Bloomberg: “Republican Leaders Voted for Debt Drivers They Blame on Obama”

What do you know, some journalists actually do their job:

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Yet the speaker, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all voted for major drivers of the nation’s debt during the past decade: Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts and Medicare prescription drug benefits. They also voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, that rescued financial institutions and the auto industry.
Together, a Bloomberg News analysis shows, these initiatives added $3.4 trillion to the nation’s accumulated debt and to its current annual budget deficit of $1.5 trillion.

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The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost almost $1.3 trillion since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, according to a March 29 analysis by the Congressional Research Service. Operations in Iraq have cost $806 billion, and in Afghanistan $444 billion. The analysis shows the government has spent an additional $29 billion for enhanced security on militia bases and $6 billion remains unallocated.
Medicare Drug Benefit
The 2003 Medicare prescription program approved by President George W. Bush and a Republican-dominated Congress has cost $369 billion over a 10-year time frame, less than initially projected by Medicare actuaries.
Nine Senate Republicans, including Nebraska’s Chuck Hagel, along with 25 Republicans in the House, voted against the bill. Hagel argued that it failed to control costs and would add trillions in debt for future generations.
“Republicans used to believe in fiscal responsibility,” Hagel wrote in a 2003 editorial in the Omaha World Herald. “We have lost our way.”
TARP, the $700-billion bailout of banks, insurance and auto companies, has cost less than expected. McConnell, Boehner, Cantor and Ryan all voted in October 2008 for the program, which stoked the rise of the Tea Party movement.
Many institutions have repaid the government. The latest estimated lifetime cost of the program is $49.33 billion, according to a June 2011 report by the Treasury Department. That figure includes the $45.61 billion cost of a housing program which the administration never expected to recoup.
Rank-and-file Republicans are eager to pin the blame on Democrats, frequently pointing to the economic stimulus signed by Obama in 2009. The total cost of the stimulus will be $830 billion by 2019, according to a May 2011 Congressional Budget Office report.
That’s half the cost of the Bush tax cuts and less than two-thirds of what has been spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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PBO and VPB visited the Norwegian embassy on Tuesday to pay respects in wake of deadly terror attacks in Oslo.

“The president was not going to walk away from all these workers”

Hi guys,

PBO is finishing his Europe trip today, so VP Joe Biden is guest starring in this Weekly Address, and doing a terrific job. What a brilliant choice this man was.

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Couple of good things to read:

Turning FEMA Around: Has Obama saved the once-maligned federal agency?

Pssst. Health Care Reform Is Moving Forward

You hear a lot about state officials trying to fight the Affordable Care Act, whether by challenging it in the federal courts or refusing to implement its provisions. But plenty of states officials are enthusiastic about the law. And perhaps none are moving as quickly, or effectively, to follow through on the law as Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

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OFA is well on the move:
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And I really like photo:
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“600,000 young adults have taken advantage of healthcare reform” (Updated)

Some pretty cool stuff:

Repeal this: 

Some 600,000 young adults have taken advantage of a healthcare reform provision allowing them to stay on their parents’ insurance policies, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.

The liberal think tank said young adults are increasingly delaying care because they can’t afford it and praised the healthcare law’s coverage expansion.

Close to half of all currently uninsured people between 19 and 29 will gain coverage under Medicaid once it expands in 2014, the report says. About one-third will be eligible for subsidies to buy private insurance through a newly created health exchange.

“To ensure a more stable future for graduates and their families, it is critical that federal and state policymakers continue implementing all provisions of the Affordable Care Act over the next three years,” the Commonwealth Fund said.

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 Take some time and watch this  VP Biden‘s speech. It’s just terrific. The stuff he said about PBO is so wonderful, it almost brought me to tears.  (Start around the 20:00 mark).

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The Independentreview of PBO’s extraordinary speech yesterday:

In a spirit of unyielding optimism neatly combined with a message of hard-headed pragmatism, Barack Obama has insisted that the time for American and European leadership “is now” in spite of the rise of new global superpowers. He was the first United States president to address MPs and peers in Westminster Hall and received a standing ovation before he began his speech, which covered issues such as foreign policy, economic development and international security.

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A reader writes to Sullivan:

It is in reality a Republican line of PR right now, so unless in a few months we see the number of Jewish supporters drop precipitously we have NO idea what is really going on in the background except for the stories being shopped by the WSJ and Commentary about Obama’s Jewish doom. Really, you’re repeating these stories without skepticism when there is an agenda there? Why not write about the countless Jews who after seeing Netanyahu insult their president on US soil are actually more and more supportive of a Palestinian state than they were before. While this is anecdotal I can tell you that people of my generation–30-45–are disgusted and ready to throw in the towel on Israel, and I’m a hard-core Zionist who lived in Israel, speaks Hebrew and lost friends to terrorist attacks.

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Thursday morning mishmash

Hi guys,

Sorry for the sporadic updates over the past couple of days – I’m dealing with some personal stuff – but I did go through many comments and I can’t tell you how proud I am of the level and manner of discussion you guys displayed, while talking about some really sensitive issues. I could not be more proud, and genuinely moved. Thanks.

Now, to the mishmash.

1. I hate wars as much as much as the next guy, but I waited a whole week for someone to explain – Better than I can – why I support this particular military operation in Libya. Nicholas Kristof is doing exactly that today:

This may be a first for the Arab world: An American airman who bailed out over Libya was rescued from his hiding place in a sheep pen by villagers who hugged him, served him juice and thanked him effusively for bombing their country.

Even though some villagers were hit by American shrapnel, one gamely told an Associated Press reporter that he bore no grudges. Then, on Wednesday in Benghazi, the major city in eastern Libya whose streets would almost certainly be running with blood now if it weren’t for the American-led military intervention, residents held a “thank you rally.” They wanted to express gratitude to coalition forces for helping save their lives.

