Posts Tagged ‘withdrawal


Rise and Shine

@vj44: Perfect day in DC for the start of the season and visit to the @whitehouse



10:20: Live From the Kids’ State Dinner: Entrances (WH Live)

10:30: The President meets with members of the Congressional Black Caucus

10:45: White House Public Health and Climate Change Champions of Change (WH Live)

11:25: Live From the Kids’ State Dinner (WH Live)

11:55: First Lady Michelle Obama hosts the second annual Kids’ State Dinner (WH Live)

12:45: Press Briefing by Jay Carney (WH Live)

1:0: Kids State Dinner: Rachel Crow Musical Performance (WH Live)

2:0: Vice President Biden Speaks at Fire Fighter Memorial Service, Prescott Valley, Arizona (WH Live)

2:35: The President meets with Secretary of the Treasury Lew

4:30: Meets with Secretary of Defense Hagel


President Obama meets with his Cabinet and senior officials in the Cabinet Room of the White House, July 8 (Photo by Pete Souza)


NYT: U.S. Considers Faster Pullout in Afghanistan

Increasingly frustrated by his dealings with President Hamid Karzai, President Obama is giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan and to a “zero option” that would leave no American troops there after next year, according to American and European officials.

Mr. Obama is committed to ending America’s military involvement in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and Obama administration officials have been negotiating with Afghan officials about leaving a small “residual force” behind. But his relationship with Mr. Karzai has been slowly unraveling, and reached a new low after an effort last month by the United States to begin peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar.

Mr. Karzai promptly repudiated the talks and ended negotiations with the United States over the long-term security deal that is needed to keep American forces in Afghanistan after 2014.

More here




Steve Benen: …. We’re left with a dynamic that the political establishment still finds difficult to fully grasp: GOP officials could make the federal health care system better and more to their liking, but they see no value in that. They’d rather sabotage it, regardless of the real-world consequences. They could help get rid of a mandate they oppose, but they’d rather keep the policy they hate in the hopes it won’t work, people will feel adverse consequences, and there will be new fodder for 30-second attack ads a year from now.

Some people pursue public service want to build things, and some pursue public service because they just want to watch things burn.

…. The most generous thing I can say about their approach is that it’s fundamentally unserious about helping anyone. The least generous thing I can say is probably inappropriate for a family-friendly blog.

Full post here


Ezra Klein: Obamacare just got easier to implement, not harder

This hasn’t been a banner news week for Obamacare. But can it really be true, as my colleague Jennifer Rubin writes, that “Everyone now agrees: Obamacare can’t be implemented”?

Er, no.

I asked around …. Larry Levitt, vice president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation: “….. If anything the delay removes some potential administrative complexities from the plates of the implementers……” …. Timothy Jost, a health law expert at Washington and Lee University’s School of Law, was even blunter. “Implementation just got easier rather than harder,” he said.

Well, so much for “everyone.”

As those interviews indicate, the thinking among health-care experts is closer to the precise opposite of Rubin’s bombastic headline: The Obama administration has decided to accept some bad media coverage now, and some higher costs later, in order to make Obamacare much, much simpler to implement next year…..

More here




Steve Benen: On Friday, when he hoped no one was looking, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) approved sweeping new restrictions on reproductive rights, including a requirement that women receive a medically unnecessary ultrasound before terminating a pregnancy, and regulatory measures that would close half of the state’s abortion clinics.

The law was supposed to go into effect statewide yesterday. A federal court had other ideas…..

More here



ThinkProgress: Sorry, Republicans, Your Own Investigation Proves No Dead People Voted In South Carolina….

South Carolina never found a single dead voter in recent elections. At least, that is the final word from the State Election Commission investigation into whether 900 people voted using a dead person’s name….

…. When Attorney General Alan Wilson demanded the original investigation, he cited “an alarming number” of cases reported by the DMV that “clearly necessitates an investigation into criminal activity.” ….

…. [This] will not prevent state Republicans from redoubling strict voter ID efforts, invigorated by the recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act. In fact, Wilson celebrated the decision, calling the Voting Rights Act an “extraordinary intrusion” and pledging to implement voter ID ….

More here



ThinkProgress: Bush-Appointed Judge Slams Decision Striking Voting Rights Act — Court’s Reasoning Was ‘Made Up’

If a leading conservative scholar and former judge were now on the Supreme Court instead of Chief Justice Roberts or Justice Alito, it is likely that the Voting Right Act would remain intact.

