113th Congress · President Obama's Foreign Policy

Obama Says He Will Seek Congress’s Authorization For U.S. Military Action In Syria

obama biden syria

In chess, when we back an opponent into a corner or make it impossible for him to make a safe move we call “check”.   President Obama has been known to be an excellent chess player and he has just put Congress’ naysayers in check!

Think Progress

President Obama announced on Saturday that he will ask Congress for authorization to launch military strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military in response to his alleged use of chemical weapons last week.

Obama reiterated that the United States has concluded that Assad’s forces gassed civilians and opposition fighters in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus on Aug. 21 and said “this menace must be confronted.”

“The United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets,” Obama said, adding that while he believes he has the authority as Commander-in-Chief to order strikes, he “will seek authorization for the use of force” from Congress. Obama also outlined what the campaign would entail, saying that any U.S. military action in Syria would not be an open ended intervention but one that is meant to hold Assad accountable and to deter him and degrade his ability from using chemical weapons in the future.

The Obama administration released a unclassified summary of a U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) analysis released on Friday which found “with high confidence” that forces allied with Assad carried out the attack and that the possibility that rebels were responsible was “highly unlikely.”

“We cannot resolve the underlying conflict in Syria with our military,” Obama said, adding that he will not be ordering U.S. troops “in the middle of someone else’s war.”

But, echoing comments from Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, Obama asked: “what message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children and pay no price? … We are the United States of America. We cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus.”

The president also said that Congress will debate and vote on the authorization for force in Syria when it returns from the August recess. “I am ready to act in the face of this outrage,” he said. “Today I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation.”

UPDATE

“We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised,” the House GOP leadership said in response to Obama’s statement. “In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th.”

What else could they say after all their whining about  the POTUS needing “congressional authorization”?

Blog Roundup

Saturday Blog Roundup – 9-31-2013

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Putin challenges US on Syria claims

U.S. Waging Secret War in Cyberspace

Chris Christie Signs Equal Pay Bill Into Law

GOP Senators Can’t Avoid Primary Challenges

Al Qaeda affiliate urges attacks on Egyptian army

Justice Ginsburg To Officiate Same-Sex Wedding

U.N. Chemical Weapons Inspectors Leave Damascus, Syria

Obama: ‘We’re Not Considering Any Open-Ended Commitment’

F.B.I. Sharpens Scrutiny of Syrians in U.S. for Signs of Retaliation

Cory Booker on personal life: ‘My sexuality is not an issue right now’

 

President Obama's Foreign Policy

Obama Says He Hasn’t Made Final Decision On Syria Attack

Barack Obama

In my opinion attacking Syrian  military installations from via lobbed missiles from U.S Naval ships would be an effort in futility.  They have had ample time to move their weapons elsewhere.  

The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama said he has not made a final decision on a Syria attack.

Obama said he is considering a “limited narrow act,” and called a Syria chemical weapons attack a “challenge to the world,” according to Reuters.

“We’re not considering any open ended commitment. We’re not considering any boots on the ground approach,” Obama said, according to White House pool reports.

“We have consulted with allies. We have consulted with Congress,” Obama said.

Below, more on the story from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he hasn’t made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he’s considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria’s government carried out last week.

Obama says that attack was a challenge to the world and threatens U.S. national security.

Obama’s comment came after the U.S. released an intelligence assessment that found with “high confidence” that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government carried out a chemical weapons attack last week.

The U.S. says the attack killed more than 1,400 people.

Obama spoke before meeting at the White House with three Baltic leaders.

 

GOP · GOP Hubris

Six Crazy Stories From Wingnut Land You Might Have Missed This Week

So, let me get this straight:  They hate that President Obama won a second term so they have gone full throttle bat sh*t crazy with their insane rhetoric.  #Sorelosers  #Batsh*tCrazyPols.

Some have bashed the president enough  and moved on to more homophobic attacks against the LGBT community.   #Getalife.

Democratic Underground

Joe Walsh Commemorates March On Washington With Racially-Charged ‘I Have A Dream’ Rant

Idiot Conservative admits the goal is punishing NC voters for voting early for President Obama

Rock Bottom: Cory Booker’s opponent resorts to homophobia

Pat Robertson: Gay community hunts people down and infects them with AIDS via special rings

Gohmert: “Scary” that liberal elites would use vaccines for “culling the population” of humans

Maine candidate questioned by Secret Service after posting Obama photo labelled “shoot the ni**er”

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: August 30, 2013

Protesters gather outside a Seattle Subway restaurant during a strike aimed at the fast-food industry and the minimum wage on Thursday.

