10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:
AP Wire
Jul 29, 2014

1. ISRAEL WARNS OF ESCALATION IN GAZA

"What is coming will be worse," the Israeli military declares — even as the international community calls for a truce.

2. OBAMA MULLS UNILATERAL ACTION ON IMMIGRATION

The White House is considering granting work permits to potentially millions of immigrants in the country illegally.

3. JUDGE CLEARS WAY FOR SALE OF LA CLIPPERS

The ruling is a defeat for Donald Sterling, who sought to block his estranged wife from selling the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

4. RUSSIA ORDERED TO PAY $50 BILLION PENALTY

An international court decides that Putin's government used tax claims to bury the country's largest oil producer and silence its Kremlin-critical CEO.

5. HOW PEOPLE IN MOSUL THWARTED ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS

Fearing the destruction of an ancient minaret in the northern Iraqi city, residents rushed to the site and formed a human chain to protect it, two witnesses tell the AP.

6. VIRGINIA'S BAN ON SAME-SEX UNIONS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL

The decision is the first federal appeals court ruling overturning gay marriage bans in the South.

7. WHOSE BOTTOM LINE LOOKS BRIGHTER

Medicare should be solvent until 2034, four years later than had been projected, the U.S. government says.

8. FUGITIVE DIES IN SHOOTOUT WITH NYC POLICE

The man — whose case was featured recently on CNN's "The Hunt with John Walsh" — was wanted in California for allegedly molesting a boy.

9. DOLLAR TREE BUYING FAMILY DOLLAR — FOR LOTSA DOLLARS

The $8.5 billion deal makes Dollar Tree the biggest player in the dollar store segment, with more than 13,000 combined locations.

10. WHY 'SHARKNADO 2' IS MUST-SEE TV

The sequel, coming Wednesday, is wiser than the original and unabashedly awash with fun, the AP's Frazier Moore reports.

Comments

Vladtheimp

#2. Unilateral executive action granting work permits would violate the law

INA Sec. 274A– Unlawful Employment of Aliens

(a) Making employment of unauthorized aliens unlawful

(1) In general

It is unlawful for a person or other entity—

(A) to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien (as defined in subsection (h)(3) of this section) with respect to such employment, or

(B)(i) to hire for employment in the United States an individual without complying with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section…

But, by all means, support Obama's illegal actions which will do so much to harm Americans - the unemployed, the environment, and the taxpayer, not to mention the Rule of Law!

#5. Obama failed to stop the Islamic State when he had the chance

In other words, Obama was not taken by surprise by the Islamic State offensive, as administration officials have repeatedly claimed. He had been warned by Iraqi officials, and even by officials in his administration. U.S. intelligence had identified the camps. Obama had not only been given a green light from the Iraqis to strike, but they also were pleading with him to do so. Obama simply refused to act. As a result, Royce said, “we watched [the Islamic State] go from city to city across Iraq without it being hit from the air with drones despite the requests that I know were being made.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/op...

Lanivan

#5. This is old news. For years, al-Maliki vilified the US, ignored our advice on dealing with Iraq post-Saddam, and ultimately kicked us out. He has done a terrible job of taking ancient warring tribes, thrust together within an artificially-generated nation a century ago, into a peaceful coalition. This is an Iraqi problem; if the US bombs it now, we own it, and it's back to a re-occupation of Iraq.

I quote another poster, June 2014, NYT:

"Invading Iraq was perhaps the biggest tactical blunder in the history of the nation.

It had nothing to do with 9/11. In fact Saddam Hussein opposed al-Qaida and kept it out of Iraq.

It had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, as there were none.

It strengthened Iran at the expense of our allies Israel, Saudi Arabia and others.

It was a preemptive war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives, hurt millions of families and cost trillions of dollars.

The moral conscience of the nation was so lost that our leaders embraced torture as an intelligence technique.

We have no friends there, only adversaries embittered by years of unwanted and untoward American intervention.

Meanwhile, they have hundreds of years of sectarian violence to keep them busy without further American involvement.

The last thing the US needs to do is send in more military weapons to add to the violence and killing.

The only involvement the US and its allies should undertake presently is diplomacy to help stop further violence. "

Vladtheimp

Quoting an anonymous poster to the New York Times - good scholarship there and very convincing - for all I know it's Mystic Micheal or Susan Rice.

You seem to have missed that (1) we are talking Drones here, and (2) the warning came from Obama's own State Department. Can we try to keep up here - even if it is your job to whitewash every one of O'Bumbler's Bumbles?

