News/Politics 8-30-13

What’s interesting in the news today?

The President seems determined to push ahead with his plan for Syria, despite losing the UK and France.

From Politico President Barack Obama’s latest geopolitical problem: His closest ally won’t help him attack Syria.

But he is not letting that stop him.

Britain’s House of Commons on Thursday evening rejected a  motion from Prime Minister David Cameron to endorse British participation in  military action in Syria, potentially hurting Obama’s effort to punish the  Bashar Assad regime for its reported use of chemical weapons.

The White House made clear after the vote that it is willing to act alone on Syria.”

More here, from TheNYTimes  “The negative vote in Britain’s Parliament was a heavy blow to Prime Minister David Cameron, who had pledged his support to Mr. Obama and called on lawmakers to endorse Britain’s involvement in a brief operation to punish the government of President Bashar al-Assad for apparently launching a deadly chemical weapons attack last week that killed hundreds.       

The vote was also a setback for Mr. Obama, who, having given up hope of getting United Nations Security Council authorization for the strike, is struggling to assemble a coalition of allies against Syria.”

“But administration officials made clear that the eroding support would not deter Mr. Obama in deciding to go ahead with a strike. Pentagon officials said that the Navy had now moved a fifth destroyer into the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Each ship carries dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles that would probably be the centerpiece of any attack on Syria.”

Who’s the cowboy now?


Don’t know if this will be useful to anyone, but I figured I’d throw it out there. There is help, but it isn’t easy to do.

From MSNNews  “More than 33 million workers qualify to have their student loans forgiven because they work in schools, hospitals or city halls, but too few take advantage of the options because the programs are overly complicated and often confusing, the government’s consumer advocate said Wednesday.

Roughly a quarter of the U.S. workforce could take advantage of federal rules that give favorable loan repayment options to those in public service fields, including the military, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency recommended Congress review the loan forgiveness programs and encouraged employers to make sure their workers know they are available.

“Teachers, soldiers, firefighters, policeman — public sector careers invariably involve some effort, some inconvenience or some sacrifice. People give up higher incomes to serve their city, their state or their country,” said Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB. “We believe that people who contribute part of their talents, part of the benefits of their education, to society as a whole should not be mired in debt because they stir themselves to the calling of public service.”


The Affordable Care Act is not, unless you make under 20 grand a year.

From NationalJournal  “For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers’ monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act.

Health law proponents have excused the rate hikes by saying the prices in the exchange won’t apply to the millions receiving coverage from their employers. But that’s only if employers continue to offer that coverage–something that’s looking increasingly uncertain. Already, UPS, for example, cited Obamacare as its reason for nixing spousal coverage. And while a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 49 percent of the U.S. population now receives employer-sponsored coverage, more companies are debating whether they will continue to be in the business of providing such benefits at all.”

“The truth is, Obamacare is doing what it was intended to do: make health care affordable for the nation’s lowest earners by spreading out the costs among taxpayers.

The trap is that the exchanges also present a savings for some employers but a rate hike for their employees.”


Fast food workers staged walkouts nationwide yesterday for higher wages.

From MyWayNews/AP  “Fast-food workers and their supporters beat drums, blew whistles and chanted slogans Thursday on picket lines in dozens of U.S. cities, marking the largest protests yet in their quest for higher wages.

The nationwide day of demonstrations came after similar actions organized by unions and community groups over the past several months. Workers are calling for the right to unionize without interference from employers and for pay of $15 an hour. That’s more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 a year for full-time employees.

Thursday’s walkouts and protests reached about 60 cities, including New York, Chicago and Detroit, organizers said. But the turnout varied significantly. Some targeted restaurants were temporarily unable to do business because they had too few employees, and others seemingly operated normally.”


New federal tax laws will treat “married” gay couples in all 50 states as married now, regardless of their state laws.

