President Obama offered a defiant defense of government funding for Planned Parenthood Friday and urged the group’s members to help his administration sign up more women for benefits under his besieged health-care law.
The first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood, Mr. Obama accused conservative politicians of trying to “roll back the clock” on abortion rights and health-care services for women.
“They’ve been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women’s health,” Mr. Obama told the group’s annual convention in Washington. “When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they’re not just talking about you, they’re talking about the millions of women who you serve. And when they talk about cutting off your funding, let’s be clear, they’re talking about telling many of those women, ‘You’re own your own.’ “
The president’s address was delayed for a day. He was initially scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at the group’s gala Thursday night, but postponed it to attend a memorial service in West, Texas, for victims of a deadly fertilizer plant explosion.
“We’ve gone through a pretty tough week and a half, and I was down in Texas letting the people in West, Texas, know that we all love them and care about them in their time of grieving,” Mr. Obama said.
His address to Planned Parenthood came in the midst of a trial in Philadelphia involving an abortionist accused of murder and other charges for performing illegal late-term abortions. While Mr. Obama said in an interview last week he was following the case, he didn’t mention it at the Planned Parenthood meeting.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Mr. Obama should have reproached Planned Parenthood officials for not doing more to stop the alleged violations at the clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Planned Parenthood officials in Philadelphia said they encouraged patients who complained to them about the clinic to report it to state authorities.
“President Obama blatantly ignored this inconvenient truth about the abortion industry’s horrific lack of oversight, and disparaged the pro-life advocates who wake up each morning with the goal of saving the lives of unborn children and women from the pain of abortion,” Ms. Dannenfelser said in a statement.
Instead, the president decried efforts across the country to limit women’s access to abortion services.
“After decades of progress, there are still those who want to turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950s than to the 21st century,” Mr. Obama said. “Forty-two states have introduced laws that would ban or severely limit access to a woman’s right to choose — laws that would make it harder for women to get the contraceptive care they need. Laws that would cut off access to cancer screenings and end educational programs that help prevent teen pregnancy.”
He added, “You want to check the calendar, you want to make sure it’s still 2013.”
The president singled out a new law in North Dakota, which bans most abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy.
“A woman may not even know that she’s pregnant at six weeks,” Mr. Obama said.
With implementation of his signature health-care law under fire from lawmakers in his own party, the president devoted a good portion of his address to urging Planned Parenthood members to sign up their patients for benefits under the law’s health-insurance exchanges. Some top Democrats are angry at Mr. Obama’s decision to take money from public-health prevention programs and use it to publicize the new law, which mandates insurance marketplaces in every state.
“I’m here to also ask for your help, because we need to get the word out,” Mr. Obama said. “We need you to tell your patients, your friends, your neighbors, your family members what the health-care law means for them. Make sure that they know that there are plans out there right now that cover the costs of contraception and preventive care free-of-charge.”
High-ranking federal employees will not be required to disclose financial information online, after President Obama signed an amendment to a bill that was meant to put an end to insider trading among members of Congress and government staffers.
The provisions to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act were quietly approved by both chambers of Congress at the end of last week before being passed onto the president’s desk. The bill had previously been delayed several times before the White House announced on Monday that Obama had approved the changes.
The original STOCK Act was signed by the Obama administration last year in a highly publicized ceremony, during which he said the new law would restore the American public’s faith in the Washington elite. Congressional lawmakers have long been accused of profiting from stock information derived as a result of their position. A civilian moving money based on information gained in a similar fashion would be breaking the law.
“It’s a good first step,” Obama said after the passage last year. “And in the months ahead, Congress should do even more to help fight the destructive influence of money in politics and rebuild the trust between Washington and the American people.”
Last week, both chambers unanimously voted in favor of the amendments that will shield them from having to make such disclosures. In addition to the obvious implications of politicians giving themselves the option to omit financial information, the decision is notable in that it came among Congress’ least-productive session on record.
In a delay earlier this year, Congress approved a study by the National Academy of Public Administration, which determined an online database would threaten the safety of public officials and make running for office less appealing for people working in the private sector.
Roughly 28,000 government officials would have been forced to make their financial records publicly available, according to The Hill, although that stipulation has drawn the ire of federal government employee unions.
Other, albeit less visible, reporting methods will still pertain to the president, vice president, members of Congress and candidates for Congress starting in 2014.