Lanivan

I didn't think the name was as important as the succinct points he made. I didn't miss anything. Your comment centered around the fact that Obama knew that ISIS was moving into Iraq. I simply offered my defense for what I consider to be a very wise decision by Obama to not attack Iraq. When the war ended in 2011, al-Maliki made it clear we were not welcome to stay. So be it. The State Dept did the job it is supposed to do - keep the president apprised of changing conditions, and the president did the job he is supposed to do - make a decision based on that information that is in the best interests of the US.

As for the drone remark - care to elaborate on the difference between this seemingly approved potential drone attack, and those from several months ago you were then droning on as being unconstitutional, lawless, and the end of life as we know it?

Wolverine49457

11. VA official’s bonuses cut a whopping 10% as opposed to the 100% that was asked for...Ouch...kill some non-useful veterans with neglect to pack on the Atta boy points with the brass and you'll suffer if you get caught! That $300.000.00 bonus is slashed to $270.000.00 How are they to keep food on the table and shoes on their kids feet? This is a systematic issue and has been for years across party lines and back again. Our government has no real respect for veterans beyond parades and photo ops meant to gain votes.
The endless finger pointing has got to stop and real change in attitude followed by action needs to take place...we served, they promised, our bodies and minds are proof we served and gave, where is there’s found? In words and flowery speeches unless it’s close to election time then the words and speeches are given from the clinics.

Lanivan

SOME REALLY GREAT NEWS!

12. "The main trust fund behind Medicare, the $583 billion U.S. health program for the elderly and disabled, will be exhausted in 2030, four years later than projected last year, the government reported.

An improving economy and the Affordable Care Act, the health-care overhaul also known as Obamacare, may stave off depletion of the fund as it took in more money and spent less than expected last year."

http://www.stltoday.com/news/spe...

Thank you, President Obama, for your efforts to address the very real issue of Medicare solvency and the serious need to come up with long-term solutions.

Barry Soetoro

"SOME REALLY GREAT NEWS!" needs to be followed by: Trib Commenter Beer Summit (featuring All You Can Drink: Vina Cobos Malbec, George T. Stagg and Pappy Van Winkle) to be held at Lani's Garage this weekend.....not the latest BHO worship.

Respectfully,

Barry S.

Lanivan

You aren't happy that Medicare will remain solvent for four more years - a huge turnaround from the dismal statistics from just a few years back - thanks in part to the ACA, whose one of several goals was to reign in out-of-control Medicare costs??

I guess you really do need a nice summit. However, I regret to inform you that Lani's garage, once pristine, has fallen victim to dirt, sand, and evidence that some friendly critter(s) has found the bag of bird seed, and is no longer a suitable venue for a summit of such high spirits as you suggest. In fact, the bathrooms, and house in general, have disintegrated over the summer, and are currently not in the condition this type of social event demands. My flower gardens, on the other hand, are looking really good, and the beach chairs have gotten lots of wear.

How about the state of your garage as a possible venue, my dear respectful friend, Barry??

Barry Soetoro

Pretty scary that I posted at 8:08pm that I had the feeling that condition of your garage has slowly deteriorated since the spring cleaning. But sure, drop the hint that both your garage and BATHROOM are disheveled and then throw it all on Barry S. to come through with an alternate summit venue. It's going to take a bit to work through this.

Thanks,

Barry S.

Lanivan

I'll say! naNananaNana (Twilight Zone) Have you been at my house lately??

Sorry, Barry - I never put more on you than what I know you can handle.

Vladtheimp

" (3) Supporters of the new law are once again trying to claim credit for a slowdown in Medicare spending that has pushed its latest insolvency date back to 2030. The government's own bookkeepers have determined that Obamacare has had no measurable impact in the current health costs slowdown (costs are still headed in one direction: up), which has been heavily influenced by the sluggish economy. The Washington Examiner's Phil Klein notes that Medicare's chief actuary is warning that Obamacare's Medicare "savings" aren't sustainable:

Paul Spitalnic, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, also cautioned that it would be hard to maintain the policies put in place by Obamacare, which are responsible for helping to extend the trust fund on paper...Obamacare, according to the Congressional Budget Office, is to spend more than $1.8 trillion over 10 years to expand insurance coverage -- spending that is supposed to be offset by a combination of tax increases and extracting savings from Medicare. One of the misleading arguments that the Obama administration has been making since the debate over the passage of the law is that the the same dollars of savings could simultaneously be used improve the solvency of Medicare while paying for a new expansion of entitlements...If Obamacare uses the money generated by its Medicare cuts to pay for expanding health coverage — as called for by the law — then it doesn't help Medicare's long-term finances. On the other hand, if Obamacare does use savings generated from Medicare cuts to pay for future Medicare benefits, then Obamacare will add substantially to the overall federal deficit." http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guy...

