Republicans continue their laser focus on the economy. NOT. Don't be fooled for a second. They seem more interested in legislating people's actions and taking away freedoms. They're trying to backward.
GOP have appealed DOMA (defines marriage as between a man and a woman) to the Supreme Court. An appeals court found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
In February last year, the Obama administration said it would no longer defend DOMA, another reason for the Eric Holder witch hunt.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Republicans continue their laser focus on the economy. NOT. Don't be fooled for a second. They seem more interested in legislating people's actions and taking away freedoms. They're trying to backward.
The Washington Post has an interesting look at the Romney family vacation at his $8 million, 13-acre compound. The family is sort of like a cult unto themselves.
This weekend, Mitt Romney is starting his annual summer vacation on his lakefront compound here — a week of fun and family, though not entirely carefree.
The Romneys, 30 in all these days, spend their time away from the stresses of everyday life — like, say, wrapping up the Republican nomination for president — by following a highly orchestrated, highly competitive regimen of sports and games known as the “Romney Olympics.”
Now they also compete to see who can hang onto a pole the longest, who can throw a football the farthest and who can hammer the most nails into a board in two minutes — not exactly the kind of events they’ll be giving out gold medals for in London this month.
At night, the adults gather for family meetings, with each evening focused on a frank and full discussion of a different son’s career moves and parenting worries.
Each member of the family picks a daily chore from a “chore wheel,” so as to share cleaning tasks evenly. And before anyone departs, everyone poses on the lawn for a portrait for that year’s Romney family Christmas card. The grandchildren coordinate outfits; last summer, the girls wore matching orange and yellow polka-dotted dresses and the boys, blue checkered shirts. Read the whole thing
Friday, June 29, 2012
For weeks, Obama urged Congress to act so that student loan interest rates wouldn't double on July 1. Well, alas, just in the nick of time, after much wrangling and the usual problems with the republican members of Congress, lawmakers passed a transportation bill that included the extension of student loan rates. From the Dept. of Education:
“In his January State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to work together to keep student loan interest rates from doubling. Today, I applaud leaders in Congress for answering the President’s call to action and striking a deal that will help make college more affordable for millions of students.
“But most importantly, I want to thank the nation's young people for making their voices heard on an important economic issue directly affecting them. You spoke, the nation heard you, and Congress acted. Democracy worked because of your tireless efforts.
“Both the President and I believe education is a public good. College should not be reserved only for those who can afford it. All of us share responsibility for making college affordable and keeping the middle-class dream alive.
“Investing in education is the best investment America can make to bolster our competitiveness in a knowledge-based, global economy. If we don’t invest today, we will lose tomorrow.”
The National Geographic poll is probably a reflection of the people who watch or read National Geographic.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Times are eastern. Obama travels to Colo to view the wildfire damage.
Read the text of SCOTUS's ruling here. Affordable Care Act fact sheet. Obamacare timeline.
See how it affects you depending on your situation.
The rule announced today preserves the ability of the American people to keep their current plan if they like it, while providing new benefits, by minimizing market disruption and putting us on a glide path toward the competitive, patient-centered market of the future. While it requires all health plans to provide important new benefits to consumers, it allows plans that existed on March 23, 2010 to innovate and contain costs by allowing insurers and employers to make routine changes without losing grandfather status. Plans will lose their “grandfather” status if they choose to significantly cut benefits or increase out-of-pocket spending for consumers – and consumers in plans that make such changes will gain new consumer protections. Most of the 133 million Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance through large employers will maintain the coverage they have today. Large employer-based plans already offer most of the comprehensive benefits and consumer protections that the Affordable Care Act will provide to all Americans this year – such as preventing lifetime limits on coverage – and in the future.
People who work in smaller firms – which change insurers more often due to annual fluctuations in premiums – and people who purchase their own insurance in the individual market– a group that frequently changes coverage – will enjoy all of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act when they choose a new plan. These Americans also will benefit from the new competitive Exchanges that will be established in 2014 to offer individuals and workers in small businesses with greater choice of plans at more affordable rates – the same choice of plans as members of Congress. Read more.
Here's a transcript of Obama's statement in full:
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act -- the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago. In doing so, they've reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America -- in the wealthiest nation on Earth – no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.
I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and who lost. That’s how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington. But that discussion completely misses the point. Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.
And because this law has a direct impact on so many Americans, I want to take this opportunity to talk about exactly what it means for you.
First, if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance -- this law will only make it more secure and more affordable. Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive. They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions. They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick. They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason. They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms -- a provision that's already helped 54 million Americans with private insurance. And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care.