Perhaps most damaging to the STOCK Act, according to government transparency watchdog Open Secrets, was the removal of the following two provisions:
“Creation of the searchable, sortable, disclosure of the information contained in reports even for Congress, the president, vice president, the president’s cabinet and congressional candidates,” in addition to “Required electronic filing for Congress, the president, vice president, the president’s cabinet and congressional candidates, as well as high-level executive and congressional branch employees
A House Foreign Affairs hearing on “Benghazi and Beyond” quickly turned into a shouting and accusations forum.
It began when Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said this: “What is clear is that this administration, including the president himself, has intentionally misinformed, read that LIED, to the American people in the aftermath of this tragedy. Now President Obama has the gall to float the name as possibly secretary of State, the name of the person who is the actual vehicle used to misinform the American people during this crisis.”
Karen Bleier / AFP – Getty Images
National Intelligence Director James Clapper arrives for a closed door hearing conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence November 15, 2012 on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat also from California, called the attacks on Rice “unfair” and leveled that Colin Powell testified that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, because that’s the information that was given to him.
The United Nations and its affiliates have been weighing in on U.S. elections with increasing frequency lately– and it’s understandable, considering a wildly disproportionate amount of its funding comes from the United States. In the most recent event, the U.N. special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights raised what he considers to be the “alarming” implications of a Republican victory.
Ben Emmerson lamented Mitt Romney’s position on waterboarding: “There is no doubt that the Romney administration would be able to claim…a democratic mandate for torture…That would put Romney as the first world leader in history to be able to claim [that].”
While he also objected to the secrecy surrounding President Obama’s drastically expanded use of drones, he apparently considers them a preferable alternative.
Emmerson says he plans to voice his concerns about a Republican victory at an upcoming U.N. meeting, but is not being quiet in the meantime.
The Canadian Press relates:
Emmerson, who was in Toronto to attend a symposium on the negative impacts post-9/11 security measures have had on human rights, said Obama had begun to realign U.S. policy with international law and the universal abhorrence of torture.
Romney’s approach was now threatening to undermine that progress, he said.
“The re-introduction of torture under a Romney administration would significantly increase the threat levels to (Americans) at home and abroad,” Emmerson said.
“Such a policy, if adopted, would expose the American people to risks the Obama administration is not currently exposing them to.” [Emphasis added]
The third debate between President Obama and Governor Romney will focus on foreign policy, where such issues are likely to come up.
However, Twitchy captured a number of tweets from Twitter users already weighing in on the topic. “It seems that most Americans don’t really like the United Nations telling them what to do,” they summarize.
One commenter concluded: “Defund and deport this useless nuisance.”
The Obama administration has joined with Planned Parenthood in a suit intended to stop an Arizona law that defunds the abortion giant. The Whole Woman’s Healthcare Funding Prioritization Act, signed into law last May by Republican Governor Jan Brewer (pictured with Obama), defunds abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. The law offers the state family planning funds instead to entities that provide comprehensive healthcare without an abortion option.
On October 4, Obama’s Department of Justice filed a brief in the suit, claiming that the state of Arizona is not permitted to decide which groups will receive Medicare money it gets from the federal government. But Arizona Solicitor General David Cole pointed out that federal law allows states to establish “meaningful provider qualifications” for Medicare recipients, giving the state the authority to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood and other “health care” providers that perform abortions. “Cole said Planned Parenthood could get family planning funds if it divorces its family planning services from its abortion business,” reported LifeNews.com, a path Planned Parenthood is unlikely to take as long as it has such a solid ally in the White House.
In signing the defunding measure, Brewer called it a “common-sense law that tightens existing state regulations and closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly.” When the bill was passed, Cathy Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy explained that cutting funding to the abortion giant meant that more funding would now be available to groups that don’t rely on the deadly procedure for revenue. “The grants will be made to community health centers,” Herrod said of the former Planned Parenthood funding, adding that “there are many providers out there providing these services able to pick up the slack.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, which, along with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) provided the model legislation for the bill, said that when Arizona state lawmakers passed the measure, they were acting on behalf of the state’s citizens, who “do not want their tax dollars going to abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which performs more than 330,000 abortions a year.”
Dannenfelser noted that the Obama administration’s actions in filing the suit through the DOJ are on behalf of one of the president’s staunches allies. “While Planned Parenthood spends millions to re-elect President Obama and even sends its president, Cecile Richards, to campaign in Iowa this week,” she said, “the Obama Administration once again is stepping in to protect the bottom line of its top political ally and the nation’s largest abortion provider.”