From Bloomberg  “Gay Spouses in All States Now Married Under U.S. Tax Law”

Gay spouses in all U.S. states will be treated as married under federal tax law even if local authorities don’t recognize their marriages, in what gay-rights advocates are calling a victory.

The decision by the Treasury Department today implements the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had forbidden the Internal Revenue Service from letting married homosexual couples file joint tax returns.

More here from TheWashingtonTimes

And Medicare benefits as well. More on that from TheWeeklyStandard 


23 thoughts on “News/Politics 8-30-13

  1. This from Drudge. It is caused by global warming, of course.
    It’s winter down there, you know.

    Peru Declares State of Emergency in Puno as Temperatures Drop
    August 28, 2013 by Andean Air Mail & PERUVIAN TIMES •
    Peru’s government has declared a state of emergency in parts of the southern Andean region of Puno that have been hit with the coldest temperatures in a decade, daily El Comercio reported.
    President Ollanta Humala, visiting the area this week, announced the emergency for seven provinces in Puno – Carabaya, Sandia, Lampa, San Antonio de Putina, Melgar, Puno and El Collao.
    Hundreds of families have been affected and more than 250,000 alpacas have died due to freezing temperatures and snow storms that have hit the southern highlands.


  2. Seems the administration is a bit “stuck” now with its position on Syria.

    They’ve boxed themselves into a move that, with more consideration, now appears to offer only a lose-lose result. But backing out of the declaration to act also presents only a downside (though now appears to be the best/wisest option).

    My guess is that they’re trying frantically to come up with a way out of it that can save face.

    What a strange 8 years this will have been when we all look back on it.


  3. Almost all presidents since WWII have the same foreign policy direction and Obama’s no different. Politicians may differ on domestic and local issues, but generally they are the same on foreign issues. Despite opposition from the left and the right, the elites who matter have decided its out with Assad.

    Unfortunately for Obama, Cameroon, unlike Blair, has a minority in Parliament and relies on other parties for support and even his own party is not supportive. The French might come through as they see Syria/Lebanon as their traditional area of influence. Hopefully the Cameroon defeat will slow things down until at least UN inspectors leave, giving a few days to find a way to save face.

    Canada has similar loan forgiveness programs ie they don’t exist unless you specifically ask and wear them down with a 30 minute phone call going through 3 levels of management.

    Chas — its climate change — most models predict that the overall increase in temperature by about 2-3 degrees will result in warmer or colder climates depending on where you live — for example most models predict increased warmer temperature in eastern North America but cooler temperature in north west Europe.


  4. If the inspectors come back with an ambiguous report, it would give the administration the best way out of it’s corner. And I think the new Arab-spring styled Middle East presents the U.S. with some very new foreign policy challenges from here on out. There is often no side one can morally support, frankly. I suspect we’re in for a period of pulling back to the sidelines militarily unless the the issues become more clear-cut with regard to our interests. Of course, there’s always a nuclear-armed Iran and our friend Israel to worry about, too.

    But I think the clout the U.S. once had is fast waning at this stage in history. The current Syria debacle — with no ‘graceful’ way out — only hastens that trend.

    It will be interesting to see how the projections for global climate change pan out over time. I don’t doubt that climate is changing — it always has. Some of it, indeed, may be caused by man.

    But seriously, the Al Gore-style hysteria is almost laughable. It’s become so agenda-driven that real science has little to do with it anymore. It’s become a parody.



    I will say that the climate change mania has prompted a rush to environmentally “clean up,” and that’s, for the most part, a good thing (although with it also comes the usual government overreach, but I suppose it’s all a trade-off).

    How much it ultimately impacts overall worldwide “climate” remains to be seen and studied by the scientists. Not some agenda-driven politician. Please.

    We do like to lose our heads from time to time, don’t we?


  6. HRW,

    “Chas — its climate change — most models predict that the overall increase in temperature by about 2-3 degrees will result in warmer or colder climates depending on where you live — for example most models predict increased warmer temperature in eastern North America but cooler temperature in north west Europe.”

