Posts Tagged ‘ed

28
Apr
14

Schooling Ed Henry

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Ed Henry:

More broadly – big picture – as you end this trip, I don’t think I have to remind you there have been a lot of unflattering portraits of your foreign policy right now.  And rather than get into all the details or red lines, et cetera, I’d like to give you a chance to lay out what your vision is more than five years into office, what you think the Obama doctrine is in terms of what your guiding principle is on all of these crises and how you answer those critics who say they think the doctrine is weakness.

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From 31:20

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President Obama:

Well, Ed, I doubt that I’m going to have time to lay out my entire foreign policy doctrine. And there are actually some complimentary pieces as well about my foreign policy, but I’m not sure you ran them.

Here’s I think the general takeaway from this trip. Our alliances in the Asia Pacific have never been stronger; I can say that unequivocally. Our relationship with ASEAN countries in Southeast Asia has never been stronger. I don’t think that’s subject to dispute. As recently as a decade ago, there were great tensions between us and Malaysia, for example. And I think you just witnessed the incredible warmth and strength of the relationship between those two countries.

We’re here in the Philippines signing a defense agreement. Ten years ago, fifteen years ago there was enormous tensions around our defense relationship with the Philippines. And so it’s hard to square whatever it is that the critics are saying with facts on the ground, events on the ground here in the Asia Pacific region. Typically, criticism of our foreign policy has been directed at the failure to use military force. And the question I think I would have is, why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we’ve just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget? And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?

My job as Commander-in-Chief is to deploy military force as a last resort, and to deploy it wisely. And, frankly, most of the foreign policy commentators that have questioned our policies would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people had no interest in participating in and would not advance our core security interests.

So if you look at Syria, for example, our interest is in helping the Syrian people, but nobody suggests that us being involved in a land war in Syria would necessarily accomplish this goal. And I would note that those who criticize our foreign policy with respect to Syria, they themselves say, no, no, no, we don’t mean sending in troops. Well, what do you mean?  Well, you should be assisting the opposition – well, we’re assisting the opposition. What else do you mean? Well, perhaps you should have taken a strike in Syria to get chemical weapons out of Syria. Well, it turns out we’re getting chemical weapons out of Syria without having initiated a strike. So what else are you talking about?  And at that point it kind of trails off.

In Ukraine, what we’ve done is mobilize the international community. Russia has never been more isolated. A country that used to be clearly in its orbit now is looking much more towards Europe and the West, because they’ve seen that the arrangements that have existed for the last 20 years weren’t working for them. And Russia is having to engage in activities that have been rejected uniformly around the world. And we’ve been able to mobilize the international community to not only put diplomatic pressure on Russia, but also we’ve been able to organize European countries who many were skeptical would do anything to work with us in applying sanctions to Russia.

Well, what else should we be doing?  Well, we shouldn’t be putting troops in, the critics will say. That’s not what we mean.  Well, okay, what are you saying? Well, we should be arming the Ukrainians more. Do people actually think that somehow us sending some additional arms into Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian army? Or are we more likely to deter them by applying the sort of international pressure, diplomatic pressure and economic pressure that we’re applying?

The point is that for some reason many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade, and they keep on just playing the same note over and over again. Why?  I don’t know. But my job as Commander-in-Chief is to look at what is it that is going to advance our security interests over the long term, to keep our military in reserve for where we absolutely need it. There are going to be times where there are disasters and difficulties and challenges all around the world, and not all of those are going to be immediately solvable by us.

But we can continue to speak out clearly about what we believe. Where we can make a difference using all the tools we’ve got in the toolkit, well, we should do so. And if there are occasions where targeted, clear actions can be taken that would make a difference, then we should take them. We don’t do them because somebody sitting in an office in Washington or New York think it would look strong. That’s not how we make foreign policy.

And if you look at the results of what we’ve done over the last five years, it is fair to say that our alliances are stronger, our partnerships are stronger, and in the Asia Pacific region, just to take one example, we are much better positioned to work with the peoples here on a whole range of issues of mutual interest.

And that may not always be sexy. That may not always attract a lot of attention, and it doesn’t make for good argument on Sunday morning shows. But it avoids errors. You hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run.  But we steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with folks around the world.

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Ed? Your time is up.

16
Jul
13

This and That

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NYT: Health Insurance Within Reach

Ever since Marci Lieber, a part-time social worker in Brooklyn, learned she was pregnant, she and her husband have been scrambling to find health insurance. But insurers consider pregnancy a pre-existing condition, and won’t sell anyone a new policy that covers it.

That changes on Jan. 1, 2014, when insurers will no longer be permitted to deny coverage of pre-existing conditions — and all Americans will be required to have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Lieber, 37, hopes to purchase a policy through New York State’s new health exchange as early as this October.

