TheObamaCrat™ Wake-Up Call For Monday The 30th Of June: Veterans Affairs Secretary. President Michelle Bachelet Of Chile. LGBT Pride Month. Hobby Lobby Case.


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President Barack Obama has a busy Monday: He will nominate a new Veterans Affairs secretary, meet with President Michelle Bachelet of Chile and in the evening attend a reception to observe LGBT Pride Month. Not on the schedule but what the White House is bracing for: the Supreme Court ruling on the Hobby Lobby case dealing with contraception and the Affordable Care Act.

 

White House Schedule – June 30, 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY June 30th, 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE GUIDANCE & SCHEDULE
MONDAY June 30th, 2014

 

 

In the morning, the President and the Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

Later in the morning, the President will hold a bilateral meeting with President Michelle Bachelet of Chile; the Vice President will also attend. There will be a pool spray at the top of the meeting. The visit will highlight our close relationship with Chile and our strong partnership with the Bachelet Administration on advancing peace and global security, social inclusion, and free trade.  The President looks forward to consulting with President Bachelet on UN Security Council matters, other multilateral and regional issues, and ongoing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as on expanding educational exchanges and deepening our collaboration in the areas of energy, science, and technology.

 

In the afternoon, the President will make a personnel announcement at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The President’s remarks will be pooled press.

 

In the evening, the President will host a reception to observe LGBT Pride Month; the First Lady will also attend. There will be pool press coverage of the President’s remarks in the East Room.

 

 

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Monday, June 30 2014  All Times ET

 

10:00 AM: THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing, Oval Office.

 

 

10:55 AM: THE PRESIDENT holds a bilateral meeting with President Michelle Bachelet of Chile; THE VICE PRESIDENT also attends, Oval Office.

 

 

11:30 AM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Brady Press Briefing Room.

 

 

12:30 PM: The Vice President and Secretary of State John Kerry host a lunch in honor of President Bachelet, Department of State.

 

 

4:30 PM: THE PRESIDENT makes a personnel announcement, he will nominate a new Veterans Affairs secretary: Proctor & Gamble chief executive Bob McDonald. The Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

 

5:25 PM: THE PRESIDENT hosts a reception to observe LGBT Pride Month, East Room.

 

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Bob McDonald, former P&G chief, to be Obama’s nominee to lead Veterans Affairs

 

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BY JULIET EILPERIN Washington Post:

 

President Obama on Monday will nominate Bob McDonald, a West Point graduate who served as chief executive of Procter & Gamble, to take over as head of the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, according to White House officials.

 

The un­or­tho­dox pick of a retired corporate executive whose former company makes iconic household products such as Tide detergent and Charmin toilet paper — rather than a former military general — underscores the serious management problems facing the agency charged with serving more than 8 million veterans a year. On Friday, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors submitted a report to the president finding “significant and chronic system failures” and a “corrosive culture” at the Veterans Health Administration, which has come under fire for record-keeping that was skewed in an effort to cover up the long waits imposed on former troops seeking medical care.

 

In recent years, the job of VA secretary has been filled by retired generals, medical professionals or politicians. McDonald’s background is a significant departure, though he and his wife have deep family ties to the military. McDonald graduated in the top 2 percent of his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and served in the Army for five years, achieving the rank of captain in the 82nd Airborne Division before taking an entry-level job at P&G. He is the son of an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, and his wife’s father was shot down over Europe and survived harsh treatment as a prisoner of war.

 

“The choice suggests a real focus on customer satisfaction, as opposed to what you might get from a retired general or medical leader,” said Phillip Carter, who follows veterans issues for the Center for a New American Security. “It is probably a wise choice given the concerns right now of veterans.”

 

Procter & Gamble chief McDonald looks on at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York

 

Retired Maj. Gen. James “Spider” Marks, who served as a cadet with McDonald at West Point, described him as “an incredibly gifted guy” who stood out among his classmates for his intensity and commitment. Marks, who now serves as an executive dean at the University of Phoenix, said that during the recession, when McDonald was under pressure as P&G’s chief executive, he had to be “delivering numbers every day” but also took steps to cultivate senior managers who could steer the firm through the fiscal crisis.

 

“Bob was providing an immediate return on investment but simultaneously putting things in place for the future,” he said, adding that McDonald lived up to the line in the cadet’s prayer: “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.”

 

VA “is a business. He’s not afraid to make the hard calls,” Marks said, adding that McDonald was a rugby player in college who always treated his classmates well but spared nothing on the field. “When he joined the scrum, you felt it.”

How McDonald relates to the younger population of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan — smaller in numbers compared with the overall group of veterans but powerful politically — will be critical if he is confirmed.

 

McDonald has maintained his Army ties over the years as a major supporter of the U.S. Military Academy and as a life member of the U.S. Army Ranger Association and the 75th Ranger Regiment Association. He is also a member of the West Point Association of Graduates, and he established the McDonald Cadet Leadership Conference at the academy to address emerging global issues.

 

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Paul Rieckhoff, chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), said he had mixed feelings about the choice. “He’s got a good military record and a history of running a large bureaucracy, but no medical background,” he said. “Hopefully he’ll be meeting with us more regularly than the White House. This was not a pick that was socialized with the veterans community.”

 

Rieckhoff said that among his biggest concerns was that McDonald has not been involved with the most recent U.S. wars. “He doesn’t come from our generation. He never served in Iraq or Afghanistan. He’s going to have to work very hard to get up to speed on our issues,” he said. Rieckhoff and IAVA have been very critical of Obama and former VA secretary Eric K. Shinseki for not meeting more regularly with the veterans community before and during the current crisis. “The White House and Shinseki were surprised by this stuff because they didn’t listen to the veterans community,” he said.

 

Jim McNerney, who is chairman of Boeing and served on P&G’s board when McDonald headed the company, said in a statement Sunday that McDonald is “an outstanding choice for this critically important position.”

 

“Prior to retirement, he navigated Procter & Gamble through the difficult post-financial-crisis years, where he expanded business in developing markets and made substantial progress improving the efficiency of the company’s internal operations,” McNerney said.

 

Xerox chief Ursula Burns, on whose board McDonald sits as a member of its audit and compensation committees, said in a statement that his experience “managing and leading a global corporation was especially helpful during a multi-billion dollar acquisition we made in 2010, doubling our workforce and shifting our business considerably.”

McDonald stepped down from his post at P&G in May 2013 amid some controversy. Analysts reported at the time that large investors and some employees were losing confidence in his ability to expand the company in the face of increasing global competition.

 

The Wall Street Journal and other business publications also reported that McDonald had come under fire over the time he spent serving on an array of corporate boards.

 

Still, he has won plaudits from many of his fellow corporate executives and has experience running a global consumer-products firm with more than 120,000 employees and sales in more than 180 countries.

 

During McDonald’s tenure, P&G was recognized multiple times for its leadership development, including twice being named the best company for leaders by Chief Executive Magazine and being named No. 1 in Hay Group’s annual Best Companies for Leadership study, which analyzes more than 2,200 firms around the world.

 

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The White House has yet to select a new head for the Veterans Health Administration, which remains a priority, but top officials were particularly intent on finding a replacement for Shinseki, who resigned as VA secretary a month ago.

 

It wasn’t immediately clear Sunday when the White House would formally send McDonald’s nomination to Capitol Hill. Congress is on recess this week and returns next Monday for the rest of July before a five-week summer break, leaving little time for a confirmation hearing and a vote by the full Senate before lawmakers leave on Aug. 1. The two key committee chairmen issued cautious statements Sunday.

“The VA needs significantly improved transparency and accountability and it needs an increased number of doctors, nurses and other medical staff so that all eligible veterans get high-quality health care in a timely manner,” said Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.).

 

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said that if McDonald is confirmed, he will inherit an agency “under a specter of corruption.”

