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Posts tagged ‘History’

Coburn: 2013 Marked ‘Unwinding of Country’s Founding Principles´.


Image: Coburn: 2013 Marked 'Unwinding of Country's Founding Principles'

By Courtney Coren

Sen. Tom Coburn says the power grab by Democratic leaders in Congress, not to mention the Obama administration’s apparent disdain for the rule of law, made 2013 one of the nation’s worst years.

“In both the executive branch and Congress, Americans witnessed an unwinding of the country’s founding principles and of their government’s most basic responsibilities,”Coburn wrote Monday in an op-ed piece carried in The Wall Street Journal.

“The rule of law gave way to the rule of rulers. And the rule of reality . . . gave way to some politicians’ belief that they were entitled to both their own opinions and their own facts.”

“It’s no wonder the institutions of government barely function,” the Oklahoma Republican added.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Coburn described the launching of Obamacare as one of the most devastating blows to the rule of law and he accused President Barack Obama of changing his signature achievement “according to whim” without regard to any legal or constitutional constraints that might be involved. He also wrote that the most troubling aspect of the president’s behavior in pushing the law on the American public was his promise that people would be able to keep their current insurance plans and doctors.

“We now know that the administration was aware that these claims were false, yet Mr. Obama continued to make them, repeatedly,” Coburn said.

Even though the president “apologized in part for his statements,” it sent a message to politicians that “message discipline” is the name-of-the-game if it helps “to win an election or achieve a short-term political goal.”

“When a misleading message ultimately clashes with reality, the result is dissonance and conflict,” the Oklahoma senator argued. “In a republic, deception is destructive.”

Coburn took a hard swipe at Democrats in Congress as well, calling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid‘s successful effort to do away with the 60-vote threshold for moving most presidential nominations an outright power grab “to undo 200 years of precedent that requires a supermajority to change Senate rules.”

“To speed the approval of executive appointments and judicial nominations, Sen. Reid resorted to raw political power, forcing a vote (52-48) that allows the Senate majority to change the rules whenever it wants,” Coburn complained. “In a republic, if majorities can change laws or rules however they please, you’re on the road to life with no rules and no laws.”

Coburn concluded by noting that if Americans are truly fed up, as he is, with the way Washington works these days, then they should make use of the elections this year to make some changes.

“If you don’t like the rulers you have, you don’t have to keep them,” he wrote.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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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.

Trump on NY Times Benghazi Report: ‘A Total Cover Up’.


Image: Trump on NY Times Benghazi Report:  'A Total Cover Up'

By Wanda Carruthers

Donald Trump all but accused The New York Times Monday of participating in a cover up of the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya by publishing an article claiming al-Qaida was not involved and that an anti-Islam video may have contributed to the deadly assault, as the Obama administration initially claimed.

“It seems to be a total cover up,” the entertainment and real estate billionaire said on “Fox & Friends” about the Times piece published over the weekend. “I read [the article] very closely. It just seems to be at odds with everything else that you’ve read over the last year.”

The Times reported Saturday that the attack on Sept 11, 2012 that left four Americans dead was caused, in part, by an American-made anti-Muslim video that set off an angry crowd initially. The newspaper also reported that no al-Qaida-affiliated or other terrorist groups participated in the attack, which the article claimed was carried out by members of various militia groups that had actually benefited from U.S. and NATO support during their overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Republicans and some people on the ground in Benghazi the night of the attack were critical of the article on Sunday talk shows.

Trump said during his appearance on Fox Monday that “nobody really understands the reason” for the Times story. But he ventured that it could be a “Hillary thing,” suggesting the newspaper was attempting to help pave the way for a possible 2016 run for president by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who Republicans partly blame for security lapses at the Benghazi compound.

Last January, before leaving office, Clinton responded to questioning during a Republican-led hearing on Capitol Hill about how the attack started and who was responsible.

“What difference, at this point, does it make?” she said during one particular testy exchange with the panel.

On the Fox program, Trump wondered why those thought responsible for the attack have not been brought to justice, particularly if U.S. officials have identified some of them.

“We have their identity. We know who they are. We know where they are, and we don’t go in and get them. So what is going on there?” he asked.

“It’s such an amazing story, and such a sad story when you think of what happened. The fact that we were so unguarded and so vulnerable, and to have people killed like this, our ambassador and others killed like this, was terrible,” Trump said, referring to U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans killed in the attack.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Keane on Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Attacks ‘Will Grow’.


