Romney: Abolish ‘Obamacare’

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney Friday called President Obama’s signature healthcare reform program “an unfolding disaster.”

In an op-ed piece published in USA Today, Romney marked the second anniversary of the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying he always has opposed a “one-size-fits-all” plan for the entire country, preferring instead to allow each state to come up with its own solution.

“President Obama’s program is an unfolding disaster for the American economy, a budget-busting entitlement, and a dramatic new federal intrusion into our lives,” Romney wrote, adding that overturning the law is only part of the solution.

“Just as important is the question of what to put in its place. Instead of the massive new taxes, trillions of dollars in new spending, and top-down bureaucratic decrees of Obamacare, we need to limit Washington’s control by spurring competition, creating maximum flexibility and enhancing consumer choice.

“I would begin by changing the tax code, which … discriminates against individuals who want to buy insurance on their own.”

Romney called for action on “out-of-control medical malpractice litigation,” which he said distorts the way care is given.

“The reforms I propose for the country could not be more different from Barack Obama’s. They entail no new taxes, no massive diversions of funds away from Medicare, no tax discrimination, and no new bureaucracies,” Romney wrote. “At the same time, they increase consumer choice, lower healthcare costs, decrease government spending and give states responsibility for dealing with the uninsured.

“Whatever the Supreme Court decides about the constitutionality of Obamacare, we already know that it is bad policy and wrong for America. Abolishing it and putting sensible changes in its place will be one of my highest priorities as president.”

 

Army Charges Bales In Afghan Massacre

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (UPI) — The U.S. soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians was charged Friday with the deaths in the first formal acknowledgement by the military of the massacre.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was being held at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He was charged with 17 counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder and six counts of aggravated assault, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The charges also were announced by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and were to be delivered to Bales and his lawyers.

Bales, 38, a father of two who lives in Lake Tapps, Wash., has been held in solitary confinement in the U.S. military’s only domestic maximum-security facility since being flown from Afghanistan last week.

While Army prosecutors are said to have concluded the slayings were premeditated and Bales was aware of his actions, Bales’ civilian attorney, John Henry Browne, has said his client does not remember much about what happened in the predawn hours of March 11.

Military officials allege Bales, on his fourth combat tour overseas, walked off a small combat outpost in Kandahar province and slaughtered 17 villagers, most of them women and children, and then burned some of the victims’ bodies and walked back to his base to turn himself in.

Authorities originally said 16 Afghans were killed and several others critically wounded in the massacre, considered the worst U.S. atrocity of the Afghan war. They said Thursday the death toll had since risen to 17.

Browne did not immediately respond to a phone message from United Press International seeking comment on the charges.

U.S. officials hope the charges, coming less than two weeks after the shootings, will be seen in Afghanistan as an indication Washington is determined to hold the perpetrator accountable, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A court-martial could be months or even years away, officials said.

President Barack Obama promised to hold accountable “anyone responsible” for the killings.

The attacks came at a time of evaporating trust between the U.S. military and its Afghan allies.

In January, an Internet video depicted U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters. Soon after, U.S. troops inadvertently burned copies of the Koran and other Islamic holy texts, sparking widespread riots.

 

40 Percent Of Women Never Married

WASHINGTON (UPI) — A federal report shows 38 percent of American women today have never been married, up from 33 percent in 1995.

On the flip side, of the 12,279 women interviewed from 2006 to 2010 by the National Center for Health Statistics, 36 percent of women ages 15 to 44 said they are in their first marriage, down from 44 percent in 1982, USA Today reported.

The study, released Thursday, also found the median age at first marriage was 25.8 for women.

Galena Rhoades of the University of Denver’s Center for Marital and Family Studies, said the findings reflect not only the “delay in getting married for the first time” but also “that more people are cohabiting.”

The study further found nearly half of marriages break up within 20 years. The data show 52 percent of women’s first marriages survived the 20-year mark.