 

“The only way McDonald can set the department up for long term success is to take the opposite approach of some other VA senior leaders,” Miller said in his statement. “That means focusing on solving problems instead of downplaying or hiding them.”

 

Even if McDonald is confirmed quickly, the agency will remain under intense scrutiny. The House and the Senate are negotiating legislation that would make it easier to fire senior VA officials, while the FBI has opened an investigation into whether VA hospital administrators knowingly lied about wait times for veterans in order to receive performance bonuses.

 

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who followed McDonald in the same 82nd Airborne infantry company, said in a statement that he knows McDonald “to be a man who cared for his fellow men and women in uniform when we served together in the 82nd Airborne Division. Bob’s business acumen, coupled with his dedication and love of our nation’s military and veteran community make his a truly great choice for the tough challenges we have at VA.”

Greg Jaffe, Stephanie McCrummen, Josh Hicks and Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.

 

 

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Statements and Releases

 

Letter from the President — Efforts to Address the Humanitarian Situation in the Rio Grande Valley Areas of Our Nation’s Southwest Border

Dear Mr. Speaker:    (Senator Reid:)  (Senator McConnell:)
(Representative Pelosi:)

I am writing to update you on my Administration’s efforts to address the urgent humanitarian situation in the Río Grande Valley areas of our Nation’s Southwest border, and to request that the Congress support the new tools and resources we need to implement a unified, comprehensive Federal Government response.

While overall apprehensions across our entire border have only slightly increased during this time period and remain at near historic lows, we have seen a significant rise in apprehensions and processing of children and individuals from Central America who are crossing into the United States in the Río Grande Valley areas of the Southwest border.  The individuals who embark upon this perilous journey are subject to violent crime, abuse, and extortion as they rely on dangerous human smuggling networks to transport them through Central America and Mexico.

My Administration continues to address this urgent humanitarian situation with an aggressive, unified, and coordinated Federal response on both sides of the border.  Earlier this month, I directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate this Government-wide response.  This includes fulfilling our legal and moral obligation to make sure we appropriately care for unaccompanied children who are apprehended, while taking aggressive steps to surge resources to our Southwest border to deter both adults and children from this dangerous journey, increase capacity for enforcement and removal proceedings, and quickly return unlawful migrants to their home countries.

Specifically, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and DHS are deploying additional enforcement resources — including immigration judges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement  attorneys, and asylum officers — to focus on individuals and adults traveling with children from Central America and entering without authorization across the Southwest border.  Part of this surge will include detention of adults traveling with children, as well as expanded use of the Alternatives to Detention program, to avoid a more significant humanitarian situation.

 

The DHS is working to secure additional space that satisfies applicable legal and humanitarian standards for detention of adults with children.  This surge of resources will mean that cases are processed fairly and as quickly as possible, ensuring the protection of asylum seekers and refugees while enabling the prompt removal of individuals who do not qualify for asylum or other forms of relief from removal.  Finally, to attack the criminal organizations and smuggling rings that are exploiting these individuals, we are surging law enforcement task forces in cooperation with our international partners, with a focus on stepped-up interdiction and prosecution.

To address the root causes of migration and stem the flow of adults and unaccompanied children into the United States, we are also working closely with our Mexican and Central American partners.  Two weeks ago, at my direction, the Vice President convened leaders from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, as well as Mexico, to discuss our shared responsibility for promoting security, and agree on concrete ways that we can work together to stem the flow of migrants taking the dangerous trip to the United States.  These countries committed to working together and with the United States to address the immediate humanitarian crisis as well as the long-term challenges.  On Tuesday, Secretary Kerry will meet with the leaders of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to follow up on the items agreed to in the Vice President’s trip, and next week, Secretary Johnson will travel to Guatemala.

 

I also spoke with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto about our shared responsibility to promote security in both our countries and the region.  As part of this effort, the United States committed foreign assistance resources to improve capacity of these countries to receive and reintegrate returned individuals and address the underlying security and economic issues that cause migration.  This funding will enable El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to improve their existing repatriation processes and increase the capacity of these governments and nongovernmental organizations to provide expanded services to returned migrants.  Additional resources will support community policing and law enforcement efforts to combat gang violence and strengthen citizen security in some of the most violent communities in these countries.

Finally, we are working with our Central American partners, nongovernmental organizations, and other influential voices to send a clear message to potential migrants so that they understand the significant dangers of this journey and what they will experience in the United States.  These public information campaigns make clear that recently arriving individuals and children will be placed into removal proceedings, and are not eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process and earned citizenship provisions that are part of comprehensive immigration reform currently under consideration in the Congress.  The Vice President made this clear in his public and private events on June 20, I addressed this last week in an interview, and we will continue to use multiple channels to counteract the misinformation that is being spread by smugglers.

While we are working across all of these channels, to execute a fully effective Government-wide strategy as the influx of migrants continues, we are eager to work with the Congress to ensure that we have the legal authorities to maximize the impact of our efforts.  Initially, we believe this may include:

• providing the DHS Secretary additional authority to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador; and

• increasing penalties for those who smuggle vulnerable migrants, like children.

In addition, we will request congressional action on emergency supplemental appropriations legislation to support:

• an aggressive deterrence strategy focused on the removal and repatriation of recent border crossers;

• a sustained border security surge through enhanced domestic enforcement, including interdiction and prosecution of criminal networks;

• a significant increase in immigration judges, reassigning them to adjudicate cases of recent border crossers, and establishing corresponding facilities to expedite the processing of cases involving those who crossed the border in recent weeks;

• a stepped up effort to work with our Central American partners to repatriate and reintegrate migrants returned to their countries, address the root causes of migration, and communicate the realities of these dangerous journeys; and

• the resources necessary to appropriately detain, process, and care for children and adults.
My Administration will be submitting a formal detailed request when the Congress returns from recess, and I look forward to working with you to address this urgent situation as expeditiously as possible.

 

Sincerely,

BARACK OBAMA

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Remarks by President Obama and President Michelle Bachelet of Chile Before Bilateral Meeting

 

Oval Office

11:05 A.M. EDT

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to welcome back to the Oval Office President Bachelet.  She is my second favorite Michelle.  (Laughter.)  And I’m very much pleased to see her again.  We had the opportunity to work together when I first came into office.  Since that time, President Bachelet has been extraordinarily busy doing excellent work at the United Nations, particularly around women — an issue that the United States has been very supportive of.  And we’re very proud of the work that she did there.

 

She’s now back in office, and it gives us an opportunity to just strengthen further the outstanding relationship between the United States and Chile.

 

Let me say, first of all, congratulations to the Chilean National Football Team for an outstanding showing at the World Cup.  I know it was a tough loss, but it also showed the incredible skill and talent of the Chilean team.  This is as well, I think, as it’s ever done against a very tough Brazilian team on their home turf.  And so congratulations to them.  We play — coming up, we’ve got a tough match as well.  So I want to wish the U.S. team a lot of luck in the game to come.

 

The basis for Chile’s and the United States’ strong bilateral relationship includes the fact that we have a free trade agreement that has greatly expanded commerce in both countries and has created jobs in both countries.

 

We have excellent cooperation when it comes to a wide range of issues — energy, education, people-to-people relations.  Chile has been a model of democracy in Latin America.  It’s been able to consistently transition from center-left governments to center-right governments, but always respectful of democratic traditions.  Obviously, those traditions were hard-won, and President Bachelet knows as well as anybody how difficult it was to bring about democracy.  And now, the fact that Chile across the political spectrum respects and fights for the democratic process makes it a great model for the entire hemisphere.

 

Today, we’re going to have an opportunity to discuss how we can deepen those relationships even further.  I know that education, for example, is an issue that is at the top of President Bachelet’s agenda.  It’s something that’s at the top of my agenda here in the United States.  For us to be able to strengthen student exchanges and compare mechanisms and ideas for how we can build skills of young people in both countries is something that we’ll spend some time on.

