Posts Tagged ‘Rouhani

04
Mar
15

A Tweet Or Two

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Another proof the Mayor doesn’t give a damn about the Black residents of Ferguson

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Continue reading ‘A Tweet Or Two’

08
Dec
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, descend the Grand Staircase before delivering remarks at a Hanukkah reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Dec. 8, 2011 ( Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (All Times Eastern):

5:15: President Obama delivers remarks at the Kennedy Center Honors Reception, East Room

7:30: The President and First Lady attend the Kennedy Center Honors, Kennedy Center

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National Memo: With Unemployment At A 5-Year Low, Will Ted Cruz Finally Stop Using This Lie?

“The single biggest job killer is Obamacare,” Senator Ted Cruz told ALEC on Thursday …. The crowd leapt to its feet.

Cruz was speaking just hours after a new unemployment claims report showed layoffs falling below 300,000 in the last week, only the second time since May of 2007. The next morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate fell to a five-year low …

For 45 straight months the private sector has been growing, creating 8 million jobs. Essentially, when it comes to the employment market, things have not been this good since before the Great Recession. With more than two million jobs already created, 2013 will be the best year for payroll gains since 2005.

…. The Republican base loves to be lied to about Obamacare — as Ted Cruz has discovered and perfected. So don’t expect him to ever stop doing it.

More here

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In case you missed it yesterday:

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Michael Hiltzik: Fiscal Idiocy: What States Refusing Medicaid Will Cost Their Citizens

Sherry Glied and Stephanie Ma of the Commonwealth Fund have done the math to show how this calculation is affected by the refusal of 25 states to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. (Thanks to Brad DeLong at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth for the tip.) The bottom line is that as a pure fiscal and budgetary matter, refusing the Medicaid expansion is insane. The cost is $57 billion a year. The Act provides for federal funding to expand the state-federal healthcare program to residents earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level. The federal share will be 100% of the expansion cost through 2016, and stay at 90% or above through 2020.

The Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion optional, and 25 states have turned down the deal. This is entirely the handiwork of Republican governors or legislatures determined to take a dramatic stand against Obamacare. Of the 25 refusenik states, six have governors who support the expansion over the legislature’s objection; four are Democrats, including the governor-elect of Virginia, and two are Republicans. It’s already been established that the failure to expand Medicaid will deprive 5 million residents in those states of the improved access to health coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act.

More here

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LA Times: U.S. Unemployment Rate Drops To 7%, Lowest Since 2008

A surprisingly robust gain in new jobs last month helped drop the unemployment rate to a five-year low, fueling optimism about the nation’s economic recovery and raising the prospect that the government may finally start to ease a key stimulus effort this month. In its report Friday, the Labor Department said that the nation’s employers added 203,000 non-farm jobs in November and that a large part of them were higher-paying positions. The unemployment rate fell to 7%, the lowest since November 2008.

“It’s not just the quantity of the jobs but the quality,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. “These are higher-wage jobs, and a shift from a reliance on leisure and hospitality and retail gains we had seen in recent months.” The economy has averaged more than 200,000 net new jobs a month for the last four months. That’s the sustained level that central bank officials have said they wanted to see before starting to reduce the monthly bond purchases, part of their effort to spur the recovery from the Great Recession.

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Jelani Cobb: Mandela And The Politics Of Forgiveness

In 1966, Senator Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech at the University of Cape Town. He began by stating that he was there to talk about a country settled by the Dutch, which fought a bloody war of independence, and had then become an international pariah for its treatment of black people. He allowed a tense moment to pass and then added, “I’m here tonight to talk about the United States of America.”

To an extent greater than most Americans recognize, but which Nelson Mandela understood implicitly, the United States and South Africa are products of kindred histories: both founded by settlers, both emerged from wars to overthrow British colonialism, both forged national identities on their respective frontiers. Before the election of Barack Obama allowed this country, albeit briefly, to indulge the idea of postracialism, Mandela was revered here as a proxy for the American past. His capacity to emerge from twenty-seven years in prison without bitterness broadcast the hope that this country’s own racial trespasses might be forgiven.

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Haaretz: Did Obama Best Bibi’s Own Red Line?

