Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he would propose legislation in the coming days aimed at helping people transition out of Obamacare, in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling that the Obama administration illegally gave out billions of dollars in subsidies to millions of people.
“I don’t think we can stand by and simply let the shortcomings of the law harm millions more,” Hatch said at the Heritage Foundation Monday. “We need to help the people who will be hurt by losing their subsidies because of Obamacare’s broken promises.”
A dozen House members last week introduced legislation that would decriminalize marijuana and allow it to be regulated by a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, Firearms and Explosives.
The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act is the latest attempt by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) to give all states the freedom to decide whether they want to legalize non-medical marijuana. He said his state’s experience shows that regulating marijuana takes money away from criminals, and makes it easier to keep out of the hands of children.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson claimed on Sunday that Democrats are not blocking legislation to fund his department, even though Democrats have overtly prevented the bill from moving ahead in the Senate four times over the last few weeks.
“Democrats are not blocking debate,” Johnson said on Fox News Sunday.
His comment goes against what anyone watching the Senate floor can see for themselves. On Feb. 12, Democrats objected to a request from Republicans to take up the bill, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would allow Democrats to offer several amendments to the bill to change parts they don’t like.
The week before that, Democrats voted against moving ahead with the bill three times.
While it’s clear that Democrats are blocking progress on the DHS bill, they’ve tried to downplay their role in the fight by saying it’s the Republicans’ fault for calling up a bill that would defund President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. Democrats oppose that defunding language, and have argued that the GOP is putting DHS funding at risk by including that language.
“What is happening is that some in Congress want to tie defunding our executive actions to my entire homeland security budget,” Johnson said. “We should have the debate about immigration reform. But, you should not tie that to the funding for the third-largest department of our government, 240,000 people.”
This week will test the mettle of both parties, as funding for DHS expires on Friday. Republicans will be pushing Democrats to allow the current DHS bill to move ahead or risk a partial DHS shutdown, while Democrats will again push Republicans to get rid of the immigration defunding language.
The fight will start up again early Monday evening, when Republicans will again call up the bill and ask Democrats to allow the Senate to consider it and various amendments.
Last week, Republicans got a boost when a federal judge ordered an injunction against Obama’s immigration plans. That win prompted Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to say Republicans should drop the immigration language from the DHS bill, since the Obama plan Republicans are trying to block with legislation has now been blocked through a court order.
While McCain’s logic offers Republicans a possible way to retreat from the legislative fight, many Republicans may not see the court decision as one that lasts. The Department of Justice on Monday was expected to ask the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the injunction and allow Obama’s immigration plan to continue.
What if the Chinese government developed a hundred-year plan based on ancient warring strategies to counter American hegemony and ultimately overtake her and the entire world?
That is the thesis at the heart of a chilling new book by a member of Washington’s foreign policy and national security establishment for over four decades, who is perhaps America’s foremost expert on China.
Michael Pillsbury’s new “The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower” reflects a mea culpa of sorts, with Pillsbury — who served in administrations from Nixon through Obama and posts in the Defense Department and four U.S. Senate Committees, supporting ever-closer ties to China in the diplomatic, economic and military realms — arguing that he and the rest of Washington have gotten things completely wrong with respect to China.
Based on his extensive interactions with Chinese officials, examinations of internal Chinese military documents and other materials and a sober examination of the facts, Pillsbury argues in “The Hundred-Year Marathon” that America has been duped into aiding China’s “peaceful rise,” and we need to wake up and take concrete steps to counter the patient Chinese foe if we are to neutralize their long-term plan to overtake us by 2049.
Pillsbury begins his book with five false assumptions, all of which are enabling China’s plan to continue apace, which read very similarly to America’s dealings with Russia and the Islamic world:
“For four decades now, my colleagues and I believed that “engagement” with the Chinese would induce China to cooperate with the West on a wide range of policy problems. It hasn’t. Trade and technology were supposed to lead to a convergence of Chinese and Western views on questions of regional and global order. They haven’t. In short, China has failed to meet nearly all of our rosy expectations.
