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Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration’

Think Progress

By Josh Israel  on Mar 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm

This week, Crossroads GPS announced a $650,000 nationwide television adcampaign called “Deflect.”  The 30-second spot falsely blames Obama administration actions for the rise in gasoline prices since 2009.

Crossroads GPS is a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) group, affiliated with the American Crossroads super PAC. Karl Rove has been linked to both groups.

The spot begins by noting gas prices “then and now” — going up from the unusually low prices of January 2009 to the higher prices of today.  A narrator asks what has made the difference.

The narrator then claims the reasons for higher gas prices are:

– “President Obama’s administration restricted oil production in the Gulf

Limited development of American oil shale

– Obama personally lobbied to kill a pipeline bringing oil from Canada

VIDEO AND MORE HERE

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Now Republicans are attacking Obama for not cutting Medicare Advantage

by Jed Lewison for Daily Kos

Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:10 AM PDT

AP:

Obama administration eases pain of Medicare cuts

Millions of seniors in popular private insurance plans offered through Medicare will be getting a reprieve from some of the most controversial cuts in President Barack Obama’s health care law.

In a policy shift critics see as political, the Health and Human Services department has decided to award quality bonuses to hundreds of Medicare Advantage plans rated merely average.

As you may recall, the health reform law cut subsidies for ineffective Medicare Advantage plans by about $150 billion over ten years because those plans cost more than traditional Medicare without delivering better care. Ending the subsidies was an obvious move to reduce spending on Medicare without compromising the quality of care, but Republicans like Karl Rove have attacked the policy shift as an attempt to pull the plug on grandma.

So now that the administration is granting a reprieve to many—though not all—of the Medicare Advantage plans that Republicans were so proudly defending, you’d think they would celebrate having saved grandma’s life. Except now that the administration is doing what they had said they wanted it to do in the first place, they’re still on attack:

In a recent letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, two prominent GOP lawmakers questioned what they termed the administration’s “newfound support” for Medicare Advantage.The shift “may represent a thinly veiled use of taxpayer dollars for political purposes,” wrote Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan. Camp chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees Medicare. Hatch is his counterpart as ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

Republicans won an election in part by attacking the Obama administration over cuts to Medicare Advantage subsidies, but now that they have gotten their way, they are once again on the attack. For Hatch and Camp, this isn’t a matter of principle. It’s about opposing Obama because he’s their political enemy. They aren’t fighting for their ideas, or for what they think is right. They are fighting to save their own political ass. And it’s pathetic.

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How the U.S. rapidly froze Libyan assets

Washington Post

By Robert O’Harrow Jr., James V. Grimaldi and Brady Dennis
Thursday, Mar 24, 2011
The Treasury Department team had been working nonstop on a plan to freeze Libyan assets in U.S. banks, hoping they might snare $100 million or more and prevent Moammar Gaddafi from tapping it as he unleashed deadly attacks against protesters who wanted him gone.

Now, at 2:22 Friday afternoon, Feb. 25, an e-mail arrived from a Treasury official with startling news. Their $100 million estimate was off — orders of magnitude off.

The e-mail said there was in “excess of $29.7 Billion — yes, that’s a B.”

And most of the money was at one bank.

It was a piece of extraordinary good fortune for the Obama administration at a crucial moment in the efforts to address the bizarre and deadly events unfolding in Libya.

Never before had U.S. officials so quickly launched economic sanctions affecting so many assets of a targeted country.

The frenetic 72 hours leading up to the Executive Order 13566 illustrate how a process of identifying and freezing assets — something that customarily has taken weeks or months — has become one of the first tactical tools to employ in the midst of fast-breaking crises.

It also shows that government officials have learned from other recent economic sanction efforts, including against Iran and North Korea. Instead of being a secondary measure, as in the past, economic sanctions have become a centerpiece of national security policy.

MORE HERE- 9 pages in this story

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Brady Campaign: DOJ Meeting Shows Obama Is ‘Serious’ About Combatting Gun Violence

TPMMuckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | March 16, 2011, 3:20PM

A coalition of pro gun-control groups met with Obama administration officials at the Justice Department Tuesday to discuss ways to prevent gun violence.

The meeting at DOJ headquarters, the first in a series of meetings the administration is trying to schedule to address the issue, was led by Christopher H. Schroeder, Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy. Representatives of the White House, the Vice President’s office, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were also in attendance.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign on Gun Violence, told TPM that the government representatives didn’t tip their cap for what direction they planned on taking to combat gun violence.

“We asked a lot of questions, and they indicated they don’t have any particular policies that they’re pushing or any particular legislation that they’re pushing, right now they’re basically out gathering pieces of information,” Helmke said.