Amidst the weeping and gnashing of teeth from the Prime Minister’s office after the interim agreement on Iran reached in Geneva, it is appropriate to pause to ask how President Obama’s interim agreement actually measures up on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s chosen yardstick. Who can forget Netanyahu’s UN presentation last year where he made his best case to the world about the threat Iran’s nuclear program poses to international security. To vivify this danger, Bibi unveiled a graphic sketch of a bomb on which he demonstrably drew a red line.

Especially in Israel, the Prime Minister’s speech drew withering fire. Many criticized his drawing a red line in this way as a fool’s errand. Obama’s black line bests Bibi’s red line. It pushes Iran back from the line Netanyahu drew, where Iran stood on the threshold of completion of stage 2, 90% of the way to the UEU core of a bomb, to Netanyahu’s stage 1. As a result, on the path the Prime Minister identified as Iran’s fastest track to a nuclear bomb, the Geneva agreement has extended the dash time – the period between any decision by Iran to rush to a bomb and the goal line. Thus, when judged by this bottom line, Obama’s interim agreement leaves Israel and the world safer than we would otherwise be.

More here

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Jerusalem Post: Peres Says He’s Willing To Meet Rouhani: “Iran Is Not Our Enemy”

President Shimon Peres on Sunday said that he would have no problem meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. “Why not?” he said in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest at the Globes Israel Business Conference in Tel Aviv. Israel and Iran are not enemies, he said. Peres also said he believed relations with the United States had not been harmed over the Iran issue, and that US President Barack Obama remained a solid friend to Israel. He stressed the importance of using the next six months to sign a final deal that would ensure Iran would not obtain a nuclear weapon. Asked his stance on gay marriage in Israel, Peres responded that everybody was born equal and had a right to love who they wanted to love.

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NYT: Thousands Demand Resignation Of Ukraine Leader

Enraged by a violent crackdown by security forces, Ukrainians took to the streets with new, revolutionary urgency on Sunday, with hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of President Viktor F. Yanukovich and a realignment of the country away from Russia toward Europe. “I want the authorities to know that this is not a protest; this is a revolution!” Yuri V. Lutsenko, a former interior minister and an organizer of the Orange Revolution nine years ago, told a vast crowd here in Independence Square that many observers said outstripped even the biggest gatherings in 2004. “Revolution!” the crowd roared back. “Revolution!”

Eleven days of intensifying protests over Mr. Yanukovich’s refusal to sign political and free trade accords with the European Union have now directly shaken the president’s prospects of remaining in power. Cracks have begun to emerge in his political base: His chief of administration was reported to have resigned, and a few members of Parliament quit his party and decried the police violence. Many Ukrainians see the agreements with Europe as crucial steps toward a brighter economic and political future, and as a way to break free from the grip of Russia and from Ukraine’s Soviet past. Now, the outcry over Mr. Yanukovich’s abandonment of the accords is pushing Russia into a corner.

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Think Progress: What Americans Can Learn From The Constitution Nelson Mandela Signed

In 2012, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made the impolitic suggestion that “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a Constitution in the year 2012,” instead pointing foreign constitution drafters to the constitution the late South African leader Nelson Mandela signed in 1996. Her statement received the predictable response from many conservative voices. One publication called for her to resign. The truth, however, is that the United States could learn a great deal from South Africa’s constitution.

As Ginsburg noted, that constitution was drafted much more recently than America’s 226 year-old founding text. Accordingly, its drafters benefited from more than two centuries of human experience that our founding fathers did not have. Ginsburg in no way impugned the genius of George Washington, James Madison or Alexander Hamilton when she suggested that these men could not possibility have known the things that we know today — and that nations drafting new constitutions should benefit from the full range of human experience.

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Scott Keyes: Pope Francis Sneaks Out Of The Vatican At Night To Serve The Homeless

The leader of the Catholic Church has been quietly sneaking out of the Vatican at night to minister to homeless residents, according to a new report. “Swiss guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women,” writes The Huffington Post. The report hinted that Pope Francis had sneaked out of the enclave with Archbishop Konrad Krajewski. As Almoner of His Holiness, Krajewski is the Vatican’s point person on giving charity to the poor and visits the destitute nightly.