 

We’re both very interested in energy and how we can transition to a clean energy economy.  And we’ll be announcing some collaborations, including the facilitation of a construction of a major solar plant inside of Chile that can help meet their energy needs.

 

We’ll talk about regional issues.  Obviously, we’ve seen great progress in democratization throughout the region, in part because of Chile’s leadership, but there are obviously still some hotspots that we have to try to address, as well as issues of security in areas like Central America and the Caribbean.  And I’ll be very interested in hearing President Bachelet’s views.

 

And we’ll discuss international issues.  Chile, with its seat on the United Nations Security Council, can serve as a leader on a wide range of issues, from peacekeeping to conflict resolution, to important issues like climate change.  And we have great confidence that in that role Chile will continue to be a positive force for good around the world.

 

So I just want to say thank you for not only the friendship with President Bachelet, but more broadly, our friendship with the Chilean people.  And President Bachelet’s predecessor, he and I had an excellent relationship; she and I have had an excellent relationship.  I think that indicates that it really goes beyond any particular party.  I’m confident that my replacement after I’m gone will have an excellent relationship, because it’s based on common values and a strong respect in both countries for the value of the U.S.-Chilean relationship.

 

So, welcome, and I look forward to an excellent conversation.

 

PRESIDENT BACHELET:  Thank you, President Obama.  I want to, first of all, thank you for the invitation to visit you and your country.  And, of course, we are looking forward to enhance our cooperation in many different areas.

 

As you just mentioned, Chile and the U.S. have had a very strong and mature relation for so many years, and we want to make it deeper and to enhance them in different areas.  Of course, this will be a great opportunity, as you said, to discuss some of the regional and international issues, given the fact that we’re also sitting at the Security Council.  But also, we will be able to in the bilateral dimension be able to increase our cooperation in areas that are very sensible, and for the U.S. and for Chile, such as you mentioned, education, energy, science and technology, people-to-people relation.

 

We already have, as you know, a very good — I mean, not only the bilateral way, we also have a very good Chile-California and Chile-Massachusetts programs.  We have been working very strongly and we will continue on that path.

 

And we are really interested — this year, I think we are commemorating 10 years of the free trade agreement from the U.S. and Chile.  And the U.S. is our, I would say, our most important foreign investor.  We want to continue that path, and of course, we will have also the possibility of having activities with the Chamber of Commerce and others because we really want to make our relations in all dimensions — political, economical, social, et cetera — stronger and stronger every day.

 

So I’m very happy to be here with you again, and I’m sure this will be a great meeting.

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.

 

END
11:12 A.M. EDT

 

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TheObamaCrat™ Wake-Up Call For Tuesday The 11th Of March. I ♥ NY.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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White House Schedule – March 11th, 2014

 

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11th, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
MONDAY, MARCH 11th, 2014

 

In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

Later in the morning, the President will designate the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands as part of the California Coastal National Monument in a signing ceremony in the Oval Office. There will be a pool spray of the signing.

 

In the afternoon, the President will travel to New York City. The departure from the South Lawn and arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport are open press.

 

While in New York, the President will attend two events, one for the DNC and another for the DSCC. The DNC event is closed press, and the DSCC event will be print pool coverage for remarks only.

 

At night, the President will depart New York City en route Washington, DC. The departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport and the arrival on the South Lawn are open press.

 

 

Tuesday, March 11 2014 All Times ET

 

7:30 AM: The Vice President meets with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia at the Hyatt Regency Santiago, Hyatt Regency Santiago.

 

 

10:00 AM: THE PRESIDENT receives the Presidential Daily Briefing, Oval Office.

 

 

11:30 AM: THE PRESIDENT designates the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands as a national monument, Oval Office.

 

 

12:30 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, The Brady Press Briefing Room.

 

 

2:15 PM: THE PRESIDENT departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews, South Lawn.

 

 

2:30 PM: THE PRESIDENT departs Joint Base Andrews.

 

 

3:25 PM: The President arrives New York, John F. Kennedy International Airport.

 

 

4:00 PM: The President attends a DNC fundraiser; private residence; New York City.

 

 

5:15 PM: The President delivers remarks and answers questions at a DSCC Event; private residence; New York City.

 

 
9:10 PM: The President departs New York City, John F. Kennedy International Airport.

 

 

9:20 PM: The President arrives Joint Base Andrews.

 

 
10:15 PM: The President arrives at The White House, The South Lawn.

 

 

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WEEKLY  SCHEDULE FOR TUESDAY, MARCH 11th, – FRIDAY, MARCH 14th, 2014

 

On Tuesday, the President will travel to New York, NY to attend DNC and DSCC events.

 

On Wednesday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.

 

On Thursday and Friday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.

 

 

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White House LIVE!!! Streaming.

 

Next Up…

March 11, 2014 12:30 PM EDT

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming.

 

 

 

Statements and Releases

 

Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades

 

Readout of the President’s Call with President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan

 

Readout of the President’s Call with the President of the Government of Spain Mariano Rajoy

 

Presidential Nominations and Withdrawal sent to the Senate

 

Sequestration Order for Fiscal Year 2015

 

FACT SHEET: The United States and Chile

 

Readout of the President’s Call with President Xi of China

 

 

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Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama

 

With President Barack Obama, Zach Galifianakis, Scott Aukerman, Funny Or Die, Between Two Ferns.

 

Episode 18: President Barack Obama sits down with Zach Galifianakis for his most memorable interview yet.
Published March 11, 2014

Watch the full interview With President Barack Obama

 

 

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Twenty Reasons to Get Covered, Twenty Days Left to Enroll

 

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As of today, there are just 20 days left to enroll in health care coverage at healthcare.gov before open enrollment ends on March 31.

 

If don’t already have health insurance, head over to healthcare.gov to get covered now. You can compare your options based on price, benefits, quality and other features, and enroll in a plan that fits your needs and your budget.

 

WIth just one application, you can also find out whether you qualify for tax credits to help pay for insurance or other free or low-cost coverage options.

 

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To mark the 20 final days of open enrollment, here are 20 reasons to get covered. Check them out, then head over to healthcare.gov.

 

20 reasons to get covered:

  1. Six in ten uninsured Americans can get coverage for less than $100 a month.
  2. Preventive services like well-woman visits, cancer screenings, flu shots and more cost you nothing out of pocket.
  3. Health insurers are prohibited from charging women more than men for the exact same coverage.
  4. It’s illegal for insurance companies to charge more or deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
  5. Birth control for women is covered with no out-of-pocket costs or co-pays.
  6. Insurance companies can’t cancel your coverage when you get sick.
  7. All plans must cover essential health benefits including outpatient care, hospital visits, prescriptions, and more.
  8. Because accidents happen, and no one is invincible.
  9. There’s a new way to shop for plans, compare benefits and apply for coverage all online on healthcare.gov.
  10. You may qualify for lower cost coverage or tax credits to help pay for care depending on your income or family size.
  11. Mental health and substance abuse disorder services including counseling and psychotherapy must be covered at parity with medical benefits.
  12. If you’re a parent, your kids can stay covered on your plan until they turn 26.
  13. Insurance companies can no longer put a lifetime cap on the essential health benefits they’ll cover if you get sick.
  14. Insurance companies can no longer impose yearly limits on coverage for essential health benefits.
  15. Insurance companies must spend at least 80 percent of your premium dollar on health care — or you get a rebate.
  16. No one deserves to go broke just because they get sick.
  17. Insurance companies can’t cancel your coverage because you make a mistake on your application.
  18. Insurance companies must publicly justify their actions if they want to raise your premiums by 10 percent or more.
  19. Because you only live once.
  20. You can apply for coverage online at healthcare.gov. on the phone by calling 1-800-318-2596, in person (find local help here) or by mail (download the application to mail in here) — the whole process takes most people about 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Get Covered: A Special Message from the President

 

Published on Feb 21, 2014

President Obama has a message for millions of Americans who now have access to new or improved affordable health insurance: Go to http://www.HealthCare.gov, and get covered right now.

