Up to 1,300 troops will deploy to Baghdad in January

Iraqi FreedomBack in November, Barack Obama authorized to deploy up to 1,500 troops in Iraq. In January, the Pentagon will make good on that authorization by sending up to 1,300 troops to Baghdad:

The Pentagon has announced that up to 1,300 U.S. troops would be sent to Iraq in the New Year, despite promises by President Barack Obama that there would be “no boots on the ground” in Iraq or Syria.

Announcement of the new deployments to Baghdad was made to service members and the media just days before Christmas.

These troops, most of them from combat divisions, will deploy to Baghdad in “late January,” according to a Pentagon spokesman.

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel officially “authorized” the deployment, which will consist of around 1,000 soldiers from the Fort Bragg-based 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

“They will begin to deploy in late January and their mission will be to train, advise, and assist Iraqi security forces,” according to Pentagon Spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

Obama needs to decide: Is he pulling troops out of Iraq or isn’t he?

Merry Christmas: CMS wants to choose your health insurance for you

costs_zps11e3f23cObamacare is a government-mandated policy of the worst kind, but at least consumers have the privilege of choosing for themselves which unaffordable health care plan they buy into, right? That’s true for now, but it might not be in a matter of days.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a new rule that would allow CMS to re-enroll anyone who has not re-enrolled themselves on HealthCare.gov into a cheaper plan of CMS’ choosing. And, as Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) writes, CMS plans to implement this rule on Christmas, of all days:

That’s right, the government will choose your plan, perhaps limit access to your doctor, and ultimately make the decision on what is “best” for you.

Not to worry, just like Lady Justice, who wears a blindfold when determining guilt or innocence, CMS will use a blindfold to pick your plan. The agency will select your plan without knowing your medical history. They will do so without knowing if you are currently undergoing treatment or working with a specific doctor. They will do so without knowing your financial status. Despite the fact that the millions of people who already enrolled chose the plan that they believed was best for them.

CMS has laid the perfect trap: Sign up at healthcare.gov one time in your life and we will never let you go. If you don’t continually re-enroll each and every year, CMS will keep you on the plan that it chooses because, after all, CMS knows what’s best and they always make the best decision. Oh, and if you don’t believe that, please go to the 600 million dollar website that will give you all kinds of testimonials handcrafted by MIT professors.

To be clear, a citizen will sign up once for a private plan with a healthcare provider, only to have that plan changed by the federal government. Moreover, CMS will change your plan after the open enrollment period ends, leaving you and your family stuck with a potentially unwanted plan for the year.

If you weren’t already turned off of Obamacare, this should certainly do the trick. It’s one thing to have your pick of government-mandated health care; it’s quite another for the government pick the plan for you, without your consent.

Obama, McCain have differing views on Sony hack

north-koreaThe hack of Sony Pictures by the North Korean government and the studio’s subsequent cancelation of the release of the comedy film “The Interview” has officially transcended Hollywood and made its way to Capitol Hill. The issue dominated the news airwaves Sunday and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) has called for Congress to hold hearings on the cyberattack.

However, lawmakers’ opinions differ on the exact nature and seriousness of the attack. Speaking with CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday’s “State of the Union,” Barack Obama said that the hack was not an act of war, but one of “cybervandalism”:

“It was an act of cybervandalism,” Obama said in an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley that aired Sunday on “State of the Union.”

Obama said that the United States is going review whether to put North Korea back on a list of states that sponsor terrorism.

“We’ve got very clear criteria as to what it means for a state to sponsor terrorism. And we don’t make those judgments just based on the news of the day,” he said. “We look systematically at what’s been done and based on those facts, we’ll make those determinations in the future.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), on the other hand, stated on the exact same program that he believes the attack was “a new form of warfare”:

“I think, again, the president does not understand this is a manifestation of a new form of warfare,” McCain told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “When you destroy economies, when you are able to impose censorship on the world — and especially the United States of America — it’s more than vandalism, it’s a new form of warfare that we’re involved in, and we need to react and react vigorously.”

Many Americans, especially those in Hollywood, have recognized that Sony’s mishandling of the situation has set up a dangerous precedent for censorship. It is crucial that our lawmakers don’t back down or turn a blind eye to North Korea’s threats, but it’s just as important that our businesses don’t bow down to them. North Korea has no say in our First Amendment rights.

