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The Wall Cracks

Obama, NATO Chief Split On Ukraine

Hazir Reka/Reuters

The commander of NATO is insisting that the West do more to protect Ukraine from a possible Russian invasion. But the Obama administration has other plans.

Late last month, as the world was still reeling from Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO was warning Congress that Moscow was preparing to make another move.During classified briefings on March 26 and March 27, Gen. Philip Breedlove painted for members of the House Armed Services Committee a bleak picture of Russia’s actions—and warned that the United States was not taking steps it could to help Ukraine better defend itself.

Grow Up

DC’s Politics of Self-Destruction

The Daily Beast

From ‘un-American’ slander to shouting like a teenager at the leader of the free world, politicians on both parties are misrepresenting our country—and themselves.

Years ago, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote a story about Ronald Reagan entitled When Character Was King.  In describing the 40th President of the United States, Noonan wrote: “…The secret of his success was no secret at all. It was his character—his courage, his kindness, his persistence, his honesty…that was the most important element of his success.”  Looking at the political sewer that is Washington, D.C. today, the lack of character, courage, kindness and honesty by some of the men and women elected to represent us all is galling for its lack of maturity and sophistication.

Rad-Con

What Plantation Is He Living On?

The Daily Beast

The Heritage Foundation chief’s ludicrous claim about who ended slavery in America is just his latest effort to destroy the federal government—past or present.

I once had this idea for a play about God, a comedy, in which the audience would be introduced to a series of casuists and charlatans and braggarts and bloviators, and they’d be carrying on, lecturing away on topics large and small with serene self-confidence. There’d be the sound of thunder and perhaps a puff of smoke, and from the wings, God would appear. He or She would, over the course of the three acts, take on numerous corporeal forms—white man, black woman, Asian man, Arab woman, et cetera—but in each guise would admonish the speaker: “No, asshole.

Prejudicial

It’s Time to End Profiling

Robert Nickelsberg/Getty

The attorney general’s new rules cleared the way for more inequity, including tracking whole communities based on ethnicity and religion.

When will the FBI finally stop using religion and ethnicity as a reason to investigate Americans? Well, not any time soon if the New York Times report on Thursday is correct regarding the new rules proposed by Attorney General Eric Holder.  It’s astounding that while this week we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Department of Justice still operates under rules that treat people differently based on their ethnicity or religion.

Health Care Reform

Will Sebelius Laugh Last?

Jim Young/Reuters

Yes, there was utter failure, but there was also one hell of a recovery. As time goes on, she'll get less blame for the former and more credit for the latter.

It was always going to be a tough job, Health and Human Services secretary under this president. Even so, I’d bet Kathleen Sebelius was plenty shocked at the whole business.True, she was only a second-string nominee, after Tom Daschle had to bow out because of those tax problems. But Sebelius still should have had little to fear. After all, she’d been the Democratic governor of a ruby-red state, Kansas. In a state where Republicans outnumbered Democrats roughly two-to-one, she won reelection in 2006 with 57 percent of the vote.

Out

Sebelius’s Shock Resignation

Gary Cameron/Reuters

It was a rocky tenure from her appointment all the way up to the botched Healthcare.gov rollout. Who is Sylvia Mathews Burwell, her likely successor?

Faster than an error message pops up while vigorously trying to reload healthcare.gov, Kathleen Sebelius is gone from the Department of Health and Human Services.An HHS official confirmed to The Daily Beast that Sebelius, the long-embattled secretary will announce her resignation on Friday. Sebelius, who has been under withering scrutiny for her role overseeing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, is expected to be succeeded by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the chief of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

FUNNY OR DIE

This Pol’s Got Balls

Youtube

Iowa candidate Bob Quast pulls the trigger on a ballsy campaign in which he says “I’m gonna use my glock to blow your balls off.”

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bob Quast, a long-shot independent candidate for the United States Senate in Iowa (who hasn’t even filed an FEC report yet), laughed about his “spoof ad” where he wields both a gun and a knife and threatens criminals that he will “use my glock to blow your balls off.” Quast said the commercial cost him $868 to produce with the help of his neighbor who is a “professional videographer.”The ad begins with Quast, clad in a yellow IOWA sweatshirt, walking his dog, Mr.

Union Backer

Obama Loves Labor (on the DL)

Reuters

The president got headlines this week for an executive order targeting wage disparities, but far more of his work for unions has flown under the radar—and they’ll repay him in November.

A day before Senate Republicans blocked a bill aimed at addressing male-female wage disparities, President Obama signed an executive order targeting the same issue by prohibiting government contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their pay.Both defenders and critics of the administration say going around Congress is a technique the Obama administration is using with greater frequency as it attempts to bolster organized labor and make workplaces safer and fairer.

It’s Automatic

Our Mindless Government

The Daily Beast

From infrastructure improvements to entitlement spending, government is on autopilot, according to author Philip K. Howard. It’s a ‘form of tyranny,’ he says, and disaster is looming.