From thwarting reconstruction efforts and economic development in war-ravaged Afghanistan to offering lifelines to embattled anti-Western governments in Sudan and North Korea, China has opposed the actions and goals of the U.S. government. Indeed, China is building its own relationships with America’s allies and enemies that contradict any peaceful or productive intentions of Beijing.”
…[T]he idea that the seeds of democracy have been sown at the village level became the conventional wisdom among many China watchers in America. With patience but no pressure from the United States, the argument went, local elections in Chinese cities and towns would eventually be followed by regional and national elections.
Like many working in the U.S. government, I had heard the democracy story for decades. I read about it in countless books and articles. I believed in it. I wanted to believe in it.
My faith was first shaken in China in 1997, when I was among those encouraged to visit China to witness the emergence of “democratic” elections in a village near the industrial town of Dongguan. While visiting, I had a chance to talk in mandarin with the candidates and see how the elections actually worked. The unwritten rules of the game soon became clear: the candidates were allowed no public assemblies, no television ads, and no campaign posters. They were not allowed to criticize any policy implemented by the Communist Party, nor were they free to criticize their opponents on any issue. There would be no American-style debates over taxes or spending or the country’s future. The only thing a candidate could do was to compare his personal qualities to those of his opponent. Violations of these rules were treated as crimes.
One candidate I spoke to asked me if this was how the democratic elections worked in the West. I didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth. China’s hawks had already done away with true elections.”
“In what appeared to be a forthright exchange of views with Chinese scholars [during a 1996 U.S. delegation to China of which Pillsbury was a part], we were told that China was in serious economic and political peril–and that the potential for collapse loomed large. These distinguished scholars pointed to China’s serious environmental problems, restless ethnic minorities, and incompetence and corrupt government leaders–as well as to those leaders’ inability to carry out necessary reforms. Considering the well-known secretiveness of the Chinese Politburo, I was astonished by these scholars’ candor and startled by their predictions, which only underscored my support for efforts to provide U.S. aid to a supposedly fragile China.
I later learned that the Chinese were escorting (more…)
The Obama administration has handed out millions of work permits to illegal, unqualified or ineligible immigrants over the last five years, according to the latest report from the Center for Immigration Studies.
“These statistics indicate that the executive branch is operating a huge parallel immigrant work authorization system outside the bounds of the laws and limits written by Congress,” wrote Jessica Vaughan, who authored the report based on government data received through a Freedom of Information Act request. “Millions of work permits are being issued to illegal aliens and aliens admitted legally, but in a non-work authorized category.”
When life gives you a relentless winter and massive amounts of snow — sculpt it!
Snow sculpting is not new, just wonderful. The “porch shark” above was actually posted about year ago.
The combination of record-setting snow and cabin fever has inspired many of those in the affected regions to channel their energies and frustrations into snow art. The traditional snow man has been replaced by some detailed creations.
Earthporm.com noticed the trend and gathered 30 photos in a collection they call, “30 People Who Have Conquered the Art of Snow.”
Here are eight of our favorites from the post.
We believe the late Charles Schultz would approve.
Roasting a snow marshmallow — a really big snow marshmallow.
Well done, D.C. snow artists, well done.
The minions from “Despicable Me.”
In case you are wondering how these snow artists get the colors right, there are many methods. Some use spray paints (reportedly popular on college campuses). The helpful website ehow.com suggests using household spray bottles like the kind used to mist plants, filled with water and food coloring.
Snow dogs are popular, but this gets our approval for best detail (right down to the collar).
The classic snowman meets your mail box.
Snow Godzilla ate my car!
See the rest of Earthporm’s “30 People Who Have Conquered the Art of Snow.”
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.
We’re back with episode six of The Church Boys podcast, where you’ll get the chance to hear an epic battle between biblical characters Abraham and Rahab (well, sort of).
We also tackle former megachurch pastor Rob Bell’s recent claim that the Christian church is just “moments away” from embracing gay relationships — and one Hollywood producer’s pointed message for Bible-believers.
