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Member since: Tue Jan 6, 2004, 01:46 PM
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President Obama campaigns against GOP 'madness'


President Barack Obama wrapped up an afternoon fundraising swing through the northeast Friday, declaring his Republican opponents have a go-it-alone attitude that threatens to permanently stifle the country's middle class.

"They would gut things that we've always believed is at the core of making America great - education, science, caring for the most vulnerable." the president to chants of "four more years" in a packed Portland, Maine gymnasium. "They are wrong."

"The idea that you would keep doing the same thing over and over, even after it's proven not to work, that's the sign of madness," he also said of Republican-backed economic policies

"Change is the health care reform act we passed after a century of trying," he said without noting it's in danger of being declared unconstitutional by the high court. "We believe that in America, nobody should go bankrupt just because they got sick."

Kerry rallies democratic supporters by warning of 'swift boat' redux


John Kerry says he remembers what it is like to be "swift boated." Eight years later, he sees it happening again.

The senator from Massachusetts brought the group that attacked his military service record in the 2004 presidential campaign into the 2012 conversation in a fundraising e-mail to supporters of President Barack Obama.

"But guess what: Bob Perry, the deep-pocketed funder of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," just gave $3 million to Mitt Romney's Super PAC," Kerry said in the e-mail. "Let's be ready for it - let's fight back."

"Their multi-million dollar smear tactics were new in 2004; in 2012 we know their playbook, and shame on us if we don't tear it into shreds. Join me and we will stop the 'swiftboating' of President Obama."

White House: Ryan budget 'fails the test' of fairness for America


The White House blasted the GOP budget as "another example of the Republican establishment grasping onto the same failed economic policies" hours after the House approved the plan by a 228-191 vote Thursday.

Press secretary Jay Carney argued the budget favored the wealthiest Americans and did not represent a "serious attempt at tackling our deficits."

House Republicans today banded together to shower millionaires and billionaires with a massive tax cut paid for by ending Medicare as we know it and making extremely deep cuts to critical programs needed to create jobs and strengthen the middle class," Carney said in a statement.

The plan, developed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), has little chance in succeeding in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but politicians on both sides of the aisle see the proposal as an election-year lightning rod.

Trayvon Martin: The 5 Key Unanswered Questions


Tonight, ABC News release video footage of Zimmerman arriving at the police station. The video depicts a cleanly-shaven man who “shows no blood or bruises” on his body.

While media coverage of the case has been intense, there are several key questions that have yet to be answered about the case. Here are five of the most important:

1. What was the purported “conflict” that required the initial prosecutor to step down? On March 22 — after several weeks on the job — state attorney Norm Wolfinger stepped down from his role as prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case. Wolfinger relinquished his post after meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi. He said it was necessary for him to step aside to preserve “the integrity of this investigation,” adding he wanted to avoid “the appearance of a conflict of interest.” He did not explain why his continued involvement would damage the integrity of the case or explain the potential conflict he was seeking to avoid. Did anyone at the prosecutor’s office know Zimmerman or his family? [Orlando Sentinel]

2. Why did the prosecutor ignore the recommendations of the lead homicide investigator? ABC News reported that Chris Serino, the lead homicide investigator on the Trayvon Martin case, recommended that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter on the night of the shooting. Serino filed an affidavit that night stating “he was unconvinced Zimmerman’s version of events.” As the lead homicide investigator, Serino was: 1. In the best position to evaluate Zimmerman’s credibility, and 2. Intimately familiar with Florida law. Why was he ignored? [ABC News]

More at link

Arizona Birth Control Bill: Democrat Responds To Republican Sponsor's 'Extremist Tactic'

Arizona Birth Control Bill: Democrat Responds To Republican Sponsor's 'Extremist Tactic'

After the Republican sponsor of a controversial Arizona contraception bill hijacked a Democratic news conference and called her opponents "liars" on Wednesday, heating up an already contentious battle over the legislation, her Democratic colleague has responded, saying he was appalled by her behavior.

House Bill 2625, which passed the state House of Representatives and will now go before the Senate, would allow Arizona employers to refuse to cover the cost of contraception for women who plan to use it for non-medical reasons. In order to have their birth control prescriptions covered, those women would have to "submit a claim to the corporation along with evidence that the prescription is not in whole or in part for a purpose" the employer objects to -- which means she would have to prove to her boss that she has endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or some other medical concern that necessitates birth control pills. The bill also allows a woman's employer to charge her an administrative fee to process her claim.

Democratic opponents of the bill called it "asinine" at the news conference, saying it would require women to provide their employers with personal, sometimes embarrassing medical information. But the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale), grabbed the microphone and said the Democrats were lying.

