Convergence, Part II

I wrote yesterday about the three major scandals in Washington. I overlooked the 4th—HHS Secretary Sebelius extorting money from insurance carriers to fund Obamacare when Congress didn’t.

GOP probing Sebelius’s fundraising push: “Clear appearance of a conflict of interest”

posted at 2:01 pm on May 14, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Lest we forget amidst the several other scandals currently blowing up in the Obama administration’s face (it is rather difficult to keep up), last Friday we learned that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been hitting up health-care industry executives and groups, directly asking them to make donations to the non-profits that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase public awareness of ObamaCare’s benefits.

It is no secret that ObamaCare’s implementation is on the strugglebus, and Democrats see a lack of public awareness about the law as a pretty serious threat to their 2014 midterm prospects; hence why President Obama is putting more focus on the issue and Sebelius is trying to secure more — er — voluntary funding. The Washington Post described it as Sebelius approaching these execs “hat in hand,” but I would describe it more like approaching them with a gigantically threatening regulatory cudgel in hand. She is currently in charge of remaking the entire American health-care industry, remember? As Peter Suderman put it at Reason:

An “industry official who had knowledge of the calls but did not participate directly in them said there was a clear insinuation by the administration that the insurers should give financially to the nonprofits,” according to the Post. Something like this, perhaps? Hey, we’re short on money here. It would be nice if you could help with whatever you can, hint-hint, nudge-nudge.

Or maybe just: Hey, insurers. We just passed a law mandating that everyone in the country buy your product. So how about a million bucks? Or even a couple million? Over the weekend The New York Times reported that, according to an insurance industry executive, “some insurers had been asked for $1 million donations, and that ‘bigger companies have been asked for a lot more.’” That sounds rather like there was a direct solicitation.

The HHS Department maintains that they are not doing anything improper, but whether it is flat-out illegal or merely deeply unethical, it is definitely sketchy, and House Republicans got their probe on the matter going on Monday, via The Hill:

Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee, however, said the solicitations give a “clear appearance of a conflict of interest.” The committee questioned whether Sebelius is violating a federal law that says government employees may not raise money from entities they regulate.

“As the Secretary of HHS, ObamaCare gives you unprecedented power to regulate a significant share of the U.S. economy, from health plans to hospitals,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Sebelius.

Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee sent a separate letter to Sebelius, asking similar questions about her outreach to healthcare stakeholders on behalf of Enroll America.

“Currently, health insurers are seeking HHS approval to qualify for the health exchanges established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act so that they may attempt to sell their services to the public when enrollment begins in a few months,” lawmakers wrote. “Your agency also has the power to review the insurance rates that providers wish to charge.”

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), has asked the GAO to investigate Sebelius’ fundraising activities. “It could be bigger than Iran-Contra,” he’s said. In an interview with Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post, Lamar and Kliff had this interchange.

Sarah Kliff: You’ve been one of the first Republican senators to raise concerns about the secretary’s fundraising for Obamacare. What would you like to see happen next?

Lamar Alexander: I’d like for her to stop. One issue is if she’s raising money from the people she regulates. But I’m more concerned about her using private funding and private organizations to do what Congress has refused to do. I and other members of congress are going to ask GAO to look into the extent she’s coordinating with Enroll America or other organizations.

The reason I used the analogy to Iran-Contra scandal is this administration’s persistent thumbing of its nose at Article 1 of the Constitution because that made it very clear that the purpose of creating Congress is to curb executive power.

SK: I wanted to follow up on the Iran-Contra analogy. That seems like an awfully strong historical example to pick in this situation.

LA: This is arguably an even bigger issue because, in Iran-Contra, you had $30 million that was spent by Oliver North through private organizations for a purpose congress refused to authorize, in support of the rebels. Here, you’re wanting to spend millions more in support of private organizations to do something that Congress has refused.

As more and more information on the activities of the Obama administration is exposed, the “I” word has appeared.

GOP Rep. ‘Not Willing’ to Take Obama Impeachment Off The Table

By  Andrew Johnson, May 15, 2013 10:10 AM

“I would say yes — I’m not willing to take it off to take it off the table,” representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) said about the possibility of seeking the president’s impeachment in the Benghazi scandal. 

