Steve Benen: Key ‘Obamacare’ provision delayed until 2015
News from the Obama administration about the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act caused quite a stir last night, but it’s worth pausing to appreciate the extent of the impact …. I think some of the reactions to the one-year delay have been a little excessive. Maybe it’ll be easier to tackle this in Q&A form.
* What’s the employer mandate? In practical terms, the policy name is a bit of misnomer — there is no actual “mandate.” Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees are told they need to offer health care coverage to their employees, but those who choose not to pay a fairly modest tax penalty. As of last night, that penalty won’t kick in, at the earliest, before 2015.
* Won’t this mandate discourage those businesses from hiring? It’s been an important part of the criticism, but Obamacare extends all kinds of breaks to these employers to help subsidize the insurance and soften the blow of increased costs.
Spandan (The People’s View): How the Professional Left’s Blind Obama Hatred Got them Played by a Far-Right Nutjob
Some outlets reported last week that NSA leaker and fugitive Edward Snowden was caught into a bit of hypocrisy: public chat records indicate that back in the ancient times of 2009, he wanted leakers “shot in the balls.” Yeah, he said that. But that’s not all he said. Oh, no. The Technology site Ars Technica posted extensive public chat logs from Snowden, then using the monkier TheTrueHOOHA, that confirms what I had suspected since finding his campaign contributions to Glenn Greenwald’s straight crush Ron Paul.
So let’s talk about this man that has been granted hero status by the Left’s loudest prognosticators and provocateurs….
As we watch the Republicans in states like North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Texas attempt to pass draconian bills affecting things like women’s right to chose and citizen’s access to the ballot, I can’t help but say that I smell a sense of desperation. Its almost as if they know they are a dying beast and are in a hurry to do as much damage as possible prior to their demise.
Despite a heavy period of news that included the Boston Marathon bombings and the Jodi Arias trial, MSNBC’s second-quarter ratings plunged to their lowest level since 2007.
…. “The Rachel Maddow Show” suffered its lowest-rated quarter in terms of total viewers since 2008. And June alone was the lowest rated month ever for Maddow in both total viewers and in the 25-54 group.
—-> New host Chris Hayes continues to pull in sluggish ratings for “All In With Chris Hayes,” which in its first full quarter on air provided MSNBC with the lowest-rated 8 p.m. hour in the 25-54 demographic since 2006.
“I have drawn strength from the support received from President Barack Obama, Michelle, Malia and Sasha. Having taken the time to telephone me to express their solidarity and meet our children they have added a touch of personal warmth that is characteristic of the Obama family.
“I am humbled by their comfort and messages of strength and inspiration which I have already conveyed to Madiba.”
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Mkoana-Mashabne after arriving at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria, South Africa
South African times first (six hours ahead of Washington DC)
9:45 AM (3:45 AM ET): The President and First Lady participate in an official arrival ceremony, Union Building, Pretoria
10:0 AM (4:0 AM ET) The President holds bilateral meetings with President Zuma
11:05 AM (5:05 AM ET): Holds a joint press conference with President Zuma
3:35 PM (9:35 AM ET): Takes part in a Young African Leaders Initiative Town Hall, University of Johannesburg – Soweto
5:55 PM (11:55 AM ET): Meets with African Union Chairwoman Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
8:05 (2:05 PM ET): The President and First Lady attend an official state dinner with President Zuma, Union Building, Pretoria
On Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg, the First Lady will host a conversation with youth, organized in conjunction with MTV Base, an African youth and music TV channel, and Google+. The First Lady will be joined by teenagers from across South Africa, as well as students joining virtually in cities around the U.S. via Google+ Hangouts, including in L.A., Kansas City, New York City, and Houston
South African times first (six hours ahead of Washington DC)
9:45 AM (3:45 AM ET): The President and First Family depart Johannesburg
11:45 AM (5:45 AM ET): Arrive Cape Town
2:20 PM (8:20 AM ET): The First Family tour Robben Island
4:20 PM (10:20 AM ET): The President tours the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre with Archbishop Desmond Tutu
6:15 PM (12:15 PM ET): The President delivers remarks at the University of Cape Town
The Week Ahead:
Monday: The President and the First Family will travel to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where they will be hosted by President Jakaya Kikwete and First Lady Salma Kikwete. The President will participate in a CEO roundtable and will attend a formal state dinner in the evening. The President and the First Family will remain overnight in Tanzania.
Tuesday: The President will attend a meet and greet with U.S. Embassy personnel. He will then participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the 1998 Embassy Bombing Memorial. Later that morning, he will witness a “Soccket” Ball demonstration at the Ubungo Plaza – Symbion Power Plant. Following the demonstration, he will tour the plant and deliver remarks. In the afternoon, the First Family will depart Tanzania en route Washington, DC.
Wednesday: The President has no public events scheduled.
Thursday: The President and the First Lady will celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families for an Independence Day celebration with a barbeque, concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: The President and First Family will be at Camp David. On Sunday, they will return to Washington, DC.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave from Air Force One as they depart Dakar, Senegal, June 28
Remarks by President Obama After Tour of Maison Des Esclaves: I want to thank the President of Senegal, but also the Mayor of Gorée and the museum curator here. Obviously, it’s a very powerful moment whenever I can travel with my family, but especially for Michelle and Malia and my mother-in-law to be able to come here and to fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade, to get a sense in a very intimate way of the incredible inhumanity and hardship that people faced before they made the Middle Passage and that crossing.
And I think more than anything what it reminds us of is that we have to remain vigilant when it comes to the defense of people’s human rights — because I’m a firm believer that humanity is fundamentally good, but it’s only good when good people stand up for what’s right. And this is a testament to when we’re not vigilant in defense of what’s right, what can happen.
And so it’s always powerful for me to visit countries outside of the United States generally, but obviously for an African American, and an African American President to be able to visit this site I think gives me even greater motivation in terms of the defense of human rights around the world.
Thanks, you guys.
AP: President Barack Obama says he learned some lessons on a visit to Goree Island, where he toured a slave house and gazed out at the Atlantic Ocean through what’s known as the Door of No Return. It’s the point on this Senegalese island from which Africans were said to have been shipped to the Americas and into slavery.
The son of a Kenyan man, Obama said the tour helped him, and the family members who accompanied him, to “fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade.” He was joined by first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, and a niece, Leslie Robinson.
The president said Thursday’s trip also reminded him of the importance of standing up for human rights worldwide. “This is a testament to when we’re not vigilant in defense of human rights what can happen,” Obama said after the tour. “Obviously, for an African-American, an African-American president, to be able to visit this site, I think, gives me even greater motivation in terms of human rights around the world.”
President Obama looks at rice crops during a food security expo on Frida in Dakar, Senegal. The President met with farmers, innovators, and entrepreneurs whose new methods and technologies are improving the lives of smallholder farmers throughout West Africa