The Week

Fast-food workers strike, Kim Jon-Un’s girlfriend is allegedly executed, and more

1. Hollande offers support for potential U.S. strike on Syria
French President François Hollande on Friday offered strong support for international military action against the Syrian government, just a day after the British Parliament rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s call for intervention. A chemical attack last week attributed to Syrian forces “must not go unpunished,” Hollande said in an interview with Le Monde. Germany, meanwhile, has no plans to offer such support. President Obama is said to be preparing for a surgical strike in Syria despite U.S. officials’ remarks that the evidence against Assad is “not a slam dunk.” [The New York Times]
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2. Same-sex married couples will get federal tax recognition
The U.S. Department of Treasury announced Thursday that it will recognize same-sex couples’ marriages for tax purposes even if they live in a state that does not. The decision was prompted by the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act in June, and provides a uniform policy for the IRS. [Huffington Post]
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3. Cooler weather aids firefighters battling California’s Rim Fire
Fire crews battling the massive Rim Fire near California’s Yosemite National Park are taking advantage of cooler weather and lighter winds, which is slowing the spread of flames just before holiday weekend crowds arrive. Progress came Thursday as containment lines were extended around 30 percent of the fire’s perimeter. The fire has a footprint that exceeds the land mass of Chicago and ranks as the sixth-largest California wildfire on record. [Reuters]
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4. The Obama administration won’t block Colorado and Washington’s marijuana laws
The Obama administration said Thursday that it would not challenge laws legalizing marijuana in Coloradoand Washington state as long as those states maintain strict rules involving the sale and distribution of the drug. Last fall, Washington and Colorado approved initiatives to become the first states to legalize the drug for recreational use. Until Thursday, the administration had remained silent about those initiatives. [The Washington Post]
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5. Fast-food workers stage largest demonstration to date
Fast-food workers formed picket lines in about 60 cities, including New York, Chicago, and Detroit, on Thursday, marking the largest protests yet in their quest for higher wages. Workers are calling for the right to unionize without interference from employers and for pay of $15 an hour. That’s more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for full-time employees. [Associated Press]
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6. Johnson & Johnson plans to add new warnings to Tylenol bottles
Johnson & Johnson said Thursday it will add a red warning to caps of Tylenol to reinforce the risks of taking too much of the painkiller. The alerts, which read “Contains Acetaminophen” and “Always Read the Label,” will appear on the caps of Extra Strength Tylenol beginning in October. The message will reinforce existing warnings that the over-the-counter pill contains the ingredient acetaminophen, which has been linked to fatal liver failure. Acetaminophen overdose is the most-common cause of liver failure in the U.S. [Bloomberg]
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7. Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney dies
Seamus Heaney, Ireland’s foremost poet and winner of the Nobel literature prize in 1995, died Friday at 74. He had been recuperating from a stroke since 2006. The Northern Ireland-born Heaney was widely considered Ireland’s greatest poet since William Butler Yeats. He wrote 13 collections of poetry, two plays, four prose works on the process of poetry, and many other works. Heaney was the third Irishman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, joining Yeats and Samuel Beckett. [ABC News]
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8. Kim Jong Un’s girlfriend was allegedly executed by firing squad
An unconfirmed report out of South Korea alleges that an ex-girlfriend of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un was executed by a firing squad for violating national laws against pornography by “videotaping themselves [she and Kim Jong Un] having sex and selling the videos.” The story ran in South Korea’s English-language newspaper Chosun Ilbo, which reported that Hyon Song-Wol, a singer best known for her 2005 pop hit “Excellent Horse-Like Lady,” was one of 12 well-known North Korean performers who were executed on Aug. 20. [NBC News]
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9. Rafael Nadal advances to the third round of the U.S. Open
Rafael Nadal beat his his second-round opponent Rogerio Dutra Silva Thursday night at the U.S. Open, taking the final 12 games. He will face Ivan Dodig in the third round. [USA TODAY]
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10. Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife split up
Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife of six years, 23andMe cofounder and CEO Anne Wojcicki, have split up after six years of marriage. A reported prenuptial agreement means there will be little, if any, impact on Google’s financials if they ultimately divorce. The couple, who have two children, had been living apart for several months. Sources also say that Brin has become romantically involved with another employee at Google. [Forbes]

Bill O'Reilly · MOW 2013

O’Reilly Apologizes For False Claim That GOP Speakers Not Invited To March On Washington [VIDEO]

Bill O'Reilly black men

Newsone

In an unexpected move, FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly apologized for falsely claiming — during more than one segment — that no members of the Republican Party were invited to speak at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington on Wednesday.

