Monday, March 29, 2010

Obama, Helen Thomas, Binyamin Netanyahu', Karzai and Health Care (with video)

TheRealNews, video (09:20)):
White House Press Corps longest-serving member says Obama lost credibility when he dodged her question on Israeli nukes.
"Binyamin Netanyahu's efforts to heal rift marred as Barack Obama branded 'disaster for Israel'" (Guardian UK):
Both sides deny snubbing the other in settlement row as insiders launch outspoken press attack on US leader.
"President Obama Sneaks into Kabul to Beg President Karzai to Clean Up His Act" (Dave Lindorff):
The government US forces are propping up is so weak and corrupt that it doesn't really "rule" anything but the capital city of Kabul, and it, and its police and army enforcers, are largely viewed by the majority of Afghans as little more than an official mafia. It is well known that President Hamid Karzai stole the last election and thumbed his nose at world opinion (his opponent simply quit the race in disgust during the ballot counting).

And it was this usurper Karzai whom the visiting Obama was left to plead with to clean up the mess of a government he runs. Clean up how? Karzai's own brother is a leading warlord and opium baron. Even the country's opium crop is being left untouched by US forces, for fear of alienating the country's farmers, so we're actually in there fighting to defend the world's leading producer of opium for the heroin trade! How on earth do you "clean up" a government in a country like that?

"Coverage Now for Sick Children? Check Fine Print" (NY Times):
Just days after President Obama signed the new health care law, insurance companies are already arguing that, at least for now, they do not have to provide one of the benefits that the president calls a centerpiece of the law: coverage for certain children with pre-existing conditions.
"Analysis: Economy, not health care, will be focus" (AP):
Losers in a brutal struggle with President Barack Obama, Republicans now hope voter anger over newly enacted health care legislation will propel them to victory in midterm elections this fall.

Forget about it.

No matter the impact of health care, the economy still matters most — unemployment in particular — in a country struggling to emerge from the deepest recession in decades.

In poll after poll, it isn't even close.

A CBS/New York Times poll taken last month, when the health care debate was in a lull, showed 52 percent of those surveyed identified the economy as their top priority. Health care was a distant second at 13 percent.
"Harry Reid and the Public Option" (Booman):
I think the take-away is that Ben Nelson exerted an effective veto over the public option and Joe Lieberman did the same for the expanded Medicare buy-in. There was a narrow window to try to push the public option through reconciliation (which is what I advocated from the beginning) but, in the end, the toxicity of the political climate left the entire process in too much doubt for Reid and the administration to risk everything on it.
Howie P.S.: I think I understand why The President might be tempted into smoking an occasional cigarette.

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