“Look, it’s not something I’m seeking, it’s not the endgame, it’s not what we’re playing for,” Chaffetz explained in an interview with CNN. “I was simply asked if that’s within the realm of possibilities.”

Earlier this week, Chaffetz told the Salt Lake Tribune that impeachment is “certainly a possibility,” which drew attention but added, “that’s not the goal.”

Boehner, finally getting his butt out of dead slow, asked,Who’s going to jail over this scandal?”

I would hazard an answer of, “No one, at this point.” Clearly, some should—Sebelius, Lerner, the management of the Cincinnati IRS office that processed the Tax Exempt applications, Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue Steven T. Miller and others. Hilliary Clinton, too, should be charged with Criminal Neglect for her actions and inactions during and after the Benghazi attack.

My cynical side believes Hilliary and Sebelius will be defended to the end by Congressional democrats. After all, Hilliary is their favorite, at the moment, for Prez in 2016.

The Day of the Dron…duds

The Senatorial oversight committee investigating the Benghazi fiasco is still conducting hearings.  You wouldn’t know that if you read our local Kansas City Red Star nor would you be aware if you only listened to MSM outlets. Testimony last week from SecDef Leon Panetta and CJCS General Martin Dempsey revealed nothing whatsoever was done to send relief to our Libyan Consulate.

Both Panetta and Dempsey tried to evade questions. Dempsey at last responded to the question from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), “Was any asset—soldier, sailor, marine, airman, ship or plane sent to relieve the Benghazi consulate during the eight hours of the attack?”  Dempsey, after numerous attempts to equivocate and evade the question finally answered, “No.”

When Leon Panetta was questioned about Obama’s involvement, he, too, evaded questions. He said Obama was informed when the information was first known. Obama told Panetta, “to take care of it.” Thereafter Obama did not call for updates nor, apparently, did Panetta, Dempsey, nor anyone call the White House to provide Obama with an update.

In engineering, process design circles, this is known as an Indecision Loop. You see, neither Panetta nor Dempsey can order troops  to act outside of the the US border. That can only be done by the CIC—Obama. As has happened so many times, Obama was absent. Without Obama’s presence and authorization, nothing could be done.

Panetta admitted that the attack in Benghazi ended before anyone in Washington could act. The fact that military assets, from the 4-hour alert units of the 18th Airborne at Ft Bragg, to air and naval assets in the Med and Europe only minutes away, were available was immaterial. The non-leadership in Washington was running in circles because the only one who could make that final decision couldn’t be bothered.

It is interesting that several Generals and Admirals who were in a position to act and who gave orders to prepare to act pending release from Washington were fired. Not only was Washington incapable of acting, they punished those who could and were preparing to act.

From the emerging testimony from Leon Panetta, General Martin Dempsey and SecState Hilliary Clinton we now know the answer to the question posed to Obama during the 2008 election. When the phone rings at 3AM in the morning in a emergency who will answer the phone? Obama or Clinton? The answer, we now know, is neither.

The Imperial Presidency

The term, Imperial Presidency, is not new. I first heard it before many of you were born.  It did not have a positive connotation.

Imperial Presidency is a term that became popular in the 1960s and that served as the title of a 1973 volume by historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. to describe the modern presidency of the United States. The author wrote The Imperial Presidency out of two concerns; first that the US Presidency was out of control and second that the Presidency had exceeded the constitutional limits.[1]

It was based on a number of observations. In the 1930s, the President of the United States had few staff, most of them based in the U.S. Capitol, where the President has always had an office. The Oval Office is still used when the president is in the country and not traveling, but is most often used for ceremonial occasions, but, in 19th and early 20th centuries, presidents were more regularly based there with a small staff. However, Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s leadership during the Great Depression and World War II changed the presidency. His leadership in the new age of electronic media, the growth of executive agencies under the New Deal, his Brain Trust advisors, and the creation of the Executive Office of the President in 1939 led to a transformation of the presidency.

