Obama: Healthcare is my Waterloo

Obama: Healthcare is my Waterloo

By GLENN THRUSH, Politico

 This is it…

President Barack Obama had exhausted most of his health care reform arguments with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during a White House meeting last Thursday when he made a more personal pitch that resonated with many skeptics in the room.

One caucus member told POLITICO that Obama won him over by “essentially [saying] that the fate of his presidency” hinged on this week’s health reform vote in the House. The member, who requested anonymity, likened Obama’s remarks to an earlier meeting with progressives when the president said a victory was necessary to keep him “strong” for the next three years of his term.

Another caucus member, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), said, “We went in there already knowing his presidency would be weakened if this thing went down, but the president clearly reinforced the impression the presidency would be damaged by a loss.”

Added Serrano: “He was subtle, but that was the underlying theme of the meeting — the importance of passing this for the health of the presidency.”

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Democrats Post Health Care Bill Online, Setting Up Possible Sunday Vote

Democrats Post Health Care Bill Online, Setting Up Possible Sunday Vote

March 18th, 2010

FOXNews

House Democrats on Thursday unveiled their highly anticipated package of changes to the Senate health care reform bill, setting up a potential floor vote for Sunday and putting pressure on Republicans intent on finding a way to stop it.

The updated package was posted online, starting the 72-hour clock on when the House can vote on it.

Click here to review the bill and its changes.

House Democrats prefaced the release of the bill by announcing that it would achieve the deficit reductions needed to push forward with a delicate strategy to finalize the package.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the updated package would cost $940 billion over the next decade without adding to the deficit.

 

Click on the image of the bill above to read the whole thing….

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‘Shaming’ her in-laws costs 19 year old her nose, ears

“When they cut off my nose and ears, I passed out,” 19-year-old Bibi Aisha of Afghanistan says with chilling candor.

Her beauty is still stunning and her confidence inspiring. It takes a moment for the barbaric act committed against her to register in your mind and sight.

Wearing her patterned scarf and with roughly painted nails she shares her story.

“It felt like there was cold water in my nose, I opened my eyes and I couldn’t even see because of all the blood,” she remembers.

It was an act of Taliban justice for the crime of shaming her husband’s family.

This story began when Aisha was just 8 years old.

Her father had promised her hand in marriage, along with that of her baby sister’s, to another family in a practice called “baad.”

“Baad” in Pashtunwali, the law of the Pashtuns, is a way to settle a dispute between rival families.

At 16, she was handed over to her husband’s father and 10 brothers, who she claims were all members of the Taliban in Oruzgan province. Aisha didn’t even meet her husband because he was off fighting in Pakistan.

“I spent two years with them and became a prisoner,” she says. (Watch more of the interview with Aisha)

Tortured and abused, she couldn’t take it any longer and decided to run away. Two female neighbors promising to help took her to Kandahar province.

But this was just another act of deception.

When they arrived to Kandahar her female companions tried to sell Aisha to another man.

All three women were stopped by the police and imprisoned. Aisha was locked up because she was a runaway. And although running away is not a crime, in places throughout Afghanistan it is treated as one if you are a woman.

A three-year sentence was reduced to five months when President Hamid Karzai pardoned Aisha. But eventually her father-in-law found her and took her back home.

That was the first time she met her husband. He came home from Pakistan to take her to Taliban court for dishonoring his family and bringing them shame.

The court ruled that her nose and ears must be cut off. An act carried out by her husband in the mountains of Oruzgan where they left her to die.

But she survived.

And with the help of an American Provincial Reconstruction Team in Oruzgan and the organization Women for Afghan Women (WAW), she is finally getting the help and protection she needs.

Offers have been pouring in to help Aisha, but there are many more women suffering in silence.

The United Nations estimates that nearly 90 percent of Afghanistan’s women suffer from some sort of domestic abuse. This in a country where there are only about eight women’s shelters to provide sanctuary from the cruelty they face. And all of the eight are privately run.

“Bibi Aisha is only one example of thousands of girls and women in Afghanistan and throughout the world who are treated this way – who suffer abuses like this, like this and worse,” says board member for WAW, Esther Hyneman.