There’s more. Because of the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parent's health care plans -- a provision that's already helped 6 million young Americans. And because of the Affordable Care Act, seniors receive a discount on their prescription drugs -- a discount that's already saved more than 5 million seniors on Medicare about $600 each.
All of this is happening because of the Affordable Care Act. These provisions provide common-sense protections for middle class families, and they enjoy broad popular support. And thanks to today’s decision, all of these benefits and protections will continue for Americans who already have health insurance.
Now, if you’re one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from. Each state will take the lead in designing their own menu of options, and if states can come up with even better ways of covering more people at the same quality and cost, this law allows them to do that, too. And I’ve asked Congress to help speed up that process, and give states this flexibility in year one.
Once states set up these health insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against any American with a preexisting health condition. They won’t be able to charge you more just because you’re a woman. They won’t be able to bill you into bankruptcy. If you’re sick, you’ll finally have the same chance to get quality, affordable health care as everyone else. And if you can’t afford the premiums, you'll receive a credit that helps pay for it.
Today, the Supreme Court also upheld the principle that people who can afford health insurance should take the responsibility to buy health insurance. This is important for two reasons.
First, when uninsured people who can afford coverage get sick, and show up at the emergency room for care, the rest of us end up paying for their care in the form of higher premiums.
And second, if you ask insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions, but don’t require people who can afford it to buy their own insurance, some folks might wait until they’re sick to buy the care they need -- which would also drive up everybody else’s premiums.
That’s why, even though I knew it wouldn’t be politically popular, and resisted the idea when I ran for this office, we ultimately included a provision in the Affordable Care Act that people who can afford to buy health insurance should take the responsibility to do so. In fact, this idea has enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for President.
Still, I know the debate over this law has been divisive. I respect the very real concerns that millions of Americans have shared. And I know a lot of coverage through this health care debate has focused on what it means politically.
Well, it should be pretty clear by now that I didn’t do this because it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the country. I did it because I believed it was good for the American people.
There’s a framed letter that hangs in my office right now. It was sent to me during the health care debate by a woman named Natoma Canfield. For years and years, Natoma did everything right. She bought health insurance. She paid her premiums on time. But 18 years ago, Natoma was diagnosed with cancer. And even though she’d been cancer-free for more than a decade, her insurance company kept jacking up her rates, year after year. And despite her desire to keep her coverage -- despite her fears that she would get sick again -- she had to surrender her health insurance, and was forced to hang her fortunes on chance.
I carried Natoma’s story with me every day of the fight to pass this law. It reminded me of all the Americans, all across the country, who have had to worry not only about getting sick, but about the cost of getting well.
Natoma is well today. And because of this law, there are other Americans -- other sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers -- who will not have to hang their fortunes on chance. These are the Americans for whom we passed this law.
The highest Court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement this law. And we'll work together to improve on it where we can. But what we won’t do -- what the country can’t afford to do -- is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.
With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward -- to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law. And now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time: putting people back to work, paying down our debt, and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.
But today, I’m as confident as ever that when we look back five years from now, or 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, we’ll be better off because we had the courage to pass this law and keep moving forward.
Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America.
Obamacare Upheld. That's the headline according to NPR and I'm going with it.
What we know: Chief Justice John Roberts voted to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Surprise!
SCOTUSBlog -- just about the only media that got it right -- is covering it live.
I'll be updating this all day as news trickles in.
Kennedy, the liberal judge, voted against the entire Affordable Healthcare Act. Surprise!
The only thing the court limited was the expansion of Medicaid.
When a tax is not a tax.
Five justices voted to uphold the mandate and the ACA.
People with preexisting conditions are big winners with this ruling.
"Pelosi is wearing her lucky purple pumps today. Pelosi wore these shoes the day health care passed (March 21, 2010)." via Luke Russert's tweet.
The media was WRONG on just about all of its coverage of SCOTUS. I'm really pissed. Maybe the media will do its job now and inform people of the law. When people know, they will be pleased.
Remember when 85% of SCOTUS followers said Obamacare would be upheld, but were drowned out by the media.
Fox News and CNN bungle the news. Not a Surprise!
Here's something precious. Some people say they are moving to Canada (where there is single payer healthcare) because of the ruling.
Here's a novel concept. Instead of republicans going on about repealing the law, especially after SCOTUS ruled, how about working to make our healthcare system the best it can be for the American people.
Contrary to popular republican opinion, healthcare reform isn't the largest tax increase ever.
Yesterday, Romney was pompous and clearly believed that SCOTUS would strike Obamacare.
Obama says this isn't about politics. This is a win for the American people. He took the moment to explain some of the benefits of Obamacare:
An explainer on the mandate and the Affordable Care Act is here.