This isn’t the first time Pope Francis has earned attention and praise for his predilection to serve the needy. Just months after assuming the papacy, he invited nearly 200 homeless people to join him for dinner at the Vatican. He also deplored the plight of homeless people in the first apostolic exhortation of his papacy last week: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

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UPI: Colin Powell: Everyone Should Have Access To Quality Healthcare

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told a Seattle audience universal healthcare would show the world the United States takes care of “all of our citizens.” Speaking Thursday at a fundraiser sponsored by the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Powell said he doesn’t see why the United States “can’t do what Europe is doing, what Canada is doing, what Korea is doing, what all these other places are doing.” “I am not an expert in healthcare, or Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, or however you choose to describe it,” he said, “but I do know this — I have benefited from that kind of universal healthcare in my 55 years of public life.”

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On This Day:

Senator Obama and Michelle Obama with Oprah Winfrey at a rally in Des Moines, December 8, 2007

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Emine Erdoğan, wife of the Prime Minister of Turkey, in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House, Dec. 8, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

16
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Barack Obama listens during a meeting with aides on Air Force One en route to Beijing, China, Nov. 16, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Week Ahead:

Today: The President has no public events scheduled

Tomorrow: The First Family will attend the game between the University of Maryland and Oregon State University at College Park, Md

Monday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

Tuesday: Will deliver remarks at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council’s annual meeting

Wednesday: The President will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the First Lady will also attend

Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

Friday: The President will host King Mohammed XI of Morocco at the White House

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Bill Scher: Another Way Obamacare Is Not Katrina

…. The failed Katrina response was the result of Bush taking an well-functioning government agency and deliberating degrading it: taking it from disaster managmement professionals, giving it to political cronies and beginning a process of reckless privatization.

With the Affordable Care Act, President Obama is not tearing down an existing agency, but trying to build up a new government program from scratch. As I’ve written before, new government programs typically suffer bumpy beginnings, but by facing up to new challenges, our government innovates and advances to better address problems the public wants solved.

In other words, Bush made government dumber. Obama, and Obamacare, is making government smarter.

Full post here

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Dean Baker: No, Obama Didn’t Lie To You About Your Health Care Plan

President Obama has been getting a lot of grief in the last few weeks over his pledge that with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in place, people would be able to keep their insurance if they like it. First, it is important to note that the ACA grand-fathered all the individual policies that were in place at the time the law was enacted. This means that the plans in effect at the time that President Obama was pushing the bill could still be offered even if they did not meet all the standards laid out in the ACA.

The plans being terminated because they don’t meet the minimal standards were all plans that insurers introduced after the passage of the ACA. Insurers introduced these plans knowing that they would not meet the standards that would come into effect in 2014. Insurers may not have informed their clients at the time they sold these plans that they would not be available after 2014 because they had designed a plan that did not comply with the ACA.

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The “attack” label is ridiculous

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Ed Kilgore: Re The Collapse In Obama’s Approval Ratings

After reading Jonathan Bernstein’s essay on the massive over-reaction to the president’s sag in approval ratings—some of it based, no doubt, on media cherry-picking of whichever polls had the lowest numbers—I went back and looked at Gallup’s weekly approval rating averages over the last few weeks.

The CW is that Obama and the Democrats were riding high—on the brink, perhaps, of a history-defying 2014 sweep of Congress—when the government shutdown ended. That week Gallup had Obama’s approval ratio at a 43/51 average. The latest Gallup weekly average of Obama’s approval ratio is at 41/52, a booming one-and-a-half point deterioration since the shutdown ended.

What does it all mean? Probably that most people aren’t breathlessly following events in Washington other than to register their heat and noise. And there’s not much indication just yet that America sees itself as represented by the worried holders of existing individual health insurance policies. So yeah, once again, everyone should chill.

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Queen Of Spain Blog: We Just Enrolled In Obamacare

Yup. The entire family just ditched my husband’s employer provided health insurance* and as of January 1, 2014 we’ll be on a plan with a different insurance company. One that, unlike Aetna, decided to go after our business and compete in the marketplace. Our old plan had deductibles, and the out-of-pocket costs were 6k for individuals and 12k per family. This new plan from Blue Shield of California? No deductibles. Lower out-of-pocket maximums. Lower copays. Lower drug costs.

