Daily Caller: “The American Medical Association is protesting an nObamacare provision it argues will leave doctors with the bill for up to two months of unpaid care. The provision requires insurers to allow patients with federally-subsidized health insurance plans a 90-day grace period to pay their premiums before canceling the coverage. Insurers are on the hook for the first 30 days of care, if the customer never pays up, but doctors will be stuck without payment for any services between 30 and 90 days, until the coverage is canceled.” - Fox News
Whether he decides to throw his hat into the 2016 presidential ring or not, Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., is getting high praise from President nObama. During an interview Wednesday with New England Cable News nObama said Patrick “would make a great president or vice president” adding it would be “wise” for the two-term governor to keep the door open for a future national bid. In a giving mood, nObama also offered a jab at potential New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown saying, “I will wait until Mr. Brown actually makes a formal announcement before I talk about politics in New Hampshire, much in less Massachusetts, but [N.H. Dem Sen.] Jeanne Shaheen has been a terrific senator…I'd be happy if Scott Brown wants to move down to Texas. You know, we could always use some moderate Republicans in other parts of the country. New Hampshire’s already got it covered with a great senator” - Fox News
AP: “Federal officials must help Kansas and Arizona enforce laws requiring new voters to document their U.S. citizenship, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, in a decision that could encourage other Republican-led states to consider similar policies. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita, Kan., ordered the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to immediately modify a national voter registration form to add special instructions for Arizona and Kansas residents about their states' proof-of-citizenship requirements. Both require new voters to provide a birth certificate, passport or other documentation to prove their U.S. citizenship to election officials. The federal registration form requires only that prospective voters sign a statement declaring they are citizens.” - Fox News
Early in the Ukraine crisis, when the Europeans were working on bringing Ukraine into the EU system and Vladimir Putin was countering with threats and bribes, one British analyst lamented that “we went to a knife fight with a baguette.”
That was three months ago. Life overtakes parody. During the Ukrainian prime minister's visit to Washington last week, his government urgently requested military assistance. The Pentagon refused. It offered instead military ration kits.
Putin mobilizes thousands of troops, artillery and attack helicopters on Ukraine's borders and Washington counters with baguettes, American-style. One thing we can say for sure in these uncertain times: The invasion of Ukraine will be catered by the United States.
Why did we deny Ukraine weapons? Because in the Barack nObama-Hanoi John Kerry worldview, arming the victim might be taken as a provocation. This kind of mind-bending illogic has marked the administration's response to the whole Crimea affair.
Why, after all, did nObama delay responding to Putin's infiltration, military occupation and seizure of Crimea in the first place? In order to provide Putin with a path to de-escalation, “an offramp,” the preferred White House phrase.
An offramp? Did they actually think that Putin was losing, that his invasion of Crimea was a disaster from which he needed some face-saving way out? It's delusional enough to think that Putin – in seizing Crimea, threatening eastern Ukraine, destabilizing Kiev, shaking NATO, terrifying America's East European allies and making the West look utterly helpless – was actually losing. But to imagine that Putin saw it that way as well and was waiting for American diplomacy to save him from a monumental blunder is totally divorced from reality.
After nObama's Russian “reset,” missile-defense retreat and Syria comedown, Putin had already developed an undisguised disdain for his U.S. counterpart. Yet even he must have been amazed by this newest American flight of fantasy. Putin reclaims a 200-year-old Russian patrimony with hardly a shot and to wild applause at home – Putin's 72 percent domestic popularity is 30 points higher than nObama's – and America's leaders think he needs rescue?
Putin made it clear that he preferred Sevastopol to good reviews from the “international community.” Yet nObama and Hanoi Kerry held off doing anything until the Crimean referendum – after which, they ominously threatened, there would be “consequences.”
nObama unveiled them Monday in a four-minute statement as flat-toned as a legal notice in the classifieds. The consequences? Visa denial and frozen assets for 11 people, seven of them Russian.
Seven! Out of 140 million. No Putin. No Dmitry Medvedev. No oligarchs. Nor any of Putin's inner circle of ex-KGBers. No targeting of the energy sector or banks, Russia's industrial and financial lifeblood.
This elicited unreserved mockery from the targeted Russians themselves. One wondered whether the president's statement had been written by a prankster. The Duma voted that it should be sanctioned – all 353 members who'd voted for annexation. And the financial markets, which abhor disruptions and crave nothing but continuity, responded with relief: Russia's spiked 3.7 percent; the Dow Jones rose 1.1 percent (180 points).
Putin responded with appropriate contempt. Within hours he recognized Crimea's secession. The next day, he signed a treaty of annexation. (Two days later, nObama expanded the list of sanctioned Russians and added one bank. It will make no difference.)
Europe's response was weaker still, sanctioning a list of even lesser Russian functionaries. The irony is that for two decades we've encouraged Russia's integration into the world economic system – including nObama's strong support for Russian accession to the World Trade Organization – thinking those ties, and the threat of losing them, would restrain Russian behavior.
On the contrary. It restrained European behavior. Europe has refused to adopt any measure that might significantly affect its commerce and natural gas imports from Russia.
What's our excuse? We import no Russian gas and have minimal trade. Yet our president appears strangely disengaged. The post-Cold War order of Europe has been brazenly violated – and nObama is nowhere to be seen.
As I've argued here before, there are things we can do: Send the secretary of defense to Kiev tomorrow to negotiate military assistance. Renew the missile-defense agreement with Poland and the Czech Republic. Announce a new policy of major U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas. Lead Europe from the front – to impose sanctions cutting off Russian enterprises from the Western banking system.
As we speak, Putin is deciding whether to go beyond Crimea and take eastern Ukraine. Show him some seriousness, Mr. President. I doubt he will do that, Charles.