Image: Keane on Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Attacks 'Will Grow'

By Wanda Carruthers

The move by the army-backed government in Egypt declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization will not silence the radical elements in group, Ret. Gen. Jack Keane said Thursday.

He predicted during an appearance on Fox News that attacks on the Egyptian government “will grow in size and scale” as militants members of the brotherhood begin to assert themselves.

“There is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood that will wait for another political opportunity. But, then there’s another part of the Muslim Brotherhood, to the right and much more radical,” Keane said.

“They are already conducting armed violence, terrorist attacks. This will grow in size and scale.”

The Egyptian government formally declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization Wednesday. The move makes the group’s activities illegal, and is seen as an effort by the army-backed government to suppress opposition.

The Brotherhood played a significant role in the government itself before former President Mohamed Morsi was removed from power. Keane, a Fox News military analyst, said the Egyptian government was answering what they thought was the will of the people by getting rid of Morzi, who rose to power as a member of the brotherhood.

“The military regime believes that they are answering the clarion call of the people by suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood. They do not want them to participate in the political process again,” he said.

The current political tensions mask what Keane believes is the real problem facing Egypt — poverty among the majority of its people. He says the protests during the Arab Spring that eventually helped sweep Morsi into office were prompted by the nation’s economic and social problems.

“Remember the Arab Spring when they took to the streets a number of years ago? It was all about economic opportunity and social justice and political justice,” Keane said. ” And, hopefully, this regime will get back to trying to solve some of these problems.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Senators Urge China to Lift Defense Zone Over Islands.


Image: Senators Urge China to Lift Defense Zone Over Islands

By Drew MacKenzie

A bipartisan group of senators is asking China to lift the air defense zone it created in November over three deserted islands that both Beijing and Japan claim as their own, going further than what the Obama Administration has requested.

Vice President Joe Biden expressed “deep concerns” to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing in early December about the Air Defense Identification Zone. But he apparently did not ask China to lift it, even though the deserted islands in the East China Sea were actually purchased by Japan. China has requested that it be informed of all flights through the new zone, and the administration has recommended that U.S. commercial carriers comply with that request, The Hill is reporting.

“I don’t think anyone should be reporting to them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

“If the Chinese are willing to shoot down a civilian aircraft on an illegitimate claim, then they’re a criminal government,” the Florida senator told The Hill. “Airlines are free to do whatever they choose, but I don’t think our government should be telling them to do that because it sends confusing messages.”

When China laid claim to the Senkaku islands and declared the air defense zone, the U.S. immediately flew two B-52 bombers right through it. The U.S. has also sent more ships and has opened more outposts in the region. China is feeling threatened by the move.

While efforts have been made by both Chinese and U.S. officials to calm tensions, neither country has backed down.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said he thought it was a mistake that Biden didn’t make the issue central to his meeting with the Chinese leader.

Rubio, along with three Democratic and Republican committee leaders, sent a letter earlier in December to China’s ambassador to the U.S asking Beijing to back off.

“We urge your government not to implement this ADIZ as announced, and to refrain from taking similar provocative actions elsewhere in the region,” the group wrote. “There is nothing for China to gain by undermining regional stability and threatening the peace and prosperity that is the shared object of all Asia-Pacific nations.”

The White House has not taken an official position on the territorial dispute, but Chinese officials say the U.S. has long sided with Japan, citing the fact that the islands are mentioned in the 1960 Defense treaty with Japan.

“It seems absurd that [the U.S.] would commit itself to defend a few small islands it has no position about,” said one Chinese military official.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

American Catholics Give Pope Francis Sky-High Approval Rating.


Image: American Catholics Give Pope Francis Sky-High Approval Rating

By Drew MacKenzie

Roman Catholics in America love Pope Francis and believe that the people’s pontiff is doing a wonderful job in the Vatican, according to a new survey.

The CNN/ORC International poll found that 88 percent of Catholics in the U.S. approve of how the 77-year-old Francis is leading the church while in charge of 1.2 billion followers worldwide, according to CNN’s Belief Blog.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Francis has been also given the thumbs up by three out of every four Americans when non-Catholics are included in the study.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland argues that the Pope is probably the “most well-regarded religious figure” among the American public today.

After taking the reins at St. Peter’s Basilica nine months ago, the Argentine-born Francis has already proved that the life under his papacy will be vastly different from his predecessors.

First and foremost,Time Magazine’s Person of the Year  is seen as the everyman pope who has shunned the traditional luxuries afforded to the highest Catholic by living in a Vatican guesthouse instead of the papal palace as well as wearing more simple vestments to official functions. He even rides around in a 1984 Renault.