She added that in spite of nearly non-stop scandals on the part of Planned Parenthood, “including allegations of the waste, abuse and potential fraud of millions of taxpayer dollars, President Obama has refused to allow a single tax dollar to be cut from Planned Parenthood at the federal level. When the states take matters into their own hands to protect taxpayers from the abortion industry, Obama’s Administration promptly intervenes on the abortion businesses’ behalf.”
ADF Senior Counsel Steven Aden said that the Arizona bill is worded in a way that allows the state “to be good stewards of the people’s money in this regard. It’s no surprise that Planned Parenthood would oppose that in light of their ongoing thirst for taxpayer dollars.”
Arizona is the third state the Obama administration has sued for defunding Planned Parenthood, following Indiana and Texas. Wisconsin, Kansas, and North Carolina have also passed laws to defund the abortion giant, and all face lawsuits over the legislation.
There are still 42 days and four debates left before the presidential election and many signs point to a close outcome, but recent polling both nationally and in key battleground states like Ohio has conservatives concerned about the impact President Obama could have on the judiciary in a second term.
The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin joins Morning Joe to discuss President Obama’s relationship with the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts and his ruling on the Affordable Care Act, and the relationships the justices have with one another.
So far Obama has appointed 159 judges to the federal bench, including his two Supreme Court selections, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
With Sotomayor and Kagan, Obama simply replaced two members of the liberal bloc on the court (John Paul Stevens and David Souter) with two younger liberals. But most of the Obama-appointed judges – 127 of them – are trial judges who exert less influence on the broad direction of the law than do appeals court judges or Supreme Court justices.
Both on the Supreme Court – where “swing vote” Justice Anthony Kennedy and conservative Justice Antonin Scalia are age 76 – and on the courts of appeal, where there are now 14 vacancies, Obama would be able to nudge the courts in a progressive direction if he wins a second term.
A rumor roundup about the film that has set off protests.
In a telephone call with Hadi on Thursday, the White House said, President Obama “reiterated his rejection of any efforts to denigrate Islam and emphasized that there is never any justification for the violence we are seeing.”
Clinton spoke alongside Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad-Eddine el-Othmani, who offered condolences for the death of Stevens and the three other State Department employees. He echoed his government’s “clear position against violence and against any confrontation as a way to solve problems and settle conflicts.”
Othmani also thanked Clinton for speaking out against the “insult” of the video.
While President Barack Obama continually criticizes Congress publicly for not working with him, he rarely speaks of the times he just skips over their needed approvals to take actions in the international world.
Even though the United States Congress stopped any foreign aid via military aid to Egypt because the U.S. Congress has believed Egypt is not making progress on freedoms and human rights, Obama has allegedly granted $1.5 billion to the Muslim Brotherhood in that nation.
In spite of the fact that powerful persons in Egypt have spoken in very anti-American ways in the past, the president of the United States feels it necessary for the U.S. to assist them financially at a time when our country can obviously not afford to do so.
Since this story started making its way through the media months ago, of course, the Muslim Brotherhood has handily won the presidency in Egypt recently. The Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi is Egypt’s new president.
Though Obama did not publicly support a candidate in that election, his loyalties were clear. Washington insiders have suggested that Obama and his relation to the political powers in Egypt be scrutinized and monitored closely. Additionally, it has been repeatedly suggested – even by Obama’s own party members – that Obama’s free hand in giving handouts in the billions of dollars to foreign countries be monitored much more closely.
This financial support of the country magnifies what Obama said last year regarding his undying effort to support foreign countries of which Congress has severe concerns.
And where Congress in not willing to act, we’re going to go ahead and do it ourselves.
n a promotional video released yesterday, President Obama “calls” actor Kal Penn, the former Associate Director of Public Engagement for the Obama administration, and tells him to get ready for the DNC Convention. On a split screen, Penn is seen with hisHarold and Kumar co-star John Cho. The two are watching cartoons, surrounded by pizza boxes, soda, candy, and other junk food. The none-too-subtle suggestion is that, like the characters in the Harold and Kumarfilms, Cho and Penn are stoned.
BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller says it is “perhaps the most direct appeal ever for the pothead vote”–as if all it takes to seduce marijuana users is a hastily made video that characterizes smokers as junkfood gobblers with pubescent attention spans.
What’s more insulting is that Obama would wink and nod at marijuana use for political gain while federal agents under his control raid the homes and businesses of people who operate state-legal medical marijuana businesses, threaten to seize the assets of landlords who rent to medical marijuana businesses, raid the homes and threaten the children of men and women who sell marijuana paraphenelia, and continue to obfuscate and denounce research that shows the medical uses of marijuana.
This video isn’t an appeal, it’s a half-hearted reach-around
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