Jamesb101.com

commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

Senator's Schumer and Graham approach the White House on Immigration Reform…..

As a follow-up on the piece the Dog did a day or two ago….we now find that two Senator’s mentioned above have already spoken to the White House about attaching some form of Immigration reform to the Healthcare Bill…..

[ Schumer and Graham ]

To the Dog…. this a back channel admittance by Graham that 1) Immigration will be nearly impossible to go it alone…..and 2) That he expects the Healthcare Bill to pass…….

One other thought…though Graham is in trouble with hard righter’s in South Carolina…..he is well aware that the Latino/Hispanic voter numbers are increasing in his state…..

Oh, yea….You all know Schumer is a Democrat and Graham is a Republican….right?

Here’s the MyDD piece by Charles Lemos…….

An Inkling of Bipartisanship on Immigration Reform

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, travelled to the White House to present the President with a three-page blueprint for a bipartisan agreement to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. Details of the proposal were not released but Senator Graham noted that some of the elements included tougher border security, a program to admit temporary immigrant workers and a biometric Social Security card that would prevent people here illegally from getting jobs.

Some more background from the Los Angeles Times:

Graham also said the proposal included “a rational plan to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States.” He did not elaborate on what the plan would be. But in a recent interview, he suggested that onerous measures were unrealistic.

“We’re not going to mass-deport people and put them in jail, nor should we,” Graham said. “But we need a system so they don’t get an advantage over others for citizenship.”

So far, so good, but Senator Graham also linked progress on immigration to the healthcare bill now winding its tortuous path through the Congress.

In a statement after the Obama meeting, Graham predicted that their effort would collapse if Senate Democrats proceeded with a strategy to pass a healthcare bill through a simple majority vote — a process known as “reconciliation.” Senate leaders say they are committed to doing just that.

“I expressed, in no uncertain terms, my belief that immigration reform could come to a halt for the year if healthcare reconciliation goes forward,” said Graham, who portrayed the document handed to Obama as “a work in progress.”

Graham added: “For more than a year, healthcare has sucked most of the energy out of the room. Using reconciliation to push healthcare through will make it much harder for Congress to come together on a topic as important as immigration.”

The President had earlier met with a group of 14 immigration advocates that stressed to the President the urgency of moving forward with a plan that rationalizes the nation’s dysfunctional immigration policies. There are an estimated 12 million people believed to have entered the US illegally. In the fiscal year that ended in September 2009, the U.S. deported 388,000 illegal immigrants, according to the Department of Homeland Security — up from 369,000 the year before.

After meeting for more than an hour with Obama, immigration advocates that included leaders from the National Immigration Forum, La Raza and the SEIU told reporters they want Schumer-Graham blueprint released before a planned March 21 demonstration at the Capitol, with a bill introduced in the Senate soon thereafter.

Immigration advocates seemed most pleased. Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said the President agreed to help get a legislative framework out before the public in advance of the rally.

Hispanics supported President Obama in the general election by a two to one margin. The most recent polling shows that while the President’s approval rating among has slipped since its peak at 73 percent last Spring, it still remains above 60 percent.

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Family, Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates, Women | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Senator’s Schumer and Graham approach the White House on Immigration Reform…..

As a follow-up on the piece the Dog did a day or two ago….we now find that two Senator’s mentioned above have already spoken to the White House about attaching some form of Immigration reform to the Healthcare Bill…..

[ Schumer and Graham ]

To the Dog…. this a back channel admittance by Graham that 1) Immigration will be nearly impossible to go it alone…..and 2) That he expects the Healthcare Bill to pass…….

One other thought…though Graham is in trouble with hard righter’s in South Carolina…..he is well aware that the Latino/Hispanic voter numbers are increasing in his state…..

Oh, yea….You all know Schumer is a Democrat and Graham is a Republican….right?

Here’s the MyDD piece by Charles Lemos…….

An Inkling of Bipartisanship on Immigration Reform

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, travelled to the White House to present the President with a three-page blueprint for a bipartisan agreement to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. Details of the proposal were not released but Senator Graham noted that some of the elements included tougher border security, a program to admit temporary immigrant workers and a biometric Social Security card that would prevent people here illegally from getting jobs.

Some more background from the Los Angeles Times:

Graham also said the proposal included “a rational plan to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States.” He did not elaborate on what the plan would be. But in a recent interview, he suggested that onerous measures were unrealistic.

“We’re not going to mass-deport people and put them in jail, nor should we,” Graham said. “But we need a system so they don’t get an advantage over others for citizenship.”

