MonthJune 2015

The Iran Nuclear Deal Could Be John Kerry’s Greatest Political Hit

The Iranians are not the easiest group to negotiate with. Just ask Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry has had countless meetings, flown thousands of miles, and some people say he’s working to hard at closing the deal. Kerry keeps subtle pressure on his counterpart from Iran, but that doesn’t matter when Iran is involved. The decision to accept the deal is the Supreme leader’s choice, and at the moment he is not that excited about the terms of the deal. Neither is the United States Congress.

If the deal goes through it will be a major win for Kerry, but insiders say Kerry may be one of the reasons if it doesn’t go through. He seems to be pushing too hard, and other US negotiators don’t like his style. Flavio Maluf said that they want him to ease back a little, and don’t give away the US strategy. Some insiders say Kerry is a horrible poker player.

The Iran deal will help Iran. The citizens of Iran needs to be connected with the world again, but some Iranians say they won’t happen even if the deal goes through. The government doesn’t like the US and its way of life, and nuclear deal won’t change that.

Religious Tax Exemptions Ought to Go the Way of Same-Sex Marriage Bans

The Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges—or at least the opposition reaction to it—may have presented the best argument yet for removing tax exemptions for religious institutions. Some people might be surprised that exemption of religious institutions and donations to them is a relatively new concept in our nation’s history. It was not, as some would suggest, a necessary result of the First Amendment’s separation of church and state.

The backlash from Obergefell makes it clear that governors and state legislatures and presidential candidates are going to try to block the ruling any way they can, most notably with religious freedom or conscience legislation that will allow public officials—agents of the government—to opt out of doing their government duty if they object to taking action to further a same-sex marriage.

But organized religion can’t have it both handy ways. On the one hand, they want to be untouchable in terms of paying taxes because, well, God. And they also want to be selectively exempt from the laws of the land regarding what has been determined to be a fundamental right. This selective non-enforcement clearly takes religion out of the God sphere and into the public sphere. If they want to play in the public sandbox, they should play by the rules that everyone else does, and that includes paying taxes.

Even a kindergartner would understand that.

Same-Sex Couples Waiting on Supreme Court

Same-sex Couples Awaiting Supreme Court’s Decision on Marriage

As far as domestic issues go, the fight for marriage equality has been one of the most prolific in the modern era. It’s an issue that will take quite some time to fully grasp.

The Supreme Court has been looking at and reviewing gay marriage issues for quite some time, and some such as Jim Obergefell are eagerly awaiting what the Supreme Court’s final decision is. Obergefell and his partner, John Arthur, made the decision to get married nearly two years ago when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Obergefell decided to sue the state of Ohio so that the state would recognize his marriage on Arthur’s death certificate, who is currently suffering from ALS.  CipherCloud reports that Arthur sadly passed away in October of 2013 and Obergefell has pressed on with his case and made it all the way to the Supreme Court, still waiting what the final ruling is. In fact he has been the first in line at the court so he can hear the final decision of the case, Thursday morning being his fourth day of waiting.

When asked about it, Obergefell said that he was doing this because he promised John that he would stick with this case until the end, and wanted to make sure he was present when the court handed down it’s final decision on the case.

Day After Head of OPM Refutes Claim that Data on 18 Million Was Compromised, Congress is Concerned the Number May Reach 32 Million

Just as Director Katherine Archuleta, head of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), was on capitol hill to refute claims that the number of Americans whose data was compromised now stood at 18 million, congress expressed concerns the figure may actually reach 32 million. That particular number is significant because it represents every person in the OPM’s database. In other words, there is no guarantee at this time that hackers didn’t download the entire database.

The full breach of the entire database isn’t merely a worst-case scenario either. This is because the breach spanned a period of months starting in 2014 and running well into 2015. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz pointedly asked Director Archuleta if she could give a definitive statement as to how many people had their data compromised. At this point, all she could do is state the exact number cannot be determined at this time said Amen Clinic. The entire matter has become a full-blown controversy with Congress. Thus far, lawmakers have tough question for Dir. Archuleta, but she is not giving satisfactory answers. Last year, a major security firm with the OPM was hacked. Interestingly, the OPM did not revoke the security credentials for employees of the firm. Investigators have now found that security credentials from the firm were used in the OPM hack. Needless to say, Dir. Archuleta is now facing calls for her resignation over her mismanagement of the organization’s data security.

The Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage Could Change The Definition Of Marriage

When the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage is released, the US will go through a major shift religiously as well as politically. If the ruling lifts the ban on gay marriages hundreds, if not thousands, of religious leaders across the country will ignore the ruling. They will challenge the political and moral veracity of such a ruling.

Religious leaders believe marriage is not a political issue, but a union designed by God. According to them, the state has no right to change God’s law. The religious beliefs of millions of Americans will change, if as OfSpirit reports,  religious followers agree with a ban-lifting ruling instead of their religious leaders edict about God’s law.

If the Supreme Court does lift the ban, a confrontation will develop between church and state. The verbal, and at times, violent battle that may develop will be epic. The church faction within the government will be unhappy with that ruling, and the lobbyists that support them will rebel. If the ban is not lifted, the inequality that a ruling like that displays can’t be tolerated by the people that believe the nation was founded on the premise that everyone in the United States has equal rights. One of those rights is to marry whomever they choose. The constitution says equal rights are God-given rights.