Judge Michael McConnell was a leading conservative law professor at the time President George W. Bush named him to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2002 …. McConnell was also widely viewed as a possible Supreme Court nominee during the Bush Administration.

In an interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg, McConnell has harsh words for the five conservative justices’ recent decision neutering much of the Voting Rights Act — labeling the reasoning that drove that decision “made up.”

More here



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President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton tour a building under construction in Washington as part of President Obama’s Better Building Initiative to promote energy efficient buildings

WH: President Obama today announced nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next 2 years. These investments will save billions in energy costs, promote energy independence, and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector.

The $4 billion investment announced today includes a $2 billion commitment, made through the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum, to energy upgrades of federal buildings using long term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers.

In addition, 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders today committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects; and to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20% by 2020 in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings. This announcement builds on a commitment made by 14 partners at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in June to make energy upgrades across 300 million square feet, and to invest $500 million in private sector financing in energy efficiency projects.

More here


Media Matters: Following breaking news that the unemployment rate dropped from 9 percent to 8.6 percent in November, Fox & Friends aired the following on-screen graphic:


Washington Post: The U.S. military transferred control of its sprawling headquarters outside Baghdad to the Iraqi government Friday, a deeply symbolic moment that launched the final month of a nearly decade-long U.S. presence.

The last few soldiers at Camp Victory, a base that once housed 68,000 military personnel and contractors, departed early Friday afternoon. There are currently 12,000 U.S. troops left in Iraq at five bases, down from a peak of 170,000 at 500 bases in 2007, military spokesman Col. Barry Johnson said. All will be gone by the end of the year.

More here



The Hill: Manufacturing grew for the 28th straight month and faster than it has since June, a report showed Thursday.

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index increased to 52.7 percent in November, up from 50.8 percent in October. The index’s most recent high was 55.3 percent. Earlier in the year the sector was expanding above 60 percent each month before the economy hit a rough patch in the early summer. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

More here


President Obama smiles for a photo with a group Marine Corps Navajo Code Talkers after delivering remarks at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, Dec. 2


Robert Shrum: …. Mitt Romney is at heart a con man …. he would govern as he campaigns, no matter what he actually believes. That’s why the rest of us should be afraid of what Mitt Romney’s America would look like.

In Mitt Romney’s America, unemployment could escalate – or soar …. His long-term fiscal policy would shred the social safety net and devastate programs ranging from college loans to research and development and environmental protections. The wealthy would never be asked to pay their fair share by a president who would never risk alienating Grover Norquist….

Thus the “jobs” candidate could become the jobs destroyer as president – which, of course, was what he was when he dismembered companies and fired workers during his years in the private sector…

….. Medicare would be voucherized and Social Security would be privatized. Insurance companies would be free again to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and to cancel policies as the costs of life-saving treatment mounted. Tens of millions more would be left without health insurance.

And Mitt Romney’s America would be a narrow and bigoted place, too. He opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He’s proposed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. His Supreme Court nominees would tip the balance and overturn Roe v. Wade. And what about civil rights? Romney has become an immigrant-baiter who now wants to build that “danged fence” along the border. The co-chair of his Justice Advisory Committee is Robert Bork, who called the 1964 Civil Rights Act “unsurpassed ugliness”. On issues of equality, Mitt Romney’s America would look a lot like Ted Kennedy’s famous description of Robert Bork’s America, where “rigid ideology will tip the scales of justice against the kind of country [this] is and ought to be.”

….. And that’s why I hope we never have to live in Mitt Romney’s America.

Full article here








Steve Benen: Every single time the Huntsman campaign releases another anti-Romney video, I have the same reaction: “Hey, that’s pretty good!”

I thought that about the “pretzel” video, the flipping-toy-monkey video, the weathervane video, and this week’s “Mittstant Replay” video.

Today, via Taegan Goddard, Huntsman’s team offers another gem, this time connecting Romney’s incessant flip-flopping to his background with the Olympics. It turns out, Romney flips with all the grace of a crashing gymnast:

More from Steve Benen here



You know the way GOPolitico is obsessed with the President and Israel and spends its days searching for polls that suggest he is struggling with the Jewish community? Well, spare a thought for them, today was a very difficult day:



Liz Sly is the Washington Post’s Baghdad Bureau Chief







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