The President has a large executive staff who are most often crowded in the West Wing, basement of the White House, or in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is beside the White House and used by the Departments of Defense and State. Progressive overcrowding in the West Wing led President Richard Nixon to convert the former presidential swimming pool into a press room. — Wiki. has this definition of Imperial Presidency.

imperial presidency 

noun ( sometimes initial capital letters )

a U.S. presidency that is characterized by greater power than the constitution allows.


Origin: 1970–75

When Lincoln was in the White House, he had only a small personal staff.  People could, and did, walk into the White House from off the street and ask to meet the President. More often than not, they met Lincoln.

Since Lincoln’s time, Presidential staffs have grown. The “Executive Office” was officially established in 1939 for Franklin Roosevelt to help administer government programs created during his “New Deal” era. Initially, six agencies, including the actual White House staff were included in the Executive Office. During WW2, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion was added and remains to this day although inactive. More offices were added by Truman and additional offices has been added with every President.

When Obama was elected he added more personnel calling them “Czars” and granting them extraordinary power.

Today, I found this in my mail box.

Matthew Spalding, Ph.D. June 22, 2012 at 9:06 am

The United States was born when rebellious colonists declared their independence from an imperial ruler who had vastly overstepped his bounds. “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States,” they wrote in their Declaration of Independence.

Today’s presidency lacks the regal air of George III. But imperialism is back, in a big way.

Last week, the Obama Administration’s Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum instructing U.S. immigration officials to use their “prosecutorial discretion” to create a policy scheme contrary to existing law, designed to implement legislation that Congress hasn’t passed.

We can now see before us a persistent pattern of disregard for the powers of the legislative branch in favor of administrative decision-making without—and often in spite of—congressional action.  This violates the spirit—and potentially the letter—of the Constitution’s separation of the legislative and executive powers of Congress and the President.

Examples abound:

  • Even though the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected the President’s cap-and-trade plan, his Environmental Protection Agency classified carbon dioxide, the compound that sustains vegetative life, as a pollutant so that it could regulate it under the Clean Air Act.
  • After the Employee Free Choice Act—designed to bolster labor unions’ dwindling membership rolls—was defeated by Congress, the National Labor Relations Board announced a rule that would implement “snap elections” for union representation, limiting employers’ abilities to make their case to workers and virtually guaranteeing a higher rate of unionization at the expense of workplace democracy.
  • After an Internet regulation proposal failed to make it through Congress, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would regulate the Web anyway, even despite a federal court’s ruling that it had no authority to do so.
  • Although Congress consistently has barred the Department of Education from getting involved in curriculum matters, the Administration has offered waivers for the No Child Left Behind law in exchange for states adopting national education standards, all without congressional authorization.

Worse than the examples shown above is the disregard of the presidential duties. Duties that Obama is refusing to perform.

  • Since it objects to existing federal immigration laws, the Administration has decided to apply those laws selectively and actively prevent the state (like Arizona) from enforcing those laws themselves.
  • Rather than push Congress to repeal federal laws against marijuana use, the Department of Justice (DOJ) simply decided it would no longer enforce those laws.
  • DOJ also has announced that it would stop enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act or defending it from legal challenge rather than seeking legislative recourse. — The Morning Bell.

Now Obama is refusing to release documents to Congress in the Fast ‘n Furious scandal citing Executive Privilege.  That didn’t work with Nixon—as decided by the Supreme Court, nor will it work for Obama. The Supreme Court declared that Nixon could only exclude releasing documents if they related to national security issues and their release could harm the nation. Those exclusions do not apply to the DoJ documents sought by Issa.  In addition, the crime being investigated with Nixon was a simple burglary. The crimes being investigated in Fast ‘n Furious includes the murder of at least two US citizens, one, Brian Terry, a Border Patrol officer killed in the line of duty.

Earlier this year the President crossed the threshold of constitutionality when he gave “recess appointments” to four officials who were subject to Senate confirmation, even though the Senate wasn’t in recess. Gaziano wrote at the time that such appointments “would render the Senate’s advice and consent role to normal appointments almost meaningless. It is a grave constitutional wrong.”

