Democrats Failed Middle Class in Passing Obamacare, Top Senator Says

Melissa Quinn /

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., bucking the White House and the party line, said in a speech yesterday that Democrats were wrong to focus on and pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010 — when Americans were crying out for a fix for the stagnant economy.

Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said in an address at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that his party misdirected its efforts by concentrating on health care reform when middle class Americans wanted government to work to end the recession and create jobs.

“When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, ‘The Democrats aren’t paying enough attention to me,’ ” Schumer said.

The New York Democrat emphasized his support for Obamacare, but said that before its passage, only 5 percent of registered voters lacked health insurance. The Affordable Care Act passed the House and Senate without a single Republican vote.

>>> Commentary: FDA’s Final Menu Labeling Rule: Going Way Beyond What’s Required Under Obamacare


Majority of Americans Say It’s Not Federal Government’s Role to Provide Health Care Coverage - Daily Signal

Majority of Americans Say It’s Not Federal Government’s Role to Provide Health Care Coverage

Melissa Quinn / Kate Scanlon /

For the third year in a row, a majority of Americans say it’s not the proper role of government to make sure everyone has health care coverage.

According to a new Gallup poll, 52 percent of respondents said it is not the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, while 45 percent responded that it is.

Image: Gallup

Gallup has asked Americans this question every year since 2000 in its annual poll. In 2000, 59 percent of Americans said it was the federal government’s responsibility to provide health care, and the majority increased to 69 percent in 2006. But since 2012, the majority has opposed the idea that health care coverage is the government’s responsibility.

According to Gallup, “seven in 10 Democrats and Democratic leaners agree that providing healthcare coverage to all is the federal government’s job; three-quarters of Republicans and Republican leaners disagree.”

The poll was conducted via telephone interviews, Nov. 6-9, 2014. It surveyed a random sample of 828 voting-age adults in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.



In Time for Thanksgiving, Obama White House Serves Up 3,400 New Regulations - Daily Signal

In Time for Thanksgiving, Obama White House Serves Up 3,400 New Regulations

Melissa Quinn / Kate Scanlon / Melissa Quinn /

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the White House quietly released word that it intends to put out 3,400 new regulations next year.

For those who’d like to check out the Obama administration’s proposed new government red tape, released Friday, it’s called the Unified Agenda.

“The administration has been really aggressive on the regulatory front,” Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at American Action Forum, a conservative policy institute, told The Daily Signal. “They drop [the Unified Agenda] on a Friday right before a holiday, and no one critical of their regulatory policies will have a chance to criticize it.”

The Unified Agenda serves as the administration’s roadmap for regulations it intends to finalize in coming months.

Over the past six years of the Obama administration, the cost of complying with new government rules has averaged $16 billion per year.

>>> Commentary: Democrats Lost the Election. But Obama Still Controls the Regulatory Agencies.

But under the Clinton and Bush administrations, Batkins said, the Unified Agenda typically was a “normal, boring list of regulations” released each fall and spring.  He said the Obama administration’s penchant for releasing new regulations near the holidays shows it views it “as a politically charged document.”

The latest agenda includes 23 new “economically significant” rules–those with estimated economic impact of $100 million or more per year. That’s up from 21 in last year’s agenda.

Those rules, as Batkins said, are the “big-ticket items.”

Compliance costs could top $20 billion. For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission plans to issue flammability standards for upholstered furniture that could cost more than $100 million.

The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to issue a final rule on coal ash residue, expected Dec. 19, with compliance costs of $20 billion.

Also to be finalized next year is the EPA’s set of rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Batkins said of the agenda:

It’s a reflection of the president’s regulatory priorities and a manifestation of seven years of aggressive lawmaking. It’s a matter of adding up these regulatory priorities to see what it means to the American people.

>>> Read More: Regulation Kills Opportunity

The mounting regulations issued by the Obama administration has been a source of contention for many Republicans, particularly in states that look to coal production as a boon to the local economy.

“It’s time for more listening and less job-destroying red tape,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. “Easing the burden created by EPA regulations will continue to be a priority for me in the new Congress.”