 

 

 

President Obama Speaks to the Latino Community on Why it is Important to #GetCovered

 

Published on Feb 13, 2014

As part of our ongoing efforts to educate Latinos about the benefits and protections under the Affordable Care Act and encourage them to sign up for health coverage, President Obama recorded a video message for the Latino community. Check out the message and hear the President talk about the tools available to help you and your “amigos, familia and vecinos” #GetCovered

 

 

 

President Barack Obama’s Intro | COSMOS

 

 

 

President Obama Honors 2012-2013 NCAA Division 1 Champions

 

Published on Mar 10, 2014

President Obama hosts the 2012-2013 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Champions at the White House to congratulate student athletes from schools across the country on their accomplishments in the classroom and on the playing field.

 

 

 

Trayvon Martin Inspired Film “Journey Home”

 

Published on Feb 26, 2014

Journey Home is a non profit independent short film inspired by the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. This film captures the reality of life’s frailty and the resounding impact the loss of life has on those connected. This film is not a reenactment, or attempt to depict the events that led to the death of Trayvon Martin. Journey Home is about the potential of one’s life that can be lost in a moment because of the situations we encounter and the decisions we make every day.

 

 

 

Moms team up to repeal “Stand Your Ground” law

 

Published on Mar 10, 2014

Jordan Davis’ mom, Lucia MacBath, has teamed up with the parents of Trayvon Martin to repeal the Stand Your Ground law.

 

 

 

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Rev Al Sharpton And National Action Network March Against Florida’s Stand Your Ground.

 

Stand Your Ground March & Rally In Tallahassee, Florida, March 10th, 2014.

 

 

 

White House White Board: Board: President Obama’s 2015 Budget

 

The President’s Budget For Fiscal Year 2015

 

Published on Mar 10, 2014

Watch as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Brian Deese, sketches out the nuts and bolts of the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

 

 

 

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Vice President Joe Biden At Bilateral Meeting With Chilean President Sebastián Piñera


 

By Jueseppi B.

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, left, greets Vice President Joe Biden before a bilateral meeting at Moneda Palace in Santiago, Chile, Monday, March 10, 2014. Biden traveled to Chile to attend Tuesday's swearing-in of Michelle Bachelet as Chile's president. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera, left, greets Vice President Joe Biden before a bilateral meeting at Moneda Palace in Santiago, Chile, Monday, March 10, 2014. Biden traveled to Chile to attend Tuesday’s swearing-in of Michelle Bachelet as Chile’s president. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

 

 

Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden at a Bilateral Meeting with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera

 

Palacio de la Moneda
Santiago, Chile

 

PRESIDENT PIÑERA:  Good morning.  I would like to give the most warm in the world’s welcome to the Vice President of the United States, Mr. Joe Biden.

 

You know that he was elected senator when he was only 29 years of age (inaudible) the youngest senator in the history of the United States.  He performed as a U.S. senator for more than 36 years, and now he’s the Vice President of the United States.

 

Welcome to Chile.

 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

 

PRESIDENT PIÑERA:  We consider yourself and the country a very good and loyal friend of my country.  So — and I know that you have a very important voice to give and we are very pleased to have you here.  Welcome to Chile once again, and I give you –

 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you, Mr. President.  I — despite some of the crises that are going on around the world, the President and I agreed that it was important that I be here in Chile because this — our commitment to this relationship is real.  It’s deep, and you’ve deepened in your term, Mr. President.

 

I had a great meeting with President-elect Bachelet this morning, and I’m looking forward to meeting with you after this brief comments to the press here.  And I also look forward to meeting the other leaders in the region from Colombia, Peru, Mexico and elsewhere.  So it’s an opportunity for me meet others as well.

 

The President and I believe that the hemisphere, the Western Hemisphere, and particularly the Southern Hemisphere has — offers enormous, enormous potential.  It’s the destination of 40 percent of all of America’s exports.  It’s home to a growing middle class, and it’s quickly becoming (inaudible) quickly becoming a world energy center.

 

And we, for the first time, Mr. President, at least in my career, talk about how to achieve a hemisphere that is secure, middle-class and free.  We’ve never been able to look at it that way before.  From Canada through — down through Chile and everywhere in between, And nowhere in the region is that more — potentially more apparent than in Chile.  (Inaudible) the United States you mentioned historic close ties.  And that’s why — it’s why I’m here.  That’s why my delegation is here.

 

Mr. President, our two countries have worked well together.  We’ve made significant progress through your leadership in the TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation.  During your term, Mr. President, our two countries also strengthened our people-to-people ties through the Visa Waiver Program.  I remember first meeting you, talking about that.  Chile is the only Latin America country in the program that allows visa-free travel between Chile and the United States.

 

And as far as my visit, I’m happy to say that we’re not going to wait until May the 1st.  We want to move that program up to begin on March the 31st.  Again, thank you for your — all your efforts.

 

The United States, Mr. President, looks forward to working with your successor, President Bachelet, on these and many more issues.  I personally look forward to tomorrow’s inauguration.  I’ve heard it described as the perfect example of democratic transfer of power.  Chile’s economic, democratic tradition teaches us all that pragmatism, not ideology, is the secret to success.  It’s no coincidence that Chile has used democracy and the open market to create new opportunities for her citizens.  And we continue to look forward to working with the government of Chile, and I continue to look forward to seeing you as well in person.

 

Thank you for you hospitality.

 

END

 

 

President-elect Michelle Bachelet, greets supporters after meeting with different authorities invited to the presidential inauguration, in Santiago, Chile, Monday, March 10, 2014. Bachelet will be sworn in as Chile's president on Tuesday. Photo: Luis Hidalgo, AP

President-elect Michelle Bachelet, greets supporters after meeting with different authorities invited to the presidential inauguration, in Santiago, Chile, Monday, March 10, 2014. Bachelet will be sworn in as Chile’s president on Tuesday. Photo: Luis Hidalgo, AP

 

 

From Associated Press:

 

Chile’s Bachelet to be sworn in again as president

 

By LUIS ANDRES HENAO and EVA VERGARA, Associated Press

 

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Michelle Bacheletis older and wiser than she was eight years ago when she first assumed Chile’s presidency, but chances are that leading her restive nation won’t be any easier this time around.

 

The moderate socialist takes office Tuesday promising to finance education reform with higher corporate taxes, improve health care, change the dictatorship-era constitution to make Congress more representative and reduce the vast gap between rich and poor.

 

“Bachelet’s biggest challenge is that the expectations are too high,” said Patricio Navia, a Chilean political scientist at New York University.

 

“She promised a lot of things, a lot of reforms, so people expect many things to happen,” Navia added. “But the economic conditions have changed, and have changed rather rapidly, since the electoral campaign. The economy is not growing quite as fast and Bachelet is not going to have the leverage to introduce all the reforms.”

During her first presidency in 2006-10, Bachelet won praise for shepherding Chile through the global economic crisis. Although growth stumbled and unemployment rose, she used government reserves to help the poorest Chileans during hard times, and she enjoyed 84 percent approval when she left office even though she achieved no major changes.

 

President elect Michelle Bachelet - Chile

President elect Michelle Bachelet – Chile

 

The student protests that bedeviled outgoing President Sebastian Pinera began under Bachelet, who named a commission and shuffled her Cabinet in response. That seemed enough at a time when the student groups were strongly influenced by the ruling center-left coalition.

