ThinkFast: February 22, 2010

President Obama

As part of the White House’s comprehensive plan to reform health care which will be unveiled today, President Obama will propose giving the federal government the power to review and deny excessive or discriminatory health insurance premium increases. The plan, which is not part of the House or Senate bills, is in response to Anthem Blue Cross rate hikes in California.

A report released Friday evening by the Office of Professional Responsibility finds that former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo concluded that “the president’s war-making authority was so broad that he had the constitutional power to order a village to be ‘massacred.'” Yoo is the author of the infamous Aug. 2002 Justice Department memo that argued the president had broad authority in ordering torture.

During an interview with Fox News last week, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) “blasted the Conservative Political Action Conference…as outdated, nearly corrupt and unrepresentative of the conservative movement.” “CPAC has becoming increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year,” Huckabee told a Fox host.

More than two dozen unions and liberal groups, including the AFL-CIO, the NAACP, and the National Council of La Raza, have dismissed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) new $15 billion jobs bill as “puny.” “If this $15 billion was the only thing [that passed], that would be like having an amputated arm and sticking a band aid on the end of it,” said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) will announce next week that he’ll be taking the lead on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The White House and gay rights groups reportedly asked him to sponsor repeal legislation. Lieberman also opposed the ban on allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the military when it was first proposed in 1993.

“A comprehensive new study on foreign militaries that have made transitions to allowing openly gay service members concludes that a speedy implementation of the change is not disruptive.” “The finding is in direct opposition to the stated views of Pentagon leaders,” who say repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should take a year or more.

After President Obama proposed last year that “the federal government assume direct control of all student loans, Sallie Mae, the large student lender, moved quickly to step up its lobbying game.” The company hired high-powered lobbyists like Jamie Gorelick and the Podesta Group, which set up what the Obama administration calls a “war room” to kill the White House plan.

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll has found that “Americans overwhelmingly believe that the government is broken.” Eighty-six percent of people questioned said that the system of government is broken. On the bright side, “of the 86 percent, 81 percent say that the government can be fixed.”

Five former Treasury secretaries endorsed the “Volker rule” Sunday, urging Congress to “bar banks that receive federal support from engaging in speculative activity unrelated to basic bank services.” The bi-partisan group wrote in a letter that these banks should “be free to fail without explicit or implicit taxpayer support.”

And finally: Fox News has a message for you: dsfgsdfgdsfgsdf.

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