See also one of your favorites, Douglas Holtz-Eakin,

"For President Obama’s Medicare policies, the fiscal reality is that they all but guarantee bankruptcy. Since taking office, President Obama has run a Medicare cash flow deficit of over $1.4 trillion (2009-2013). This includes $1.2 trillion in red ink accumulated since the passage of the President’s signature healthcare reform law. By the end of 2014, the trustees project that the Obama Administration will have overseen a $1.7 trillion Medicare cash shortfall." americanactionforum.org/research/the-future-of-americas-entitlements-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-me

Thank you President Obama (SNORT)

Lanivan

Fromm the CBPP:

Health reform has significantly improved Medicare’s financial outlook. The HI trust fund is now projected to remain solvent nine years longer than before the Affordable Care Act was enacted. Under the trustees’ main projection, the Medicare hospital insurance program faces a shortfall over the next 75 years equal to 1.11 percent of taxable payroll — that is, 1.11 percent of the total amount of earnings that will be subject to the Medicare payroll tax over this period. This is much less than the 3.88 percent of payroll that the trustees estimated before health reform.

These projections underscore the importance of successfully implementing the cost-control provisions in the Affordable Care Act. While history shows that most major Medicare savings measures have been implemented as scheduled, the Medicare actuary has expressed concern that some of the ACA’s savings provisions may not be sustainable. The actuary urges reliance instead on an “illustrative alternative” projection for Medicare, which assumes that Congress will partially phase out the ACA’s reductions in Medicare payment rates between 2020 and 2034. Under this alternative projection, the projected insolvency date of the Hospital Insurance trust fund remains at 2026, but the 75-year shortfall in the fund would rise to 2.17 percent of payroll — almost twice the trustees’ official estimate, but still a dramatic improvement over the outlook before health reform.

The trustees’ finding that health reform has improved Medicare’s financial status is consistent with the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that health reform will reduce federal budget deficits — modesty in its first ten years, but substantially in the following decade.[3] Medicare is a part of the federal budget. Therefore, spending cuts or tax increases that reduce projected deficits in Medicare also help reduce projected deficits in the overall budget. Consequently, contrary to some claims, no “double-counting” is involved.[4] http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view...

Oh - and is this the same Douglas Holtz-Eakin who said: Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Mr. McCain's chief economic adviser and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said the benefits of success in Iraq dwarfed the $150 billion annual cost. He also said that if the war and the personal and corporate tax cuts that Mr. McCain advocated added to the federal deficit and debt, so be it.

"I would like the next president not to talk about deficit reduction," Mr. Holtz-Eakin said at a symposium sponsored by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "The next president should talk about what's good for American families -- education, health care at reasonable costs, pensions that are secure, opening our borders to trade. If we can take care of that, we can take care of the budget."

That's why in that rare moment of candor he admitted, "I would like the next president not to talk about deficit reduction."

Unless, that is, the next President of the United States was Barack Obama.

In other words, Douglas Holtz-Eakin is a flip-flopping toadie that can change his spiel on a dime. Why on earth would I take anything he says seriously? As a pawn of corporate conservatives, why wouldn't he bend the statistics to make it look as bad as possible? Oh, and better watch your sources - this guy is also pro-immigration.

Lanivan

Almost 24 hours later.....crickets....Lanivan 1 - Vlad 0.

Vladtheimp

In your dreams.

I understood when I read your response that there was no reason to respond to someone who believes there is any equivalency between the opinions of the Chief Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the former head of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office which I quoted, and the left wing, George Soros-funded Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Valid Citations in Support of a position: Vlad 1 Lanivan 0

Harry Kovaire

Your battles with the invincible Lanivan remind me of the old Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene...

http://youtu.be/gXY9TuuwyL8

Lanivan

LOVE Monty Python! Vlad - I always thought you'd look good in black....

Vladtheimp

Wielding Soros funded propaganda doesn't even cause mosquito bites, much less mere flesh wounds.

