Another about-face. “The Obama administration announced Monday that planned cuts to Medicare Advantage would not go through as anticipated amid election-year opposition from congressional Democrats. The cuts would have reduced benefits that seniors receive from health plans in the program, which is intended as an alternative to Medicare.”
And the International Olympic Committee awarded Russia the Olympics with a straight face. How much wound up in Putin’s pockets? “Corruption by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration in Moscow has produced tens of billions of dollars worth of illicit funds for the Russian leader and his top aides, according to U.S. officials. Putin is estimated to have amassed a fortune worth at least an estimated $28 billion through kickbacks from projects like construction at the Sochi Winter Olympic games, holdings in Russian real estate and energy conglomerates, and kickbacks from deals with associates going back to the late 1990s.”
It’s hard for Democrats to face facts, but the Obamacare numbers are awfully suspect. Gallup has the figures: “The massive survey, released on Monday, shows the number of uninsured indeed has fallen to its lowest level in years, likely thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index measured the share of adults without health insurance. That shrank from 17.1 percent at the end of last year to 15.6 percent for the first three months of 2014. The decline of 1.5 percentage points would translate roughly to more than 3.5 million people gaining coverage. But the numbers, released a week after the close of the health law’s first enrollment season, also suggest a far more modest impact on coverage than statistics cited by the Obama administration. The administration says 7.1 million have signed up for subsidized private plans through new insurance markets, while 3 million previously uninsured people gained coverage through the law’s Medicaid expansion.”
The media begins to discover Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) likely faces the drip-drip-drip of his own bizarre statements. On his 2009 accusations against VP Dick Cheney and the Iraq War: “I wonder how many clips like this of Paul from his, shall we say, ‘rawer’ days have already ended up on hard drives owned by Team Rubio and Team Cruz. I remember another clip of him on the trail in early 2009 fielding a question about Gitmo detainees and spitballing that they should either be sent back to their countries of origin or dropped back off in Afghanistan(!) because at least then it’d take them a long time to get back to the U.S. Think you’ll see that in any ads next year?”
John Kerry faces up to the potential for a takeover of Eastern Ukraine. “Uh oh. Here we go again. Fresh off swallowing Crimea, Vladimir Putin may well be yearning not for peace but for another piece of Ukraine. At least that’s the concern raised by carefully orchestrated pro-Russian demonstrations in Donetsk and other cities in the eastern part of Ukraine where, before Russian TV cameras, the Russian minority is demanding Anschluss with the Motherland.”
The entire region faces the prospect of more epidemics and increased instability thanks to the never-ending Syrian bloodbath and the failure of U.S. policy. “Syria’s polio outbreak has now officially spread to Iraq, the first neighbor of the war-ravaged country to be hit by the crippling virus despite an ambitious Middle East inoculation effort, and global health officials warned Monday that dozens of vulnerable Iraqi children could potentially be infected.”
The Senate faces off against the United Nations and an Iranian terrorist. “The Senate unanimously approved a bill banning Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations from the United States on Monday night. Sen. Ted Cruz’s proposal would prevent known terrorists from entering the United States as ambassadors to the U.N. Hamid Aboutalebi, who participated in the 1979 hostage-taking of Americans in Tehran, has been appointed ambassador to the UN by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a move described as a ‘slap in the face’ to the U.S. by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and ‘unconscionable’ by Cruz.” Good for them.