In a March report from The Heritage Foundation, regulatory policy experts James Gattuso and Diane Katz found that the Obama administration issued 157 major regulations during the president’s first five years in office. For the same period under President George W. Bush, the government issued 62 major regulations.

Those 157 new rules, Gattuso and Katz found, cost Americans close to $73 billion.

According to the American Action Forum, the $16 billion annual average for compliance costs is “tantamount to having a $160 billion tax increase over 10 years.”

About $18 billion to $20 billion in new regulatory costs is the equivalent of a 1 percent increase in the payroll tax, Batkins told The Daily Signal:

Payroll tax going up 1 percent — that would get everyone interested. But $20 billion in regulatory costs is the equivalent of that.


Is Ferguson Really About Race? - Daily Signal

Is Ferguson Really About Race?

Melissa Quinn / Kate Scanlon / Melissa Quinn / Jamie Jackson /

A day after riots engulfed Ferguson, Mo., protesters gathered there again and in cities across America last night. Many demonstrated peacefully, while others resorted to violence. The Daily Signal interviewed two religious leaders about the unrest.

In the interview above, Bishop Harry Jackson, founder of the High Impact Leadership Coalition in Beltsville, Md., weighs in from Ferguson on why white Americans and black Americans view the case of police officer Darren Wilson differently.

And below, Jesse Johnson, pastor of Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Va., discusses why race continues to be a deep-seated problem in America.

The Daily Signal’s Alex Anderson produced the two videos.

School Lunches Evoke Strong Feelings: Here’s What You Had to Say - Daily Signal

School Lunches Evoke Strong Feelings: Here’s What You Had to Say

Melissa Quinn / Kate Scanlon / Melissa Quinn / Jamie Jackson / Rob Bluey /

Schools across America are celebrating Thanksgiving with their annual feast of turkey and vegetables. And this year, students are giving thanks in another way—with a touch of sarcasm.

First lady Michelle Obama, champion of healthy eating, was on the receiving end of the “thanks” when students shared photos of their unappetizing lunches and skimpy servings.

my school lunch today #ThanksMichelleObama

— josh russell (@josh_emerson) November 21, 2014

Using the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama, students posted photos of their food, prompting widespread media coverage. The Daily Signal’s story sparked quite a discussion on social media and in our comments section.

Several people sent us letters to the editor, a few of which we’ve printed below along with Facebook comments and tweets.

#ThanksMichelleObama just what a 16 year old girl needs

— Amber Schroeder (@aureviorlune) November 21, 2014

Throw an apple on & makes everything all better. No.@RobertBluey

— Carole Gilman (@CaroleGilman) November 22, 2014




Dear Editor:

It is really a shame what these children are getting in the schools to eat.

Most of it goes in the trash due to the fact that the bread, buns, spaghetti noodles, etc., are wheat and children do not like the wheat. Most households do not eat wheat items at home and the children are not accustomed to it and do not like it. The children do not eat, and throw the food in the trash.

When school is out, they come in the house starved to death and eating everything they can find as a snack. Then, three hours later they have dinner—if they are lucky enough to have dinner—all within a period of about three to four hours.

What do you think makes them fatter? Having a good school lunch in the middle of the day so they do not have to have a huge snack when they get home and then have dinner on top of that or having the “healthy food” that they are serving in the lunchrooms that no one is eating?

Plus, it is expensive for the parents to have to pay for lunches that are going in the trash. I had Thanksgiving lunch with my granddaughter last week and I was shocked about the food that they put on her tray. Most went in the trash and she was starved when she got home.

Someone needs to do something about this and not let the president dictate what the schools feed the children. I understand government regulations and I am all for the balanced diet and the food groups, but this is ridiculous.

First lady Michelle Obama needs to understand that children’s lunches are not what is making them obese or heavy. It is lack of exercise from playing games, cell phones, etc., and not playing outside and getting exercise like riding a bike.

Please give the children their school lunches back. Maybe when a new president gets into office, they will amend the school lunch program.