 

Those bonds broke under Pinera, when Communist Party members such asCamila Vallejo led the students. Vallejo is now a member of Congress and a Bachelet ally, but the key university student unions are led by anarchists who are vowing to make life impossible for Bachelet if she doesn’t follow through.

 

“We had an experience with these promises and it didn’t turn out well. But we’ve learned the lesson,” said Naschla Aburman, president of the Universidad Catolica student federation. “The urgency of the educational crisis that we’re living doesn’t allow us to give her a honeymoon.”

 

Chile is the world’s top copper exporter, and its fast-growing economy, low unemployment and inflation have been the envy of Latin America. But many Chileans say more of its mineral wealth should be spent on reducing income inequality and making quality education accessible to all.

 

Many blame Gen. Augusto Pinochet‘s 1973-90 dictatorship for concentrating wealth and power. Pinochet privatized water resources and ended agrarian reforms. He also eliminated central control and funding of public schools, enabling wealthy communities to take care of their own and impoverishing most of the country’s schools.

 

Bachelet, the daughter of a general who died of torture after challenging Pinochet, became Chile’s first female defense minister and president, and after leaving the presidency was the first leader of the U.N. women’s agency. Four years later, she was still the center-left’s best hope, and reluctantly returned to campaign.

 

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She did so as the leader of a “New Majority” coalition that welcomed Communists, street activists and former student leaders, and won in December by the widest margin in eight decades of presidential elections.

 

Chile’s well-managed economy thrived under Pinera, but metals prices have dropped and growth has slowed just when Bachelet hopes to take in about $8.2 billion in taxes from businesses to fund her education reform.

 

Pinera was praised for reconstruction efforts after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake devastated part of the country days before he took office, and his management of the rescue of 33 trapped minors brought him global fame.

 

His popularity plunged amid clashes between police and protesters, but bounced back after he took strong positions against dictatorship-era abuses. The billionaire former airline now plans to form a foundation, stay in the public eye and move his conservative coalition to the political center for another shot at the presidency in four years.

 

Thank you Associated Press.

 

 

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From United Press International, Inc.

 

Biden hails U.S.-Chile relations as long and deep

 

SANTIAGO, Chile, March 10 (UPI) — The Southern Hemisphere is becoming increasingly important to global export and quickly becoming an energy center, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Monday.

 

“The president [Obama] and I believe that the hemisphere, the Western Hemisphere, and particularly the Southern Hemisphere offers enormous, enormous potential,” Biden said ahead of a bilateral meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in Santiago, Chile. “It’s the destination of 40 percent of all of America’s exports. It’s home to a growing middle class, and it’s quickly becoming … a world energy center.”

 

The U.S. relationship and commitment to Chile is real and deep, “and you’ve deepened in your term, Mr. President,” said Biden, who will attend the inauguration of Pinera’s successor, Michelle Bachelet.

 

“And we, for the first time, Mr. President, at least in my career, talk about how to achieve a hemisphere that is secure, middle-class and free,” Biden said. “We’ve never been able to look at it that way before — from Canada down through Chile and everywhere in between. And nowhere in the region is that potentially more apparent than in Chile.”

 

Chile’s economic, democratic tradition teaches that pragmatism, not ideology, is the key to success, Biden said.

 

“It’s no coincidence that Chile has used democracy and the open market to create new opportunities for her citizens,” the vice president said.

 

Thank you United Press International, Inc.

 

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3/10/14: White House Press Briefing

 

Published on Mar 10, 2014

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing

 

 

 

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TheObamaCrat™ Wake-Up Call For Monday The 10th Of March, 2014. Joey B & Dr. Jill Visit The Republic Of Chile.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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White House Schedule – March 10, 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10th, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
MONDAY, MARCH 10th, 2014

 

In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

Later in the morning, the President will participate in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office. At this event, the President will receive the credentials from foreign Ambassadors recently posted in Washington. The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington. This event is closed press. The following Ambassadors will attend:

 

His Excellency Mhamed Ezzine Chelaifa, Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia

His Excellency Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ambassador of the Republic of India

His Excellency Jalil Abbas Jilani, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

His Excellency Rupa Abraham Mulina, Ambassador of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea

His Excellency Johan Cecilia Verbeke, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium

His Excellency Mohammed Jaham A. A. Al Kuwari, Ambassador of the State of Qatar

 

In the afternoon, the President will host the 2012-2013 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Champions at the White House for an event on the South Lawn. The President will welcome student athletes from schools across the country to congratulate them on their accomplishments in the classroom and on the playing field. This event is open press.

 

 

Monday, March 10 2014 All Times ET

8:30 AM: The Vice President meets with President-elect Michelle Bachelet. Local Event Time: 9:30 AM. Diplomatic Academy – Santiago – Chile

 

9:30 AM: The Vice President meets with President Sebastián Piñera. Local Event Time: 10:30 AM. Presidential Palace – Santiago – Chile.

 

10:00 AM: THE PRESIDENT receives the Presidential Daily Briefing, Oval Office.

 

11:15 AM: THE PRESIDENT participates in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony, Oval Office.

 

12:00 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, The Brady Press Briefing Room.

 

5:00 PM: THE PRESIDENT hosts 2012 – 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Champions, South Lawn.

 

6:00 PM: The Vice President meets with President Ollanta Humala of Peru. Local Event Time: 7:00 PM. Sheraton Santiago – Santiago – Chile.

 

 

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WEEKLY  SCHEDULE FOR MONDAY, MARCH 10th, – MONDAY, MARCH 14th, 2014

 

On Monday, the President will host a reception for the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Champions.

 

On Tuesday, the President will travel to New York, NY to attend DNC and DSCC events.

 

On Wednesday, the President will attend meetings at theWhite House.

 

On Thursday and Friday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.

 

 

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Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden to Travel to the Republic of Chile and the Dominican Republic

WASHINGTON, DC – The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden will travel to the Republic of Chile and the Dominican Republic in the second week of March.  In Chile, the Vice President will lead the U.S. delegation to the Inauguration of Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet.  In Santo Domingo, the Vice President will meet with President Danilo Medina to discuss a broad range of bilateral issues, as well as regional cooperation.

 

 

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From The Guardian:

 

Joe Biden describes situation in Venezuela as ‘alarming’

 

• Vice-president says Maduro does not respect basic rights
• Biden in Chile for inauguration of President Bachelet

 

Vice-president Joe Biden says people of the Americas are tired of fighting old ideological battles. Photograph: MCT/Landov/Barcroft Media

Vice-president Joe Biden says people of the Americas are tired of fighting old ideological battles. Photograph: MCT/Landov/Barcroft Media

 

Vice-President Joe Biden has given a stark assessment of the ongoing unrest in Venezuela, accusing President Nicolás Maduro of widespread human rights violations and saying the situation reminded him of Latin America’s troubled and violent past.

 

In a written interview with El Mercurio of Chile, where Biden arrived on Sunday at the start of his seventh official visit to the region, he called the unstable situation in Venezuela “alarming” and said the Caracas government lacked even basic respect for human rights.

 

“Confronting peaceful protesters with force and in some cases armed militias, limiting freedom of the press and assembly […] is not in line with the solid standards of democracy that we have in most of our hemisphere. The situation in Venezuela reminds me of past times, when strongmen governed using violence and oppression; human rights, hyperinflation, shortages and extreme poverty ravaged the peoples of the hemisphere,” Biden wrote, according to the Spanish translation published by El Mercurio.

 

Biden has flown to Chile with his wife Jill to attend the inauguration of Chile’s new president, Michelle Bachelet, on Tuesday. The Venezuelan leader will also be present at the event.

 

The White House said that while in Chile the vice-president will have one-to-one meetings with Bachelet and with presidents Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, Ollanta Humala of Peru, and Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico.

