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“One thing is for certain, however: The unifying characteristic among all denominations of voters is their universal hatred for Washington and their increasing distaste for politics in general. How each party deals with that will be the underlying story in American politics this year.”

BACK UP THOSE MILITARY RETIREES

Yes, the big fat federal spending bill is now tethered on Capitol Hill like a gleaming blimp, waiting for purpose.

“This bill was written behind closed doors, spends roughly $1.1 trillion and clocks in at more than 1,500 pages,” recalls Rep. Ron DeSantis, who reminds Americans that lawmakers had less than 48 hours to read the thing.

“I voted against the omnibus spending bill. It fails to reform an unaccountable government, increases spending by tens of billions and solely targets retired military personnel — the one group of Americans who have given the most to our country — for negative treatment,” the Florida Republican continues.

But he’s irked.

“Now that the Senate has passed the bill, and President Obama has signed it, the work to restore the pensions of military retirees to their pre-omnibus levels begins. The omnibus spends money on corporate welfare, the UN Population Fund, programs established in the 2009 stimulus bill, and advertisements for food stamps in foreign countries,” Mr. DeSantis declares.

“The government also allows billions of dollars in readily correctable fraud, from refundable tax credits given to those unlawfully in the country to improper payments disseminated via entitlement programs. Congress cannot target military retirees yet do nothing to eliminate any of this waste,” he says.

AT The READY

“The United States has offered its full support to the Russian government as it conducts security preparations for the Winter Olympics. To that end, U.S. commanders in the region are conducting prudent planning and preparations should that support be required. Air and naval assets, to include two Navy ships in the Black Sea, will be available if requested for all manner of contingencies in support of — and in consultation with — the Russian government. There is no such requirement at this time,” said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John F. Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, on Monday afternoon.

“U.S. military has escape plan for athletes at 2014 Sochi Olympics,” noted the Los Angeles Times, among the 700-plus headlines that emerged in the aftermath.

POLL DU JOUR

• 56 percent of Americans say the federal government should pursue a criminal case against NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

• 54 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of Democrats, 51 percent of independents and 49 percent of tea party members agree.

• 32 percent say the government should not pursue that case; 28 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of Democrats, 39 percent of independents and 39 percent of tea party members agree.

Story Continues →