So far, so good, but Senator Graham also linked progress on immigration to the healthcare bill now winding its tortuous path through the Congress.

In a statement after the Obama meeting, Graham predicted that their effort would collapse if Senate Democrats proceeded with a strategy to pass a healthcare bill through a simple majority vote — a process known as “reconciliation.” Senate leaders say they are committed to doing just that.

“I expressed, in no uncertain terms, my belief that immigration reform could come to a halt for the year if healthcare reconciliation goes forward,” said Graham, who portrayed the document handed to Obama as “a work in progress.”

Graham added: “For more than a year, healthcare has sucked most of the energy out of the room. Using reconciliation to push healthcare through will make it much harder for Congress to come together on a topic as important as immigration.”

The President had earlier met with a group of 14 immigration advocates that stressed to the President the urgency of moving forward with a plan that rationalizes the nation’s dysfunctional immigration policies. There are an estimated 12 million people believed to have entered the US illegally. In the fiscal year that ended in September 2009, the U.S. deported 388,000 illegal immigrants, according to the Department of Homeland Security — up from 369,000 the year before.

After meeting for more than an hour with Obama, immigration advocates that included leaders from the National Immigration Forum, La Raza and the SEIU told reporters they want Schumer-Graham blueprint released before a planned March 21 demonstration at the Capitol, with a bill introduced in the Senate soon thereafter.

Immigration advocates seemed most pleased. Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said the President agreed to help get a legislative framework out before the public in advance of the rally.

Hispanics supported President Obama in the general election by a two to one margin. The most recent polling shows that while the President’s approval rating among has slipped since its peak at 73 percent last Spring, it still remains above 60 percent.

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Family, Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates, Women | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Israel and Netanyahu anger Biden, Clinton and Obama……

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden arrive at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv, March 8, 2010. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

It all started on Vice President Joe Biden’s trip this week to Israel……

First the Israeli’s where miffed because Obama didn’t come…..

Then, Biden reassured the Israeli’s that the America…as usuall… has it’s back…..

Then…….Well, then things went sideways….

Israel had announced prior to the visit that it was building a 1,660 apartment unit , Ramat Shlomo, a religious Jewish settlement in an area of the West Bank annexed to Jerusalem……and the Palestinians where mad

That was a not good…….

President Obama…who is determined to get done something no other President has been able do…..has signaled loud and clear from the jump that he has Israel’s back….but that they cannot go on winking at the support the United States will alway have for the country….while ignoring the Palestinian problem in their back yard…..

It must be clear to the Israeli’s…. that Obama MUST seriously attempt to solve the Palestinian problem ….in order to gain face in trying to address  bigger problems in the Middle East…….

And he needs Israeli’s help….( and needs to show the Arabs that he’ll spank Israel coming out of the gate )

This on Biden’s trip……

Israel’s refusal to stop settlement building despite U.S. urging has been a major obstacle to a resumption of the talks, and the announcement put Biden in an uncomfortable position ahead of a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units,” Biden said in a statement issued after he arrived 90 minutes late for a dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He said the blueprint for Ramat Shlomo, a religious Jewish settlement in an area of the West Bank annexed to Jerusalem by Israel, “undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel.”

The Palestinians had dropped a demand that Israel freeze settlement building and agreed to up to four months of indirect negotiations after receiving Arab League endorsement last week.

“Israel is not interested in negotiations, nor in peace,” Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah told Reuters, adding that the Ramat Shlomo project “will lead to negotiations being obstructed.”

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who heads a religious party in Netanyahu’s governing coalition and is responsible for the plan’s announcement, described its timing as happenstance.

“There was certainly no intention to provoke anyone, and certainly not to come along and hurt the vice president of the United States,” Yishai told Israel’s Channel One television.

“Final approval (for the project) will take another few months, if it is approved, and I agree that the timing (of the announcement) should have been in another two or three weeks.”

But remember….the Palestainians need to give up something also….

Netanyahu repeated an Israeli demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. They have rejected that.

The Biden statement on support for Israel……

“There is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security.”

A day after Biden left Israel……Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laced into the Israeli’s again……

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Israel’s behaviour “insulting” after it approved 1,600 new homes last week at a settlement in the Jerusalem area on the very day Vice President Joe Biden was there to set a seal on relaunched negotiations.

She went on….

Though Clinton stressed that Washington’s ties with the Jewish state were “durable and strong”, she had told Netanyahu in a telephone call on Friday that he must act to repair the relationship and show his commitment to an alliance which, she reminded him, was key to Israel’s security in a hostile region.