Trina N. Rupe
Pulaski, Va.

Had a very #healthylunch today. The apple definitely made up for the "mystery mush" #ThanksMichelleObama

— Hunter Whitney (@huntwhitney4) November 13, 2014

@RobertBluey if i could describe this in one word it would be slop

— johnsmith (@JamesRamboSmith) November 22, 2014

What in the world is that, "mystery meat"?@RobertBluey

— Carole Gilman (@CaroleGilman) November 22, 2014

@RobertBluey @Heritage What the …. That is disgusting looking; I can't believe they chose orange trays. Let alone the crap on it.

— Timothy Marston (@timothy_marston) November 22, 2014

@RobertBluey @Heritage what is God's name is that crap? Hardly looks edible.

— Amy O'Connell (@amyoco1968) November 22, 2014




Dear Editor:

The Heritage Foundation report by students, with photographs, protesting school lunches, just landed in my inbox and struck a nerve.

I taught high school for 30 years in a very upscale community outside Philadelphia. The lunches were horrible with the exception of the turkey dinner at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the addition late in my career of a salad bar.

Fruit was available, but the bananas, for example, were either so green the skins would not come off or they were so mushy they should have been thrown away. Apples were frequently soft and mushy with soft brown spots in them. Who would eat that?

There was an almost criminal level of food waste, of students purchasing food because they were hungry and then finding it inedible. Michelle Obama has simply made the problem worse.

There was a recent article about a high school senior in Wisconsin who led a student protest by encouraging her classmates to pack their own lunches and pack a lunch for someone who could not afford to pack their own. I can only wish her great success.

Our faculty was also very unimpressed by the school lunch program. Whom do they think they are kidding? The lunch program is one of many debacles in what should have been the finest educational institution below college level in the entire state of Pennsylvania.

It is all a big political football designed to allow the higher ups (who do not have to eat the stuff they mandate) to pat themselves on the back and declare that they have made a positive difference.

Linda Renick
Columbus, N.C.

@RobertBluey @Heritage yes let's just get them to eat Processed food!! Propaganda wow

— MomVet Norma (@etty430) November 22, 2014

@RobertBluey @Heritage don't like it, don't buy it, no one is forcing those kids to do it

— Laura Gelezunas (@LauraGelezunas) November 22, 2014

@RobertBluey @Heritage How in the world does ANYONE expect kids to eat THIS???

— Heidi Marie Campbell (@looking4rabboni) November 22, 2014






@RobertBluey @Heritage well thanks republicans for constantly saying we need to slash school funding

— Aneel Chattar (@IHateAneel) November 22, 2014

@RobertBluey @Heritage looks better then the nasty crap they use to serve us in the 80s. Parents want to whine they came make juniors food:)

— Susan Quintero (@mssurvivorsq) November 22, 2014

Dear Editor:

How wonderful that The Heritage Foundation has a watchdog like you! I thank God for The Heritage Foundation and heroes like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin and Glenn Beck every day.

These lunches are as disgusting as the Obama policies—they are tailored by criminals for innocents.

Marta Le Fave
Vernon, N.J.

@RobertBluey @FBRASWELL You mean to TELL ME that our kids are NOT Getting TEA with their lunches>>>> ?

— Our Home Tea L.L.C. (@OurHomeTea) November 22, 2014

@Heritage What is that "mush?"

— William Young (@CaliCard1) November 22, 2014




@Heritage I didn't know they served haggis in America – thought it was only served in Scotland the brave!

— Stephen J. Higgins (@tbgstephen) November 22, 2014

@Heritage @rkylesmith the Whitehouse staff should be eating these meals..

— Wm Curtis 2020 (@2020_wm) November 22, 2014

@Heritage @FBRASWELL forgive me but I'm poor the lunch looks pretty good to me

— george boseman (@cat7912) November 22, 2014

Dear Editor:

As a 65-year old grandmother who attended public schools from 1954-1967 and whose eight grandchildren are attending public schools now and who has served as a professional educator since 1970 and owned an inn with a restaurant since 2011, I’m a little sad about the state of school lunches in the past but much sadder about the effort of the federal bureaucracy (which includes Michelle Obama) to fix the the problem with school lunches in the present.