Francis was the most talked about person on the Internet this year, ahead of fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, Prince William’s wife and new mom Kate Middleton, and even twerking singer Miley Cyrus.

As an example to others, he’s gone out of his way to show compassion to the less fortunate, such as embracing a man with heart-breaking facial tumors — moves that have drawn praise the world over.

To mark his 77th birthday, instead of thinking about himself, Pope Francis welcomed three homeless men to a Mass and a special meal at the Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse. The men, one of whom brought his dog, then sang “Happy Birthday” to the pontiff.

When Francis was named Time’s Person of the Year, the magazine’s managing editor Nancy Gibbs declared, “Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly — young and old, faithful and cynical — as has Pope Francis.”

Even the gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate named him its person of the year. “While 2013 will be remembered for the work of hundreds in advancing marriage equality, it will also be remembered for the example of one man,” said the magazine.

The surprise award was given for the Pope’s potential policy-shifting position on homosexuality, made five months ago when he declared, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Instead of concentrating on such cultural issues as abortion and gay rights, the pontiff is urging his flock to care more about moral issues such as the poor and the underprivileged.

But it has not been all plain sailing for Pope Francis in his first year. In a 50,000 word statement, called “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”), the pope attacked the “idolatry of money” and said that trickle-down economics was “crude and naive.”

But conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh called him a closet Marxist and declared that the pontiff’s economic opinions were “dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong.”

The CNN poll found that American Catholics agreed with the pope’s new direction for the church, with nearly two thirds of recipients saying more attention should be paid to moral issues. The survey showed that 86 percent of U.S. Catholics said the pope understands the problems of the modern world while 85 percent believed that Francis was neither too liberal nor too conservative.

These statistics lie in stark comparison to a poll in 2003 finding that more than half American Catholics thought that Pope John Paul II was out of touch with the times as he neared the end of his 23-year tenure in the Vatican, CNN pointed out.

The poll revealed that two out of every three Catholics in America support the pontiff’s economic position that capitalism is hurting the poor.

More than six out of 10 U.S. Catholics also agree with the pope’s stated position that women must play a larger role in the future of church leadership, although he still supports the longtime doctrine that women cannot be ordained as priests.

The poll recorded that 60 percent of American Catholics believe Francis has also performed admirably in dealing with the ongoing sexual abuse scandal inside the church, although 64 percent claim that the church overall could do a better job on the problem.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Francis was creating a special commission to prevent the sexual abuse of minors and to help victims of abuse. The commission will be working with authorities to report such cases, according to CNN.

CNN polling chief Holland said that there have not been many approval surveys conducted on the pontiffs, and thus it was difficult to compare Pope Francis with his predecessors. “It’s a tough question since polling on Popes is pretty sparse,” he said.

The phone poll of 1,035 adults was conducted from December 16-19, and it has a margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Francis: A Pope for Our Time, The Definitive Biography 

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Obamacare Failures Show Procurement Reforms Still Needed.


Image: Obamacare Failures Show Procurement Reforms Still Needed

By Courtney Coren

The recent failures of HealthCare.gov have highlighted changes that need to be made in how the government executes technology contracts, which many say is outdated and counterproductive.

While President Barack Obama has promised changes, little movement has been made in that direction, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The Standish Group, an independent information technology firm, found that when it comes to large-scale technology contracts that have been made over the last 10 years only 4.6 percent were successful. A majority were “challenged” and 40 percent “failed,” according to a Standish study.

One of the major problems cited by Standish is that the government tends to negotiate single contracts for projects that private companies would break up into pieces. When it comes to smaller projects, the success rate is almost 55 percent.

The procurement process is cited as another major problem by experts, congressmen, technology executives and former government officials. Troubles with that process were on display almost immediately in the problematic rollout of the Obamacare website in October.

The current laws and rules in place are designed to prevent corruption, but they give government officials very little authority over which companies are hired, how projects are executed, and little power to end a failing contract.

According to the Times, companies with large legal teams familiar with the government contracting process also have the upper hand in winning contracts. Smaller firms, even though they are often on the cutting edge of technology innovation, simply don’t have the personnel or the know-how to scale the procurement process.

The White House Budget office says the Administration is working to reform the technology procurement process, although more changes are still needed.

But Democratic Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia noted in the Times piece that the budget office offered no support for a bipartisan bill introduced this year that would have put a single person in each agency in charge of technology projects, and make such projects and the money spent on them more transparent.

Connolly told the Times the budget office “takes the position, as it usually does, that we don’t need legislation to address these issues.”

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