Thursday, March 21, 2013

The budget will pay for renovations to Guantanamo while there are perfectly good prisions sitting empty on USA soil, but, there is no money for Medicare. Yeah and I was born yesterday.

Guantánamo: the most expensive prison on earth (click here)

The cost to house a captive at Guantánamo Bay is $800,000 per year, far in excess of other federal or state lockups.

Posted on Friday, 11.25.11

...That’s more than 30 times the cost of keeping a captive on U.S. soil....

These are the Republican priorities for the USA. Spend monies on prisons to house idiots of terror while there are empty maximum security prisons in the USA while they rob the elderly blind and stick it to them while they die.

The Republicans would like to call it honor, but, it is far from it.

National Security Policy Is Foiled by Congressional Politics and Bureaucratic Infighting (click here)

Carol Rosenberg

Posted:   |  Updated: 01/04/2013 9:15 am EST
President Barack Obama signed (click here) the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 on Wednesday, despite his own threat to veto it over prohibitions on closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Civil liberties advocates had roundly criticized the bill over Guantanamo and a separate section that could allow the military to indefinitely detain American citizens on suspicions of supporting terrorism. Just as he did with last year's version of the bill, however, Obama decided that the need to pass the NDAA, which also sets the armed forces' $633 billion budget for the 2013 fiscal year, was simply "too great to ignore," according to a presidential signing statement released in the early morning hours Thursday.
Members of the human rights coalition that had urged Obama to follow through on his veto threat blasted his decision as a cave to congressional Republicans....

There you have it, the people of the USA have been successfully duped again! Forbid Wall Street should skip a beat. 

It also passed a Senate-approved bill to avert a government shutdown on March 27. (click here)
Susan Davis, USA TODAY
2:59p.m. EDT March 21, 2013
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House narrowly approved a conservative budget plan authored by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, 221-207, on Thursday on a largely party-line vote.

The fiscal blueprint does not have the force of law but outlines the GOP's priorities over a 10-year budget window to reduce the deficit and overhaul the Medicare system.

No Democrats voted for the plan. "House Republicans decided to double down on the failed policies that the American people rejected just a few months ago," said Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash.
The Democratic Senate is debating a competing budget Thursday with passage scheduled Friday. Congress will then adjourn for a two-week spring recess....

Democrats wouldn't vote for it regardless of President Obama's pandering. Hello?

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Sebelius is authorizing Premium Support. It is NOT the law!

We have waited for this law for a generation and this is what is being done to it. Absolutely not!

Ryan has taken the country hostage along with the Affordable Care Act. He can go straight to hell. We will not be intimidated by a man that wants to pad the pockets of Wall Street!

The Republicans are scam artists. Enough, they accept the law the way it was written or they get nothing. There is such a thing as principle and this is it. Let the Republicans cut the Affordable Care Act to the bone and we'll see what 2014 looks like. This is a betrayal! They are a bunch of crooks!

Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:30pm EST
...But premium support (click here) is gaining fresh momentum among congressional Republicans as a way to control Medicare spending as the debate rages over entitlement reform and the deficit, say analysts, lobbyists and congressional aides.
"It's an idea that becomes more politically seaworthy with every passing day, because there are no other legitimate alternatives that can simultaneously control costs in a rational fashion and broaden access to quality care," said Robert Moffitt of the conservative Heritage Foundation....
It is the beginning of privatization of Medicare. Has Sebelius gone mad? Here we go. The corruption and the cronies are out in full force. It is not constitutional. It is not the law and Sebelius needs to resign!

The Path to Prosperity. They didn't have the guts to pass it, but, they sure want an piece of it now!

I thought we were getting rid of Medicare Advantage because it was laid with fraud. We should trust the private insurance industry now in a different name? I don't think so!

...Ohio and Arkansas are negotiating (click here) with the Obama administration over plans to use federal Medicaid money to pay premiums for commercial insurance that will be sold to the public in regulated markets known as insurance exchanges.
Republicans in other states, including Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Texas, have expressed interest in the option since Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas, a Democrat, received a green light from Kathleen Sebelius, the federal secretary of health and human services.
Valerie Jarrett, a top White House aide, has been a catalyst in talks with Ohio and other states.
The idea of using “premium assistance” to buy private insurance for new Medicaid beneficiaries is a sharp departure from the 2010 health care law, in which Congress expanded Medicaid to cover the poorest Americans and assumed that people with higher incomes would obtain private coverage through the exchanges.
In many states, Republicans are trying to create a hybrid of the two alternatives, taking federal money for the expansion of Medicaid but using it to help people buy commercial insurance instead.
State Senator Jonathan Dismang, a Republican from central Arkansas, said the idea appealed to him because it would “use the markets to provide better health care and to increase competition in the health insurance industry,” which could drive down costs.
The Arkansas Medicaid director, R. Andrew Allison, said the state had obtained “conceptual approval” from Ms. Sebelius to use Medicaid money to help low-income adults enroll in private insurance through the exchange in 2014. This arrangement, he said, could double the number of people in the exchange, to perhaps 500,000, while shrinking enrollment in the traditional Medicaid program....
Good bye, Secretary Sebelius!!!!!