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Hope for Hollywood as Clooney fails to get signers for petition in support of Sony

66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra)

George Clooney: No One In Hollywood Wanted To Help Sony

While some celebrities have been very vocal in their defense of Sony Pictures following a massive cyber attack that led to the cancelation of “The Interview,” George Clooney says those voices are an exception. In an interview with Deadline.com, Clooney revealed he tried to get major Hollywood players to sign a petition in support of Sony, and all declined.

It was sent to basically the heads of every place,” Clooney said. Having said that, it was used as a weapon of fear, not only for everyone to disassociate themselves from Amy but also to feel the fear themselves. He did not call for Pascal’s resignation.Clooney joins a growing list of celebrities who are outraged over the events that led Sony to pull “The Interview” from theaters.

While some celebrities have been very vocal in their defense of Sony Pictures following a massive cyber attack that led to the cancelation of “The Interview,” George Clooney says those voices are an exception. In an interview with Deadline.com, Clooney revealed he tried to get major Hollywood players to sign a petition in support of Sony, and all declined.

“It was a large number of people. It was sent to basically the heads of every place,” Clooney said. According to the star, parties who received the letter told his agent that they couldn’t sign in support.

Clooney’s letter — the full version of which can be read at Deadline.com — included a plea for studios to understand that the attack wasn’t just limited to Sony Pictures.

It involves every studio, every network, every business and every individual in this country. That is why we fully support Sony’s decision not to submit to these hackers’ demands. We know that to give in to these criminals now will open the door for any group that would threaten freedom of expression, privacy and personal liberty. We hope these hackers are brought to justice but until they are, we will not stand in fear. We will stand together.As part of the cyber attack, emails from top Sony executives leaked online and were published by media outlets. One note, between Sony co-chair Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin, was widely circulated because the pair mocked President Barack Obama.

“After the Obama joke, no one was going to get on the side of Amy, and so suddenly, everyone ran for the hills,” Clooney said to Deadline.com. “Look, I can’t make an excuse for that joke, it is what it is, a terrible mistake. Having said that, it was used as a weapon of fear, not only for everyone to disassociate themselves from Amy but also to feel the fear themselves. They know what they themselves have written in their emails, and they’re afraid.”

Pascal has since apologized for the email. On Thursday, she met with Al Sharpton to discuss diversity in Hollywood.

“The jury is still out with where we go with Amy,” Sharpton said during a news conference following his meeting with Pascal. He did not call for Pascal’s resignation.

Clooney joins a growing list of celebrities who are outraged over the events that led Sony to pull “The Interview” from theaters. Judd Apatow, Aaron Sorkin, Steve Carell, Ben Stiller and many others have spoken out in the last few days as well.

“I think every business has the right to do whatever they want, but when — en masse — all of these businesses decide not to present a movie, they’re basically setting themselves up for other people to threaten them,” Apatow told Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman. “Our community is based on freedom of expression. Are we going to suppress ourselves every time someone posts something online? It’s a dark future.”

 

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/19/george-clooney-sony_n_6353812.html Reproduced with permission.

A way out of Obamacare?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometime soon, the Supreme Court will rule on the Obamacare case of state versus federal exchanges.

As you may know, the statutory language of the Obamacare bill clearly states only health insurance exchanges set up by state governments are eligible for Obama’s health insurance credits. Obama’s bureaucrats ignored this and offered credits in state which did not create the so-called exchanges.

Here’s a possible road ahead should the Supreme Court rightly strike down Obama’s illegal credits:

If the Court strikes down the credits Republicans should offer legislation to “allow any state to opt out of all of ObamaCare’s mandates, regulations, taxes and requirements, and instead opt into a far simpler and more flexible alternative system.” If the law were enacted, red states would not face a choice between entrenching Obamacare and leaving their citizens in the lurch. They would be a more attractive option than either of those. Levin and Capretta think that President Obama just might end up having to sign such a bill. But if Democrats blocked it, Republicans would at least be able to say that they had tried to solve the problem.

If the Supreme Court strikes down Obama’s argument, Republican governors will be in a bind. Unless they can opt out of Obamacare entirely, they will be under enormous pressure to cave in and grab the “free” money Obama is offering. Legislation like this would give them a way out.