What’s Up June 3, 2013?

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· Obama was pushed by Clintons into endorsement of Hillary in 2016: Book – President Obama made a secret deal to support Hillary Clinton when she runs for president in 2016, campaign sources say, payback for the support her husband gave him in 2012.

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Bill Clinton’s animosity toward Obama is legendary. A year before the last election, he was urging Hillary to challenge the sitting president for the nomination — a move she rejected.

According to two people who attended that meeting in Chappaqua, Bill Clinton then went on a rant against Obama.

“I’ve heard more from Bush, asking for my advice, than I’ve heard from Obama,” my sources quoted Clinton as saying. “I have no relationship with the president — none whatsoever. Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the world works. He’s incompetent. He’s an amateur!”

For his part, Obama wasn’t interested in Bill Clinton upstaging him during the presidential campaign. He resisted giving him any role at the convention.

But as last summer wore on, and Democrat enthusiasm waned, chief political strategist David Axelrod convinced the president that he needed Bill Clinton’s mojo.

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A deal was struck: Clinton would give the key nominating speech at the convention, and a full-throated endorsement of Obama. In exchange, Obama would endorse Hillary Clinton as his successor.

Clinton’s speech was as promised; columnists pointed out the surprising enthusiasm in which he described the president. It also lived up to Obama’s fears, as more people talked about Clinton’s speech in the weeks following than his own.

But after his re-election, Obama began to have second thoughts. He would prefer to stay neutral in the next election, as is traditional of outgoing presidents.

Bill Clinton went ballistic and threatened retaliation. Obama backed down. He called his favorite journalist, Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes,” and offered an unprecedented “farewell interview” with departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The result was a slobbering televised love-in — and an embarrassment to all concerned.

It is just one of the debacles that have marked Obama’s second term, from Benghazi to the IRS scandal. While he was effective on the campaign trail, once in the Oval Office, he becomes a different person, one who derives no joy from the cut and thrust of day-to-day politics and who is inept in the arts of management and governance.

Obama has made a lot of promises — and nothing ever happened.

He once boasted that he’d bring the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table and create a permanent peace in the Middle East. Nothing happened.

He said he’d open a constructive dialogue with America’s enemies in Iran and North Korea and, through his special powers of persuasion, help them see the error of their ways. And nothing happened.

He said he’d solve the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and put millions of people back to work. And nothing happened.

He may yet try to back out of his promise to Hillary Clinton. But as Obama’s presidency sinks deeper into scandal and inaction, the question is — will Clinton even still want his endorsement? Story Continued

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Brokaw: ‘It’s Tough to See How’ Holder Keeps His Job TOM BROKAW, FORMER NBC NIGHTLY NEWS ANCHOR: I talked over the weekend to a very, very senior ex-intelligence official from United States government, and he laughed. He said, “Look, this administration and all prior administrations have used classified material when it’s been to their political advantage.” And he was astonished by the way that Eric Holder, the chief legal officer of the United States, has recused himself in the Associated Press case. So we still have a way to go here, David.

DAVID GREGORY, HOST: Do you think– you’ve seen these kinds of investigations before meaning the Judiciary Investigation Committee, investigation of the Attorney General, this could be elongated. You have this morning on The New York Times government officials talking off the record or on background about his effectiveness. Does he stay in the job?

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BROKAW: Boy, I think it’s tough to see how he does at this case, but it’s up to the president. That– what we’re seeing in The New York Times today is that familiar Washington two-step. Officially, getting the endorsement of people like David Axelrod and– and the spokesman for the president, but at the same time, there’s another part of that two-step that is going on which people are saying it would be better if he left. It would be better for the president to get this cleaned up.

He has become obviously the lightning rod for a lot of the criticism just on this panel and certainly in Republican circles. From a political point of view, one of the ways that you can measure the impact of all of this and the fairness of it is think if this had happened in the Bush administration with John Ashcroft as the Attorney General. You know full well that the Democrats and the left would be going very hard after them with these issues that are in play.

To be sure, Brokaw is no Walter Cronkite, but if Holder has lost him, the Attorney General’s in a heap of trouble.

Also interesting was Brokaw’s final comment concerning how the left would be reacting if the players in this scandal were named Ashcroft and Bush.

Indeed, it would be far different particularly in the media.

Why might that be? Story Continued

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· Two-Thirds of Americans Don’t Know If They Will Insure Under Obamacare   There’s no assurance folks will be buying insurance under Obamacare, and that could spell trouble for the Affordable Care Act.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans who currently lack health insurance don’t know yet if they will purchase that coverage by the Jan. 1 deadline set by the ACA, a new survey revealed Monday.