In 2001, the situation of Afghan women and Taliban brutality received plenty of attention. Now organizations like WAW say the international community is strangely silent on the issue.

Hyneman says not enough is being done to help the women in Afghanistan and that feeds into the hands of the insurgency.

“When you have … 50 percent of a population on their knees, it’s very easy for extremists, tyrants to take over a country,” she adds. “They have a ready-made enslaved population.”

Aisha is reminded of that enslavement every time she looks in the mirror.

But there still times she can laugh. And at that moment you see her teenage spirit escaping a body that has seen a lifetime of injustice

At Correspondents’ Dinner, Biden Quips They’re Obama’s ‘Base’

At Correspondents’ Dinner, Biden Quips They’re Obama’s ‘Base’

Recycling a theme which President Barack Obama used last year at media dinners, that shows self-awareness of how journalists are allies, headlining Wednesday night’s Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner carried live on C-SPAN2, Vice President Joe Biden quipped those in the audience are Obama’s “base.” One of Biden’s lines:

The truth is I can’t believe I’m here with you guys tonight. Here I am, the first Irish Catholic Vice President in the history of the United States of America. Barack Obama, the first African-American in the history of the United States of America. He’s hosting a St. Patrick’s day dinner and I’m here with you all [audience laughter]. Go figure. He’s with my base, I’m with his.

That elicited groans from the audience of journalists at the Washington Convention Center. Too close to the truth?

At last year’s RTCA dinner, held in June, Obama wondered: “Why bother hanging out with celebrities when I can spend time with the people who made me one?”

Five weeks earlier, at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, Obama observed: “Most of you covered me. All of you voted for me. [pause] Apologies to the Fox table.”

Obama Pleads To Dems: My Presidency Is On The Line

Obama Pleads To Dems: My Presidency Is On The Line

March 18th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

captphoto_1268888322112-5-0

It’s all about him…

Politico:

President Barack Obama had exhausted most of his health care reform arguments with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during a White House meeting last Thursday when he made a more personal pitch that resonated with many skeptics in the room.

One caucus member told POLITICO that Obama won him over by “essentially [saying] that the fate of his presidency” hinged on this week’s health reform vote in the House. The member, who requested anonymity, likened Obama’s remarks to an earlier meeting with progressives when the president said a victory was necessary to keep him “strong” for the next three years of his term.

Another caucus member, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), said, “We went in there already knowing his presidency would be weakened if this thing went down, but the president clearly reinforced the impression the presidency would be damaged by a loss.”

Added Serrano: “He was subtle, but that was the underlying theme of the meeting — the importance of passing this for the health of the presidency.”

White House officials said Obama’s recent remarks aren’t intended to personalize the debate or rally undecided Democratic members with an egocentric, “win one for Barry” message. They said Obama’s point is to hammer home the idea that all Democrats would benefit from a health care win and that the party’s larger policy agenda would be damaged if the president were to lose.

Still, all told, it’s a little more drama than Democrats are used to getting from Obama. And while it’s not the only argument being made by Obama administration and pro-reform allies on the Hill, it’s an increasingly important one as Democrats seek to sway a handful of health care holdouts ahead of an anticipated vote this weekend.

Moreover, there’s an unmistakable sense that the health care debate is fast moving past a discussion of the bill’s merits, beyond the all-consuming anxieties of incumbents and into an existential battle to preserve Obama’s presidency.

“The White House is raising the stakes so high, they are basically telling [House Democrats] that failure is not an option unless you want to sink the president,” said health industry lobbyist Steve Elmendorf, a onetime adviser to Rep. Dick Gephardt, a former Democratic leader.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of Obama’s closest allies in the health reform push, was more than willing to lay out a post-health-care doomsday scenario for Democrats and Obama should they fail.

“The first risk [of a health care defeat] is that he loses the reelect,” she said. “I think the risk to Congress is that his approval rating goes so low, he does not have enough heft to lift other important things we want to work on. … So this is a gut check. He’s got so much to lose by continuing to push for something that’s not going to be immediately popular. It’s not going to be popular by November; it’s not going to be popular by November of 2012. It’ll be popular 10 years from now.”

