Morning Bits

You can fully expect the media to roll over and play dead. “High in the polls with a dream candidate’s résumé, Hillary Clinton’s advantages in the 2016 presidential race are the stuff of near-constant media chatter these days. Except for one topic: Univision. The Spanish-language network, which broadcasts from Doral, has remarkably close ties with Clinton — from the way the media giant covers immigration to the financial backing of its top leader to a new initiative between the network and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Barely a peep from the press, though.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, talks to his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, prior to the opening session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Leaders gathered in the Swiss ski resort of Davos have made it a top priority to push to reshape the global economy and cut global warming by shifting to cleaner energy sources. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, talks to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif prior to the opening session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,  (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

When it comes to WMD, the administration’s bark is always worse than its bite. “The White House on Monday pushed back against Iran’s efforts to set a ‘red line’ preventing negotiations over its contested ballistic missile program, which has been permitted to continue undeterred under the recently signed interim nuclear accord.”

Obamacare can’t stay in place since it is unworkable as written. “The Obama administration on Monday announced it is delaying the employer mandate in ObamaCare until 2016 for some businesses. This delay in the mandate — the second so far — would only apply to businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, who would have until January 2016 to decide whether to offer insurance to their employees or pay a penalty. Businesses would also be barred from cutting their workers in order to fall under the threshold.”

So far this interim agreement isn’t keeping Iran on a short leash. If anything, the mullahs are bolder than ever: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that the country’s doors are open to the UN’s nuclear watchdog even as the Islamic Republic announced two separate technical developments that could potentially give Tehran the capability to create a nuclear weapon. Iranian atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi claimed Monday that Iran had developed new centrifuges, used for enriching uranium, which are 15 times more powerful than the country’s current centrifuges. AFP quoted Salehi as saying the new centrifuges ‘surprised the Westerners.’ ” It is almost like the interim deal made them more contemptuous of the West.

Forget muzzling bad candidates and instead pick good ones. “Speaking at a Heritage Foundation event on Monday about conservative alternatives to the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) told the audience that among the ways in which the GOP can facilitate a takeover of the U.S. Senate would be to provide nominees with ‘a roll of duct tape to put over their mouths.’ He said that his party should have taken the Senate in prior election cycles but, because the party’s nominees said ‘stupid things,’ they failed to achieve that.” Let’s get real: These were unvetted  and unqualified people whom the far right insisted on backing.

So much for putting independent expenditures to heel. “Among Clinton’s associates in Hollywood, [Jeffrey] Katzenberg is unique in his status as a writer and raiser — a donor both capable of writing big checks and willing to do the legwork of soliciting contributions. Nearly three years ago, Katzenberg helped start Priorities USA from almost nothing — a first check for $2 million helped turn the four-person startup into the well-known ad machine that raised and spent $65 million for Obama’s reelection campaign.”

The issue begs for attention from religious voters. “One need not endorse same-sex marriage to believe that the rising tide of anti-gay legislation in other parts of the world is quite troubling, that gays deserve to be defended against persecution, and that the Christian church is one institution that might have some power, at least in some nations and in some circumstances, to make a positive difference. Quite apart from the moral merits of this approach, think about the witness it would signal to the world if Christians spoke out in defense of gays in Nigeria and elsewhere and why they deserve protection against imprisonment and violence.” Read the whole thing.

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