And less than half of those in the survey released by InsuranceQuotes.com think they’ll get better health care after Obamacare takes full effect. Nearly 50 percent believe the ACA will make it more difficult for them to get tests and procedures done in a timely manner, according to the phone survey of 1,001 adult Americans conducted in early May.

And a whopping 68 percent of low-income Americans aren’t sure they qualify for tax credits that would subsidize their purchase of health insurance—despite they fact that they almost invariably will qualify, the survey found. That population is most likely to benefit from government subsidies under the health-care reform law.

Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com, said public uncertainty about Obamacare—particularly a lack of commitment to signing up—could end up driving up health-insurance costs under the program because not enough healthy people will participate to offset benefits payouts.

“I was really shocked that 64 percent [of uninsured adults] said they haven’t decided if they will purchase insurance by the Jan. 1 deadline,” Adams said. “I was definitely surprised by the high number of people who really have no clue what they’re going to do next year.”

“We don’t want these consumers to miss this key deadline,” she said, adding that new heath-care exchanges under Obamacare will begin accepting applications for insurance in less than four months. “They’re going to potentially go without health care for the entire year.”

In other findings of the survey, more than 60 percent of Americans said they fear Obamacare will lead to increased health-care costs.

Just 26 percent predicted such costs will go down under the program, according the survey by Insurance Quotes, which provides an online marketplace for consumers and insurers to seek and provide quotes for insurance coverage. The web site is part of Bankrate Insurance, an online network owned by Bankrate.com.

A total of 61 percent of the uninsured they don’t having insurance because they can’t afford it, the survey found. And a total of 58 percent of all adults—insured or otherwise—didn’t know if they will be eligible for tax credits to offset their purchase of health insurance, even though a married couple with two kids could make up to $94,000 and still qualify.

The survey, which was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, had an overall margin of error of 3.6 percent. At total of 83 percent of those surveyed currently have health insurance, while 17 percent were uninsured—which tracks that national proportions.

Under the ACA, uninsured Americans have until the beginning of 2014 to purchase insurance through health-care exchanges being set up nationwide or other venues—or face a financial penalty. That penalty is equal to $95 per adult, and $47.50 per child, up to a maximum of $285—or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater.

Those penalties will escalate in future years.

Adams of InsuranceQuotes.com said uninsured people might be holding off making a decision on buying health insurance because “folks are saying that the penalty is low.”

“But I have a feeling that it’s more that they’re not educated,” she said.

“It’s not surprising that people are confused and uninformed,” Adams said. “It’s a complicated system. It involves a lot of detail that the average person, unfortunately, is not going to grasp.”

That confusion not only could hurt individuals’ wallets—by making them pay out-of-pocket for health care as needed—but also put financial pressure on insurers offering coverage through exchanges set up under the ACA.

That system is predicated on the theory that enough healthy people will enroll and buy insurance so that their premiums will offset the costs of benefits for less healthy people in the same plan. If not enough healthy people sign up, Adams noted, insurers will be on the hook for the benefit payouts regardless, cutting into, or erasing their profits.

“If only the sick enroll,” Adams warned, “it could be very precarious for the industry and the cost of insurance.”

Adams said ignorance could hit lower-income Americans particularly hard.

“There were 68 percent of people who are earning under $30,000, who are not sure what they’re going to do,” Adams said, despite the fact that “they are certainly eligible” for tax credits to offset the costs of buying insurance under the ACA.

“They should” sign up, she said.

Adams noted that if poor adults without dependents live in states that are not expanding their Medicaid programs under Obamacare, they risk not being covered by that health-insurance program despite making the same low wages as adults who have dependents. Story Continued

· Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arresteesA sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday said police can routinely take DNA from people they arrest, equating a DNA cheek swab to other common jailhouse procedures like fingerprinting.

“Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court’s five-justice majority.

But the four dissenting justices said that the court was allowing a major change in police powers.

“Make no mistake about it: because of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason,” conservative Justice Antonin Scalia said in a sharp dissent which he read aloud in the courtroom.

At least 28 states and the federal government now take DNA swabs after arrests. But a Maryland court was one of the first to say that it was illegal for that state to take Alonzo King’s DNA without approval from a judge, saying King had “a sufficiently weighty and reasonable expectation of privacy against warrantless, suspicion less searches.”

But the high court’s decision reverses that ruling and reinstates King’s rape conviction, which came after police took his DNA during an unrelated arrest. Kennedy wrote the decision, and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Scalia was joined in his dissent by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Getting DNA swabs from criminals is common. All 50 states and the federal government take cheek swabs from convicted criminals to check against federal and state databanks, with the court’s blessing. The fight at the Supreme Court was over whether that DNA collection could come before conviction and without a judge issuing a warrant.