During his ‘Tip of the Day’ segment on The O’Reilly Factor, the man known for his often bigoted and racist rants actually showed professionalism and admitted the error in his statements. He not only apologized, but said that invited members of the GOP were wrong for not attending.

I said that there were no Republican speakers invited. Wrong. I was wrong. Some of the Republicans were asked to speak; they declined. That was a mistake; they should have spoken. Now, the mistake…entirely on me. I assumed that since all the speakers were liberal Democrats that Republicans were excluded. Now, here’s the tip of the day: Always check out the facts before making a definitive statement. And when you make a mistake, admit it. By the way, I’m sorry I made that mistake. Because I know that you guys watchThe Factor for accuracy.

We’re stunned. True, the facts were easily proven and his claim so easily disproven that he really had no other option, but still…we’re stunned.

See clip below:

 

As previously reported by NewsOne, not a single Republican elected official — not one — participated in the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, despite invitations from event organizers.

Republicans came up with a laundry list of excuses, from ill health to scheduling conflicts, to justify their absence, but former Republican Chair Michael Steele said that the conservative response is a typical — and damaging — one:

“It’s part of a continuing narrative that the party finds itself in with these big deals for minority communities around the country and how they perceive our response to them,” he said.

Steele was not invited to speak because he isn’t a current party or elected official. “But if I were the current chairman and hadn’t been invited, that’d be a different story,” he said. “If I hadn’t been invited, I would have forced myself on them.”

The Washington Post reports:

“We had a very concerted effort, because this is not a political moment. This was about us coming together as a community, so we wanted to be sure that we had all political representations,” Daughtry said. “We attempted very vigorously to have someone from the GOP participate and unfortunately they were unable to find someone who was able to participate.”

House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio), the highest-ranking Republican in Washington, was invited to attend Wednesday’s gathering but declined because of a scheduling conflict, aides said.

Boehner was in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and had no public schedule Wednesday but has been headlining dozens of GOP fundraisers nationwide this month. Aides noted that he led an official congressional commemoration of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on July 31 at the U.S. Capitol that other top congressional leaders attended.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) received an invitation to attend 12 days ago, which was too late to change scheduled political appearances Wednesday in North Dakota and Ohio, aides said.

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), currently the only Black senator serving in the United States government, was not invited to speak, but his spokesperson issued a statement minimizing any political controversy that fact could potentially cause.

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: August 29, 2013

A firefighter tries to douse part of the Rim Fire on Aug. 24 near Groveland, Calif.

The Week

World leaders debate military strikes on Syria, California enlists drones to fight a massive wildfire, and more