The first step is getting the feds out of the lunchroom.

Schools are local and should be local enterprises who might VOLUNTARILY cooperate with other schools at the town, county, state and federal level—but forcing cooperation with bureaucratic, uninformed, and often corrupt federal mandates is counter-productive to providing good school lunches for students—as well as providing any other government services to anyone who needs government services.

Please continue the campaign to educate the people about the disastrous result of the federal government “stepping in” to solve problems that are best resolved at the town, county and state level.

Karan Townsend
Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

@Heritage @toddschnitt This CANNOT be true….IF SO, which brand of dog food is it, it's hard to tell from pic???

— KarenSL (@KarenSL) November 22, 2014

@CaliCard1 @Heritage Looks like dog vomit.

— Lynn Davis (@LynnDavisWV) November 22, 2014

@Heritage No wonder kids won't eat this food. It looks like dog food. And I bet my dog won't even eat it. #ThanksMichelleObama

— Jeffrey Segal (@Dr_Decible_Jr) November 22, 2014



@Heritage @StupidBoomers Geez! I thought Barf w an Apple was on Mondays! (SARC)

— Mike Barr (@maxnrgmike) November 22, 2014

@Heritage @rebelgirl1213 Why all the hype? It is called recycled lunches…. Good for the planet…

— Hubris Serendipity (@theOstapBender) November 22, 2014

@Heritage @mkues65 I'm sure Obama's daughters eat the same thing.

— Aleister (@AmericanGlob) November 23, 2014

57 Raw Images of the Ferguson Protests Across the Nation - Daily Signal

57 Raw Images of the Ferguson Protests Across the Nation

Melissa Quinn / Kate Scanlon / Melissa Quinn / Jamie Jackson / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harris /

From peaceful sit-ins to demolished police cars, people all over the country have taken to the streets to protest a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.

The protests that started in Ferguson, Mo., have multiplied into demonstrations across America. These 57 raw images transport you to those cities.

New York City

Thousands march in New York to protest Ferguson decision:

— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) November 26, 2014

NYPD commissioner splattered with fake blood during #protest over #FergusonDecision @DNAinfo

— Adam Nichols (@Adam__Nichols) November 25, 2014

IN NEW YORK: Hundreds in NYC Protest Ferguson Decision via @NBCNewYork #FergusonDecision

— Nancy Hennen (@tweetbrk) November 25, 2014


Oakland streets reeking of spray paint tonight #ferguson #Oakland #protest @ajplus

— Maggie Beidelman (@maggiebeidelman) November 26, 2014

Smashed rear window of what looks like unmarked police car at Oakland #ferguson protest.

— Zusha Elinson (@ZushaElinson) November 26, 2014

Photos from the #Oakland #Ferguson protest. See more:

— Oakland Local (@oaklandlocal) November 25, 2014

Los Angeles

#ferguson #LosAngeles

— CHRL (@hngrch) November 26, 2014

Ferguson protesters try to walk up off-ramp to 10 Freeway at La Brea but are blocked by CHP

— KTLA (@KTLA) November 25, 2014

#ferguson #LosAngeles

— CHRL (@hngrch) November 26, 2014

Washington, D.C.

Ferguson protesters burn American flags in DC as people take to streets from coast to coast

— Jon Passantino (@passantino) November 26, 2014

Scenes from tonight’s #DCFerguson protest. This is what democracy looks like. #FergusonDecision @Awkward_Duck — Alexis Cole (@alexiscole) November 26, 2014

Wave of protestors inside Walmart. Chants of “shut it down.” Rally still relatively peaceful. #dcferguson

— Chuck Carroll (@TheChuckCarroll) November 26, 2014

NOW: Protest continuing at the White House demanding justice for #MikeBrown #dcferguson — RadicalMedia_ (@UnToldCarlisle) November 25, 2014


The babies out here protesting with us. #Houston #Ferguson

— Ashléy (@smokinnASHes) November 26, 2014

Here We Go…Standoff With Houston PD Blocking Us From Hitting Freeway! #Ferguson #FergusonDecision @BrotherJesse — Lnonblonde (@Lnonblonde) November 26, 2014

#KHOU AT 10:Houston protests over decision in Ferguson, Missouri still going on near UH and TSU. Live report.

— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) November 26, 2014


#Chicago: March downtown after Ferguson decision #Chi2Ferguson v @PeterNickeas & @JeremyGorner — Occupy Chicago (@OccupyChicago) November 25, 2014

It’s 11pm in #Chicago, -4 and snowing . A #ferguson protest is underway

— James Massola (@jamesmassola) November 25, 2014

Updated: City Hall Sit-In Ends Peacefully — CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) November 26, 2014

@deray: Black lives matter. #Ferguson” Caught in Chicago gang crossfire or….

— Polar Informant (@IamPolarDude) November 16, 2014

BREAKING: Thousands storm the streets of #Chicago in collective rage. #Ferguson

— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessage) November 25, 2014

ARRESTS IMMINENT at #CHICAGO CITY HALL OCCUPATION #28daysformikebrown #Chi2Ferguson #Ferguson

— Minku (@MinkuMedia) November 25, 2014


Photo: Hundreds of #Ferguson protesters march through Philadelphia’s Center City (Via @cs_palmer)

— Andrew Peng (@TheAPJournalist) November 26, 2014

Philadelphia protesting tonight in #Solidarity with #Ferguson.

— Annette Up Front (@AnnetteUpFront) November 26, 2014

WATCH LIVE: Large protest in #Philadelphia right now. #Ferguson via @PzFeed

— TJ Chilly Willy (@streetscoop) November 25, 2014


A protest in Atlanta started with a four-hour peaceful gathering. But it did not end that way:

— NYT National News (@NYTNational) November 26, 2014

Police: 4 arrested during chaotic protest in downtown Atlanta:

— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) November 26, 2014

Crowd gathered at the CNN Center in Atlanta. March started at Morehouse College. #Ferguson | Photo: @11AliveNews

— Lynox Rolfe Norman (@rolfenorman) November 25, 2014


Ppl laying in the street of 4.5 min representing 4.5 hrs Mike Brown laid dead in the street. #denver #Ferguson

— Kallisti (@Kallisti) November 25, 2014

Solidarity from Denver. #ferguson

— Jason Metter (@jmetter) November 25, 2014

#ferguson demonstration in Denver civic center remains peaceful. Protesters are primarily from #occupy

— COindependent (@COindependent) November 25, 2014

Darren Wilson’s First TV Interview: ‘All I Wanted to Do Was Live’ - Daily Signal

Darren Wilson’s First TV Interview: ‘All I Wanted to Do Was Live’

Melissa Quinn / Kate Scanlon / Melissa Quinn / Jamie Jackson / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harris / Video Team /

Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday. In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Wilson recounted the scene on Aug. 9 when he encountered Brown and an altercation ensued. A St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict Wilson on Monday, sparking riots in Ferguson and demonstrations in cities across America.

FDA’s Final Menu Labeling Rule: Going Way Beyond What’s Required Under Obamacare - Daily Signal

FDA’s Final Menu Labeling Rule: Going Way Beyond What’s Required Under Obamacare

Melissa Quinn / Kate Scanlon / Melissa Quinn / Jamie Jackson / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harris / Video Team / Daren Bakst /

Today, the Food and Drug Administration made its final menu labeling rule available and it’s even worse than expected.

The mandatory menu labeling requirement comes courtesy of Obamacare. Under the statute, “a restaurant or similar retail food establishment that is part of a chain with 20 or more locations” must provide nutritional information for standard menu items.

In April 2011, the FDA issued its proposed rule implementing the Obamacare menu labeling requirement. The agency decided that it was going to grab far more power than the plain language of the law even allowed.