The White House had invited the National Rifle Association (NRA) to the meeting, but NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre told the New York Times that he didn’t see a reason to “go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States.”

In a letter to President Barack Obama, LaPierre and NRA Executive Director Chris Cox wrote that for Obama “to focus a national dialogue on guns – and not criminals or mental health issues – misses the point entirely”. The said gun laws aren’t the problem.

MORE HERE

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President Prays for Peace in the Mideast

The Caucus – The Politics and Government blog of The New York Times
By- HELENE C. COOPER
February 3, 2011, 12:06 pm

WASHINGTON — President Obama, in wide-ranging remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, said Thursday that he was praying for the violence in the Middle East to end, and separately called on the country to move beyond polarizing debate to remember that few people are right all of the time.

Mr. Obama told an audience of lawmakers, religious leaders and heads of state (from Equatorial Guinea and Macedonia) that in the middle of strife, it is important to “go back to the Scriptures to remind ourselves that none of us have the answer.”

Mr. Obama spoke for around 15 minutes about his upbringing, which he said was not religious. His father, he recounted, was a “nonbeliever,” and he said his mom, “whose parents were Baptists and Methodists, grew up with a certain skepticism.”

“She only took me to church at Easter and Christmas … sometimes,” Mr. Obama said.

Still, Mr. Obama said his mother “nagged me consistently about the homespun values of her Kansas upbringing,” and credited her with helping him to “understand the equal worth of all men and all women.”

MORE HERE

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Gun Rights Battle Heads To Bars, Churches, Doctors’ Offices And Day Care

TPM Muckraker

Ryan J. Reilly and Melissa Jeltsen | January 28, 2011, 9:40AM

After ignoring the issue of gun control for his entire presidency to date, aides to President Barack Obama said Wednesday he’d take up the issue within the next few weeks. Even former Vice President Dick Cheney has said he’d be okay with banning high-capacity clips in the wake of the mass shooting that nearly killed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and left six others dead.

But there’s a whole other lot of Second Amendment supporters who, instead of discussing middle-of-the-road measures to curb gun violence, are advocating to rescind or roll back even current restrictions.

In state legislatures around the country, conservatives lawmakers are introducing some of the most enthusiastic right-to-bear-arms bills to date. Here’s TPM’s round up.

Florida

Physicians often ask patients about risky behaviors, like drinking, smoking and even if they dutifully wear a seat belt. But asking about gun ownership? That topic should be off-limits, says freshman state Rep. Jason Brodeur (R) who wants to make it a felony for physicians to ask patients or their families if they own or store guns at home.

Brodeur says he’s worried that doctors might report gun ownership information to a patient’s insurance company. “What we don’t want to do is have law-abiding firearm owners worried that the information is going to be recorded and then sent to their insurance company,” Brodeur said, as reported by the News-Press. “If the overreaching federal government actually takes over health care, they’re worried that Washington, D.C., is going to know whether or not they own a gun and so this is really just a privacy protection.”

Doctors who fail to obey the proposed law could face up to $5 million in fines — or prison time.

Michigan

State Sen. Mike Green (R-Mayville) doesn’t believe there should be anywhere in Michigan where you can’t carry your gun. On Tuesday, he introduced legislation to repeal the state’s no-carry zones — places where concealed weapons are banned. Under the new proposal, which has been sent to the state Senate’s judiciary committee, it would be legal to carry concealed weapons into day care centers, stadiums, schools, churches, bars and hospitals.

Green told The Detroit News he introduced the bill to prove “there are no places that should be gun-free.”

According to his website, Green was one of the authors of Michigan’s 2000 “shall issue” concealed pistol license law, which drastically changed the state’s gun regulation. State and local authorities in states with “shall issue” laws must issue gun licenses to people as long as they meet specific criteria set by the state. This differs from “may-issue” states, where individuals need to show a compelling need to carry a concealed weapon and the ultimate decision is left up to the granting authority.

MORE HERE

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by Maidhc Ó Cathail, Foreign Policy Journal, December 4, 2010

Even those familiar with the long and shameful history of America’s appeasement of Israel were taken aback by the Obama administration’s extraordinary offer to Netanyahu.

In exchange for a paltry one-off 90 day freeze on illegal settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), Israel will get 20 F-35 stealth fighter jets worth $3 billion and a slew of other goodies. Yet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly gave up to eight hours with Netanyahu trying to persuade him to accept “one of the most generous bribes ever bestowed by the United States on any foreign power.” Praising the Israeli Prime Minister for eventually agreeing to put the offer to his security cabinet, President Obama took it as “a signal that he is serious.”

Continues >>

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