All of our doctors are in-network minus one. But that’s why I got the PPO. It’s also a 90/10 which means we pay 10% of things normally not totally covered like hospital stays and MRIs and what not. Our old plan? 80/20 in network and 60/40 out of network. Keeping in mind just about EVERYTHING for me was out of network. After doing all the math, just to start, we’ll be saving $18,900 per year. That is without knowing if I will be hospitalized in 2014, or need surgery or any of those things. In 2013 I was hospitalized once in July and the bill is still sitting on my desk. I’ve been making payments.

If the judge from my Social Security Disability case rules in my favor, that means I’ll be eligible for Medicare as well. IF that happens, that will mean we may not have much out of pocket at all. This makes me shake and cry. We are one of those families who have been buried in medical debt since I got sick. We’re one of those families the President talks about…the ones who are so close to losing everything because Mom got sick. We’ve re-financed our mortgage using the HARP/HAMP plans with JP Morgan Chase. It wasn’t easy or pretty, but we managed to save some money per month to keep our home. Now we are utilizing Obamacare. And yeah, go ahead and call it Obamacare, because without the President we wouldn’t have this opportunity.

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Washington Post: How many Democrats voted for the ‘Keep Your Health Plan Act?’

The House voted Friday to approve a measure allowing Americans to keep current health-care plans, even if they don’t meet requirements established by the new Affordable Care Act. Passage of the “Keep Your Health Plan Act” was never in doubt — the only question was how many Democrats might defect and support the legislation. The Democratic defectors were: Rep. Ron Barber (Ariz.) Rep. John Barrow (Ga.) Rep. Ami Bera (Calif.) Rep. Tim Bishop (N.Y.) Rep. Bruce Braley (Iowa) Rep. Julia Brownley (Calif.) Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.) Rep. Jim Costa (Calif.) Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) Rep. Suzan DelBene (Wash.) Rep. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.)

Rep. William Enyart (Ill.) Rep. Elizabeth Esty (Conn.) Rep. Bill Foster (Ill.) Rep. Pete Gallego (Texas) Rep. John Garamendi (Calif.) Rep. Joe Garcia (Fla.) Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.) Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (N.H.) Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa) Rep. Dan Maffei (N.Y.) Rep. Sean Maloney (N.Y.) Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah) Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.) Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.) Rep. Patrick Murphy (Fla.) Rep. Rick Nolan (Minn.) Rep. Bill Owens (N.Y.) Rep. Scott Peters (Calif.) Rep. Gary Peters (Mich.) Rep. Colin Peterson (Minn.) Rep. Nick Rahall (W. Va.) Rep. Raul Ruiz (Calif.) Rep. Bill Schneider (Ill.) Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.) Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.) Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) Rep. Filemon Vela (Texas) Rep. Tim Walz (Minn.).

More here

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Michele Richinick: Obamacare To Save Family $18,900

In a country discouraged by last month’s health care rollout and corresponding widespread problems, Erin Kotecki Vest and her family are rejoicing. Obamacare will save them almost $19,000 each year. “When the president says no family should lose their home because someone got sick, no family should go bankrupt because somebody got sick, that is us. That is absolutely us,” she told msnbc.

In 2010 doctors diagnosed Kotecki Vest with Lupus, an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue. Three days every other week she undergoes intravenous therapy, which lasts three to five hours each visit. And that, she said, is when “everything is going well.”

Additionally, she takes Rituxin, which is also administered to her intravenously every four months in two different six-hour sessions. Doctors have prescribed her Prednisone for the past three years. Complications from her diagnosis caused her to suffer from a stroke, lose her gall bladder and the majority of her colon, and undergo a hysterectomy.

More here

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Steve Benen: Right Still Pushing ‘Don’t Enroll’ Crusade

Of all the things conservatives have done to sabotage and derail the Affordable Care Act – and good lord, is this a long list – nothing seems quite as offensive as the right’s campaign to encourage those without coverage to stay uninsured, on purpose, to advance an ideological cause.

Regular readers may recall that we covered this quite a bit over the summer. Conservatives launched organized efforts to convince the uninsured to voluntarily “refuse to enroll” – because if fewer people participate in the system, costs would soar, and in theory the system could become unsustainable. Struggling families will of course be completely screwed in this scenario, but for the right, that’s a small price to pay – and a sacrifice they’re willing to see others make.