Education seemed to be a factor that affects the likelihood of divorce, experts said. For women with at least a bachelor’s degree, for example, 78 percent were still married after 20 years, compared to 49 percent of women with some college and 41 percent of women who only hold a high school diploma.

Experts say this data is reliable.

“Of all the government reports, this series has the best methodology about marriage and divorce,” says sociologist Andrew Cherlin, a demographer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Santorum Would Vote Romney Over Obama

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Rick Santorum will vote for Mitt Romney if the former Massachusetts governor wins the Republican presidential nomination, a spokeswoman said Friday.

Alice Stewart, speaking on CNN’s “Starting Point,” was trying to douse an uproar Santorum started Thursday when he suggested Romney is only “a little different” from President Obama, USA Today reported.

“Rick has made it abundantly clear once a nominee is chosen he’ll stand behind the nominee and do everything we can to replace Barack Obama,” Stewart said.

Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich piled on after Santorum’s remark in San Antonio, joined by Republican bloggers. Ed Morrissey, a Santorum supporter, suggested the former U.S. senator had “forgotten the purpose of the Republican primary.”

“You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country not someone who is just going to be a little different than the person in there,” Santorum said. “If they’re going to be a little different we may as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk in what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future,” a reference to a gaffe earlier this week by a Romney campaign spokesman.

Santorum’s campaign Friday highlighted Santorum’s opposition to Obama with a political ad that paints a hypothetically bleak future for a fictional American town called “Obamaville,” The Hill reported.

“Imagine a small American town two years from now if Obama is re-elected,” the voiceover in the ad says. “Small businesses are struggling and families are worried about their jobs and their future. The wait to see a doctor is ever increasing, gas prices … through the roof and their freedom of religion: under attack.”

The ad then shows images of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, warning “Obamaville” would also be under the cloud of a possible nuclear threat from a “sworn enemy” of the United States.

“Welcome to a place where one president’s failed policies, really hit home. Welcome to Obamaville, more than a town, a cautionary tale,” the ad said.

Gallup: Romney Support At 40 Percent

PRINCETON, N.J. (UPI) — The latest Gallup poll Friday indicated Mitt Romney has the support of 40 percent of Republicans in the battle for the GOP’s U.S. presidential nomination.

It is first time a U.S. presidential candidate has reached that level in this campaign.

The result came in the same week Romney posted a convincing victory in the Illinois primary and won the endorsement of Jeb Bush. It also gives him a double digit lead over Rich Santorum, his closest competitor for the GOP presidential nomination.

The poll put Santorum’s support at 26 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 14 percent and Ron Paul at 8 percent.

The poll was conducted Sunday through Thursday among 1,157 Republican or Republican-leaning voters. The sampling error was put at 4 percentage points with 95 percent confidence.

Gallup: Romney Support At 40 Percent

PRINCETON, N.J. (UPI) — The latest Gallup poll Friday indicated Mitt Romney has the support of 40 percent of Republicans in the battle for the GOP’s U.S. presidential nomination.

It is first time a U.S. presidential candidate has reached that level in this campaign.

The result came in the same week Romney posted a convincing victory in the Illinois primary and won the endorsement of Jeb Bush. It also gives him a double digit lead over Rich Santorum, his closest competitor for the GOP presidential nomination.

The poll put Santorum’s support at 26 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 14 percent and Ron Paul at 8 percent.

The poll was conducted Sunday through Thursday among 1,157 Republican or Republican-leaning voters. The sampling error was put at 4 percentage points with 95 percent confidence.

Marine Who Criticized Obama Faces Discharge

A Marine sergeant who made online comments vowing to stand up to the Constitution and criticizing President Barack Obama and his policies is facing dismissal from the Corps for his actions.

According to The Associated Press, Sgt. Gary Stein, who started a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party, was informed by the Marines that he violated a Pentagon policy barring troops from political activities.