Instead of covering just restaurants and businesses that are “similar retail food establishments,” the FDA decided to ignore the word “similar.” Under the proposed rule, grocery stores and convenience stores were also covered under the rule. For example, a convenience store whose floor space is 99 percent devoted to packaged goods would still be included if it sells prepared hot dogs. That 1 percent makes the entire business operation similar to a restaurant, at least from the FDA’s perspective.

No reasonable person would confuse such a business with a restaurant or similar retail food establishment. If Congress wanted to cover such businesses, they could have just covered all retail food establishments that sell prepared foods.

The final rule has taken this FDA power grab to a whole new level. The FDA is now requiring more businesses to comply with the law, such as movie theaters and bowling alleys.

Dietary Decisions. Mandatory menu labeling presumes that Americans are too ignorant to make informed dietary decisions, so the federal government must intervene. When people make less healthy choices at a restaurant, this is somehow seen as ignorance. However, people don’t generally go to restaurants to purchase the healthiest item. For example, most people don’t go to a steakhouse to eat kale.

Further, diets are extremely complex; someone who eats less healthy food at a restaurant than someone else may have a much healthier overall diet because of what the individual eats outside restaurants. Exercise would also need to be taken into consideration. Most importantly, individuals should be able to make personal dietary decisions, even if that means they do eat less healthily than some know-it-all federal bureaucrats thinks is wise.

Consumer Demand. The final rule ignores the fact that consumers already do demand nutritional information, and businesses respond accordingly.

Inadequate Research. Even for proponents of nutritional central planning, a menu-labeling standard is putting the cart before the horse. Existing research on whether menu labeling has an impact on nutrition is at best unclear. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, “The mixed results of these and other small-scale menu labeling studies suggest it is still too early to tell how restaurant calorie labeling will affect caloric intake.”

The Obamacare menu-labeling law is modeled after a provision that has been in place in New York City since 2008. New York University and Yale researchers collected receipts before and after the New York City law went into effect and found that individuals ordered more calories after the labeling law went into effect. They also ordered more calories than a similar population in Newark, where there was no labeling law.

The FDA is supposed to be concerned about food and drug safety, but they are overreaching into areas that the agency has no business in, confusing health with safety. They did have to implement a menu labeling rule, and Congress should be blamed for that. However, they didn’t have to use the Obamacare menu labeling requirement as a way to impose requirements beyond what even the statute requires.

Congress should address this rule, but they also need to look at the role of FDA generally as it tries to become the nation’s nutritionist.

5 Problems with the Nuclear Talks with Iran - Daily Signal

5 Problems with the Nuclear Talks with Iran

Melissa Quinn / Kate Scanlon / Melissa Quinn / Jamie Jackson / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harris / Video Team / Daren Bakst / James Phillips /

The Obama administration was forced to punt once again at the talks on Iran’s nuclear program when the Iranians refused to budge on their maximal demands on uranium enrichment and sanctions relief.

When they failed to strike a deal by Monday’s deadline, Iran and the P5 +1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) extended the negotiations for another seven months, until June 30, 2015.

There are five major problems with the negotiations, as currently structured:

1. Iran has been able to legitimize its once-covert nuclear program.

Tehran has won the acceptance of the P5 + 1 for illicit uranium enrichment activities at Natanz and the heavy water reactor at Arak, capable of functioning as a plutonium bomb factory, that Iran sought to hide from International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors before they were exposed in 2002. Other nuclear proliferators will demand the same lax treatment if they are caught red-handed in the future.

2. Iran has won sanctions relief disproportionate to its relatively minor concessions.

Tehran has pocketed significant economic benefits from sanctions relief, about $700 million per month, as part of the interim Joint Plan of Action. As the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., has noted: “The Obama administration’s Iran nuclear negotiations have done little to advance the security of the United States and our allies, but they have benefited Iran. As these negotiations drag on, Iran continues to enrich uranium, is free to pursue some nuclear-related R&D, and has been handed access to previously frozen assets and an easing of sanctions. At the same time, the United States has received little in return but a promise to keep talking.”