While accepting that Netanyahu was taken by surprise by the settlement housing approval granted on Tuesday by his interior ministry, which is run by the pro-settler religious Shas party, Clinton said the prime minister was still responsible for it.

Clinton called “to make clear that the United States considered the announcement to be a deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship and counter to the spirit of the vice president’s trip,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters.

The Israeli reaction…..

There was no reaction from Israeli officialdom during the Jewish sabbath but in Washington, the Anti-Defamation League, which lobbies for Israel with U.S. lawmakers, called Clinton’s remarks on the diplomatic debacle a “gross over-reaction.”

“We are shocked and stunned at the administration’s tone and public dressing down of Israel,” the ADL’s Abraham Foxman said.

“We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States.

“One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians.”

The bottom line for the future….

A senior U.S. official indicated that Washington may focus on playing down the significance of the past week’s approval for future housebuilding — “this was a year away at minimum”, he said — and voicing understanding for Netanyahu’s difficulties.

‘Perilous’
The official described the premier’s position as “perilous” due to his coalition dependence on pro-settler groups.

But he also said Washington expected Netanyahu to avoid a repeat of disputes over settlements: “The Israelis know the only way to stay on the positive side of the ledger — internationally and with us — is to not have them recurring.”

Even the scope of possible talks is still in doubt, however, and few see any rapid prospect of a solution to the conflict.

Israel has so far balked at Palestinian demands that the indirect phase include talks on “final status issues,” including borders, refugees and sharing the city of Jerusalem.

Washington wants the talks to cover issues of “consequence” but has yet to spell out publicly what that would entail.

The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators — the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia — also condemned the settlement plan and said it would assess the situation at a scheduled meeting in Moscow next week.

Update…..

Israeli authorities have sealed off the West Bank for 48 hours, preventing Palestinians from entering Israel, over fears of unrest. The government is concerned about violence this weekend in reaction to Israel’s announcement that it will build 1,600 new settler homes in disputed East Jerusalem.

There have also been clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian worshippers and mosques in Jerusalem in recent weeks. Israeli police have also barred men under 50 from attending Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa mosque. The order went into effect at midnight on Thursday and will last until midnight on Saturday.

In response to Israel’s construction announcement, the Arab League withdrew its support for indirect talks between the two sides. U.S. envoy George Mitchell called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to urge him to go ahead with talks, but Abbas reportedly demanded a freeze on the new settlement project before the Palestinians would return to the table.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden left Israel yesterday after a visit that was supposed to reaffirm U.S.-Israel ties, but ended up straining them further. Netanyahu apologized on Thursday for the timing of the East Jerusalem construction announcement.

From foreignpolicly.com….

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Religion, Travel, Updates, Women | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sending the Senate Finance staff to talk to the Banks about being taxed is lunacy……

Ok…When I read this I couldn’t stop laughing…..Ha, ha, ha…….

Why would send staffers to talk to bankers about taking their money away in more taxes?…..

Why…or who…. would think they would be happy to talk about THAT?

Only politicians in DC….. would even think about doing something like that…….

Senate Finance staffers on Friday met with bank executives for informal discussions on creating a tax on banks and left the meeting frustrated as executives effectively questioned how the tax could work, sources said.

The conversation lasted more than two hours and focused primarily on President Barack Obama’s charge to Congress to create a fee that would stop financial firms from taking on too much risk.

Financial executives seriously questioned the effectiveness of tax and warned it might create other headaches. They also asked about the underlying policy goal behind the initiative since, at least publicly, it seemed to punish firms from the recent collapse of the financial markets.

Apparently, no Republican members support the creation of the tax and Democratic members are unsure how to move forward on the issue.

Participants at the meeting included representatives from the American Bank Association, SIFMA, and executives from insurance companies that trade annuities.

It is unclear how the Senate will move forward on the tax.

He, he, he….these are the first two comments to the piece…..

Comments (6)

Too funny and scarey too. The clueless, taking orders from the clueless, interrogating financial experts, end up getting questioned and totally lack answers? ….. on 03/12/2010 at 22:27

Sending ill prepared children to do a grown-ups work. That makes no sense, just like most all of this juvenile administrations childish work efforts. What a utter waste of a presidency. Shame on American voters. Come on November to Remember. ……..on 03/13/2010 at 09:47

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Taxes, The Economy, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

The Main features of the Democratic Healthcare Bill …as we know it…….and the political dance….