According to court documents, the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System or CODIS – a coordinated system of federal, state and local databases of DNA profiles – already contains more than 10 million criminal profiles and 1.1 million profiles of those arrested.

In the case before the court, a 53-year-old woman was raped and robbed but no one was arrested. Almost six years later, Alonzo King was arrested and charged with felony second-degree assault. Taking advantage of the Maryland law that allowed warrantless DNA tests following some felony arrests, police took a cheek swab of King’s DNA, which matched a sample from the 2003 Salisbury rape. King was convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison.

King eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault from his arrest, a crime for which Maryland cannot take warrantless DNA samples. The state courts said it violated King’s rights for the state to take his DNA based on an arrest alone. The state Court of Appeals said King had “a sufficiently weighty and reasonable expectation of privacy against warrantless, suspicion less searches.” But the high court’s decision reinstates King’s conviction.

Maryland stopped collecting DNA after that decision, but Roberts allowed police to keep collecting DNA samples pending the high court’s review. Story Continued

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· GOP sees reasons for optimism in 2014 for Senate; retiring or vulnerable Democrats open door

It’s early — 17 months early — but Republicans have reason to be optimistic about the way the 2014 Senate races are shaping up around the county, especially in South Dakota and West Virginia, where Democratic incumbents are retiring.

Republicans also have solid options emerging in Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina, red states where Democratic incumbents are considered vulnerable.

Almost a year-and-a-half out from the 2014 midterm elections, when 35 seats — 21 now held by Democrats and 14 by Republicans — will be up for grabs, a GOP road map for picking up the six seats needed to retake control of the Senate is taking shape.

A key stop on that map is South Dakota.

Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson’s decision to step down at the end of his current term has created an opening for either former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, who has declared his candidacy, or freshman GOP Rep. Kristi L. Noem, who is flirting with a bid.

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Whoever emerges as the GOP nominee is thought to have the upper hand after former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin opted out of the race, leaving long-shot Rick Welland, a former aide to retired Sen. Tom Daschle, as the likely Democratic nominee.

Two more promising pickup possibilities are in Louisiana, where Rep. Bill Cassidy is off to a strong fundraising start in a GOP primary race that could get crowded, and West Virginia, where Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is holding a lead in a state that strongly backed Mitt Romney last year.

Outside those three states, the map is less clear.

In Nebraska, two prominent Republicans passed on a run for retiring Sen. Mike Johanns‘ open seat — opening the door for a dark horse like Ben Sasse, a former George W. Bush administration official the GOP may turn to in hopes of offering voters a fresh face who could keep the seat in its corner.

And in Montana, Democrats are waiting to see whether popular incumbent Gov. Brian Schweitzer will jump into the Senate race, which could seriously damage GOP hopes of grabbing that seat.

Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said the 2012 presidential election shows where the Republican opportunities can be found. They need to recapture six seats in seven states that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried last year.

The party’s problem, one observer said, is getting the right people to run.

“Their recruiting has gone poorly so far in places like Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Virginia,” Mr. Kondik said. “So, despite having a big map to play offense on, in reality the Republican road appears to be narrowing to the red presidential states: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. Luckily for them, Republicans can capture the Senate without winning a single seat in Obama states.”

Part of the challenge is to find new faces the party can turn to as it continues to shed the image it had during the Bush administration and to meld tea-party enthusiasm with candidates who bring campaign experience.

Seeking a challenger to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, the GOP is eyeing former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown, who lost his seat to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in the 2012 election and has not ruled out a Granite State run. Story Continued

· Center For American Progress President Shares Part In Obamacare: “I Helped Write The Bill

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT OF CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: If I were a conservative, I would just say, ‘I won.’ Okay? They have a centrist plan, there’s competition.

JAMES POULOS, HUFFINGTON POST & FORBES : You have everything that’s wrong with capitalism and everything that’s wrong with big government. Big business and big government partnering together to create this hodgepodge of a thing —

TANDEN: Why is that a hodgepodge? Why do you keep saying these words like hodgepodge?

POULOS: Have you read the bill?

TANDEN: Yes. I helped write the bill. So yes, I read the bill. I read all 2,200 pages of the bill. And you know like Dodd-Frank and the immigration bill? These are all long bills. The number of pages don’t matter to how complicated it is. There’s been a lot of rhetoric for years. When you have people who can afford healthcare for the first time. When we have a country where you no longer have to go bankrupt because of your healthcare costs. (HBO’s Real Time, May 31, 2013) Story Continued and to watch the video

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4 Comments

Filed under Left - Off Base, Politics from Just Right of Center - I want Balance!, Right - too Religous for me

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