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has been telling Democratic fence sitters they are “deluding themselves” if they think Obama’s loss of prestige following a defeat won’t hurt them.

“There are serious implications of losing on President Obama’s ability to be effective for the rest of his three years in office,” Waxman told POLITICO. “That’s a message [undecided members] need to hear. If they don’t think that affects them if they are reelected, they are burying their heads in the sand.”

But many Democrats simply aren’t buying it after months of what they view as Obama’s disengagement from the health care battle.

“We’ve always known he’s a fourth-quarter player, and it’s great to see him on the field,” said an aide to a senior House Democrat. “So why did he sit on the sidelines for the last eight months?”

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), a firm “no” vote, has politely rebuffed feelers from Obama’s staff and rejects the idea that he can’t survive a defeat on health care.

“The White House calls me and says, ‘How are you doing?’” Lynch said. “I say, ‘I’m doing fine, but I’m not voting for this bill.’ … I don’t buy the argument that he’s done if this doesn’t pass. He’s got three more years. He can recover.”

Republicans said that playing the Obama card is an intensely risky proposition, arguing that Democrats on the Hill will resent him even more if he talks them into jumping off a cliff.

“As a legislator, you don’t want to be forced to pick between your constituents and the president — that’s a false choice,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who opposes the reform bill but has been a willing negotiating partner with the administration on other issues.

“Every president does this; Bush did this to me,” Graham added.

“His people said, ‘This president’s credibility is on the line,’ and I said, ‘Well, my judgment’s on the line.’ You try to make people vote your way using whatever tactics you can think of on big issues. … But unlike any other vote I have seen for a very long time, this one will define you; this becomes part of your legacy. You’ll be explaining this vote for a very, very long time — long after President Obama has been marginalized.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus, added, “This isn’t about the president; this is about 47 million people who don’t have health insurance. … There’s no argument beyond the moral imperative.”

Still, the idea of Obama in peril seemed to play a part in the no-to-yes flip by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who told reporters Wednesday that his decision was influenced by four conversations with Obama and “a real sense of compassion” for the tough time the president is having pushing the bill through.

Obama hasn’t made himself the central closing argument with the majority of legislators — in part, because most Democrats are already keenly aware of his dilemma. In private talks with lawmakers, he’s largely focused on carefully tailored responses to each legislator’s policy concerns and articulating the moral argument for reform.

Part of his high-road approach is dictated by his personal style, but part is a result of GOP accusations that Democrats engaged in secret sweetheart deals like the “Louisiana Purchase” and the “Cornhusker Kickback.”

“I think the process that the president has been engaged in over the past several months has in many ways been to clean up where that process went wrong at the end of last year,” press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters on Tuesday.

But that doesn’t mean arms aren’t being twisted. Democratic donors are letting wavering Democratic incumbents know that their wallets will slam shut with a “no” vote. And big unions, like the AFL-CIO, AFSCME and Service Employees International Union, are shelling out $11 million to run ads and inundate battleground districts, letting Democrats know that they have as much to fear from labor as they do from Republicans.

In some cases, labor and associated organizations have taken it one step further — threatening to bankroll primary challengers against conservative Democratic incumbents, including New York Rep. Mike McMahon, a firm “no” vote, and Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

“It’s a stupid strategy,” said one conservative Democrat targeted by the unions. “They are hitting me from the left. I couldn’t say yes now if I wanted to. … It would be seen as caving into their pressure.”

J.D. Hayworth vs. John McCain

J.D. Hayworth vs. John McCain

Posted on | February 25, 2010

Thanks to Barbara Espinosa at American Freedom for highlighting this issue-by-issue comparison:

TAXES
John McCain
— Opposed the Bush tax cuts. Voted against repealing the Death Tax. The Club for Growth says McCain’s overall record on taxes “is profoundly disturbing and anti-growth.”
J.D. Hayworth — Helped to author the Bush tax cuts and supports repealing the Death Tax. JD has a higher lifetime rating from Citizens Against Government Waste than John McCain does.

BAILOUTS
John McCain —
Voted FOR the big bank bailouts and proposed an additional $300 Billion bailout of all bad debts, making the taxpayers responsible for the bad decisions of others.
J.D. Hayworth — Opposed the big bank bailouts, opposed the Obama plan, and opposed the McCain plan to leave taxpayers holding the bag for the nation’s bad loans.