Plus, you’ll hear about how one little Iraqi girl who lost everything at the hands of the Islamic State is showing us all what true forgiveness really means.
All that and plenty, plenty more — including evidence that Field kind of, sort of, definitely celebrated Valentine’s Day with his family, despite his disparaging claims about the coveted day of love.
Listen to it all unfold below:
The Congressional Budget Office reported Friday that the economic stimulus bill will end up increasing the national debt by $836 billion by 2019, not the $787 billion that CBO first estimated.
The nearly $50 billion difference was reported in CBO’s latest assessment of the stimulus, formally called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA.
You already think of Overstock.com as your one-stop shopping destination, a valued online partner since 1999. From furniture to jewelry, electronics to bath and beauty, Overstock.com has the highest quality items you need at the prices you love.
But did you also know Overstock.com has a rewards club to thank their best customers? It’s true! It’s called Club O and offers a myriad of exclusive member benefits. With an annual membership to Club O, you’ll get at least 5% of your purchase back and up to 40% on select items, plus FREE SHIPPING.
Join Club O now and you’ll get previews of exclusive sales events so you won’t miss out on the very best deals Overstock.com has to offer. Once you’re a member, you’ll begin earning Club O Rewards on most purchases you make at Overstock.com. Your Club O Rewards are eligible to redeem once your first order ships.
You can use your Club O rewards the moment you get them or save them for a big splurge in the future! While there are a number of exciting reasons to join Club O, perhaps the most rewarding is the FREE SHIPPING you will receive on all orders, every day of the year. With Club O, you’ll be saving extra money on top of the rewards you’re already earning!
If Club O doesn’t pay for itself, Overstock.com will make up the difference. As Club O is just $19.95 for the first year of membership and $14.95 to renew, it really is a no brainer!
The Obama administration announced Friday afternoon that it would move to stay a federal court ruling that has stalled President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration — an effort aimed at quickly winning back the right to implement Obama’s plan to protect millions of illegal immigrants.
Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas slapped an injunction on Obama’s action while it continues to hear a lawsuit brought by 26 states. On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would comply with that injunction by shutting down two major components of Obama’s action, “until further notice.”
Earlier this week, Vice President Biden made some curious claims about the cab drivers waiting outside the train station in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
“If you ever come to the train station with me, you’ll notice that I have great relationships with them because there’s an awful lot of them driving cabs and are friends of mine. For real,” Biden said at the opening of the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.
We decided to check Biden’s claims by speaking with the cabs gathered outside Wilmington’s Joseph R. Biden, Jr. train station (Amtrak changed the name to honor the vice president back in 2011).
Our unscientific survey talked to three cabbies (that’s all we found at the station).
Based on our interviews, Biden’s claim about Somalis being friends of his appears to fall flat. However, one of the three drivers interviewed was Somali immigrant. See their responses below:
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged on Thursday that he’s not completely sure the government is able to track every American who travels to and from the Middle East to fight with or otherwise aid the Islamic State.
“I have reasonable confidence that we’re tracking these people,” Johnson told CNN. “Do I have complete confidence? No, I can’t say that to the American public, but I have reasonable confidence that we’re tracking these people.”
President Barack Obama just one-upped his wife’s “Let’s Move” program, by proposing a new plan to give all fourth-grade students and their families free access to all national parks.
Obama’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative would cost about $20 million per year, and is aimed at ensuring that kids have a chance to “visit and enjoy” America’s outdoors. He proposed it in a speech in Chicago in which he also announced new national monuments in Colorado, Hawaii and Illinois.
While trudging the miles of aisles at this year’s annual Toy Industry Association Toy Fair held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City over Presidents Day weekend, two franchises leaped to mind: “The Walking Dead” and “The Hunger Games.”
Toy Fair is the huge annual “play” event that, in effect, kicks off the Christmas toy-buying season for retail stores. It’s “the Western Hemisphere’s largest and most important show,” the fair’s official website touts, “featuring the equivalent of more than seven football fields filled with brand-new toys and games.” But don’t expect to bump into ordinary moms and dads right off the street shopping for the hottest new Barbie or GI Joe. Toy Fair is exclusive to the toy trade — “13,000 buyers from close to 100 countries.” And sales of toys here are a fairly accurate barometer of what could be the hottest plaything as the months blow off the calendar.