 

For several weeks, Venezuela has been racked by clashes between government soldiers and student protesters backed by middle class Venezuelans disgruntled by extreme inflation and food shortages. Maduro has laid blame for the unrest against far-right provocateurs, the implication being that the US is fomenting the trouble.

 

In his El Mercurio interview, Biden disputed the claim, riposting that Maduro was trying “distract his people from the most important issues that are in play in Venezuela by inventing totally false and outlandish conspiracies about the United States. Instead of that, he should listen to the Venezuelan people, and to look to the example of those leaders who resisted oppression in the Americas, or risk repeating the injustices they fought against so bravely.”

 

He added a frank admission that previous US administrations had been propelled by the struggle against the Soviet Union to side with “leaders who do not share our values” – a reference to the backing given by Ronald Reagan and other US presidents to reactionary paramilitary groups and military governments across Latin America. “However, the US finally stayed on the right side of history in places like Chile, where the [former] US ambassador Harry Barnes and others publicly defended the victims of repression,” he said.

 

He went on: “We recognise that some hangovers of the cold war remain, so that suspicion goes with the territory. But most people in the Americas are tired of fighting old ideological battles that don’t help their daily lives at all.”

 

Thank you The Guardian.

 

THE U.S. SENDS THE VICE PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE, DR. BIDEN IN ORDER TO WELCOME IN THE REIGN OF THE PRESIDENT-ELECT, MICHELLE BACHELET. THEN, THEY WILL MOVE ONTO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.

THE U.S. SENDS THE VICE PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE, DR. BIDEN IN ORDER TO WELCOME IN THE REIGN OF THE PRESIDENT-ELECT, MICHELLE BACHELET. THEN, THEY WILL MOVE ONTO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.

 

 

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The 2014 Economic Report of the President

 

Jason Furman, Betsey Stevenson and Jim Stock
March 10, 2014
10:00 AM EDT

 

This morning, the Council of Economic Advisers is releasing the2014 Economic Report of the President, which discusses the progress that has been made in recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and President Obama’s agenda to build on this progress by creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity. This year’s report highlights steps the Obama Administration is taking to address three key imperatives: continuing to restore the economy to its full potential, expanding the economy’s potential over the long-run, and ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to realize their full individual potential.

 

Below are seven highlights from each of the seven chapters in this year’s Report:

 

Chapter 1 introduces the Report and highlights several key areas where progress has been made, but it also lays out the areas where much more work remains to be done. In particular, recoveries from financial crises are uniquely challenging because heavy household debt burdens and tight credit conditions can linger for years, depressing spending and investment. However, as shown in Figure 1-4 of the Report, among the 12 countries that experienced a systemic financial crisis in 2007 and 2008, the United States is one of just two in which output per working-age person has returned to pre-crisis levels. The fact that the United States has been one of the best performing economies in the wake of the crisis supports the view that the full set of policy responses in the United States made a major difference in averting a substantially worse outcome—although it in no way changes the fact that more work remains to be done.

 

Chapter 2 reviews the economy’s performance in 2013 and discusses the key reasons why the Administration, like other forecasters, expects growth to strengthen in the coming years. Five years removed from the worst of the financial crisis, the economy continues to strengthen and recover, with businesses adding 2.4 million jobs in 2013, the third straight year private employment has risen by more than 2 million. Looking to 2014, one key reason that growth is expected to pick up is that households have made substantial progress in paying off debt, a process known as deleveraging, putting them in a better position to increase spending going forward. As shown in Figure 2-7, household debt has fallen from a peak of about 1.4 times annual disposable income in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 1.1 times annual disposable income by the fourth quarter of 2013. Similarly, debt service (that is, required minimum payments on household debt) has fallen from a high of 13 percent of disposable income in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 10 percent by the third quarter of 2013, its lowest since the data begin in 1980.

 

It is important to note, however, that while these figures paint a picture of improvement in the aggregate, many moderate- and middle-income households have seen little benefit from recent stock market gains and are still grappling with the implications of home prices that, despite recent progress, remain well below their previous highs. Other reasons to expect stronger growth in 2014 than in 2013 include diminished fiscal drag, a recovery in asset values, strengthening among our international trading partners, and demographic forces that are expected to maintain upward pressure on housing starts—although all of these factors need to be balanced against the uncertain risks that can always adversely affect the economy.

 

Read More

 

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Obama Morning News || March 10, 2014

 

Obama to meet with Ukraine leader . . . Washington Post

 

Biden criticizes Venezuela . . . Associated Press

 

Cheney assails Obama on Ukraine . . . Politico

 

Cruz disagrees with Paul on foreign policy . . . Newsmax

 

Cruz: We’ll repeal Obamacare in 2017 . . . The Hill

 

Obama to introduce “Cosmos” . . . Hollywood Reporter

 

 

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White House LIVE!!! Streaming.

 

Next Up…

March 10, 2014 12:00 PM EDT

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming.

 

 

 

March 10, 2014 5:00 PM EDT

President Obama Hosts the 2012-2013 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Champions

The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming.

 

 

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Statements and Releases March 10, 2014

 

Readout of the President’s Call with President Xi of China

 

The President spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the evening of March 9 regarding the situation in Ukraine.  The two leaders agreed on the fundamental importance of focusing on common interests and deepening practical cooperation to address regional and global challenges for the development of bilateral relations. In that context, they affirmed their shared interest in reducing tensions and identifying a peaceful resolution to the dispute between Russia and Ukraine.  The two leaders agreed on the importance of upholding principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, both in the context of Ukraine and also for the broader functioning of the international system.  The President noted his overriding objective of restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and ensuring the Ukrainian people are able to determine their own future without foreign interference.  The two leaders committed to stay in touch as events unfold.

 

 

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco’s Travel to Turkey, Yemen and Saudi Arabia

 

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco traveled to Turkey, Yemen and Saudi Arabia March 6-9 as a part of our regular consultations with three of the United States’ key partners.

 

In Ankara on March 6-7, Ms. Monaco  met with her Turkish Government counterparts as part of the United States’ ongoing engagement with Turkey to strengthen our joint counterterrorism efforts. In these meetings, Ms. Monaco and Turkish Government officials discussed how we can continue to work together most effectively on a range of issues, particularly with respect to  countering the growing terrorist presence in Syria.

 

In Sana’a on March 8,  Ms. Monaco underscored the United States’ commitment to supporting Yemen’s political transition and reaffirmed our strong security partnership with President Hadi and the Yemeni government, focused on the mutual goal of countering the threat from al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). These meetings were an opportunity for Ms. Monaco to hear from Yemeni government and civil society leaders about their plans for moving forward with the transition, including the implementation of the National Dialogue’s recommendations on  the devolution of power and guarantees for the participation of women in the political process, in order to enable the government to better serve and represent its citizens.  Ms. Monaco emphasized that the United States will stand with Yemen as it continues to implement the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered political transition initiative in a timely, inclusive manner.  She also encouraged President Hadi and Yemen’s transitional government to continue enacting the meaningful economic and security sector reforms critical to setting Yemen on the path to stability and prosperity.

 

On March 9 in Riyadh, Ms. Monaco met with her Saudi counterparts to consult on issues of importance in the strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, including our robust security cooperation, ways to promote regional stability, and efforts to address violent extremism and counter terrorism across the Middle East.  Ms. Monaco reiterated the United States’ commitment to continuing to strengthen our cooperation on a range of common interests.  Her visit  follows on the heels of her recent conversation with His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abd al Aziz al Saud, Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in Washington, and comes ahead of the President’s visit to Saudi Arabia at the end of March.

 

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of Prime Minister Yatsenyuk of Ukraine

President Obama will welcome Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine to the White House on March 12.  The visit will highlight the strong support of the United States for the people of Ukraine, who have demonstrated inspiring courage and resilience through recent times of crisis.  The President and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk will discuss how to find a peaceful resolution to Russia’s ongoing military intervention in Crimea that would respect Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.  They will also discuss support the international community can provide to help Ukraine confront its economic challenges, and the importance of uniting Ukraine and working to fulfill the aspirations of the Ukrainian people as they prepare for May presidential elections.