1. Obama still undecided on Syria strike
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that U.N. experts collecting evidence from an apparent chemical attack in Syria will report to him as soon as they leave the country Saturday. Meanwhile, President Obama said Wednesday that he had not yet made a decision on whether he would order a military strike against Syria. However, administration officials have added that even without hard evidence tying Assad to the attack, the Syrian leader bears ultimate responsibility and should be held accountable. In Britain, opposition leaders forced Prime Minister David Cameron to back down on calls for an immediate strike. [The New York TimesThe Washington PostAssociated Press]
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2. Military drone now helping fight California wildfire
An unmanned military Predator drone is now helping battle a California wildfire that has been raging since Aug. 17. The aircraft is helping to provide round-the-clock information to firefighters; helicopters that needed to refuel every two hours previously provided firefighters with their air information. Crews contained 30 percent of the fire on Wednesday, but at least 4,500 structures remain threatened, as do the power and water utilities for San Francisco and the Bay Area.[NBC News]
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3. Jury recommends death penalty for Fort Hood shooter
A military jury on Wednesday recommended the death penalty for convicted Fort Hood, Texas, shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was behind a 2009 massacre that left 13 people dead and 32 others wounded. [CNN]
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4. Fast-food strikes set for cities nationwide
Thousands of fast-food workers are set to stage walkouts in dozens of cities on Thursday, as part of a push to get chains such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell to pay workers more than double the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. It’s expected be the largest nationwide strike by fast-food workers. The move comes amid calls from the White House, some members of Congress, and economists to hike the federal minimum wage, which was last raised in 2009. [ABC News]
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5. Obama echoes MLK’s words in Lincoln Memorial speech
Tens of thousands of Americans thronged to the National Mall Wednesday to join President Obama, civil rights pioneers, and performers in marking the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. President Obama challenged new generations to seize the cause of racial equality and honor the “glorious patriots” who marched to the Lincoln Memorial. “The arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own,” Obama said. [Huffington Post]
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6. Verizon and Vodafone in buyout talks
Verizon and Vodafone have rekindled talks about a buyout of the U.K. company’s stake in their U.S. wireless joint venture, in a deal that may cost Verizon over $100 billion. Verizon has sought for years to buy out Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in the largest U.S. cellphone carrier, but the companies have never agreed on price. [The Wall Street Journal]
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7. Swedish scientists confirm new periodic table element
Scientists in Sweden have finally confirmed a new element that was first proposed in 2004. The element with the atomic number 115 has yet to be named, but is currently called ununpentium. “Scientists hope that by creating heavier and heavier elements, they will find a theoretical ‘island of stability,’ an undiscovered region in the periodic table where stable super-heavy elements with as yet unimagined practical uses might exist,” according to Live Science[NPR]
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8. “Twerk” gets Oxford’s blessing… sort of
The Oxford University Press announced Wednesday that twerk and selfie, among other words, are being added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online. A misunderstanding caused an internet uproar when readers believed that the newfangled words were being added to the Oxford English Dictionary. The Oxford Dictionaries Online focuses on contemporary English, a distinction that the Oxford University Press noted in its press release. [Slate]
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9. Manziel suspended for first half of Saturday’s game
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy last year, will be suspended for the first half of the team’s season-opening game against Rice on Saturday for an “inadvertent violation” of NCAA rules regarding autograph signing. A&M senior associate athletic director Jason Cook said both the school and the NCAA found that “there is no evidence Manziel received monetary reward in exchange for autographs,” but added that student-athletes know that autographs are likely to be sold for commercial purposes. [USA TODAY]
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10. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones reportedly split up
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are reportedly separated and living apart, though neither has filed for divorce or moved toward a legal separation. The pair, who wed in 2000, have two children. Sources told People that the stresses from Douglas’ 2010 cancer diagnosis and Zeta-Jones’ struggles with bipolar II disorder played a role in the split. [People]

Bill Clinton · MOW 2013

Bill Clinton Explains The Real Way To Honor King’s Dream

Bill Clinton Thumbs Up (Featured)

Think Progress

President Bill Clinton connected Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I have a dream” speech to the struggles still facing the nation during a speech on Wednesday commemorating the 50th anniversary of the historic address.

“I would respectfully suggest that Martin Luther King did not live and die to hear his heirs whine about political gridlock,” Clinton argued. “It is time to stop complaining and put our shoulders against the stubborn gates holding the american people back,” he said, laying out five ways Americans can improve the country:

Ensure equal access to education. “We cannot be disheartened by the forces of resistance to building modern economy of good jobs and rising incomes or to rebuilding our education system to give all our children a common core of knowledge necessary to ensure success. Or to give Americans of all ages access to affordable college and training programs. And we thank the president for his efforts in those regards.”

Implement Obamacare. “We cannot relax in our efforts to implement health care reform in a way that ends discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, one of which is inadequate income to pay for rising health care. A health care reform that will lower cost and lengthen lives.”

Invest in science. “Nor can we stop investing in science and technology to train our young people of all races for the jobs of tomorrow and to act on what we learn about our bodies, our businesses, and our climate.”

Protect the vote. “We cannot be discouraged by a Supreme Court decision that said we don’t need this critical provision of the Voting Rights Act because look at the states. It made it harder for African-Americans and Hispanics and students and the elderly and the infirm and poor working folks to vote. What do you know? They showed up, stood in line for hours, and voted anyway, so obviously we don’t need any kind of law.”

Expand gun safety. “But a great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon.”