3. Iran has been rewarded for stalling and stretching out the negotiations.

The Obama administration came into office believing that Tehran would respond more to carrots than to sticks. But Iran pocketed the carrots and has refused to dismantle any of its nuclear infrastructure, while the administration has abandoned long-held positions calling for a halt in uranium enrichment, full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency investigation and the dismantling of the Arak heavy water reactor. Tehran continues to stall on concessions, convinced it will get a better deal. Iran has achieved its immediate goal, sanctions relief, without compromising on its long-term nuclear capacity or abandoning its nuclear weapons option.

4. Iran has refused to fully cooperate with the IAEA in its investigation of possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.

Twelve years after it was caught cheating on its nuclear nonproliferation obligations, Iran still has not fully cooperated with the IAEA investigation into its nuclear activities. It continues to block IAEA inspectors from visiting the military base at Parchin, where it is suspected to have experimented with explosives for a nuclear warhead. Full cooperation is necessary to gauge the progress Tehran has made in warhead design and should be an absolute prerequisite of any future agreement. If Iran will not come clean on its past activities, how can it be trusted to fulfill future commitments.

5. Iran has a strong interest in prolonging the negotiations as long as possible.

The Obama administration made a critical mistake in easing sanctions so much at the outset of negotiations, which relieved pressure on Iran to make concessions. Thanks to sanctions relief, Iran’s oil exports have grown from 1 million barrels per day before the Joint Plan of Action to 1.4 million barrels per day, adding about $10 billion to Iran’s annual oil revenues. The Iranian economy grew by an estimated 4.6 percent in the first quarter of Iran’s calendar year, the first time it has grown after shrinking for the last two years under sanctions. U.S. officials have admonished the Iranians that they need to make fundamental decisions about their nuclear program if they want to be reintegrated into the world economy. But Tehran is intent on having its cake and eating it too. It is going through the motions of negotiations while rejecting any restrictions that would foreclose on its nuclear weapons option. Meanwhile, it continues to enrich uranium, develop more advanced centrifuges and prepare the Arak reactor for plutonium production.

The Obama administration must reject any deal that would legitimize Iran’s expanding nuclear infrastructure and allow it to gain nuclear weapons. Such a deal would jeopardize U.S. national security, distress U.S. allies and invite a bipartisan congressional backlash.

Instead, the administration should work with Congress to ratchet up sanctions on Iran if it fails to agree to verifiably halt its uranium enrichment efforts and fully cooperate with the IAEA investigation by the June 30th deadline or if it cheats on its obligations. This would make it clear that Iran will be worse off if it continues to block an acceptable outcome in the nuclear negotiations.

See: Nuclear Negotiations with Iran: U.S. Must Avoid a Rush to Failure

Rand Paul on Ferguson: ‘I Mostly Blame Politicians’ - Daily Signal

Rand Paul on Ferguson: ‘I Mostly Blame Politicians’

Melissa Quinn / Kate Scanlon / Melissa Quinn / Jamie Jackson / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harris / Video Team / Daren Bakst / James Phillips / Katrina Trinko /

Sen. Rand Paul castigated politicians in an op-ed today about the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

“In the search for culpability for the tragedy in Ferguson, I mostly blame politicians,” wrote the Kentucky Republican in Time.

“Michael Brown’s death and the suffocation of Eric Garner in New York for selling untaxed cigarettes indicate something is wrong with criminal justice in America,” Paul added. “The War on Drugs has created a culture of violence and put police in a nearly impossible situation.”

The war on drugs, Paul asserted, had often led to minorities feeling “targeted” by the government. “Three out of four people in jail for drugs are people of color,” he noted.

Paul also advocated different policy solutions to tackle poverty:

This message is not a racial one. The link between poverty, lack of education, and children outside of marriage is staggering and cuts across all racial groups. Statistics uniformly show that waiting to have children in marriage and obtaining an education are an invaluable part of escaping poverty.

“Escaping the poverty and crime trap,” Paul wrote, “will require more than just criminal justice reform.”