This is from the New York Times……

These are the facts as we know them……..

Things are subject to change to get more votes….

In addition, There is a very good chance that some sort of Education, Student loan bill will be attached to this legislation……

The Democrats are putting this information out to finally let people know what the bill actually entails…..

But First here’s piece from the Washington Post which correctly lines up with  The Dogs view…..That while the polls are almost all running against the bill, in response to the Republican media push,  that the bill is a government tax and spend monster, that will force Healthcare on people…..

That is simply not true……

The Washington Post piece correctly predicts that once the Bill is passed..and people find out what it does…and does not do…the Republicans will look like none caring alarmists…..and that Democrats, will in fact. come out better in the November elections….

Here’s the general shape of the Healthcare Bill…currently…

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are pulling together a final version of a health care overhaul bill and pushing for House votes as early as this coming week. Democrats are awaiting cost assessments from theCongressional Budget Office that will allow them to finish details. Some of the main features as the bill takes shape:

–HOW MANY COVERED: 31 million uninsured Americans.

–INSURANCE MANDATE: Like the bills approved last year by the House and Senate, the proposal would require almost everyone to be insured or pay a fine. There is an exemption for low-income people.

–INSURANCE MARKET REFORMS: Stops unpopular insurance industry practices such as denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charging women more. In response to recent insurance premium rate increases, including increases as high as 39 percent by Anthem Blue Cross in California, the legislation adopts an Obama proposal to give the federal government the authority to block rate hikes, roll back premium prices and force insurance companies to give rebates to consumers.

MEDICAID: The legislation would expand the federal-state Medicaid insurance program for the poor to cover people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, $29,327 a year for a family of four. The federal government would pick up more of the tab, paying 100 percent of the cost for newly eligible individuals through 2017. A special deal that would have given Nebraska 100 percent federal financing for newly eligible Medicaid recipients in perpetuity has been eliminated. A different, one-time deal negotiated by Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu for her state, Louisiana, worth as much as $300 million, remained.

–TAXES: The legislation would scale back a Senate-passed tax on high-cost insurance plans that was opposed by House Democrats and labor unions. The tax would be delayed from 2013 until 2018 and the thresholds at which it is imposed would be moved up from policies worth $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families, to $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. Those changes mean $120 billion in lost revenue over 10 years that would be replaced mostly by applying an increased Medicare payroll tax to investment income as well as wages for individuals making more than $200,000, or married couples above $250,000. The Senate bill had applied the tax only to wage income.

–PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: The proposal would close the ”doughnut hole” coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug benefit that kicks in once seniors have spent $2,830. The Senate bill would have provided a 50 percent discount on the cost of brand-name drugs in the doughnut hole but Obama would close the gap entirely by 2020. The added cost, which Democrats have not yet disclosed, would be paid for in part by an additional $10 billion in fees on the drug industry.

–EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY: The legislation keeps the approach in the Senate bill, which doesn’t require businesses to offer coverage but charges fees to companies with more than 50 employees if the government subsidizes employees’ coverage. The proposal increases the fees to $2,000 per worker instead of $750, but grants companies an allowance that was not part of the original Senate plan. The proposal includes part-time workers in the calculations, counting two part-time workers as one full-time worker.

–SUBSIDIES: The proposal provides more generous subsidies for purchasing insurance than the Senate bill did. The aid is available for households making up to four times the federal poverty level ($88,000 for a family of four).

–HOW YOU CHOOSE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE: Small businesses, the self-employed and the uninsured could pick a plan offered through new state-based purchasing pools called exchanges. People working for big companies would not see major changes.

–GOVERNMENT-RUN PLAN: The proposal does not include the government-run insurance plan sought by liberals and approved by the House. It takes the Senate approach, which gives Americans purchasing coverage through new insurance exchanges the option of signing up for national plans overseen by the federal office that manages the government health plan available to members of Congress. Those plans would be private, but one would have to be nonprofit.

–ABORTION: The proposal does not change the abortion provision in the Senate bill, which is opposed by anti-abortion groups that say it allows federal financing of abortion. The bill tries to maintain a strict separation between taxpayer dollars and private premiums that would pay for abortion coverage.

No health plan would be required to offer coverage for the procedure. In plans that do cover abortion, beneficiaries would have to pay for it separately, and that money would have to be kept in a separate account from taxpayer money. States could ban abortion coverage in plans offered through the exchange. Exceptions would be made for cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother.

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Education, Government, Healthcare, Law, Media, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , | 2 Comments