Watch it:

Obamacare

Five Myths About Obamacare You Shouldn’t Believe

110207_obamacare_sign_ap_328

Think Progress

With just over a month to go before Obamacare’s state-level marketplaces open for business, the rhetoric swirling around the implementation of the health reform law has intensified. And thanks to a mounting pile of media-manufactured “scandals” that Obamacare opponents claim will bring down the law, it can be difficult to separate the facts from the fiction.

Of course, implementing health reform won’t be flawless at every step of the way. But it’s also not exactly the train wreck that opponents claim. Here are five popular myths circulating about Obamacare’s presumed impact that you shouldn’t be so quick to believe:

1. Obamacare will cause young people’s insurance premiums to skyrocket.

Mainstream media outlets and conservative pundits have consistently speculated about impending “rate shock” under Obamacare, claiming that the young and healthy Americans who will be required to buy health insurance under the law will face very high premiums. As states finalize the plans that they will offer on Obamacare’s new insurance marketplaces, stories focusing on the “huge premium spikes” due to the health law have added fuel to the fire.

In reality, however, much of that coverage is sensationalized. It’s difficult to project generalities about how premiums will affect every American in a particular state, but it’s important to remember that many people will qualify for federal assistance to help them buy insurance. A recent study from the Commonwealth Fund estimates that more than 80 percent of the estimated 16 million young people who don’t currently have health care will qualify for some kind of subsidized coverage under Obamacare. They’ll either receive federal subsidies to help them buy insurance plans on the state-level marketplaces, or they’ll qualify for Medicaid coverage after the health law expands the public program’s enrollment pools.

Stories that focus on the “new” cost of premiums typically aren’t taking in account the fact that most young adults won’t be paying for that total cost on their own — or the fact that you can’t really compare the premiums for a bare-bones plan to the premiums for a plan that actually provides adequate coverage.

2. Obamacare is incredibly unpopular, so most Americans want to get rid of it and Congress wants to exempt itself from it.

One of the most widespread talking points against the health reform law is that no one actually likes it. Obamacare opponents consistently point to polls that say Americans want to repeal the law, and have recently claimed that the law is so distasteful that Congress is trying to exempt itself from it.

But that’s not actually the whole story. While it’s true that most Americans say they don’t like the health reform law as a whole, polling has repeatedly shown that’s largely because they don’t understand what it actually does. Thepoliticized battle over health care reform has taught Americans that “Obamacare” is a bad word, but they tend to like the law’s specific provisionswithout even realizing they’re part of Obamacare. Furthermore, even despite Americans’ tendency to react negatively to the law as the whole, they still don’t support defunding it.

That trend holds true even for the Republicans who have been crusading against Obamacare for the better part of the past three years. GOP lawmakers talk about repealing the whole law, but then concede they’d like to keep its most popular provisions intact. They badmouth the law in public, but take money from it in private.

And the controversy over Congress seeking an Obamacare exemption is entirely manufactured. In reality, the issue stems from a Republican-sponsored amendment to the health law requiring lawmakers to get their insurance on the new marketplaces, just like uninsured Americans. The GOP senator who offered the amendment expected Democrats to turn it down, but it made it into the final version of the law anyway. Now, the administration is simply trying to deal with the mess that created — since the marketplaces were always intended for uninsured people, not people who already have access to health care through their employers.

3. Obamacare is using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion.

Abortion coverage was a sticking point during the fight to pass the Affordable Care Act, and continues to stoke controversy three years later. Many anti-abortion lawmakers have seized on the opportunity to ban their state’s marketplaces from including any plans that cover abortion, which may give the impression that Obamacare would otherwise require abortion coverage. In reality, the health law simply left it up to each state to decide. Each state has the option of providing insurance plans that offer abortion coverage in their marketplaces, and must also offer at least one plan that doesn’t cover abortion services.

Making the situation more complicated still is the Republican-sponsored amendment that requires members of Congress to get their coverage through the marketplaces, which has raised questions about whether those lawmakers — who have been barred from receiving coverage for abortion services — willend up with plans that cover the procedure. Nonetheless, the federal government will not fund abortion under the health law. Obamacare stipulates that the insurers offering abortion coverage on the marketplaces must separate out federal money so it doesn’t go toward that type of reproductive care.