Just in time: the baby is due Jan. 25…..

More here

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The Daily Beast: Texas’s Unwanted-Baby Boom

Between the state’s anti-abortion bill, its move to defund contraception providers, and its war on sex education, experts predict tens of thousands of unplanned pregnancies next year.

The war on women is a nationwide phenomenon, but nowhere are women in more danger of having their reproductive health undermined at every turn than in Texas. Under the leadership of Gov. Rick Perry and a Republican Party completely in the thrall of the religious right, Christian fundamentalists have launched a three-pronged attack on the well-being of women of the state….

More here

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@daddylonglegs01

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ThinkProgress: In a piece that contains the telling (even in context) line “I am a racist,” longtime Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen employed a mishmash of poorly explained statistics and bafflingly ignorant mathematical reasoning to argue that Trayvon Martin was “understandably suspected because he was black” — that is, Americans should assume any young black men they meet are criminals.

More here

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Continue reading ‘This and That’

26
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

@petesouza: POTUS and FLOTUS wave from aboard AF1, en route to Africa

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Today:

EST

8:45 AM: The President and the First Family depart the White House

GMT

8:25PM: Arrive Dakar, Senegal

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b433944b-3f1a-3b15-a5cf-db0d708775f3

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Heather Gerken (Slate): Goodbye to the Crown Jewel of the Civil Rights Movement – People died to pass Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, but that didn’t save it at the Supreme Court.

…. To understand why Section 5 was special, you have to know a bit about its history. The brutal attacks on civil rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge provided the push needed to pass the Voting Rights Act. When the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, almost no African-Americans were registered to vote in the Deep South due to brutal repression and sickening legal chicanery.

Civil rights litigators and the Department of Justice were doing their best to help. They filed lawsuit after lawsuit to make it possible for blacks to register. But every time a court deemed one discriminatory practice illegal, local officials would switch to another. Literacy tests, poll taxes, burdensome registration requirements – these techniques were all used to prevent African-Americans from voting. Southern voting registrars would even resign from their positions as soon as a lawsuit was on the cusp of succeeding, thereby sending the case back to square one. The Voting Rights Act aimed to change all of this.

Section 5 was the most important and imaginative provision in the law….

More here

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President Barack Obama gives his second State of The Union Address before a joint session of Congress in Washington, DC.

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Sahil Kapur: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg penned the fierce dissent against the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision Tuesday to invalidate a key section of the Voting Rights Act, accusing the conservative justices of displaying “hubris” and a lack of sound reasoning. “[T]he Court’s opinion can hardly be described as an exemplar of restrained and moderate decision making,” wrote the leader of the court’s liberal wing. “Quite the opposite. Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the VRA.”

Joined by the three other liberal-leaning justices, Ginsburg scolded the conservative majority and its rationale for throwing out Section 4 of the law — which contains the formula Congress has used to determine which states and local governments must receive federal pre-approval before changing their voting laws. “Congress approached the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA with great care and seriousness. The same cannot be said of the Court’s opinion today,” she wrote. “The Court makes no genuine attempt to engage with the massive legislative record that Congress assembled. Instead, it relies on increases in voter registration and turnout as if that were the whole story.” “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” Ginsburg wrote.

More here

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Texas Tribune: The nation watched on Tuesday — and into Wednesday — as Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis and hundreds of impassioned reproductive rights advocates stalled proceedings and ultimately defeated controversial abortion legislation in a storm of screams and shouts as the clock struck midnight.

“I am overwhelmed, honestly,” Davis said after standing for nearly 13 hours to filibuster Senate Bill 5, the abortion legislation. The outpouring of support from protesters at the Capitol and across the nation, she said, “shows the determination and spirit of Texas women and people who care about Texas women.”

…. Republican senators made a last-ditch effort to approve SB 5, voting 19-10, but by then the clock had ticked past midnight. Under the terms of the state Constitution, the special session had ended, and the bill could not be signed, enrolled or sent to the governor.

… Conservative lawmakers tried every tool in the Senate rulebook to derail the filibuster. A “three strikes, you’re out” precedent in the Senate grants lawmakers two warnings about staying germane to the bill topic … Davis received the three strikes: two were on the germaneness of the discussion and one was related to Davis receiving assistance from another senator to put on a back brace….

More here

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25
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

Message left for Nelson Mandela on the wall outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria where he has been hospitalized since June 8:

“I hope you feel better. I love you so much. And I know you love me too.”