Eric Lach, referencing a report from the Alaska Dispatch, noted yesterday that the campaign is still very much underway. Indeed, it appears far-right Floridians are now lobbying Alaskans to stay uninsured on purpose.

More here

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Think Progress: Obama Will Halt Deportation And Grant Legal Status To Some Relatives Of Military Personnel

Federal immigration authorities will no longer deport non-criminal immigrant family members of former and active duty members of immigrants serving in the U.S. military, according to a new Department of Homeland Security memoreleased on Friday. Most notably, some undocumented family members of military personnel would also have a chance to adjust to permanent legal status.

The memo in part states that relatives without criminal records and who aren’t national security risks could apply for a “parole in place” status, thereby having their deportations suspended. The parole status is authorized in one-year increments and allows relatives who are legally here to adjust for permanent legal status. Others who can adjust their status include undocumented immediate relatives and employment-based immigrants who fell out of status for less than six months.

More here

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Paul Waldman: Memo To Democratic Chicken Littles: The Sky Is Not Falling

Ah, now this is what politics is supposed to be like: Ruthless Republicans, gleeful at the prospect that they might increase the net total of human suffering. Timorous Democrats, panicking at the first hint of political difficulty and rushing to assemble a circular firing squad. And the news media bringing out the “Dems In Disarray!” headlines they keep in storage for just this purpose.

The problems of the last couple weeks “could threaten Democratic priorities for years,” says Ron Brownstein. It’s just like Hurricane Katrina, says The New York Times (minus the 1,500 dead people, I guess they mean, though they don’t say so). “On the broader question of whether Obama can rebuild an effective presidency after this debacle,” says Dana Milbank, “it’s starting to look as if it may be game over.” Ruth Marcus also declares this presidency all but dead: “Can he recover? I’m sorry to say: I’m not at all confident.” Oh please. Everyone just chill out.

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Arthur Delaney: Obama Pushes To Save The Holiday Season For A Million Unemployed People

The Obama administration on Friday came out strongly in support of extending long-term unemployment insurance past its current expiration date. Top economic adviser Gene Sperling said in a statement to The Huffington Post there is “no question” that Congress should extend emergency unemployment insurance for the more than 1 million workers who could be affected when benefits expire between Christmas and the New Year.

“We have always done so when unemployment is this high and would make little sense to fail to do so now when we are still facing the burdens of the worst downturn since the Great Recession,” Sperling said. “It is high bang for the buck for the economy, reduces poverty and helps workers who lost jobs due to no fault of their own get back on their feet.”

More here

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David Ignatius: The Stakes Of An Iranian Deal

Netanyahu seems to think that if sanctions have brought Iran to the table and gained concessions, then more sanctions will force Tehran to give up its nuclear program altogether. But administration officials fear that imposing more sanctions at this delicate moment (as Netanyahu is pushing Congress to do) will just blow up the negotiations.

My sense is that Israel and Saudi Arabia would love to scuttle an American rapprochement with an Iran they regard as a deadly adversary. But if Obama presses ahead, Netanyahu is bidding to replace the United States as military protector of the status quo, including the security of the Gulf Arabs.

Strategically, this de-facto Israeli alliance with the Saudis is an extraordinary opportunity for Israel.  The Obama administration would counter (correctly, I think) that embracing the Saudi strategy of an ever-deepening Sunni-Shiite divide is unwise. The schism will fuel permanent sectarian war in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Better to seek a turn in relations with Iran through diplomacy that can limit its nuclear program, Obama reasons. He’s right.

More here

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On This Day:

President Obama arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport on November 16, 2009

Signing an autograph during a working lunch with Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng in Shanghai, China, Nov. 16, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Arriving at Canberra’s Fairbairn Airport for the start of his two-day visit to Australia, Nov 16, 2011

Participating in an official arrival ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra on November 16, 2011

Greeted by students as he arrives with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at Parliament House in Canberra on November 16, 2011

Prime Minister Gillard proposes a toast to President Obama during the Parliamentary Dinner at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Nov. 16, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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27
Sep
13

A Tweet or Two

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Continue reading ‘A Tweet or Two’

27
Sep
13

‘A unique opportunity’

@petesouza: Historic phone call in the Oval Office: Pres Obama talks w Iran Pres Hassan Rouhani this afternoon

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President Obama:

Just now, I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program. I reiterated to President Rouhani what I said in New York. While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution.

