorite in presidential polls, but the popular politician is already being singled out by Democrats and in the national media before he has announced his future intentions.

“It’s all a setup,” Michael Steele, who chaired the Republican National Committee in 2009, when Christie first ran for governor, told The Daily Beast. “It’s unbelievable. It says to me that there are interests in the media and in politics who don’t want the status quo to change, and who actually like this red/blue politics crisis-management model.”

Urgent: Do You Like Chris Christie? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Just two months ago, Christie beat Democratic opponent Barbara Buono by a 21-point margin. Since then, polls have shown him in a virtual tied race with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the presidency, with a CNN survey showing him as being slightly ahead.

The media attacks did not come far behind his second-term win. Last week, a front page article in The New York Times painted Christie as a bully who uses his political power to get revenge against his enemies.

Among several complaints, The Times article included the “Bridgegate” scandal, which targets Christie as being behind closing access lanes from Fort Lee, N.J. on to the George Washington Bridge. The lanes were shut down for four days after the city’s Democratic mayor refused to back Christie’s re-election campaign, and two Port Authority officials have resigned their posts over the issue.

In addition, the book “Double Down” was released just before the November election, using details from former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s vice presidential vetting team. The book painted Christie as being a politician who did favors for his allies and lobbied for business interests of people like Bernie Madoff.

Christie loyalists say that the governor is used to media scrutiny. One aide said that he’s also not surprised when “media outlets and Democratic organizations make him a target.”

Steele said such negative coverage plays itself out in many ways, “sometimes aided by the main target, sometimes by subordinates or opposition camps. There’s a tendency to reach that turning point so that the knives come out and the new narrative begins.”

However, it’s not just the liberal media that has turned against Christie. Conservative commentator Glenn Beck recently blasted Christie during an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, calling the New Jersey Republican “a fat nightmare” and labeling him as a “progressive.”

Some of the scrutiny also started in November 2012, when Christie hugged President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy, which experts say will likely haunt him if he runs for the presidency.

But even with the negative coverage, Steele said, Christie “is the same guy today as he was when he sat in my office when I was national chairman during his first bid for the governorship of New Jersey . . . He’s still the same breath of fresh air, the same guy who can create a new narrative for the Republican Party and the country, which is longing and starving for it.”

Steele says Christie needs to be sure he doesn’t become his “own worst enemy” and fuel
new headlines.

Urgent: Do You Like Chris Christie? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Snowden Criticizes Obama’s Surveillance Review Panel as Sham.


Image: Snowden Criticizes Obama's Surveillance Review Panel as Sham

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Former government contractor Edward Snowden, who’s been given asylum by Russia after leaking National Security Agency secrets, is criticizing a panel established by President Barack Obama’s to review U.S. surveillance programs as a sham designed to do nothing more than restore public confidence in spying activities.

“Their job wasn’t to protect privacy or deter abuses, it was to ‘restore public confidence’ in these spying activities,” Snowden said in an email exchange with Globo TV in Brazil, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The review panel last week recommended sweeping limits in the government’s surveillance programs, including requiring a court to sign off on individual searches of phone records and stripping the NSA of its ability to store that data collected from Americans.

In the email exchange with Globo, Snowden continued to defend his public release of classified information about NSA surveillance programs, describing himself again as a whistleblower and not traitor. Snowden, who earlier this year fled from his NSA job in Hawaii for Hong Kong, and later Russia, after handing over secret information to reporters, said he does not believe he would be treated justly if he returns to the United States because he has embarrassed the Obama administration and the U.S. intelligence community.

“It’s clear that I could not possibly get a fair trial in my country,” he insisted.

Snowden is reportedly seeking permanent asylum in several countries, including Brazil. For now, he lives in Russia under temporary asylum. But he denied in the interview that he has offered Brazil and other countries information about U.S. spying operations against them in return for asylum.

“I will never exchange information for asylum and I don’t think the Brazilian government would do that either,” Snowden reportedly told Globo. “A grant of asylum should always be a purely humanitarian decision . . . I will never cooperate with anyone outside of a lawful and appropriate manner.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson: I’m Not Backing Off Comments.


Image: 'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson: I'm Not Backing Off Comments

By Sandy Fitzgerald

A defiant “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson told a Bible study class in Louisiana Sunday that he isn’t backing down from his anti-gay stance, saying his controversial GQ Magazine comments came from the Bible and he’s not sorry he said them.

“I will not give or back off from my path, because you conquered death, Father, so we are not worried about all the repercussions,” Robertson, wearing his trademark camouflage headband, told the class at White’s Ferry Road Church in West Monroe, La., reports The Daily Mail.

Editor’s Note: Weird Trick Adds $1,000 to Your Social Security Checks 

The A&E Network suspended Robertson from his family’s hit show last week after his comments in the magazine interview. Among other things, he said: “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong…start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Beastiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those men.”

Robertson told the Bible class that he was “just reading what was written over 2,000 years ago. All I did was quote from the scriptures, but they just didn’t know it. Whether I said it or they read it, what’s the difference? The sins are the same. Humans haven’t changed.”

In addition, Robertson denied that he is “a hater.”

“I love all men and women,” he said. “I am a lover of humanity, not a hater.”

He also said that “sexual sins are numerous and many” and admitted he has “a few” himself.

“We murder each other and we steal from one another, sex and immorality goes ballistic,” Robertson said. “All the diseases that just so happen to follow sexual mischief…boy, there are some microbes running around now.”

But he said that Jesus said, “‘It is a man and a woman.’ But we looked at it and said it was an outdated stereotype. When you look back at the human race, the sins have always been the same. We get high, we get drunk, we get laid, we steal and kill.”