“The Walking Dead” (and shows of similar ilk) was represented with a myriad of toys designed to help the little tykes deal with zombie infestations. Favorite among them: plush pillow toys of axes, swords — even a chainsaw — all painted with buckets of blood.
The Toy Fair’s weapon of choice dovetailed off the popularity of “The Hunger Games.” The bow and arrow — as well as two spinoffs, the crossbow and slingshot — populated many booths. And most photos and mannequins demonstrating these weapons featured preteen girls.
A kinder, gentler sort of rough stuff came from a company selling “Pillow Wars,” pillow-fight pillows. So, why not use your own pillows? When slammed down on an adversary, these specially designed softies produce exciting sound effects: “smash!”, “crack!” and other ’60s “Batman” sounds fill the air with every slam.
Oh, and the other can’t-miss toy flying everywhere at the fair? Drones, drones and still more drones. With these easy-to-control fliers in a variety of sizes, plenty of companies seemed to be getting kids ready for the future. But among the almost 1,000 vendors at the fair, only one was spotted whose sole purpose was to sell one item only: toy guns.
Mixed in among standards and classics like Apples to Apples and Chutes and Ladders were several games that many would find offensive. Topping the list of bottom-feeders: “Who Tooted?” (complete with a little plastic bent-over man with a pffft-ing sound effect) and “Poopyhead” (anyone in for some cartoonish plastic poo?). By the way, this poo-ticular company hails from Rotterdam.
When a vendor was asked about her “Fifty Shades of Grey” board game (too soon?), she said the basic edition was not that raunchy, but the special red-box edition pulled no punches (sadistically speaking).
A bobblehead manufacturer included both the famous and infamous in its collection. On the upper-most shelf were the highest echelon of achievers — and Jesus was right there, bobbing his head along with the pope to his right and Marie Curie and Nikola Tesla to his left. (We looked and looked but could not find the bobble head of the Prophet Muhammad.)
Here’s a wrap-up of several toys with an interesting “variation on a theme” that were scattered throughout the show:
• Yoga Joes: Those green army men are now “a nonviolent toy” (according to the promotional material) and being put to good use doing yoga stretches and contortions. This company was a Kick Starter venture begun in September of last year.
• Shoot the Bird! Cuckoo Clock: When the bird pops out screeching “cuckoo!” it won’t shut up until you shoot it with the special plastic pistol.
• Crawling Hand: Peter Lorre battling “The Beast with Five Fingers” from the 1946 horror film springs to mind with this battery-powered, finger-drumming hand (and, yes, there’s a green, rotted-flesh zombie version, as well).
• The Green Game: In the save-the-planet category, this particular board game instructs players on how to be good to Mother Earth. And it’s not just rolling the dice on future survival, either — a seed packet is part of every box.
• Cash’n Guns: According to the pitch on the back of the board game’s box, “Gangsters have just committed the robbery of the century, but now comes the most difficult part: Sharing the loot!”
• Personally Incorrect: This is another game that fits squarely in the raunchy category. It’s a card game a la Mad Libs in which the grossest response wins: convince your fellow players that you’re a real loser and you’re the winner. A game rep revealed that it was created in response to another incredibly similar game called “Cards Against Humanity — A party game for horrible people.”
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Small-business entrepreneurship was encouraged in an area comprised of about 15 reps (but then, Toy Fair is really a show for the big boys of the toy world to come out to play). One woman in particular was representing Bizainy, a company with about a dozen boxed kits designed to encourage children and their families to create enterprises. Titles include setting up bake sales, lemonade stands, babysitting — and the family is provided with all the instructions and paraphernalia needed to get the business off the ground. Fundraising, how to manage the business’ profits (like the wisdom of saving for the future), are all part of the package.
The annual Toy Fair is a fun way to check out the psyche of America’s playtime. Hey, how else would we have learned that a crossbow was the best way to rid the world of its No. 1 threat: zombies?