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This is also one of the few times in history when outside forces have intervened militarily to save the lives of citizens from their government. More commonly, we wring our hands for years as victims are massacred, and then, when it is too late, earnestly declare: “Never again”.

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I opposed the 2003 Iraq invasion because my reporting convinced me that most Iraqis hated Saddam Hussein but didn’t want American forces intruding on their soil. This time my reporting persuades me that most Libyans welcome outside intervention.

“Opinion was unanimous,” Michel Gabaudan, the president of Refugees International, told me on Wednesday after a visit to Libya. Mr. Gabaudan said that every Libyan he spoke to agreed that the military strikes had averted “a major humanitarian disaster.”

“Men, women and children, they are ecstatic about the role of the coalition but worried that it may not continue,” he said.

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The momentum has reversed. More airstrikes on Colonel Qaddafi’s artillery and armor will help. So would jamming his radio and television broadcasts. Arab countries are already delivering weapons and ammunition to the rebels, boosting their capabilities and morale. In short, there are risks ahead but also opportunities.

A senior White House official says that the humanitarian argument was decisive for President Obama: “The president was chilled by what would happen to the people of Benghazi and Tobruk.  There were critical national security and national interest reasons to do this, but what compelled the president to act so quickly was the immediate prospect of mass atrocities against the people of Benghazi and the east. He was well aware of the risks of military action, but he also feared the costs of inaction.”

I’ve seen war up close, and I detest it. But there are things I’ve seen that are even worse — such as the systematic slaughter of civilians as the world turns a blind eye. Thank God that isn’t happening this time. 

Amen.

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2. Those who wants to strip PBO of his Nobel Peace Prize are not really worth the attention, but they do give me an excuse to post his acceptance speech back in 2009. A man of consistency, if there ever was one:

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3. Recovery!

Weekly jobless claims down to 382,000

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — First-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending March 19 fell 5,000 to 382,000, the Labor Department said Thursday, with the four-week moving average of 385,250 reaching the lowest level since July 2008. The claims were very close to the MarketWatch-compiled economist estimates of 380,000, and last week’s levels were revised higher by 2,000 to 387,000. Continuing claims in the week ending March 12 fell 2,000 to 3.72 million, the lowest level since Sept. 2008.

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4. Speaking of hating wars, but at least trying to end them:

Thousands of Taliban lay down their weapons

General David Petraeus said 700 fighters have now been through a “reintegration process” and another 2,000 were in “various stages” of the process.

He added that NATO estimates another “couple of thousand” have “gone back to their homes and laid down their weapons” of their own accord.

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5. Yesterday was the first anniversary of the beautiful thing called “Obama-Care”. Here’s a good read from USA Today:

After One Year, Health Law Already Offers Lifelines

And, three terrific videos:

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6. I’m a polls wh**e, I admit. :) I know we should not pay too much attention to them on a daily basis, but I also know tha we were all quite happy with this new PEW poll from yesterday:

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Friday morning mishmash

Hi guys,

1. Today’s schedule:

10:00 AM

PBO receives the presidential daily briefing.

10:55 AM

PBO is interviewed by WSOC Charlotte, WSVN Miami and WPVI Philadelphia

11:00 AM  
12:00 PM  
1:00 PM

VPB will attend an event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

2:00 PM  
3:00 PM  
4:00 PM  
5:00 PM  
6:00 PM  
7:00 PM  
8:00 PM  
9:00 PM  
10:00 PM  
10:15 PM

The first family departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base.

10:35 PM

The first family departs Andrews Air Force Base en route to Brasilia, Brazil.

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2. West Wing Week:

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3. St. Patrick’s Day reception at the WH last night. Please take few minutes to listen to Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s remarks. I wish people in this country would show PBO even half  the respect the Taoiseach is showing here:

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4. Speaking of, look for a wonderful Irish reception when PBO goes to visit there on May.

Obama visit promises us national moment of hope

HE’S about as Irish as Tony Cascarino. But the visit of US President Barack Obama, — of the O’Bamas of Leinster, as Taoiseach Enda Kenny said in the White House — will be warmly welcomed by a country used to hitting the international headlines for the wrong reasons.

Kenny’s honeymoon period in office just got a guaranteed extension to at least the end of May.

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5. Check out this letter to the editor written by someone who might as well be one of us:

LETTER: President Obama has stood by his promises

President Barack Obama has fulfilled several campaign promises in just his short time in office even though he inherited two wars, a bad economy, trillion dollar deficits, and a broken health care system.

Political critics, pundits and so-called experts, paid by lobbyist or corporations all have something to gain by knocking or putting down these accomplishments. Of course the Republican Party is trying to win back something they lost in 2008 so they are just plain mad.

Ultimately the president’s biggest victory has been Health Care Reform and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. They provide every American opportunity for affordable health insurance. This is federal law so do not be intimidated by state lawmakers and their rhetoric. Federal law will always overrule state law so go purchase your affordable health care insurance today.

As a veteran and married to a retired veteran, I am extremely proud of our president for keeping his promise in ending combat operations in Iraq and right now our troops have begun returning home.

Discrimination has no place in any society so the president’s signing of legislation that brought an end to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in our military as well as Fair Pay legislation for women, helps to protect against civil rights and work place discrimination.

President Obama also signed into law student loan reform that makes college more affordable for students and he adequately funded programs like Race to the Top and Educate to Innovate, which give our local schools the tools and resources they need to be successful. The new and improved GI Bill will make college affordable for returning service members.

Change does not happen overnight. The media and the other side would have you think otherwise. I stand by my president and the promises he has kept.

TERRY MCMOORE

CLARKSVILLE 37042

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