After the class, Robertson, 67, stayed for services, during which his oldest son, Pastor Alan Robertson, mentioned the controversy.

“Well, we’ve had quite a week. Shot some ducks, done some shopping, ignited a national controversy,” the pastor said.

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said Saturday he’d help the Robertsons find a new deal for their show if it leaves the A&E Network,according to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. 

“Regardless of one’s views on Phil Robertson’s statements, ‘Duck Dynasty’ has been an important representation of the state of Louisiana, inspiring prospective visitors and investors since its debut,” Dardenne said.

Meanwhile, the controversy has just made the Robertson family — which was already wealthy because of its duck-call business — prosper more. Walmart late last week reported Duck Dynasty’ merchandise is selling rapidly online as the furor continues.

According to Forbes, the Robertson family’s merchandise empire is worth $400 million, with Walmart sales totaling half of that amount.

The family also won’t be losing its Cracker Barrel sales. The restaurant chain caved in to pressure on Sunday and said it would put the “Duck Dynasty” merchandise back out for sale.

Editor’s Note: Weird Trick Adds $1,000 to Your Social Security Checks

Related Stories:

O’Reilly: ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star was Wrong to Condemn Homosexuals
Palin: Duck Dynasty Firing Endangers Free Speech

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Perry to Sebelius: Don’t Blame ‘Pesky Texans’ for Obamacare Problems.


Image: Perry to Sebelius: Don't Blame 'Pesky Texans' for Obamacare Problems

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Gov. Rick Perry is defending Texas‘s decision to strengthen qualification requirements for Obamacare navigators, saying it’s not the state’s fault that President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare program has so many problems.

“Obamacare offers virtually no protection for consumers shopping for health coverage through these so-called navigators,” the Republican governor wrote in an scathing op-ed piece that appeared Thursday in The Austin American-Statesman.

The former GOP 2012 presidential candidate, and possible 2016 candidate, also took Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to task for suggesting that Obamacare enrollment would be going a lot smoother if “it weren’t for all those pesky Texans getting in the way,” as the governor put it.

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is implementing “commonsense” rules for navigators who “probe Texans for their most personal and private information in the name of signing consumers up for Obamacare,” Perry wrote. “These rules are especially important given the minimal federal requirements navigators must meet.”

The rules include basic measures like criminal background checks, Perry said, to help protect Texans.

“Secretary Sebelius herself admitted federal navigators underwent no background check at all and could, in fact, be felons,” he continued. “TDI’s rules will help ensure felons, including convicted sex offenders, are not knocking on Texans’ doors under the guise of signing them up for insurance, and that Texans aren’t giving out their most private and sensitive information to someone already convicted of fraud or identity theft.”

Further, Perry noted that even though Sebelius has “bragged” that navigators get 20 hours of training, “it hasn’t prevented fraud documented in published videos showing navigators — who have already completed Secretary Sebelius’ training — encouraging applicants to lie about their income and misstate their smoking habits in order to snare higher subsidies and lower premiums at taxpayer expense.”

A new report by the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, also points out the need for overseeing the navigators, he added. The report shows instances in which he said “navigators openly encouraged applicants to commit tax fraud to obtain subsidies they otherwise are not qualified to receive.”

But consumers are still at risk even if they don’t use navigators, the governor said, noting “security flaws” in the Healthcare.gov website that been “widely reported.”

“Clearly, Texas’ concerns about this program are well-founded,” he added.

Perry went on to describe Obamacare as “a colossal disaster and getting worse.”

“Until the Obama administration places the privacy and protection of American consumers above political pushback, Texas will hold the line on protecting our citizens,” Perry declared.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Sending Baucus to China Removes Democratic Critic of Obamacare.


Image: Sending Baucus to China Removes Democratic Critic of Obamacare

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Sending Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus off as the next U.S. ambassador to China could solve several problems for President Barack Obama, including removing one ofObamacare’s most vocal opponents from Capitol Hill.

Earlier this year, the outspoken lawmaker famously referred to Obamacare as a “huge train wreck,” saying it would be a failure if the government couldn’t afford money for research, reports The Washington Post. 

Baucus has also compared the HealthCare.gov launch to “Humpty Dumpty” with questions about whether the website could be eventually successful.

Removing Baucus from Washington means taking the outspoken critic away from his chairmanship of the Finance Committee since 2007. Baucus plans to retire next year, and ordinarily would be followed in the seat by second-ranking Democrat member Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va.

However, like Baucus, Rockefeller plans to retire after next year, so Baucus’ seat, if he leaves early, is expected to be taken by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the current chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senate aides told The Washington Post. Wyden has criticized the White House’s healthcare plans in the past, but he is not as strident with his opposition as Baucus.

But there are other possible reasons beyond Obamacare for the president to nominate Baucus, The Post reports.

Baucus, 72, is leaving office next year, but Republicans are expected to take the red state next year with Rep. Steve Daines.

However, if Baucus steps down early, The Post speculates, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock can appoint a Democratic replacement who would be able to run for a full six-year term in 2014. Lt. Gov. John Walsh is already running for the seat, but if he is appointed to it early, he would be the incumbent when the election takes place, giving him an advantage over other candidates.

Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, who is Baucus’ former top hand, may also be considering a campaign, The Post reports, so his name could also be in the short list to fill Baucus’ seat.

Baucus though, does have extensive experience in China, having visited eight times. He also lead U.S. efforts in the 1990s to persuade China to enter the World Trade Organization and worked to establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations between the two countries.

In addition, Baucus has hosted Chinese trade delegations in both Montana and Washington D.C.

Related Stories:

Top Democrat Baucus Sees ‘Huge Train Wreck’ for Obamacare
Top Democrat Baucus, Head of Finance Panel, to Retire

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