If the government that governs least governs best, then the government that governs via a demented form of “scientific management” and “legal assembly line” governs worst.That’s the essential insight of Philip K. Howard’s important new book, The Rule of Nobody: Saving America From Dead Laws and Broken Government. An attorney by trade, Howard is the author of The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America, a huge 1995 best seller that started a still-heated and vital national conversation about nuisance lawsuits, power-tripping bureaucrats and special interests, and out-of-control regulations.

‘Over Broad’

Bridgegate Subpoenas Thrown Out

Mike Segar/Reuters

A committee investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures that have haunted Chris Christie won’t get its hands on documents from two key figures in the case, a judge rules.

Two main characters in the real-life drama of Bridgegate will not be required to comply with legislative subpoenas ordering them to hand over documents, a judge ruled on Wednesday afternoon. The decision may render the joint legislative committee investigating the lane closures obsolete. Bridget Anne Kelly, Gov. Chris Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Stepien, Christie’s former campaign manager and a one-time would-be chairman of the New Jersey Republican Party, made the rare argument that in their case, turning over documents would be testimonial in nature and thus would violate their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

Fat Chance

These Guys Need a Raise?

Getty

A proposed pay raise to help members of Congress maintain residences both in their home districts and in Washington, D.C. got laughed off of Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Nearly everybody in Congress thinks it, but only retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has the guts to say it: After five years of self-imposed pay freezes, many members of Congress say they need a raise. In a city as pricey as Washington, new members often speak privately of the strain of maintaining two residences: one in their congressional districts, where their families usually live, and another in D.C. To avoid the double hit, more than a fifth of the freshman class of 2010 elected to sleep in their House offices and shower in the on-site gym rather than fork over the steep rents or mortgages that the nearby Capitol Hill neighborhood commands.

Help

Dem Urges Obama On Ukraine Intel

Bloomberg/Getty

Republicans are not alone in urging President Obama to share intelligence with Ukraine on Russian troop movements. On Wednesday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) voiced his concerns as well.

A key Democratic member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence joined Republican colleagues on Wednesday in urging President Obama to share more intelligence with Ukraine about Russian troops gathered on its border.In an appearance on MSNBC  Rep. Adam Schiff said he did not think the United States was doing enough to help prepare Ukraine for what it may be facing. “I think we should be doing more,” he said. “There is more we could do to help Ukraine prepare that doesn’t put at risk any of our intelligence gathering methods and the degree that we can track Russian military movements.

Fashion Favorite

Candidate to the Stars

Tibrina Hobson/Getty

It’s always a good idea to get celebrity endorsements for your congressional campaign, right? Well, maybe not when Nicole Richie’s hair color choice is overshadowing your message.

When researching California congressional candidate Marianne Williamson, two of the first article headlines to surface are,“ Kim Kardashian Wears Plunging Top With Menswear-Inspired Look” and “ Katy Perry Exposed a Springy Strip of Upper Belly.”Last October, the 61-year-old spiritual teacher and author announced her run for the U.S. House of Representatives to represent California's 33rd District, which includes cities in West L.A. such as Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Calabasas, Malibu, and Santa Monica.

MOMMY GAP

GOP Can Win the Equal Pay Debate

The Daily Beast

The gender pay gap is no black and white issue. If the Republicans stopped doing stupid things, this is an argument they could win.

Though it didn’t seem possible that the GOP could lower its standing with women any further, the party has managed to outdo itself with recent rhetoric around “Equal Pay Day.” While the president and Democrats have positioned themselves as the party of “equality” (who wants to be against that?) Republicans have spent the last few days sounding as though they wish to recapture the glory days of Todd Akin and other election-losing loudmouths.With midterm elections on the horizon, the timing is particularly puzzling.

Gadfly

Rand vs. The (Republican) World

Mike Theiler/Reuters

Libertarianism may be en vogue but isolationism isn’t. Yet there may be room on the left of the party for him to win.

As the 2016 GOP presidential race heats up, many Republicans—particularly governors and relatively junior senators—are seeking of beef up their foreign policy smarts. The list of those meeting with potential candidates reads like a who’s who of the Republican foreign policy establishment over the decades: Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, John McCain, and so on.Standing on his own is Rand Paul.Paul’s foreign policy positions are far from Republican orthodoxy.

'Clinton Vs. Bush? Count Me In'

A Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush presidential faceoff would be great for America. So says Daily Beast contributor Mark McKinnon, who joined 'Morning Joe' to explain why the U.S. needs this.

  1. President Obama, Guided by Faith Play

    President Obama, Guided by Faith

  2. Behind the Benghazi Witchhunt Play

    Behind the Benghazi Witchhunt

  3. Obamacare's Full Court Press Play

    Obamacare's Full Court Press

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Inside CIA Chief’s Mission to Kiev

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The head of the CIA just made a secretive journey to Ukraine—to do what, he won’t say. But the answer could change the power equation in the hottest of geopolitical hotspots.

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