 

 

 

Readout of National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Travel to the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice traveled to the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti from March 6-8.  In the UAE, she held highly productive bilateral discussions with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed and other senior Emirati officials, including the Foreign Minister and Deputy Chief of National Security.  They exchanged views on a wide range of regional issues, including Iran, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Middle East Peace, as well as U.S. partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.  Ambassador Rice visited the new campus of NYU Abu Dhabi, one of the three major U.S.-UAE long-term legacy partnership projects.  She met with a diverse and talented group of American, Emirati and international students from NYU Abu Dhabi and the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholarship Program and expressed support for the major investments the UAE has made in world class liberal arts and STEM higher education programs.

 

In Djibouti, Ambassador Rice met with senior leaders and U.S. troops from the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) at Camp Lemonnier to discuss CJTF operations in the region.  She thanked the troops for their extraordinary work to build counterpart capacity in the region, conduct crisis response, and execute vital counter-terror operations that help keep the American people safe.  Ambassador Rice met with Djiboutian President Guelleh to renew our robust strategic partnership with the government and people of Djibouti.  She thanked him for Djiboutian leadership on a range of issues, including countering terrorism and piracy, and responding to humanitarian emergencies.

 

In her meeting with President Guelleh and with Foreign Minister Youssouf and a delegation of senior Djiboutian ministers and officials, she discussed ways to deepen and enhance our bilateral cooperation, including in ways that will tangibly benefit the economic well-being of the Djiboutian people and address shared security challenges.  They discussed ways that Camp Lemonnier and the U.S. military presence in Djibouti can have a more direct and positive impact on the local economy, and ways that American assistance can lead to further sustainable development and improved regional security.

 

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)


 

By Jueseppi B.

Leaders of the member states of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP). Pictured, from left, are Naoto Kan (Japan), Nguyễn Minh Triết (Vietnam), Julia Gillard (Australia), Sebastián Piñera (Chile), Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore), Barack Obama (United States), John Key (New Zealand), Hassanal Bolkiah (Brunei), Alan García (Peru), and Muhyiddin Yassin (Malaysia). Six of these leaders represent countries that are currently negotiating to join the group.

Leaders of the member states of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP). Pictured, from left, are Naoto Kan (Japan), Nguyễn Minh Triết (Vietnam), Julia Gillard (Australia), Sebastián Piñera (Chile), Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore), Barack Obama (United States), John Key (New Zealand), Hassanal Bolkiah (Brunei), Alan García (Peru), and Muhyiddin Yassin (Malaysia). Six of these leaders represent countries that are currently negotiating to join the group.

 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being  negotiated behind closed doors, in secret, so nobody actually knows whats in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). That doesn’t stop Americans from disliking it, calling it NAFTA on steroids and hating a thing nobody has yet to read. So my question is why does America hate something not one single American has read? How do you stand against a thing you can’t read for yourself, to know you stand against it?

 

From Slate.com:

It seems wrong to hate something that you’ve never read. Yet the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a globally significant free trade agreement being worked out in secret, is rewriting the rules in more ways than one.

The TPP is already being negotiated behind closed doors, but the situation could get worse. Late on Thursday afternoon, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014. The bill would grant the White House fast-track authority, sometimes known as the “trade promotion authority,” to ratify trade deals.

 

If the bill passes, it would allow agreements like TPP to be ratified by a straight up-and-down vote, with no amendments allowed from the floor, and lawmakers would have to forgo procedural stalling tactics like the filibuster. That’s a great deal of oversight power for Congress to abdicate over a deal that not many people have even read.

 

Apart from a few corporations, most stakeholders and public interest groups have been unable to read the TPP drafts in full. Even those in government have complained that their staff cannot access the negotiating text. As Wisconsin Democrat Mark Pocan* said in reponse to the new bill: “Blindly approving or disapproving agreements that have largely been negotiated in secret would represent a derelict of duty for Congress. If there is nothing to hide in these agreements, we should be allowed to debate and amend these deals in the open.

 

Thank you Slate.com.

 

Here’s what Wikipedia has to tell us all about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

 

The 2005 Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) is a trade agreement among BruneiChileNew Zealand, and Singapore. It seeks to manage trade, and indirectly the economies, of the Asia-Pacific region.

 

Since 2010, negotiations have been taking place for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposal for a significantly expanded version of TPSEP. The TPP is a proposed trade agreement under negotiation by (as of August 2013) AustraliaBruneiChileCanadaJapanMalaysia,MexicoNew ZealandPeruSingapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

 

The TPP intends to enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs.

 

There has been criticism and protest of the negotiations from some global health experts, internet freedom activists, environmentalists, organized labor, advocacy groups and elected officials, in large part due to the secrecy of the negotiations, the expansive scope of the agreement, and controversial clauses in the drafts leaked to the public.

 

Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement
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Leaders of TPP member states and prospective member states
at a TPP summit in 2010.
Type Trade agreement
Drafted 3 June 2005
Signed 18 July 2005
Location Wellington, New Zealand
Effective 28 May 2006 (New Zealand and Singapore)

; 12 July 2006 (Brunei); 8 November 2006 (Chile)

Condition 2 ratifications
Parties 4 (BruneiChileSingapore andNew Zealand)
Depositary Government of New Zealand
Languages English and Spanish, in event of conflict

English prevails

 

Membership and accession

The negotiations to set up the TPSEP initially included three countries (Chile, New Zealand and Singapore), and Brunei subsequently joined the agreement. The original TPSEP agreement contains an accession clause and affirms the members’ “commitment to encourage the accession to this Agreement by other economies”.

 

In January 2008 the United States agreed to enter into talks with the P4 members regarding liberalization of trade in financial services. Then, on 22 September 2008, US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced that the United States would begin negotiations with the P4 countries to join the TPP, with the first round of talks in early 2009.

 

In November 2008, Australia, Vietnam, and Peru announced that they would join the P4 trade bloc. In October 2010, Malaysia announced that it had also joined the TPP negotiations.

 

In June 2012, Canada and Mexico announced that they were joining the TPP negotiations. Mexico’s interest in joining was initially met with concern among TPP negotiators about its customs policies.

 

Two years earlier, Canada became an observer in the TPP talks, and expressed interest in officially joining, but was not committed to join, purportedly because the United States and New Zealand blocked it due to concerns over Canadian agricultural policy (i.e. supply management)—specifically dairy—and intellectual property-rights protection. Several pro-business and internationalist Canadian media outlets raised concerns about this as a missed opportunity.

 

In a feature in the Financial Post, former Canadian trade-negotiator Peter Clark claimed that the US Obama Administration had strategically outmaneuvered the Canadian Harper Government. Wendy Dobson and Diana Kuzmanovic for The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, argued for the economic necessity of the TPP to Canada. Embassy warned that Canada’s position in APEC could be compromised by being excluded from both the US-oriented TPP and the proposed China-oriented ASEAN +3 trade agreement (or the broader Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia).

 

Canada and Mexico formally became TPP negotiating participants in October 2012, following completion of the domestic consultation periods of the other nine members.