    Yeah, here’s the problem with that, for the first time in about 50 years we here in NE Pa. will not hit 90 for the entire month of August. August is usually one of our 2 hottest months, with half the days in the 90’s. This month we had a week where it barely made it out of the 70’s. Warming? Not this year.


  7. Syria is a no win scenario. We have no vested interest in getting involved in their civil war. Just like Iraq, the Syrian struggle is between the Shia and the Sunni.

    Obama must get Congressional approval before proceeding with any military actions against Syria. Personally, I think mining their harbors and shore lines would be the best and most cost effective means to hold Assad accountable. Lobbing cruise missiles into Syria with no effective continuum to deal with the situation is stupid and costly. Mining the harbor and shore line of Syria along with the harbors and shorelines of Iran would be a lot more effective. Modern day mines can be equipped with their own passive sonar to listen and head directly for ships carrying munitions.


  8. Climate is always changing one way or another. The thing wring with this is that people think they can affect climate. If men could change climate, why don’t they make Siberia warmer, the Sahara and central Australia wetter?
    As I said, I’m still stuck in the “coming Ice age”. Problem is, there’s no money in that.


  9. The purpose is, of course, is defacto recognizition by states that don’t recognize same sex marriage. Most states, like NC have a one page form that replicates the federal form with a few adjustments. NC doesn’t recognize same sex marriage. I’m certain they won’t adjust their forms.


  10. AJ — Last year was the hottest summer on record in Ontario. This year is about average. In terms of trends, summer temperatures have been going up since the 1980s with the top 10 hottest summers occurring in the last 25 years. And southern Ontario winters have never been milder. Overall the climate is getting warmer here.

    Donna’s right. Even if the scientist is wrong and we cleaned up the environment, eliminate air pollution, find alternate sources of energy is that really a bad thing?


  11. It isn’t bad if it works. What doesn’t make sense is putting up windmills that kill the birds and won’t purnish enough energy to make it profitable. I’ve said before. How many windmills to power Fort Worth? How many solar panels? Why shoul we turn corn into ethanol to replace something that is more efficient?
    I had a solar panel on the roof of my house in Annandale. I got it when there were tax rebates and it made economic sense. It wasn’t worth a lot, but worth what it cost me. But someone had to pay for it. It doesn’t make sense.
    I’m not against coservation. We recycle almot everything.
    We turn off lights and turn down the heat.
    The problemisn’t the concept, it’s the exploitation of the ideas by the bureaucracy. Ethanol. 😦
    Shutting off the pipeline as if there weren’t already thousands of miles of pipelines already.
    The bureacracies are the problem.
    They are there to regulate.
    Regulate they will.


  12. If we play our cards right, maybewe can get Syria to build a structure out in the desert that we can blow up, so we can say, “See i told you”.


  13. The climate change fraud is not promoting the actual “clean-up” of the environment. It has discouraged the production and use of efficient fuels like oil and gas while promoting inefficient or bogus sources of energy such as wind, solar and algae. The consumers and the taxpayers are the big losers and the big winners are con artists like Al Gore who form various “green” companies and get their govt. buddies to hand them subsidies. I’m going to drive my 300 hp sports car as much as I want no matter the price of gas, but I hate to see con artists enriched and poor people tagged with higher prices because of a myth. However, the current crop of Americans appear extremely easy to brainwash: “Global warming”, “War on Terror”, and “they are born that way” are just a few of the widely accepted myths. Americans have lost their ability to think critically and are influenced by people like Oprah or Obama who appeal to their emotions.


  14. Good point, Donna. It is very interesting to compare Little Bush’s behavior to that of Carter who was constantly sniping at Reagan even as Reagan was cleaning up his messes.


  15. Exactly, rickyweaver. I have a lot of respect for the way he’s conducted himself when given an opening to criticize his successor. Considering how viciously he was maligned while he was in office (and even since then), he seems to have walked away without a chip on his shoulder or the desire to get back at his critics.


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