Another point of contention is the federal grants that the Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded to over 100 nonprofit organizations to assist in their efforts to enroll people in Obamacare. Abortion opponents are outraged that Planned Parenthood affiliates in Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, and Washington, DC were among the grant recipients, and are now suggesting that these funds might go toward abortion services. But the Obamacare grant money has nothing whatsoever to do with abortion. “These grants will enable local Planned Parenthood affiliates to help people enroll in new, more affordable insurance plans that cover preventive care, maternity care, and emergency care,” a spokesperson for the organization explained.

4. Obamacare is forcing companies to slash employees’ hours and shorten the work week.

Over the past year, a growing list of large companies in the service sector have warned that Obamacare will force them to cut back their workers’ hours. The health law requires employers with 50 or more workers to provide adequate health benefits to anyone who works at least 30 hours a week — and CEOs are saying they can’t afford that, so they’ll need to make sure their employees don’t work more than 30 hours so they won’t qualify for coverage.

Large companies are blaming this move specifically on the health law. But in reality, Obamacare just serves as a convenient scapegoat for anti-labor practices. Employers have been attempting to shift more health costs onto workers for the past decade, and workers’ health care costs have beenskyrocketing as the same time as their wages have stagnated. Indeed, studies have shown that large employers were trying to slash workers’ hours long before Obamacare was around. Most large companies aren’t actually planning to slash their employees’ benefits specifically in response to health reform, despite the headlines proclaiming otherwise.

Nonetheless, the narrative that Obamacare is killing the business sector has persisted — and begun to devolve into pure nonsense. Crossroad GPS’ latest anti-Obamacare ad misleadingly claims that the health reform law now “redefines full-time as 30 hours a week,” which threatens jobs and wages for people who want to work more than that. Obamacare does no such thing. In reality, it simply hopes to protect 30-hour-a-week workers by making sure their employers are required to extend adequate health coverage to them. It’s not a particularly radical concept. Starbucks, for example, already provides health insurance to every employee who works at least 20 hours a week.

5. Obamacare is causing workers’ spouses to lose their health coverage.

Now that the myth about companies being forced to slash workers’ hours has been solidified, Obamacare opponents are onto a slightly modified version of the doomsday predictions about the health law’s impact on the business sector. After shipping company UPS announced that it would drop its employees’ spouses from its insurance coverage — specifically citing the health law — critics jumped on the news as evidence that Obamacare will be catastrophic for workers.

UPS cited increased costs under the health law to justify the move, but health insurance experts are skeptical that’s really the primary reason that the company decided to save money by eliminating spousal benefits. Instead, as aneditorial from Bloomberg suggested, UPS is likely “using the health-care law as a smokescreen for cutting costs it wanted to cut anyway.”

It makes sense that companies would be looking to trim their health costs, and shifting spousal coverage is one way to do it. But the media coverage of UPS’ move has largely left out the fact that Obamacare actually makes it much easier for the company to consider the move in the first place. Thanks to the health reform law, the spouses of UPS employees won’t be left out in the cold without any options to get insurance. They’ll be able to get it through their own employers — who will now be required to provide it — or through Obamacare’s new state-level insurance marketplaces.

 

U.S. Politics

5 Things You Need To Know About The March On Washington

The National Memo

Birmingham 1963

President Kennedy Initially Resisted The Idea

Unions And A Gay Man Played Key Roles

View_of_Crowd_at_1963_March_on_Washington

John Lewis, The Youngest Speaker At The Event, Was Forced To Revise His Speech

(See video at the above link.)

Women Were Barely Represented

Landscape

Martin Luther King Improvised The “I Have A Dream” Speech

When you watch Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech from the March on Washington, it’s almost shocking how slowly he begins, plodding along as the crowd cheers him, trying to summon prophecy.

Then several minutes in, gospel legend Mahalia Jackson plays a crucial role in inspiring the man behind the podium that only one woman had been allowed to speak from.

“He was just reading, and she just shouted to him, ‘Tell them about the dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream,’”said Clarence Jones, an advisor to King who had helped write King’s speech. “I was standing about 50 feet behind him, to the right and to the rear, and I watched him — this is all happening in real time — just take the text of his speech and move it to the left side of the lectern, grab the lectern and look out.”

King had spoken about his “dream” before. But if Jackson hadn’t been there that day, we may have been denied a piece of oratory that captured a vision of an America that we’re still trying to realize today.