Take a quick, one-minute video-tour of Toy Fair 2015 here…
Nearly two dozen House Democrats this week charged that Republicans are trying to undermine President Barack Obama’s ongoing nuclear talks with Iran by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress next month.
For that reason, they asked Boehner to postpone the visit to a later date.
The Justice Department is expected to announce shortly that it won’t charge the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown last year, but is also expected to pressure the Ferguson Police Department to make changes to eliminate its discriminatory practices.
The department launched probes into Officer Darren Wilson and the entire police department after Brown was shot, an event that also triggered riots in Missouri last year.
A federal court gave Republicans a huge win this week by blocking President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, but a Senate Republican said that decision is exactly why Republicans should drop their legislative fight to defund Obama’s immigration plans.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suggested on Thursday that in light of the injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Republicans should stop trying to defund Obama’s immigration action through legislation that also funds the Department of Homeland Security.
If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like when your animal drinks – from the water bowl’s perspective — wonder no more.
The Ramat Gan Safari in Israel posted a video showing its animals taking their refreshments as a camera mounted at the bottom of their water troughs captured the moment.
Sadly, Jengo the giraffe featured in the video died earlier this month following complications after surgery.
(H/T: Times of Israel)
We’ve all had it happen: That moment we’re talking about something and completely lose our train of thought.
That’s what happened to Brad when he was being interviewed about a girl being rescued in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area after she fell through the ice.
Here’s how it unfolded on WTVD-TV:
The girl ended up being okay. But not surprisingly, Brad’s brain fart didn’t make it on the next newscast:
Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that it’s crucial for the U.S. and its allies to understand what motivates people to join and fight for the Islamic State, just a day after Glenn Beck offered very similar advice for countering the terrorist group.
“Why do people make what to many of us would seem to be an utterly wrongheaded choice, and become the kind of terrorist that we’re seeing?” Kerry said Thursday on the last day of the Obama administration’s summit on how to counter violent extremism.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday morning that the U.S. must put American troops on the ground in the Middle East again, not only to fight the Islamic State, but also to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“We’re going to have to put boots on the ground, my friend, and we’re going to have to do a lot more things than we’re doing now if we’re going to stem this tide and stop this horrific killing that’s going on,” he said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Following Joe Biden’s much talked-about groping incident during Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony for new Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, America’s comedy muscles began flexing.
The moment was fodder for people skilled in using the image editing program Photoshop.
Some took the opportunity to remind the world just how often the vice president gets “handsy” during White House ceremonies and campaign swings:
Late night television also piled on, with David Letterman marking Biden’s latest laughable moment with a “Top 10 List”:
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Wednesday stressed that the Obama administration’s immediate goal in the war against the Islamic State is to kill active members of that terrorist group, and that exploring the root causes of the group’s growing strength is a longer-term plan meant to compliment military action.
Another spokeswoman for State, Marie Harf, has been criticized this week for saying, “we cannot kill our way out of this war,” and that the U.S. needs to explore ways to ensure young men in the region are given other job opportunities. When asked about those comments Wednesday, Psaki said the primary mission of the U.S. is to kill terrorists.
While you watch tonight’s season premiere episode of For the Record, “Unreliable,” join the conversation here with producers and reporters at TheBlaze. We’ll have behind-the-scenes pictures and details, related links, polls and much more. The live blog begins at 8 p.m. ET.
And stay tuned after “For the Record” for a live Q&A featuring YOUR questions with TheBlaze TV and radio host Buck Sexton. It all begins tonight at 8 p.m. ET, only on TheBlaze TV — all part of #SpyWeek.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Wednesday that President Barack Obama has imposed a failed, aimless foreign policy that has seen the U.S. shirk its role as a world leader, and led other countries to lose trust and faith in the United States.
Bush, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said Obama’s failure is especially notable given Obama’s promise to strengthen engagement with other countries. He said that time and time again, the Obama administration has disengaged with countries such as Russia, and has even created alarming distance between the U.S. and firm allies like Israel.