I’ve directed Secretary Kerry to continue pursuing this diplomatic effort with the Iranian government. We had constructive discussions yesterday in New York with our partners, the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China, together with the Iranian foreign minister.

Going forward, President Rouhani and I have directed our teams to continue working expeditiously in cooperation with the P-5-plus-1 to pursue an agreement. And throughout this process, we’ll stay in close touch with our friends and allies in the region, including Israel.

Now, we’re mindful of all the challenges ahead. The very fact that this was the first communication between an American and Iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history. I do believe that there is a basis for a resolution. Iran’s supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons. President Rouhani has indicated that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons.

I’ve made clear that we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy in the context of Iran meeting its obligations. So the test will be meaningful, transparent and verifiable actions, which can also bring relief from the comprehensive international sanctions that are currently in place.

Resolving this issue obviously could also serve as a major step forward in a new relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect. It would also help facilitate a better relationship between Iran and the international community, as well as others in the region, one that would help the Iranian people fulfill their extraordinary potential, but also help us address other concerns that could bring greater peace and stability to the Middle East.

A path to a meaningful agreement will be difficult. And at this point, both sides have significant concerns that will have to be overcome. But I believe we’ve got a responsibility to pursue diplomacy, and that we have a unique opportunity to make progress with the new leadership in Tehran. I also communicated to President Rouhani my deep respect for the Iranian people.

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Steve Benen: …. I hope the political world can appreciate just how remarkable this turn of events really is. A decade ago, U.S. foreign policy declared Iran part of an “axis of evil” and tensions between the nations escalated to dangerous levels. Now we’re seeing diplomatic breakthroughs and there’s a credible possibility of resolving the Iranian nuclear dispute.

Full post here

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27
Sep
13

President Obama’s Statement

Wow:

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19
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet the family of Senior Master Sergeant Roland Paramore (not pictured) aboard Air Force One prior to departure en route to New York, Sept. 19, 2011(Pete Souza)

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Today (All Times Eastern):

10:45 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly briefing with members of the press (C-Span)

11:0: The President delivers remarks at a meeting of his Export Council, Eisenhower Executive Office Building

1:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

4:25: The President attends a DNC event, Capital Hilton Hotel (Closed Press)

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Esquire: Aliens in Their Own Nation

For the Republican Party, what began as a tactic — vilification of its opponents — became a habit that became a conviction. Its anger and distrust have become the dominant political fact of our time.

We have a problem with our Republicans. They don’t much want to govern anymore, and we can’t govern without them. This has been a long time coming, but at some point in recent years, America’s Republicans, especially elected officials but also a large part of the rank and file, stopped seeing Democrats and many other Americans as their political opponents and started viewing them instead as the enemy, a nemesis bent on destroying the country.

Certainly a significant factor underlying this phenomenon is white insecurity in a changing world, especially in the old Confederacy, in which the 21st-century Republican party has bunkered itself. But whatever the reason, given the symbiosis between the only two political parties we have allowed ourselves, this extremism endangers the governing arrangement that has held for the last century or so — and by and large worked spectacularly well…

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Jamelle Bouie: The Obamacare Swindle (It’s Not What You Think)

Health-care reform isn’t going anywhere. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from using it to raise money from gullible Tea Partiers who want it defunded.

House Republican leadership does not want a government shutdown over Obamacare, but the agitation of conservative activists might make one inevitable.

….. Conservatives must know they have nothing to gain politically from taking this stance, which raises the question: why do it? One answer, as suggested by the National Review’s Robert Costa in August, is money. Tea party organizations, he writes, “aren’t worried about the establishment’s ire. In fact, they welcome it. Business has boomed since the push to defund Obamacare caught on. Conservative activists are lighting up social media, donations are pouring in, and e-mail lists are growing.”

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Carol E. Lee: Obama Administration Weighs Iran Talks At U.N.