 

 

Members and Potential Members

Country/Region Status Date
 Brunei Original Signatory June 2005
 Chile Original Signatory June 2005
 New Zealand Original Signatory June 2005
 Singapore Original Signatory June 2005
 United States Negotiating February 2008
 Australia Negotiating November 2008
 Peru Negotiating November 2008
 Vietnam Negotiating November 2008
 Malaysia Negotiating October 2010
 Mexico Negotiating October 2012
 Canada[35] Negotiating October 2012
 Japan Negotiating March 2013
 Taiwan Announced Interest September 2013
 South Korea Announced Interest November 2013

 

History

The TPSEP was previously known as the Pacific Three Closer Economic Partnership (P3-CEP), its negotiations launched on the sidelines of the 2002 APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, by Prime Ministers Helen Clark of New Zealand, Goh Chok Tong of Singapore and Chilean President Ricardo Lagos. Brunei first took part as a full negotiating party in the fifth round of talks in April 2005, after which the trade bloc became known as the Pacific-4 (P4). Although all original and negotiating parties are members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the TPSEP and TPP are not APEC initiatives. However, the TPP is considered to be a pathfinder for the proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), an APEC initiative.

 

The original agreement was concluded by BruneiChileNew Zealand and Singapore on 3 June 2005, and entered into force on 28 May 2006 for New Zealand and Singapore, 12 July 2006 for Brunei, and 8 November 2006 for Chile. It is a comprehensive agreement, affecting trade in goods, rules of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, trade in services, intellectual property, government procurement and competition policy. Among other things, it called for reduction by 90 percent of all tariffs between member countries by 1 January 2006, and reduction of all trade tariffs to zero by the year 2015.

 

On the last day of the 2010 APEC summit, leaders of the nine negotiating countries endorsed the proposal advanced by United States president Barack Obama that set a target for settlement of negotiations by the next APEC summit in November 2011. However, negotiations have continued through 2012 and into 2013.

 

Negotiations

After the inauguration of Barack Obama in January 2009, the anticipated March 2009 negotiations were postponed. However, in his first trip to Asia in November 2009, president Obama reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and on 14 December 2009, new United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk notified Congress that president Obama planned to enter TPP negotiations “with the objective of shaping a high-standard, broad-based regional pact”.

 

Since that time, 19 formal rounds of TPP negotiations have been held:

 

In the United States, the majority of so-called free trade agreements are implemented as congressional-executive agreements. Unlike treaties, congressional-executive agreements require a majority of the House and Senate to pass. Under “Trade Promotion Authority” (TPA), established by the Trade Act of 1974, Fast track (trade) Congress authorizes the President to negotiate “free trade agreements… if they are approved by both houses in a bill enacted into public law and other statutory conditions are met.”

 

In early 2012, the Obama administration indicated that a requirement for the conclusion of TPP negotiations is the renewal of “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority. If “fast track” is renewed, then the normal treaty ratification and implementation procedure would be bypassed, and the United States Congress would instead be required to introduce and vote on an administration-authored bill for implementing the TPP with minimal debate and no amendments, with the entire process taking no more than 90 days.

 

In April 2013 APEC members proposed, along with setting a possible target for settlement of the TPP by the 2013 APEC summit, that World Trade Organisation (WTO) members set a target for settlement of the Doha Round mini-package by the ninth WTO ministerial conference (MC9), also to be held around the same time in Bali.

 

This call for inclusion and cooperation between the WTO and economic partnership agreements (also termed regional trade agreements) like the TPP comes after the statement by Pierre Lellouche who described the sentiment of the Doha round negotiations; “Although no one wants to say it, we must call a cat a cat…”.

 

Controversy

Intellectual property provisions

 

There has been criticism of some provisions relating to the enforcement of patents and copyrights alleged to be present in leaked copies of the US proposal for the agreement:

The proposals have been accused of being excessively restrictive, providing intellectual property restraints beyond those in the Korea-US trade agreement and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

 

A number of United States Congresspeople, including Senator Bernard Sanders and Representatives Henry WaxmanSander M. LevinJohn ConyersJim McDermottJohn LewisPete StarkCharles B. RangelEarl Blumenauer, and Lloyd Doggett, have expressed concerns about the effect the TPP requirements would have on access to medicine.

 

In particular, they are concerned that the TPP focuses on protecting intellectual property to the detriment of efforts to provide access to affordable medicine in the developing world, particularly Vietnam, going against the foreign policy goals of the Obama administration and previous administrations. Additionally, they worry that the TPP would not be flexible enough to accommodate existing non-discriminatory drug reimbursement programs and the diverse health systems of member countries.

 

Opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership say US corporations are hoping to weaken Pharmac‘s ability to get inexpensive, generic medicines by forcing New Zealand to pay for brand name drugs. Doctors and organisations like Medicins Sans Frontieres have also expressed concern. The New Zealand Government denies the claims, Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser saying opponents of the deal are “fools” who are “trying to wreck this agreement”.

 

Ken Akamatsu, creator of Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima!, expressed concern the agreement could decimate the derivative dōjinshi (self-published) works prevalent in Japan. Akamatsu argues that the TPP “would destroy derivative dōjinshi. And as a result, the power of the entire manga industry would also diminish.”

 

Kensaku Fukui, a lawyer and a Nihon University professor, expressed concerns that the TPP could allow companies to restrict or stop imports and exports of intellectual property, such as licensed merchandise. For example, IP holders could restrict or stop importers from shipping merchandise such as DVDs and other related goods related to an anime or manga property into one country to protect local distribution of licensed merchandise already in the country via local licensors.

 

At a NicoNico live seminar called How Would TPP Change the Net and Copyrights? An In-Depth Examination: From Extending Copyright Terms to Changing the Law to Allow Unilateral Enforcement and Statutory Damages, artist Kazuhiko Hachiya warned that cosplay could also fall under the TPP, and such an agreement could give law enforcement officials broad interpretive authority in dictating how people could dress up. Critics also have derided the agreement could also harm Japanese culture, where some segments have developed through parody works

 

Protests and opposition

On 5 March 2012, a group of TPP protesters disrupted an outside broadcast of 7News Melbourne’s 6 pm bulletin in Melbourne’s Federation Square.

 

In New Zealand a coalition of people concerned about the TPP have formed a group called It’s Our Future aimed to raise public awareness about, and resistance against the TPP prior to the Auckland round of negotiations from 3–12 December 2012.

 

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned that the TPP presented “grave risks”. Organized labor in the United States argues that the trade deal would largely benefit big business at the expense of workers in the manufacturing and service industries. The Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Economic and Policy Research have argued that the TPP could result in further job losses and declining wages. Noam Chomsky warns that the TPP is “designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.”

 

Ilana Solomon, Sierra Club director of responsible trade, argues that the TPP “could directly threaten our climate and our environment [including] new rights that would be given to corporations, and new constraints on the fossil fuel industry all have a huge impact on our climate, water, and land.”

 

A second leaked set of draft documents indicates that public concern has had little impact on the negotiations. These documents also indicate there are strong disagreements between the United States and negotiating parties on the issues of intellectual property, agricultural subsidies, and financial services.

 

In December 2013, 151 House Democrats signed a letter written by Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) opposing the fast tracktrade promotion authority for the TPP. Several House Republicans oppose the measure on the grounds that it empowers the executive branch. In January 2014, House Democrats refused to put forward a co-sponsor for the legislation, hampering the bill’s prospects for passage.

 

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Again, I ask..how can one be dead set against something without having the ability to know 100% what it is you are against? I have discovered that some Americans are so against anything the U.S, government is for, that those Americans are the first ones on the front lines of protest….but what exactly are they protesting against?

 

A robot is one who repeats the talking points that they hear on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News (Joke Name), and the other main stream media outlets. Repeating things heard on news agencies is a big mistake. Research and investigate for yourselves then form opinions whether a thing is good or bad.

 

Fast tracking may upset you, but the government has fast tracked bills into laws for eons….think back to all the anti women’s rights bills fast tracked into law. Remember all the anti voter rights/voter suppression bills fast tracked into law around the United States Of America.

 

Now answer me how many Americans protested THOSE fast track moments.

 

Quit bitchin just to be bitchin, until you actually know what it is you are bitchin about….needs your bitchin.

 

AxXLohKCAAEanTT

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