There is no telling where such disregard may go next, but the trend is clear, and it leads further and further away from the constitutional rule of law.

The President has unique and powerful responsibilities in our constitutional system as chief executive officer, head of state, and commander in chief. Those powers do not include the authority to make laws or to decide which laws to enforce and which to ignore. The President – like judges or Members of Congress – takes an oath to uphold the Constitution in carrying out the responsibilities of his office.

Indeed, the President takes a unique oath, pledging he “shall faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” We don’t need a new Declaration of Independence, but we do need a President who will defend and vigorously exert his or her legitimate powers, recognizing that those powers are not arbitrary or unlimited. — The Morning Bell.

This unconstitutional seizure of executive power must be stopped. When we remove Obama from office next January, the new Congress and Executive must take steps to insure that no future abuses of power can ever be made by another “Imperial” President.

Friday Follies for August, 19, 2011

The libs and state media are up in arms over Rick Perry’s “almost treason” comment the other day.  They claim that Perry was threatening Bernake.  In his speech, Perry was about to say, “treachery,” but in mid-word changed it to “almost treasonous.”

To those who’ve never traveled outside the BosWash corridor,  that “almost treasonous” term is common usage. It portrays the feeling that Washington is out-of-touch and is actively working against the welfare of most of the country.  Some, including myself, would have preferred Perry continued and used “treachery.”  It was more appropriate to the conditions we see in Washington—a betrayal of trust.

It got the libs so upset they are soliciting prostitutes, “exotic” dancers, and gays to claim Perry visited strip joints, spent time with prostitutes and was gay.

This ad appeared in a sleazy little “alternative” paper in Austin, TX.  Ads for “personal services” and solicitiation of prostitution are its normal fare.

We really shouldn’t be surprised something like this has appeared. It a common lib/dem tactic.


It’s a sad sign of the politicization of NASA.  The Obama administration ordered NASA to verify that human caused global warming was true.  Instead, NASA discovered that the original data used to justify the myth had been falsified.  

That could not happen.  So the overseers of NASA came up with this idea. 

Aliens Could Attack Earth to End Global Warming, NASA Frets

Published August 19, 2011

We’ve all heard of the ravaged rain forests and the plight of the polar bear. But as far as reasons for saving the planet go, the one offered by scientists Thursday is truly out of this world.
A team of American researchers have produced a range of scenarios in which aliens could attack the earth, and curiously, one revolves around climate change.
They speculate that extraterrestrial environmentalists could be so appalled by our planet-polluting ways that they view us as a threat to the intergalactic ecosystem and decide to destroy us.
The thought-provoking scenario is one of many envisaged in a joint study by Penn State and the NASA Planetary Science Division, entitled “Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis.”
It divides projected close encounters into “neutral,” those that cause mankind “unintentional harm” and, more worryingly, those in which aliens do us “intentional harm.”
Extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) “could attack and kill us, enslave us, or potentially even eat us. ETI could attack us out of selfishness or out of a more altruistic desire to protect the galaxy from us. We might be a threat to the galaxy just as we are a threat to our home planet,” it warns.


When Obama stopped in rural Illinois for a meet ‘n greet, a farmer complained about the massive federal paperwork he had to produce.  Obama told him to call Washington.

A reporter did just that to see if anything could be done.  This is what happened.

Obama’s unhelpful advice

At Wednesday’s town hall in Atkinson, Ill., a local farmer who said he grows corn and soybeans expressed his concerns to President Obama about “more rules and regulations” – including those concerning dust, noise and water runoff — that he heard would negatively affect his business.

The president, on day three of his Midwest bus tour, replied: “If you hear something is happening, but it hasn’t happened, don’t always believe what you hear.”

When the room broke into soft laughter, the president added, “No — and I’m serious about that.”

When this POLITICO reporter decided to take the president’s advice and call USDA for an answer to the Atkinson town hall attendee’s question, I found myself in a bureaucratic equivalent of hot potato — getting bounced from the feds to Illinois state agriculture officials to the state farm bureau.