The Obama administration is preparing for high-level meetings next week with the Iranian government on its nuclear ambitions and is open to a direct exchange between President Barack Obama and Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, at the United Nations, according to senior U.S. officials.

The recent softening between Washington and Tehran gained new momentum with the release by Iran in recent days of 11 political prisoners, including a prominent human-rights lawyer freed on Wednesday. The releases were seen as a signal to Washington of a desire for better relations on the eve of Mr. Rouhani’s first visit as president to the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.

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Greg Sargent: If We Get A Debt Ceiling Crisis, It’s Because Republican Voters Want One

If we are going to have a debt ceiling and default crisis — with all of the havoc it may well entail — it may well be because Republican voters want such a crisis, even if it causes serious economic harm. No, really. That’s what a new poll shows. The new Washington Post/ABC News poll on the debt ceiling tells us something remarkable: Among Republicans who believe that not raising the debt ceiling would cause serious harm to the economy, a majority of them wants Congress not to raise it anyway. By contrast, Americans overall see it in the opposite way.

Meanwhile, the poll also finds that 73 percent think not raising the debt limit would “cause serious harm to the U.S. economy,” versus only 22 percent who say it wouldn’t. How to explain the divergence? It turns out it’s largely driven by Republicans. By contrast, among Americans overall who say not raising it would cause serious harm, they tilt in favor of raising it by 54-35. Independents who say not raising it would cause serious harm also tilt in favor of raising it by 58-36.

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Steve Benen: Bernanke Stuns With Ongoing Stimulus

One of the day’s biggest stories was also one of the day’s most pleasant surprises. The Federal Reserve postponed any retreat from its long-running stimulus campaign Wednesday, saying that it would continue to buy $85 billion a month in bonds to encourage job creation and economic growth. […]

But let’s not overlook why Bernanke came to this conclusion. There were, of course, multiple factors, but The Hill reported, “The Fed said one of the primary reasons for the decision was the fiscal fight in Washington, which it said is ‘restraining economic growth.'” The political world tends to ignore this for reasons I find endlessly frustrating, but the chairman of the Federal Reserve has repeatedly told Congress, in fairly explicit terms, that Republicans are hurting the economy. Bernanke has drawn direct, unambiguous connections between weak economic growth and the specific policies pursued by Republican lawmakers.

GOP officials ignore Bernanke because he tells them what they don’t want to hear, and many in the media ignore his assessments because Americans aren’t supposed to hear about Republican responsibility for the struggling economy.

More here

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Greg Sargent: The Conservative Alternative To ObamaCare Isn’t An Alternative To ObamaCare

So House conservatives are planning to roll out their long awaited alternative to Obamacare, some three years after they first promised to do so — and after more than three dozen votes to repeal it. The conservative alternative wouldn’t do nothing at all.

“Individuals who purchase coverage approved for sale in their state could claim a deduction of $7,500 against their income and payroll taxes, regardless of the cost of the insurance. Families could deduct $20,000.” The trouble with this, Leavitt says, is that deductions disproportionately benefit the rich. By contrast, Levitt notes, Obamacare gives low income folks subsidies in the form of tax credits, which disproportionately benefit the poor.

More here

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I love the smell of GOP infighting in the morning

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Brian Beutler: GOP Deludes Itself On Shutdown Threat

it’s easier to remember that what we’re hearing on the right is the din of 275 Republicans and thousands of movement conservatives caterwauling at each other. It’s a fascinating story. It’s genuinely newsworthy that John Boehner and company were cowed into giving Ted Cruz and his boosters on the right a vote on the doomed strategy they’ve been demanding. Assuming the defund Obamacare bill passes the House — not a given! — it’ll be extremely revealing to watch Senate Republicans figure out what to do with it, and hear what they say when it inevitably fails.

More here

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On This Day:

President Barack Obama and Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi pet Bo at the conclusion of their meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 19, 2012. Danny Russel, Senior Director for Asian Affairs, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton watch at left (Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to a crowd of over 6000 at Minges Coliseum on the East Carolina University campus, Sept 19, 2012

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First Lady Michelle Obama greets students from the East Durham Children’s Initiative upon arrival at Raleigh-Durham Airport in Morrisville, N.C., Sept. 19, 2012 (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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