"We weren't even physically off of the podium, and she was pushing her way toward it," he said. "It was a breach of protocol and really demonstrated a lack of decorum. It's an extremist tactic for an extremist measure."
(State Rep. Matt Heinz (D-Tucson)

House Republicans Accidentally Accept The Constitutionality Of The Affordable

House Republicans Accidentally Accept The Constitutionality Of The Affordable Care Act

On Thursday, House Republicans stripped language from their own health care bill that could “undermine their argument that the Democrats’ 2010 healthcare law abused the Commerce Clause of the Constitution,” The Hill’s Pete Kasperowicz reports. That language, included in H.R. 5, a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), read:

Congress finds that the health care and insurance industries are industries affecting interstate commerce and the health care liability litigation systems existing throughout the United States are activities that affect interstate commerce by contributing to the high costs of health care and premiums for health care liability insurance purchased by health care system providers

The administration is deploying this very argument in defense of the Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court next week, insisting that since health care costs “affect interstate commerce,” the Constitution’s commerce clause empowers Congress to regulate the industry and require everyone to purchase coverage in an effort to lower insurance premiums. As a result of the mandate — that is, if people are required to purchase insurance before they fall ill — Congress can require insurance companies to accept all applicants, regardless of their pre-existing conditions, and offer more affordable coverage to those who need it most.

H.R. 5 passed the House on Thursday, but even with the last minute change, the final version of the bill still includes language that resembles the administration’s claim that Congress can regulate the purchase of health care under the Constitution’s Commerce and Necessary and Proper clauses:

more at link

Romney's new health care adviser once attacked 'Romneycare'


Mitt Romney announced a new team of health care advisers on Friday in Louisiana as he ramped up his attacks on President Obama's health care reform law.

But one of the five members of Romney's newly-minted "Health Care Policy Advisory Group," Stanford professor Scott Atlas, sharply criticized the former Massachusetts governor's approach to health care reform during his last presidential bid.

"Mitt Romney's legacy is the creation of a multi-billion dollar government health bureaucracy that punishes employers and insists middle income individuals either purchase health insurance or pay for their own health care," Atlas said at the time. "The former is a mandate, the latter is a tax, and neither one is free market."

The newly resurfaced criticism is another reminder of the fine line Romney is walking as he attacks Obama's health care reform law, which was modeled in part on the legislation Romney signed in Massachusetts.

Analysis: House GOP Budget Gives $187,000 Tax Cut To Every Millionaire


ThinkProgress reported Tuesday that the House Republican budget, authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), would give away $3 trillion in tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Roughly $2 trillion of those breaks are aimed at the rich, thanks to the repeal of multiple taxes that primarily affect the rich and the dropping of the top marginal tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.

Ryan insisted those breaks won’t blow holes in the federal budget, first by claiming a level of revenue that borders on pure fantasy, and second by promising to close tax loopholes. Even in the unlikely scenario that the GOP managed to close every tax loophole available to the wealthy, each millionaire would pay an average of $187,000 less under Ryan’s plan than they would under current law (which assumes an end to the Bush tax cuts), according to a study from Citizens for Tax Justice:

While Rep. Ryan does not specify which tax provisions he would repeal, these calculations assume he would repeal all itemized deductions, all tax credits, the exclusion for employer-provided health insurance, and the deduction for health insurance for the self-employed.

Even under these assumptions, over 92 percent of these very high-income taxpayers would enjoy a net tax cut, and the average income tax change for these taxpayers would be a reduction of $187,000 in 2014.

Opponents Of Florida’s 2005 ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Predicted ‘Racially Motivated

Opponents Of Florida’s 2005 ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Predicted ‘Racially Motivated Killings’

Nearly one month after shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman remains a free man. The Sanford Police maintain that Zimmerman’s conduct was legally justified under Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” legislation, enacted in 2005. The law eliminated the duty to avoid a confrontation and authorized the use of deadly force if there is a “reasonable belief” it is necessary to “prevent death or great bodily harm.”

Since the shooting on February 26, facts have emerged that suggest there may have been a racial element to Zimmerman’s violent conduct against a 17-year-old African-American. Zimmerman called the police to report Martin’s “suspicious” behavior, which he described as “just walking around looking about.” Zimmerman was a very frequent caller to 911, almost always reporting young black men.

Seven years ago, opponents of the “Stand Your Ground” legislation predicted it could lead to racially motivated killings. From Reuters, April 2005:

“For a House that talks about the culture of life it’s ironic that we would be devaluing life in this bill,” said Democratic state Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach. “That’s exactly what we’re doing.” [...]

Critics say the measure could lead to racially motivated killings and promote deadly escalations of arguments.

Illinois Congressional Districts Key To House Control, Democrats Say


The relatively small number of Illinois Republicans who turned out Tuesday to vote chose Mitt Romney as their GOP presidential nominee. National Democrats, however, were much more focused on the state's Democratic strongholds, which they hope can help them regain control of the House of Representatives.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Wednesday said five Illinois candidates qualify for the "Red to Blue" program. Committee chairman Steve Israel said these key districts, which mostly surround Chicago, can help Democrats win back the House.

“The road to the majority goes through Illinois," Israel said. "These Illinois candidates are going to be aggressively holding Republicans accountable for consistently choosing Millionaires over Medicare, oil companies’ tax breaks over middle-class tax cuts, and ideology over solutions."

One of the most important races in the nation, according to Israel, is the recently redrawn 8th Congressional District, which pits Iraq war veteran and Democrat Tammy Duckworth against Tea Party favorite Joe Walsh.

Illinois: DCCC Names Five Nominees to Red to Blue Program
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