Here’s a rundown of what happened when I started by calling USDA’s general hotline to inquire about information related to the effects of noise and dust pollution rules on Illinois farmers:

Wednesday, 2:40 p.m. ET: After calling the USDA’s main line, I am told to call the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Here, I am patched through to a man who is identified as being in charge of “support services.” I leave a message.

3:53 p.m.: The man calls me back and recommends in a voicemail message that I call the Illinois Farm Bureau — a non-governmental organization.

4:02 p.m.: A woman at the Illinois Farm Bureau connects me to someone in the organization’s government affairs department. That person tells me they “don’t quite know who to refer you to.”

4:06 p.m.: I call the Illinois Department of Agriculture again, letting the person I spoke with earlier know that calling the Illinois Farm Bureau had not been fruitful. He says “those are the kinds of groups that are kind of on top of this or kind of follow things like this. We deal with pesticide here in our bureau.”

“You only deal with pesticides?” I ask.

“We deal with other things … but we mainly deal with pesticides here,” he said, and gives me the phone number for the office of the department’s director, where he says there are “policy people” as well as the director’s staff.

4:10 p.m.: Someone at the director’s office transfers me to the agriculture products inspection department, where a woman says their branch deals with things like animal feed, seed and fertilizer.

“I’m going to transfer you to one of the guys at environmental programs.”

4:15 p.m.: I reach the answering machine at the environmental programs department, and leave a message.

4:57 p.m.: A man from the environmental programs department gets back to me: “I hate to be the regular state worker that’s always accused of passing the buck, but noise and dust regulation would be under our environmental protection agency, rather than the Agriculture Department,” he says, adding that he has forwarded my name and number to the agriculture adviser at IEPA. (The Illinois EPA.)

Well, you get the idea. It was a complete runaround.  It’s obvious that Obama has never had to deal with his own bureaucracy.  There is much more about the reporter’s efforts at the Politico Website.  Go there and read it all.


On a final note, here’s something to chuckle over during the weekend.

Bullets from the Heritage Foundation

I get e-mail alerts and daily news from a number of outlets.  One of those is a daily e-mail from the Heritage Foundation.  I was reading the e-mail for September 21, 2010  when I came across these items.

The impact and repercussions from Obamacare has arrived. 

Thanks to imminent Obamacare regulations, some of the country’s most prominent health insurance companies have decided to stop offering new child-only plans. — The Morning Bell, September 21, 2010.

The ‘Pubs even if they take control of both Congressional houses, won’t have the votes to override an Obama veto if they try to repeal Obamacare, or any of the other socialist legislation passed by Reid and Pelosi.  But, they have other plans to blunt the effects of some of the most egregious parts.

Republican lawmakers are developing plans to dismantle Obamacare by defunding key regulatory provisions.The Morning Bell, September 21, 2010.

This is very important to me.  I received my retire package from my employer.  I had always thought that Medicare eligibility was the same as that for Social Security.  Not so, I’ve discovered.  I can get SS at a reduced amount anytime after age 62.  However, for Medicare, I have to wait until I’m 65.  The impact of this is that if I want to continue receiving healthcare from my former employer, it will cost me $1450/mth for me and my wife.

My company pension, if I take 100% for myself without any rollover to my wife if I die before her, is $1300/mth. Somehow, I’ll have to come up with a way to provide healthcare for 19 months before I’m eligible for Medicare—assuming the @*(%^& idiots in Washington don’t do something to screw that up.

Yes, healthcare is important to me and I want the government to keep their !@#$%^&*( hands off!


Seems the Brits have found a new way to screw their people.

The United Kingdom’s tax collection agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), proposed that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer.  The Morning Bell, September 21, 2010.   

I’ll make one prediction.  If the FedGov tried anything like that here in the USA—the guns would come out of the closet and people would be encircling Washington for a discussion on just who’s country this is.        

Rangel and Dodd strike again

I wonder how many of you heard about this over the Holidays. The democrat duo raised the debt limit for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow the two organization to pay required dividends to their bond holders. If the debt limit wasn’t raised, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would have been in default—again!

