Here is a selection of this morning’s news.
John Kerry brokers Afghan election deal but leaves behind confusion. Afghan elections: Audit of disputed run-off halted. U.S. Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Clashes. Only “temporary,” says State. Egyptians Search Kerry Before Allowing Him to Meet Sisi.
A bad deal with Iran. Missed deadline on Iran nuclear talks sparks a blame game. Jihadists in Iraq Erase Cultural Heritage. “Raw footage shows the Shrine of Yunus (Tomb of Jonah) mosque in Mosul being blown up by Islamic State militants.” ISIS warns women to wear full veil or face punishment. ISIS Kills 50 Syrian Soldiers, Beheads Many In Raqqa. Official: Iraqi request for U.S. airstrikes “under active consideration.”
Donetsk residents flee fighting; Russians report spike in Ukrainian refugees. U.S.: Russia Massing Troops on Ukraine Border. If the West doesn’t do more for Ukraine now, it might soon be too late — Washington Post.
Obamacare architect denies what he said — twice — on video about state choice in subsidies. “My subsequent statement was just a speak-o—you know, like a typo.” Harry Reid is happy he packed the federal court.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit ruled in the Halbig v. Burwell case that the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act are illegal in the 36 states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges. In other words, anyone who signed up through the federal exchange is ineligible for subsidies. As The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn has written, this ruling, if upheld, could undermine the law. If millions of Americans cannot receive subsidies, then they will be unable to afford health insurance. The Affordable Care Act could collapse.
That won’t happen yet. The administration is likely to ask the entire D.C. Circuit to review the decision “en banc.” Here’s where the Democrats’ use of the nuclear option is important. The D.C. Circuit has 11 judges on it, seven Democratic appointees and four Republican ones. The only reason Democrats have a majority is due to the nuclear option. As University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley explains at The Incidental Economist, the D.C. Circuit will likely review the decision and vacate Tuesday’s ruling—all because of those extra three judges.
Obama will take executive action on immigration after summer, adviser says. The “end of immigration enforcement” is in sight. Obama’s promised executive actions to protect illegal immigrants constitute a kind of doomsday weapon directed at the Republican Party.
If Obama acts boldly to offer de facto legalization to, say, “up to half of the undocumented population” of 11 million illegals living here, it will cement an unshakeable bond between Latino voters and their political champion — or so the argument goes.
Barack Obama has already checked out of his job. “The degree to which Barack Obama is now phoning it in – sleepwalking perfunctorily through his second term, amid golf rounds and dinner parties – is astonishing.” White House: Obama Aiding World “Tranquility.” Congressman at border: “Obama begging to be impeached.”
Lights out for Christians in Mosul. Simon and Garfunkel were a little too early with Xmas. But it all came true anyway, just not in the way they thought.
This is Obama Tranquility Base bidding you goodnight.
Addendum: I found the lost post and can recover the comments if anyone is interested.
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