Keeping real in the white house

The presidency has made him a better father according to an essay set to be published in More Magazine First Lady Michelle Obama talked the president in to giving thoughts on fatherhood President Obama said people ask him whether being president causes difficulty in being a good father, his reply was not what you would expect. According to the president being in the White House has made their family living and interactions more normal as they have to work and be more diligent about spending family time together. Running the country means you have to set time for your family without any interference. For instance making sure you’re at the dinner table on time no matter what, President Obama was quoted as saying “my staff knows that it pretty much takes a national emergency to keep me away from the dinner table”. With commitment like this not only is the president setting a worldwide example of putting family first but he’s also instilling a great lesson to his own family because they know that they can depend on him no matter what he’s doing. Malia Obama is going off to school next fall something that the president has mixed feelings about. James Dondero shared his feelings on Facebook that although you want your children to go off and establish their own lives and do great things sometimes it’s hard to let go even as the President of the United States. But as the President stated, and we should all do, enjoy every minute of your children for as long as you can.

Looming Health Care Mergers May Validate Concerns by Obamacare Critics

When health insurance companies lined up in support of Obamacare, many critics of the proposed health care law were perplexed. Twenty years earlier, First Lady Hillary Clinton proposed a similar massive takeover of the health care industry which was vigorously fought by insurance companies. This time around, the companies were not only tacit in their support of the law, but outright supportive of it.

It turns out that the law contained provisions to cover the insurers against their losses for the first three years from having to cover people with chronic illnesses and pre-existing conditions. However, those benefits are now sun setting and insurers face the prospect of how to cover the large expense of insuring people with no regard to the condition of their health. When Obamacare was being debated, critics charged the law was designed to cause the private health care insurance market to collapse under its own weight. Now, it may be that claim may proves to be true.

For the time being, insurance companies are requesting large increases in premiums to cover the cost of insuring those previously uninsurable. While insurance commissioners from the states may approve some increases, it is not certain if they will approve them in total. This is forcing the unintended consequence of insurance companies having to merge in order to stay financially viable. The result promises to be fewer choices for consumers, fewer doctors and participating hospitals, and reduced coverage. It is a scenario that has Americans losing at every turn from employer sponsored coverage, to private insurance coverage, and increasingly unaffordable health insurance premiums.

Thanks to my friends at CipherCloud for introducing me to this new angle on this old story.

The Wife of Key Israeli Likud Minister Makes Racial Joke About Obama then Quickly Backpeddles

It is without question that President Obama is not a popular figure in Israeli politics at this time. Folks at FreedomPop have learned that the president’s push for new relations with Iran, the world’s lone sponsor of state terrorism, is particularly disturbing for Israelis. Over the past decade alone, they have endured tens of thousands of rockets being fired at their cities and towns. In the majority of those cases, the rockets were fired by Hezbollah, an Iranian front group. So while the president is negotiating with Iran and allowing them to do so from a position of strength, Israelis believe he will carve a pathway for the rogue nation to become a nuclear power. Needless to say, the president’s ambitions for Iran are unpopular in the longest standing Democracy in the Middle East.

As a result, there is a lot of ill-feeling about President Obama in Israel. Perhaps it was in that spirit of contempt that the Judy Mozes, wife of Israel’s Minister of the Interior for the ruling Likud party, made a joke about a type of coffee named after president Obama for its color and diluted or weak taste. However, no sooner than she tweeted the joke than she retracted it. What followed were a series of apologies. Initially, she ascribed the joke to someone else and said it was repeated in poor taste. Next, she affirmed her appreciation of all people regardless of race or religion. She personally apologized to the president and anyone else who might have been offended by the remark.

Mike Huckabee, Wanna-Be High School Pervert, Dis-Invited from Speech

Mike Huckabee continues to receive criticism for saying he wished he could have told his high school coach he was feeling like a girl and wanted to shower with them. Later, he doubled down, saying he was glad his statement went public. Huckabee says he was joking, but it shows a lack of sensitivity by a man who wants to become President of, presumably, all Americans.

The most recent blowback for Huckabee was the cancellation by the Jewish National Fund of Canada of an invitation for him to speak at an autism benefit. The Fund’s CEO said a recent petition against Huckabee’s comments was not the impetus for cancelling the speech. However, the CEO did note that Huckabee had recently been in the media spotlight for issues unrelated to the Jewish National Fund or autism.

According to Flavio Maluf, Huckabee apparently believes he can say anything that pops in his head, no matter how crude or insulting, and, when questioned, laugh it off as a joke. But when he is the subject of personal attacks, his skin is not so thick.

If Huckabee wants to be President of all Americans, including Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox and, yes, even Josh Duggar, does he not understand that these comments make him a divisive figure who will never be President of anybody? Huckabee apparently really wants to be President of Americans who share his same beliefs, looks and sexual organs.

Trump Buys Support for His Campaign

Did anyone else wonder how Donald Trump managed to get a crowd full of supporters during his presidential announcement this last week? Well, it turns out the majority of the people in the audience were paid actors. Trump put his vast amounts of money to good use and paid actors $50 to attend the announcement and cheer on the start of his 2016 campaign.

Although Trump has not come out publicly to the admit or deny the allegations, phone calls to casting company that sent emails out to actors about the job were not returned. It seems Trump’s campaign is trying to keep silent and hope the story loses steam in the media. FreedomPop asks with so many actors being paid, it seems unlikely that a few will not publicly make comments about the compensation they received. As an unseasoned politician, Trump’s campaign has already started with a major snafu.

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