The nine-year Marine veteran said he started the page to encourage fellow service members to exercise their free speech rights. Stein was first cautioned by his superiors at Camp Pendleton in 2010, after he launched the Facebook page and criticized Obama’s healthcare overhaul. He volunteered to take down the page while he reviewed the rules at the request of his superiors. Upon determining that he was not in violation of the rules, Stein relaunched the page.

Last week, in response to a post in which Stein said he would refuse to follow unlawful orders from the President, Stein’s superiors barred him from using social media sites on government computers.

The Marines say Stein failed to follow Pentagon directives that say military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement. Officers also are not allowed to use contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the President.

Stein said in a statement: “The allegations drummed up against me are no more than an agenda by the Marine Corps to use me as an example. I have never spoken on behalf of the Marine Corps or in uniform.  I have stayed within guidelines DOD Directive 1344.10 and made sure to. If I am guilty of anything it would be that I am American, a freedom loving Conservative, hell bent on defending the constitution and preserving Americas greatness. I am no more the Leader of the Armed Forces Tea Party than any other of 18,000 members are. I just happen to be normal guy who started a facebook page and who hold the Tea Party values close my heart and believes the Tea Party can enact real change in this county. We are all leaders in the Tea Party!”

The Joke’s On Us

This gives new meaning to April Fools’ Day. On the first of next month, Japan cuts its tax rate on corporate profits from 39.5 percent to 36.8 percent. So what, you ask? When that happens, it means that the United States will have the world’s highest corporate tax rate. Our combined Federal and State levies of 39.2 percent will be higher than taxes charged in Russia, China, Sweden and Denmark. Oh, and Japan plans to cut those taxes by another 2.3 percent in three years. Hey, aren’t we supposed to be the pro-capitalist country?

How many times did you use it? The 244-year-old Encyclopaedia Britannica is abandoning its print edition. Those gold-lettered reference books that were sold by thousands of door-to-door salesmen will be no more. The company pointed out that its Web edition contains more information than its 32-volume print edition. And, besides, it is continuously updated.

A millionaire food stamp recipient. When Amanda Clayton, an unemployed 24-year-old in Lincoln Park, Mich., won $1 million in the State lottery, she promptly went out and bought a house and new car. She also continued to collect $200 a month in food stamps. When a local reporter asked her if she thought that was right, she replied, “I feel that it’s okay because, I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay.”

Food stamps buy drugs and guns. Phyllis Fong, the inspector general of the Department of Agriculture, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that some welfare recipients are selling their food stamps for cash and buying drugs with the money. “By giving a recipient $50 in cash for $100 in benefits, an unscrupulous retailer can make a significant profit; recipients, of course, are then able to spend the cash however they like,” she said. “In some cases, recipients have exchanged benefits for drugs, weapons, and other contraband.” Your taxes at work, folks.

Chip Wood

Obama Popular On The Internet

The Internet has become increasingly involved in political campaigns over the course of the past decade; new research shows that Barack Obama has been more successful than any of his Republican challengers at harnessing online campaign power.

According to Nielson Media Research, Obama’s re-election website had 4.2 million unique monthly visitors over age 18 in January compared to a combined 2.9 million visitors to the campaign sites of Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum during the same month.

  • Ron Paul’s site had 830,000 visitors.
  • Mitt Romney’s site had 773,000 visitors.
  • Rick Santorum’s site had 696,000 visitors.
  • Newt Gingrich’s site had 609,000 visitors.

Women made up more than 60 percent of all traffic to Santorum’s site, the largest gender split of any candidate. Only Paul and Gingrich drew more men than women with 56 percent and 51 percent respectively.

The research indicates that Paul drew the most visitors in the coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic with 36.8 percent of his visitors falling into the category. Obama, for whom young voters were a key constituency in 2008, was visited mostly by people between the ages of 50 and 64 — only 17.1 percent were 18 to 34.

The information comes after a recent POLITICO report that describes how the Obama campaign has invested millions of dollars in sophisticated Internet messaging, marketing and fundraising efforts that rely on personal data about voters collected on the Internet that is sometimes offered up voluntarily — like posts on a Facebook page — but sometimes not.