Romney is very, very pleased with the mandate -- in 2006. He explains the purpose of a mandate:
Romney today. "Help us defeat the liberal agenda." I believe that Romney will lose for many reasons but for one reason especially. He regularly speaks against a group of American people, "liberals." When you're the nominee, you can't be that partisan and get elected President of the US. When you're the nominee, you have to be the grown up. Romney pleas to voters to vote for him if you want to repeal Obamacare. If you vote for Mitt, you'll only get Mitt. Repealing the law now is easier said than done:
This photo is from March 22, 2010, when Obamacare passed Congress. Obama signed it into law the next day.
What is most important today is not constitutional theory or presidential politics, but the enormous improvement in access to health care for millions of Americans, including increased access to preventive care such as mammograms and birth control, provisions allowing young people to stay on their parents health insurance, provisions prohibiting insurance companies from turning down people who have pre-existing conditions or from increasing premiums to unaffordable levels for families who have a child born with a birth defect. Those are the most important winners today. Slate
Pelosi, who fought hard for healthcare reform "For the American people the best is yet to come:"
Facts on keeping the healthcare that you have. How can Cantor say that you can't keep the healthcare that you have? That part of the bill doesn't even kick in to 2014.
Healthcare coverage has become too expensive, but that's not because of the law. It's not even close to being fully implemented yet.
Here's a photo that speaks:
Video of Fox and CNN royally screwing up. Wolf: "Wow. That's a dramatic moment...":
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Obama visits the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Obama and Biden receive the presidential daily briefing.
Obama and Biden meet for lunch.
Obama departs the White House en route Bethesda, Maryland.
Obama arrives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Obama departs Bethesda, Maryland en route the White House.
Obama arrives at the White House.
Obama and Biden meet with Panetta.
Update June 28: 17 democrats voted Holder criminal contempt; 21 civil contempt. Know your dems. Here's an updated list.
One of the primary owners of the GOP, the National Rifle Association, is forcing republicans to vote Eric Holder in contempt on "fast and furious. It's part of the GOP focus on jobs (sarcasm). Here are the few democrats that plan to stand with the republicans.
Running underneath the to-and-fro allegations over Operation Fast and Furious – which began in 2009 when federal agents allowed guns to “walk” into Mexico in order to trace where they ended up and that came to a head when guns from the scheme were linked to the death of an American border agent – is an entirely different discussion: American gun rights.A story today from Fortune magazine's investigation of fast and furious. In summary, it's all politics:
The NRA and Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California, chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, both believe the government has tried to use the Fast and Furious scandal to support arguments for more gun control. CSM
Quite simply, there's a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.
Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.
How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It's a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson's anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration, which, for its part, has capitulated in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election. (A Justice Department spokesperson denies this and asserts that the department is not drawing conclusions until the inspector general's report is submitted.)
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I'm posting this anew (for those who read my prior post) since there's so much nutter stuff out there.
This is NOT a national emergency declaration as some of the bloggers out there have posted, most notably, this person, who misinterpreted the executive order. Everyone reblogged that. The Examiner is not a legit news source. You don't have to be a journalist to write for them, and yes, there is a difference between bloggers and journalists. Sometimes bloggers are journalists, but often they are not.
I found this from Court House News. It looks like it's just business as usual, an extension of an executive order in place under Clinton:
President Barack Obama extended an executive order protecting the assets of the Russian Federation used in a program to stabilize the security of nuclear material. The provisions are extended for a year.
The original order was signed by former President Bill Clinton in 2000 to protect payments the U.S. made to the Russian Federation under the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation Concerning the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons, commonly called the HEU Agreements. Read more
This executive order was posted yesterday. It hasn't been covered by any mainstream media -- yet.
BLOCKING PROPERTY OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION RELATING TO THE DISPOSITION OF HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM EXTRACTED FROM NUCLEAR WEAPONS
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in view of the policies underlying Executive Order 12938 of November 14, 1994, and Executive Order 13085 of May 26, 1998, and the restrictions put in place pursuant to Executive Order 13159 of June 21, 2000, find that the risk of nuclear proliferation created by the accumulation of a large volume of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation continues to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat. I hereby order:
Section 1. A major national security goal of the United States is to ensure that fissile material removed from Russian nuclear weapons pursuant to various arms control and disarmament agreements is dedicated to peaceful uses, subject to transparency measures, and protected from diversion to activities of proliferation concern. As reflected in Executive Order 13085, the full implementation of the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation Concerning the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons, dated February 18, 1993, and related contracts and agreements (collectively, the "HEU Agreements") is essential to the attainment of this goal. The HEU Agreements provide for the conversion of approximately 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium contained in Russian nuclear weapons into low-enriched uranium for use as fuel in commercial nuclear reactors. In furtherance of our national security goals, all heads of departments and agencies of the United States Government shall continue to take all appropriate measures within their authority to further the full implementation of the HEU Agreements. Read the rest
The media ignored the EO and people went nutters with conspiracy theories. People will fill the void of information with crap.