It is so good to see President Obama with the Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

US President Barack Obama and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas review the honour guard during an official arrival ceremony at the Muqata, the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

1:57pm UK, Thursday 21 March 2013

Mr Obama's trip to Ramallah  (click here) was bookended by stark reminders of the tensions in the region as Palestinian militants fired rockets across the border and Iran threatened to destroy two Israeli cities.
The President held talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and told a news conference that the US is "deeply committed" to a two-state solution, but the only way to achieve it is through negotiation.
Mr Obama said that Israel's ongoing settlement building was unhelpful to the pursuit of peace but urged the Palestinians not to make halting the policy a precondition for negotiations....
There was a word that impressed me about the President's speech when discussing a Mideast Peace between the two nations of Israel and Palestine.

The word was contiguous.

One of the frequent complaints we hear from Israel is the difficulty that exists in defending it's borders because it is a small country. It is not only a small country, but, it has another country existing within it. There are some problems when such realities exist.

The complaints about the Jewish Settlements goes on and the Palestinians are very upset over the way their land simply disappears into Israeli lands. In the documentary, "Five Broken Cameras," there is a man that is asked where he lives. He says, 'I have no home, my land has been taken from me by Israel.' And he is asked if he will ever be able to go back to his land with a peace agreement with Israel and he states, 'No, they built on it.'

To say Israel is not sensitive to the problems with the settlements is a lie. They are. They were sensitive enough under Prime Minister Sharon to vacate Gaza. That is not a minor gesture. That was sincere trauma for Israel. So, the Palestinians have to first appreciate the sacrifice Israel has made for peace already.

The problem, as I see it, is not so much what Israel has to do to achieve peace with Palestine, but, what is Palestine doing to appreciate such a gesture toward the reality of peace. Such appreciation would go a long way to find a final resolution to peace.

The problem in Palestine in reaching a peaceful resolve to their homeland has to begin with recognition of Israel's right to exist by Hamas. While President Abbas may have already passed that hurdle, Hamas and the people of Gaza want nothing more but concessions by Israel to make it disappear off the map.

If Israel realizes it has a challenge to defend it's borders than why is that not the case with the Palestinian nation? Does it not want to have defensible borders to it's country or does it want to exist in fragmented pieces with no chance of it's people living within one nation. A fragmented Palestine had destabilized both Israel and Palestine. There is no cohesive government because of the fragmented nations. Israel is  far more stable because it has the larger land mass, but, Palestine cannot go on forever in fragments and separated people.

i realize the land within Israel is precious based on religious beliefs. The land of the Middle East in many countries is the same commodity. Even Iraq, when invaded by the USA has precious religious lands. I suppose they could be considered religious landmarks and designated under UN charters as special places that cannot be destroyed. But, somehow the depth these lands touch the very essence of religious beliefs is more profound than any status it can be afforded. So, the lands within Israel are not unique in their importance to religious beliefs. As proof, the pilgrimages by many ethnicity to these lands is historic.

The Palestinians are Muslim in their religious beliefs. The Jewish people are not. The primary focus of one of the Five Pillars of the Muslim faith is not in Jerusalem but in Mecca. Mecca is protected by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques

So, while Jerusalem is important to the Palestinian nation, it is also important to many, many other faiths. The fact of the matter is Jerusalem is being used by extremists to seek leverage to again remove Israel from the map. That was realized a long time ago by Yassar Arafat, former Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and leader of the Fatah political party and former paramilitary group, which he founded in 1959. It is that recognition that brought him to the peace tables with Israel.

There are some things that are possible in the real world and some things that are ideological. The idea Jerusalem can be shared is not realistic. There is no threat to the openness of Jerusalem to any pilgrim to the Holy Land unless a war would break out to remove Israel from existence. That would be bad. 

The idea Israel is not a real country and somehow carved out of a fantasy has been laid to rest a long time ago. The Jewish people have paid dearly for their expulsion from the Holy Land by Romans and otherwise. It is time to end this mess in a way that makes sense and is POSSIBLE. Arafat knew that and it is time all Palestinians realize the dream of their leader was peace. Arafat rejected the extremists. He had to live among them, but, he ultimately rejected the Sheik's idea of the best outcome to join with the rest of the world with what was possible.

I believe it is a mistake to leave out the voice of the former Palestine leader Yassar Arafat to bring about peace. Arafat was a realist and Hamas dearly needs to be reminded of that. The people displaced by the Israeli settlements need to be compensated so they can get on with their lives. It is wrong for Israel to ignore that reality. Israel has radicalized these people and never bothered to explain their possibilities or offer a direction for their lives and their children.

By Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse
Posted on March 17

...One of the reasons given (click here) for why the American president might ...want to skip Ramallah is the fact that if he visits the secured and natural offices of the Palestinian president he will have a political difficulty. Pundits (mostly western) are claiming that if Obama passes by the grave of Yasser Arafat which is centrally located within the Muqata’a presidential compound that the American leader will have a difficult choice. Not laying a wreath will be seen as an insult to Palestinians while doing so would be seen in negative terms by some Israelis.
This is precisely the political correctness that has made a mockery of the so called claims that the US is an honest broker when it comes to the Middle East conflict....