Vladtheimp

Lanny has always reminded me of another Brit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y...

Lanivan

If you intended this to be an insult, you failed miserably. Funnier than all get-out! Bril! Lauren Cooper is fabulous. O - how I wish I, too, could have a sonic screwdriver.....

Vladtheimp

NOT meant to be insulting at all - it's hilarious, and it depicts a woman who can be charming but doesn't let someone trying to teach her something get a word in edgewise while insulting him at the same time. She proves she is good at wrote memorization, but in the end gets vaporized.

Lanivan

Actually, the really funny - and ironic - thing is I'm a much more voracious reader and writer than I am talker, being on the quiet side, and have been told many times that I am a good listener, and have a way of focusing all my attention on others when in a conversation.

As for "insulting", as much as it pains me to say it, I do admit to being somewhat lax in that discipline, and have gotten into the habit of blowing off your partisan daily caller and townhall links, not without a touch of arrogance, disdain, and pity. With that in mind, I do forthwith vow to go back to my original careful reading of your comments/links, as is due such an influential intellect on the codification of my political philosophy as you are. Seriously. I mean it - Did I mention I love Monty Python?

Lanivan

These are the end notes of the CBPP link. So I suppose they are all George Soros-funded toadie shills?

End notes:

[1] Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds, 2013 Annual Report, May 31, 2013.

[2] Upper-income beneficiaries pay higher, income-related premiums. Medicare also subsidizes the Part D premiums of low-income enrollees.

[3] Douglas W. Elmendorf, Director, Congressional Budget Office, Letter to the Honorable John Boehner, July 24, 2012.

[4] Paul N. Van de Water, “Yes, Health Reform Strengthens Medicare and Reduces the Deficit,” Health Affairs Blog, April 20, 2012, http://healthaffairs.org/blog/20....

[5] Patricia A. Davis, Medicare: History of Insolvency Projections, Congressional Research Service, June 11, 2012.

[6] Paul N. Van de Water, Medicare in Ryan’s 2014 Budget, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 15, 2013, http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cf....

And in anticipation of your declaring Paul Van de Water a total yutz, I give you:

Paul N. Van de Water is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he specializes in Medicare, Social Security, and health coverage issues.

Previously he was Vice President for Health Policy at the National Academy of Social Insurance. From 2001 to 2005 Van de Water served as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Social Security Administration, where he managed the agency’s policy analysis, research, and statistical activities. From 1999 to 2001, he was Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics at Social Security.

Van de Water worked for over 18 years at the Congressional Budget Office. From 1994 to 1999 he was Assistant Director for Budget Analysis. In that capacity he supervised the agency’s budget projections, analyses of the President’s budget, cost estimates of legislative proposals, and estimates of the cost of federal mandates on state and local governments. As Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis from 1992 to 1994, he coordinated CBO’s analysis of the Clinton Administration’s health plan and other proposals to reform the financing and delivery of health care.

Van de Water holds an A.B. with highest honors in economics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Vladtheimp

No, the CBPP is a Soros shill. Interesting that the author worked as Assistant Director for Budget Analysis of the CBO, while Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who you identify as "a flip-flopping toadie that can change his spiel on a dime" headed the entire non-partisan organization.

The one who knows most about Medicare and the impact of Obamacare on its solvency is the Chief Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who I cited and who stated that although Obamacare may be designed to reduce the costs of Medicare, its impact is most likely to be unsustainable in the long run.

I'll go with his informed opinion.

Lanivan

1.) Is Richard Foster Right About Health Care Costs?

s he right? Foster admits he isn't sure. Among other things, he assumes that the law's reforms of the way we organize and pay for care -- everything from developing electronic records to financial incentives for coordination among doctors -- won't help them reach those productivity goals. But many experts with just as much experience and integrity disagree, citing the hospital sector's well-known waste and the fact that these reforms have never been tried so extensively, particularly in combination with one another. These experts also point out, respectfully, that Foster has been wrong before: His projections for the 2003 Medicare drug benefit turned out to be considerably inflated. http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/...

2.) Health care isn’t just any other business and Foster, quite appropriately, worries that these providers might reduce services in ways that affect beneficiaries adversely. But some hospitals probably should become unprofitable, because they offer redundant services that drive up the cost of care. And conservatives should know this as well as anybody, because their entire theory of Medicare reform is that cutthroat competition among providers will produce a more efficient health care system. In cutthroat competition, there are always losers.

http://www.newrepublic.com/artic...

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