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Today:

11:0: VP Biden Speaks on the Fair Labor Standards Act

1:55: The President delivers remarks on Climate Change at Georgetown University

(listed in some places as 1:35)

3:35: The President and Vice President meet with members of the Congressional Leadership, Oval Office

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President Obama talks with Rob Nabors, Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Policy, center, and Miguel Rodriguez, Director of Legislative Affairs, in the Oval Office, June 24 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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CBS: With little to no hope on Capitol Hill for action on climate change, President Obama on Tuesday plans to bypass Congress and move forward with executive actions designed to reduce carbon emissions.

In a speech at Georgetown University, the president will lay out what the administration is billing as a comprehensive plan built on three pillars: cutting the nation’s carbon pollution, leading global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and preparing the United States for the impacts of climate change. As part of that effort, Mr. Obama on Tuesday will sign a presidential memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to start engaging with states, the private sector and other stakeholders to set carbon pollution standards for both new and existing carbon power plants.

The president, a senior administration official said, has “made it very clear his preference would be for Congress to act.” At this point, however, he is ready to rely on the existing authorities in the executive branch.

More here

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USA Today: President Obama tries to conduct some summertime legislative business Tuesday in a meeting with congressional leaders from both parties. Among the likely topics: An immigration bill and the debate to extend a low interest student loan program set to expire on Monday.

The guest list features Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell …. Republican House Speaker John Boehner is also scheduled to attend the presidential meeting, as is House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

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Jon Favreau: When Journalists Attack

If you saw the news at any point in the last month, chances are that you heard Barack Obama compared in some way to Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal. A quick and admittedly unscientific Google search on the comparisons turns up 1.7 million hits, and they are not limited to right-wing media or Republican politicians. Partisan and nonpartisan journalists across the political spectrum casually and frequently linked Obama to Nixon over and over again, this publication included.

…. the facts that have emerged over the last month, through more solid reporting and independent investigation, are proving once again that the political media’s addiction to sensationalism and snap-judgment hyperbole has contributed to a lack of serious, informed debate about issues that badly deserve it.

Full post here

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ThinkProgress: …. Nancy Pelosi blasted the GOP’s continued assault on reproductive rights in an exclusive interview with ThinkProgress. She noted the 20-week abortion ban was just the latest example of House Republicans’ priorities, which have included attempts to kill the Violence Against Women Act and to defund Planned Parenthood.

Though House Speaker John Boehner’s Congress has gone down in history as the least productive Congress since World War II, House Republicans have aggressively pursued anti-choice legislation in recent years. In response, Americans increasingly brand the GOP as a party of anti-woman extremists, which sunk the 2012 campaigns of several Republican candidates who were too blunt about their desires to restrict women’s access to health services. Women – even Republican lawmakers-— have fled the party.

Since Republicans took the House in 2010, Pelosi explained, Americans are beginning to understand just how far beyond abortion the GOP’s war on women reaches:

“…..They don’t believe in government…except when it comes to the bedroom.”

Full post here

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RH Reality Check: An Open Letter to Anyone Ready to Write Off Texas: Don’t, Because it’s *Your* Future at Stake

Read here

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News Observer: More than 2500 people rally outside the North Carolina State Legislative Building on Halifax Mall Monday, June 24, 2013, prior to an act of civil disobedience opposing the Republican legislature’s agenda. About 120 activists were arrested by General Assembly and Raleigh police. About 600 have been arrested over the course of 8 “Moral Monday” demonstrations.

More here

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AP: The Internal Revenue Service’s screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than has been previously disclosed … Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, top Democrat on the Ways and Means panel, said he was writing a letter to J. Russell George, the Treasury Department inspector general whose audit in May detailed IRS targeting of conservatives, asking why his report did not mention other groups that were targeted.

“The audit served as the basis and impetus for a wide range of congressional investigations and this new information shows that the foundation of those investigations is flawed in a fundamental way,” Levin said.

…. Democratic staff on Ways and Means said that they had verified that of the 298 groups seeking tax-exempt status that George’s audit had examined, some were liberal organizations – something George’s report did not mention.

More here

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Steve Benen: Stick a fork in the IRS controversy; it’s done

The good news for conservatives is that new information about the IRS controversy came to light late yesterday, which renewed coverage of the story Republicans are heavily in. The bad news for conservatives it that the revelations were the opposite of what they wanted to hear.

More here

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Dana Milbank: The most remarkable thing about the Supreme Court’s opinions announced Monday was not what the justices wrote or said. It was what Samuel Alito did …. when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, Alito visibly mocked his colleague.

Ginsburg was making her argument about how the majority opinion made it easier for sexual harassment to occur in the workplace when Alito, seated immediately to Ginsburg’s left, shook his head from side to side in disagreement, rolled his eyes and looked at the ceiling.

His treatment of the 80-year-old Ginsburg, 17 years his elder and with 13 years more seniority, was a curious display of judicial intemperance….

Days earlier, I watched as he demonstrated his disdain for Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor….

More here

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