See this post.
Republicans have been trying to prevent certain kinds of people from voting by making it more difficult for legitimate voters to vote. It looks as though we should prepare ourselves for the possibility that this election could be the dirtiest of all time.
President Barack Obama's campaign has recruited a legion of lawyers to be on standby for this year's election as legal disputes surrounding the voting process escalate.As a democrat in Pennsylvania put it:
Thousands of attorneys and support staffers have agreed to aid in the effort, providing a mass of legal support that appears to be unrivaled by Republicans or precedent. Obama's campaign says it is particularly concerned about the implementation of new voter ID laws across the country, the possibility of anti-fraud activists challenging legitimate voters and the handling of voter registrations in the most competitive states. AP
This morning President Obama called Florida Governor Rick Scott to ensure the state had no unmet needs as the Governor and his team continue to respond to extreme weather and flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Debby. The President expressed his condolences for the loss of life as well as the extensive damage to homes in Florida as a result of the storm, and reiterated that his Administration – through FEMA – would remain in close contact with the state as they continued to respond to this event and stood ready to provide additional assistance if necessary. At the request of the State, a FEMA liaison officer is onsite at the Florida state emergency operations center to support state response efforts as needed. The President asked Governor Scott to continue to identify any additional support his administration could provide, and told the Governor that his thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Florida and the emergency response officials at this difficult time.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Times are eastern.
Obama departs Boston, Massachusetts en route Atlanta, Georgia.
Obama arrives Atlanta, Georgia.
Biden delivers remarks a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa.
Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event.
Michelle Obama delivers remarks at campaign event in Chicago.
Obama attends a campaign event at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel.
Michelle Obama joins Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at the Illinois National Guard Armory in Chicago as he signs into law the 'Military Family Licensing Act.'
Obama departs Atlanta, Georgia en route Miami, Florida.
Obama arrives in Miami, Florida.
Obama attends a campaign event.
Jill Biden gives remarks at the DC College Access Program graduation celebration.
Michelle Obama delivers remarks at campaign event in Chicago.
Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event.
Obama departs Miami, Florida en route Joint Base Andrews.
Obama arrives at Joint Base Andrews.
President Obama spoke with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras earlier today. The President congratulated Prime Minister Samaras on his election and on the formation of his coalition government. President Obama expressed his strong support for Greece and noted the continued solidarity between the American and Greek people. The President welcomed Prime Minister Samaras’ commitment to address Greece’s economic situation and urged the Prime Minister to work closely with the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in the implementation of Greece’s reform program. The President also wished the Prime Minister a speedy recovery as he recuperates from his recent eye surgery.
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.Romney's been saying Obama hasn't led on immigration, which is absurd. Obama's been working on it since he took office. I'm noting here speeches and meetings, even an overarching blueprint on immigration reform:
At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.
I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.
Bipartisan meeting on reform in 2009.
Speech July 1, 2010
Obama's blueprint for immigration reform in 2011.
Update below: Romney's statement which doesn't say much, which is very much Romney's style. Romney also continues to believe he can just lie his way to the White House, insisting Obama hasn't led on this issue. He has. It's just that republicans early on decided on a strategy of trying to oust Obama as opposed to doing the work.
Obama in 2010 on immigration reform:
So these are the essential elements of comprehensive immigration reform. The question now is whether we will have the courage and the political will to pass a bill through Congress, to finally get it done. Last summer, I held a meeting with leaders of both parties, including many of the Republicans who had supported reform in the past -- and some who hadn’t. I was pleased to see a bipartisan framework proposed in the Senate by Senators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer, with whom I met to discuss this issue. I’ve spoken with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to plot the way forward and meet -- and then I met with them earlier this week.
First, SCOTUS is expected to rule on Obamacare on Thursday. Today, it took the bite out of Arizona's immigration law (don't tell that to Jan Brewer though). Read the text of the ruling.
It's important to remember that Romney, if elected, would appoint judges like Scalia. He condemned Sotomayor.
No matter what Etch a Sketch Mitt says today, remember he supported the Arizona law and on immigration he was to the right of all of the republican wannabes. Remember that birther Joe Arpaio was once Romney's campaign chair in Arizona.
“Today’s decision underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy,” Romney said in a statement. “President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration. This represents yet another broken promise by this President. I believe that each state has the duty–and the right–to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities. As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office. But 4 years later, we are still waiting.”