AMNESTY
John McCain —
Wrote the bill granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. McCain’s bill was estimated to cost the taxpayers more than $2.6 Trillion.
J.D. Hayworth — Helped lead the fight against the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill. JD is a national leader in the fight to secure our borders and protect our nation.

MARRIAGE
John McCain  —
Opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment that would have protected and preserved marriage as between one man and one woman.
J.D. Hayworth — Marriage Supported the Federal Amendment and believes it is critical that marriage be protected from those who would redefine it.

CAP AND TRADE
John McCain —
Co-authored the McCain-Lieberman Cap and Trade bill.
J.D. Hayworth — Cap and Trade Opposes all Cap and Trade legislation and rejects phony climate change data.

FREE SPEECH
John McCain —
Authored the McCain-Feingold legislation that violated the First Amendment rights of every American and silenced conservative groups like Right to Life and the NRA.
J.D. Hayworth — Opposed McCain-Feingold and believes that a free and vigorous debate is always in the best interests of our state and our nation.

TERRORISM
John McCain —
Opposes enhanced interrogation techniques, supports closing Guantanamo Bay, and supports treating terrorists like criminal defendants instead of enemy combatants.
J.D. Hayworth — Supports our military and its use of enhanced interrogation techniques. Believes that Guantanamo Bay should remain open and that terrorists should be treated as such.

ERIC HOLDER
John McCain —
Voted to confirm this far-left activist.
J.D. Hayworth — Opposed the confirmation of Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States.

Is Obama anti-Semitic? Netanyahu brother-in-law causes ruckus.

Is Obama anti-Semitic? Netanyahu brother-in-law causes ruckus.

The office of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday rejected the remarks of his brother-in-law Hagai Ben Artzi, who called President Obama ‘anti-Semitic.’ But how many other Israelis share Mr. Ben Artzi’s view?

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu distanced himself Wednesday from the views of his brother-in-law, who called President Obama anti-Semitic.
(Gil Cohen Magen/Reuters)


By Joshua Mitnick Correspondent
posted March 17, 2010 at 12:34 pm EDT

Tel Aviv —At the height of the worst Israel-US crisis in decades, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to distance himself Wednesday from the views of his brother-in-law, who called President Obama “anti-Semitic” over the airwaves this morning.

In an interview with Israel Army Radio on Wednesday, Hagai Ben Artzi, the brother of Netanyahu’s wife Sara, reportedly said: “it needs to be said clearly and simply: There is an anti-Semitic president in the US. It’s not that Obama doesn’t sympathize with [Mr. Netanyahu]. He doesn’t sympathize with the people of Israel.”

Netanyahu’s office swifty published a condemnation: “I entirely reject the remarks of Hagai Ben Artzi.”

IN PICTURES: Israeli settlements

Family ties?

Mr. Ben Artzi, who has a history of controversial remarks, is family in more than one way.

The hardliner – who’s held positions as a bible lecturer at a religious college in Jerusalem, and in the Education Ministry, and has a doctorate in Israel thought and philosophy from Hebrew University in Jerusalem – also represents the family of hawkish nationalists who support Netanyahu and for whom any movement on the peace process is going to stir tension.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari of the far-right National Union party recently hung a poster with a picture in which Obama looks like he is bowing to a Gulf prince, underneath a headline, “Caution! [Palestine Liberation Organization] Agent in the White House!”

Suspicion of Obama

So how widespread are those views of Obama in Israel?

The opinions recall suspicions voiced about Obama in Israel during his run for the presidency that were based on his Muslim relatives and a former pastor whose sermons occasionally included remarks considered anti-Semitic.

Mitchell Barak, a pollster who used to work with Netanyahu, says there is widespread alienation among Israelis regarding Obama, whom many consider the US president most unsympathetic to Israel for decades.

That said, both Ben Artzi and Ben Ari represent fringe opinions, says Mr. Barak.

“The problem with the extremist right groups,” he says, “is that they can’t recognize anyone that doesn’t shares the opinions of their own group.”