What should have happened was that they be allowed to default, and like any other corporation, go into bankruptcy, have all asset sold off and cease doing the democrats money laundering. But that didn’t happen. We can only hope. These two organizations directly led to the housing and mortgage collapse and should be disbanded.

It won’t be too soon that Dodd scurries off to oblivion.

Thank you, Chuck Asay, for keeping this in front of us.

Random Items for a Saturday

As a followup to Thursday’s post, from Michael Ramirez…

Just some highlights dredged from The Heritage Foundation…

QUICK HITS (from the Heritage Foundation)

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports today that the economy shed 85,000 net jobs in December, keeping the nation’s unemployment rate at 10%.
New revelations that the Timothy Geithner-led New York Fed told AIG to withhold information from the public about details of its government bailout have securities lawyers wondering if federal securities laws were broken.
President Obama’s decision to suspend sending any detainees being held in the Guantánamo Bay detention facility back to Yemen raises new questions about whether the facility will be shuttered at all.
A day after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called Obamacare “health care to nowhere” the White House tried to secure the support of the Democratic Governors Association, but instead Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) told Time: “It is a huge load on the states at a time when we are still climbing out of the recession.”
Due to pressure from the Civil Rights Division of the Obama Justice Department, the Chicago Police Department is seriously considering scrapping their police entrance exam.

“Systemic failure—in the White House.” The Heritage Foundation reports where the actual “systemic failure” actually occurred.

The First Step Is Admitting You Have A Problem

It may have taken President Barack Obama two weeks to deliver a speech on the failed Flight 253 bomb attack without blaming President Bush, but he should still be commended for finally owning up for the massive intelligence failure. President Obama told the American people yesterday: “The U.S. government had the information . . . to potentially uncover this plot and disrupt the attack. Rather than a failure to collect or share intelligence, this was a failure to connect and understand the intelligence that we already had. … Ultimately, the buck stops with me . . . and when the system fails, it is my responsibility.”

But while the President is right to admit the system failed and that it is his fault that it did, he is still clueless about why. The President promised he would direct “our intelligence community immediately begin assigning specific responsibility for investigating all leads on high-priority threats so that these leads are pursued and acted upon aggressively — not just most of the time,
but all of the time.” And he added: “In addition to the corrective efforts that I’ve ordered, I’ve directed agency heads to establish internal accountability reviews, and directed my national security staff to monitor their efforts.”

But this failure of our intelligence system was not just about lack of accountability. It was about empowerment – or more specifically the lack thereof. The system simply moved too slowly because there was a lack of urgency about the war on terror. Intelligence personnel were not empowered to employ their ingenuity and resourcefulness to connect the dots. Adding layers of “internal accountability reviews” will only make the bureaucratic stupor worse. It is people’s resourcefulness and initiative that will stop the next terrorist attack, not a bureaucratic process.

And from the day he stepped into office, President Obama’s actions have done nothing but kill the initiative and morale of our intelligence employees. From day one, he made it clear that he believes the war on terror is a civilian criminal justice problem to be managed, and not a war to be won. That is why he took the responsibility for interrogating detainees from the CIA and gave it to the FBI. That is why he has failed to seek the renewal of key investigatory authorities authorized under the USA Patriot Act, instead settling for a six-month extension tacked on to the Defense appropriations bill. It is why instead of promising victory in Afghanistan, he sent fewer troops than were required and gave al Qaeda a set date for our withdrawal. It is why he has failed to approach Congress with legislation establishing a legal framework for handling terrorism detainees. It is why he is pushing for Khalid Sheik Mohammed to be prosecuted in civilian court despite his previous guilty plea in a military tribunal. And most demoralizing of all, President Obama has allowed Attorney General Eric Holder to re-investigate nearly a dozen CIA interrogators and contractors for their past efforts in the war on terror.<

This is an issue of leadership. The President of the United States sets the tone and then the message filters down. Our intelligence personnel failed to follow-up on the leads that could have prevented Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from even boarding the plane because their leader had sent the message that fighting the war on terror was not a high priority. Finally, it now seems that the President is ready to start acting like protecting the American people is not just a duty: it is his first duty.

And finally, a cartoon to round off the week.